It pains me to say this, from the bottom of my heart.
Due to personal issues, I must step down indefinitely from my role as group founder and informal leader of the Silicon Valley Transit Users.
I have asked Judy Purrington to take over running the group. I am also requesting that Dwayne Williams, Andrew Boone, and Adina Levin help run the group as well in my absence. I have also asked a new rising star on the local transit advocacy scene, Monica Mallon, to help run things as well. All of this as VTA tries to reduce transit service in Silicon Valley Yet Again. One other task: find a group alternative to Yahoo! Groups as it has proven to be unstable.
The Future Of Our Group
I have asked that the group be run under the auspices of the San Jose Peace and Justice Center. This, ideally, would be in cooperation with the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center.
One other task: work with other citizen neighborhood, transit, environmental, senior/disabled, and other non-profit groups to make public transit in Silicon Valley the better we long deserved. This list includes but is not limited to:
- BayRail Alliance
- Friends of Silicon Valley Rapid Transit
- Friends of Caltrain
- Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club
- La Raza Roundtable
- NAACP, San Jose/Silicon Valley Chapter
- Silicon Valley Rising
- Silicon Valley DeBug
and a list that goes on and on. We are all in this together. Consider how many more people would be at these group meetings if they were not stuck in traffic. How many of those people can’t make these community meetings that are stuck on a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) bus that’s also stuck in traffic, and thus, late?
A Challenge For All Santa Clara County Residents
All Santa Clara Co., residents must know at least 3 basics about VTA:
- how to contact them directly and initially for any issues
- who represents you on their Board Of Directors
- where your money goes on local transit (and road) projects
Depend on VTA for your mobility? This goes double for you. Like it or not, since 1972, you or your neighbors voted to have and fund public transit in Santa Clara County. It’s past time citizens learned to take better responsibility for it.
While quick and convenient, social media is the worst possible place to hold VTA and its officials accountable. The best place to do this: face to face at every VTA Board of Directors’ meeting. Since 1995, many VTA Board of Directors’ meetings are held on the 1st Thrusday of every month (except July) at the County Supervisors’ Chambers, 70 W. Hedding St., in San Jose. Near Civic Center light rail and the 61, 62, 66 & 181 express bus lines. Given how much I hear and read about traffic being an issue in Santa Clara County, there should be at least hundreds of people at these VTA Board meetings and workshops, demanding better. Shame that only 3 people spoke re: financial stability plan at one such meeting last November.
I can’t make you go and speak up at these VTA Board Of Directors’ meetings. I can and will tell you the consequences of silence and misdirection: you will keep getting get the poor, inconvenient local transit you complain about. Famous Internet author Stonekettle reminds us that if you want a better government, you have to be a better citizen. Given that, want VTA to be better? Be a better citizen. Be a better transit rider. Be a better bus or light rail operator. Be a better maintenance person. This is something I am still learning, even now in Monterey County.
Let’s stop whining on social media how sucky VTA is. Let’s be brave and hold them and elected officials accountable. From Palo Alto to Gilroy to Milpitas to San Jose to Los Gatos and everywhere in between. Is it all hard work? Yes, it is. It is also necessary work. You voted to have VTA in the first place. You voted for sales tax subsidies to buy and run its buses & light rail. It’s time to rise up, put noses to grindstone, and make transit better for everyone.. Starting NOW.
Do it better than I could. Most important: do it TOGETHER. This ensures the best chance of being successful.