His background and experience include community planning and policy work both in the United States and overseas with international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). While at UH, Bob led the successful 2008 Campaign to help pass a regional measure, Measure VV, which raised funds to keep bus passes affordable for seniors, youth, and disabled riders. Currently, Bob is leading UH’s efforts on federal and state transportation advocacy. Bob received both his Bachelors Degree in Political Science and History and his Masters in Public Administration from Rutgers University.
Listen to his presentation to the Bay Area Social Equity Caucus about the Oakland Airport Connector
The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB375), also known as the California Anti-Sprawl Bill, embodies the simple idea that bringing housing and jobs closer together and improving public transit will cut car commutes—and thus help meet the statewide targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions set by AB32.
“Land use-related climate change policies have the potential to be among the most cost-effective and efficient ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” writes Rebecca Carter in her report on climate policies in western states. (See page 59.)
It was a historic moment for the United States when President Barack Obama stood before 100 world leaders at a high level United Nations Climate Change summit and admitted the historical responsibility of the United States in the climate crisis. He went so far as to say that the largest economies have “a responsibility to provide the financial and technical assistance needed to help [developing] nations adapt to the impacts of climate change and pursue low-carbon development.”
This is a significant breakthrough since the issue of global warming hit the international stage in the late 1970s. The Clinton/Gore years saw the capitulation of the administration to the oil industry, while the Bush administration went into outright denial—questioning the science and shamelessly walking out of the Kyoto Protocol talks. Nonetheless, the question remains: Now that we have publicly acknowledged our responsibility as a polluting imperialist power—what are we going to do about it? What is our tactical plan?
The Connector is a $550 million dollar boondoogle that will cost jobs at BART, AC Transit and other transit operators as well contribute to service cuts and rising fares at these agencies. A coalition of community, policy and labor groups continues to chip away at the Connector and its assets.
While the current recession has trapped countless people under the weight of a foreclosed home, unexpected loss of employment, or the evaporation of a life’s savings, those who were struggling before this economic meltdown to meet their basic needs are more vulnerable than ever. This is certainly the case in Richmond, California where the housing crisis has resulted in more than 2,000 foreclosed properties, most of them in the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
Simultaneously, cutbacks in public transit services, fare increases, and the related dependence on automobiles, oil, and freeways are increasing the isolation of poor communities. At Urban Habitat, while continuing our long-term commitment to land use issues, equitable development, and regionalism, we have also been working hard to win basic rights in the two key arenas of housing and transportation.
As a founding member of the Richmond Equitable Development Initiative (REDI), a diverse coalition committed to ensuring that the city’s low-income people and communities of color benefit from development policies and financial investments, Urban Habitat has been advocating the right to affordable housing for Richmond residents for over four years.
When President Franklin Roosevelt addressed the United States Congress in January 1941, he called for “a world founded upon four essential freedoms”—freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from fear, and freedom from want. Popular conceptions of rights at the time moved beyond the constitution’s narrow framing of civil and political rights to include basic social and economic rights.
Community Groups Hold AC Board to It’s Promise: Youth, Senior and Disabled Monthly Passes Will Not Be Raised
On Wednesday March 11th, dozens of East Bay bus riders, community leaders, and transit advocates waited through a four-hour AC Transit meeting to urge the Board to keep its promise to voters that the price for discounted monthly passes for youth, seniors and the disabled would stay at their current cost for at least 2 years if Measure VV passed. VV was overwhelmingly approved last November.
In spite of the Board’s pledge, AC’s staff had proposed that the AC Transit Board back-out on its promise and nearly double the youth monthly pass from $15/month to $28/month and the senior/disabled monthly pass from $20/month to $28/month to help cover AC’s growing budget shortfall.
After over an hour long debate by the Board about just how bad AC Transit’s finances are (the deficit over the next two years could be anywhere between $35 million and $60 million), the Board unanimously rejected the staff recommendation to raise the youth, senior and disabled monthly discounted passes, citing the promise they had made to voters and bus riders last Fall. They also recognized that raising these passes would create incredible hardship for the riders least able to afford any increase at this time and that it would raise very little additional revenue for AC. (And because of the budget situation, the Board did vote to raise the adult cash fare from $1.75 to $2.00 and the youth/sr/disabled cash fare from $.85 to $1.00.)
A recent Texas Institute of Transportation study confirms what many rush hour commuters in the Bay Area have long suspected—traffic congestion here is the second worst in the nation, Los Angeles being the worst. Specifically, in the North Bay, Marin County has logged the largest percent increase in traffic in the Bay Area between 2005 and 2007; up 20 percent from 2004.
The primary function of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) is to adopt long-range transportation plans that govern the use and allocation of hundreds of billions of public dollars. The equity impact of their actions and decisions is a matter of great importance to low-income communities and communities of color.