Oakland woman announces bid for BART board

With BART Director Bob Franklin giving up that post to run for Oakland City Council this year, candidates are emerging to vie this November for the open seat he’ll leave on the transit agency’s board.

Environmental activist and local blogger Rebecca Saltzman, 30, of Oakland, announced her candidacy in a fundraising e-mail to friends and potential supporters Tuesday morning. She wrote that her years “of public transit and policy advocacy, coalition building, grassroots organizing, and management experience with local, state, and national issue-based organizations and campaigns has prepared me well for this job.”

Saltzman said that as government affairs manager for the California League of Conservation Voters, she coordinates Green California, a network of more than 80 environmental and social justice groups working to pass and protect environmentally friendly laws in the Legislature.

Earlier she worked for four years as chief of staff of Americans for Safe Access, an Oakland-based medical marijuana advocacy nonprofit. She graduated last year from Emerge California, a candidate training program for Democratic women.

She also is vice chairwoman of Oakland’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee; has been active in several local and state political campaigns; and is the longtime proprietor of the “Living in the O” local news blog. Until recently she was an avid tweeter as @OaklandBecks; now she’s @RebeccaForBART.

“As a BART Director, I will work hard every day to make BART fiscally and environmentally sustainable, to increase transit-oriented development around BART stations, and to coordinate more closely with other transit agencies – especially AC Transit,” she said in the e-mail. “I will also work to make a dream I’ve had since my college days at UC Berkeley come true – making BART run later on Friday and Saturday nights.”

BART’s District 3 includes all or parts of Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Lafayette, Moraga, Oakland, Orinda, Piedmont, San Leandro, and unincorporated areas of Alameda and Contra Costa counties; it includes the Bay Fair, San Leandro, Rockridge, Orinda, Downtown Berkeley, North Berkeley, El Cerrito Plaza and El Cerrito Del Norte stations.

Filings at the Secretary of State’s office show Nashua Kalil, 53, of Berkeley, a former BART planner, also intends to run for the seat, but apparently has not yet made the candidacy public.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    This highly qualified lefty has spent an awesome decade or less fighting for marijuana users and the progressives of Alameda county. You gotta love that c.v.!

  • Edie Irons

    Yup, Rebecca is progressive. Just like about 85% of the district she is running to represent. And she has worked to ensure safe access to medical marijuana for patients who need it in the past (as Californians voted to allow). She is also a passionate advocate for public transit, a hard worker, and a principled person with excellent judgment who would be great for this job.

  • Christopher Kidd

    She also spent that same decade advocating for AC Transit & BART to make smart transit decisions, which would improve service & access.

    Which is, you know, the point of an elected BART board member.

  • GO Rebecca Saltzman ..we are all with you.good luck

  • It is very exciting that a young leader wants to serve on such an important but often-overlooked board. Rebecca as a blogger and activist has helped bring more attention and public engagement to local and transit matters, and BART can really user her collaborative, problem-solving approach!

  • Bob Loblaw

    Great, a deadbeat stoner running a multi billion dollar transit system. time to start driving again, hopefully the 4th bore of Caldecott will be open before this wingnut is sworn in.

  • Bob Loblaw

    95% of BART users ride the system during commute hours and this wannabe Director wants to focus her efforts on getting drunks home on Friday and Saturday nights.

    We are doomed.

  • John W.

    Good thing the rest of the BART board has more experience and can make wise fiscal decisions, like $500 million to run a monorail to Oakland airport. What were THEY smoking?

  • Bob Loblaw

    Can we get someone who actually RIDES BART to run for this seat?

  • Antonio deAngelis

    After reading what this “progressive” has done, I’m sure glad there are two other candidates running and we’re not faced with this lefty hackjob!