Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mission Local: BART Incumbent Knocked for Filthy Plazas

I can't express enough thanks to Mission Local reporter Laura Waxman for her fantastic coverage of the September 12 BART candidates' forum. She mentioned my two-years of efforts to hold District 9 incumbent Tom Radulovich accountable for his dereliction of duty to keep his stations sanitary.  Waxman also snapped this good photo. Here are excerpts from her story:

Three of the six candidates present – politician and former San Francisco supervisor Bevan Dufty, activist and local blogger Michael Petrelis, and Golden Gate Restaurant Association Director Gwyneth Borden – are competing to become the director for BART’s District 9. The latter covers stations in central and Southern San Francisco including both stations in the Mission District.


The candidates were also probed on their stances on pushing for the passage of a $3.5 billion bond measure placed on the November ballot by BART’s board of directors. The funding would be largely allocated towards fixing and upgrading system’s crumbling infrastructure.

“Assuming that the measure passes we’d like to see money go into rebuilding infrastructure, modernizing the communication system that workers use, and money dedicated to overnight service on the weekend,” said Petrelis, adding that “$3.5 billion is a start,” and that more sources of revenue for BART are needed.


Petrelis said that he is in favor of taxing “the banks and tech companies” that benefit from their proximity to BART stations. “Many of them are getting a free ride, and that has to end,” he said.


Despite varying backgrounds and visions, harmony reigned among the District 9 contenders, whom one audience member described as being “best friends.” “We have a lot of agreement between the three of us,” said Petrelis, adding that his real gripe is directed at BART board president, Tom Radulovich, whom he is currently vying to replace. The Mission resident’s campaign began two years ago when Petrelis “grew dissatisfied with the unsanitary conditions at the 16th and Mission Streets BART Plaza,” which include pigeon waste, debris, and dirt.

After two decades on the board, Radulovich announced last month that he will not be seeking re-election.

Petrelis has been crusading for sanitary improvements at the plaza, involving Public Works and other public agencies himself when his requests for service went unanswered at the BART Board, he said.

Borden too said that she would focus on sanitization, but also on equity. “Cleanliness of stations is at its worst,” said Borden, adding the district’s new director must think about “how we are responding to our low-income population.”

No comments: