Stop the OAC: Make a call and send an email today!

5 Oct

Disclosure: I am working on a part-time, short term basis for TransForm on the Oakland Airport Connector campaign. However, the thoughts expressed in my posts on this subject are my own and should not be construed to be those of TransForm.

Tomorrow night, the Oakland City Council will be voting on a resolution opposing the Oakland Airport Connector. I know many of you plan to attend, and if you haven’t RSVPed yet, please do so on Facebook.

But I have one last request, and it’s important. Several councilmembers are on the fence or not yet decided. The supporters of the OAC are generating phone calls to these offices and it’s important that we do the same. Please take 10 minutes today to call these four councilmembers and to send an email to the entire Council. To make an impact, please call and email today (Monday) or early tomorrow (Tuesday).

It’s simple – here’s what you should do:

1. Call the following councilmembers:

Council President Jane Brunner, District 1 – 510-238-7001
Patricia Kernighan, District 2 – 510-238-7002
Jean Quan, District 4 – 510-238-7004
Ignacio De La Fuente, District 5 – 510-238-7005

When you call, you will likely talk to either the councilmembers’ staffers or answering machines. Use the following script as a guide:

Hi, my name is ________ and I’m an Oakland resident calling to urge Councilmember _________ to support the resolution opposing the Oakland Airport Connector. This half billion project does not benefit Oakland, and it would suck funding from several Oakland transit projects. The Connector will not provide economic development to East Oakland, and many Oakland residents will not be able to afford the $6 fare.

[If speaking to a staffer]: Can you tell me how Councilmember ________ plans to vote on this resolution?

Thank you for your time.

2. Email the full Council:

Rebecca Kaplan <>, Jane Brunner <>, Pat Kernighan <>, Nancy Nadel <>,
Jean Quan <>, Ignacio De La Fuente <>, Desley Brooks <>, Larry Reid <>

Use the following template as a guide:

Dear Oakland City Councilmembers,

I am writing to urge you to support the resolution opposing the Oakland Airport Connector.

This half billion project does not benefit Oakland, and it would suck funding from several Oakland transit projects. The Connector will not provide economic development to East Oakland, and many Oakland residents will not be able to afford the $6 fare.

A vote against the Airport Connector is a vote for:

  • A Stronger Economy: A bus rapid transit connector would have intermediate stops and would be affordable to all Oakland residents.
  • More Jobs: Reverting OAC funds back to transit agencies would create more jobs than building the OAC.
  • Better Transit: A bus rapid transit connector could be as fast as the OAC, AND the money saved would stop transit service cuts throughout the Bay Area.

Please vote for the resolution opposing the Oakland Airport Connector.



3. Ask anybody and everybody you know who opposes the Connector to do the same.

Thanks, and I’ll see you tomorrow!


16 Responses to “Stop the OAC: Make a call and send an email today!”

  1. len raphael October 5, 2009 at 10:27 pm #

    after listening to Sandre Swanson news byte, we know he’s a big fan of the oac. unless Barbara Lee has changed, she’s pro oac also.

    has anyone asked Sharon Cornu of the Alameda County AFL-CIO? (Wasn’t she a big backer of the Kid’s First propositions that diverted millions away from the general fund to non-profits, and resulted in wage reductions for union city employees.)


    • Becks October 6, 2009 at 6:55 am #

      Sandre Swanson took a position for the first time yesterday, after being told lots of misinformation about the region losing the stimulus funds if this project doesn’t move forward, which is false.

      Barbara Lee has not taken a position either way – I’ve talked to her staff who have been coming to the hearings.

      Sharon Cornu and the Labor Council oppose the OAC and have been working with our coalition to defeat it from the beginning.

  2. Andy K October 6, 2009 at 7:04 am #

    Spoke to Jean Quan’s chief of staff. She is on the fence. He agreed with all the points about the project not being the best (expensive, high fare, not what was promised etc.) Said that the airlines were in favor of it, and that some would leave if it was not built. I questioned this point. He also said that the cost and fairs might be less. He also asked me if I would trust AC Transit to get me to the airport. I said yes to this.

    So these are some of the lame arguments in favor of the OAC. 1. airlines may leave Oakland, 2. May cost less, 3. Do you want to take a bus?

  3. Joyce Roy October 6, 2009 at 9:35 am #

    I initially leaned toward a favorable view of Oakland Airport Connector. San Francisco Airport has an airtrain, so shouldn’t Oakland? Even if it would be very expensive wouldn’t it pay off in increased ridership?

    But then I looked closely at what the passenger experience would be with BART’s airtrain compared to TransForm’s RapidBART proposal. Like the airtrain, passengers at Coliseum station would enter the vehicle in a protected area but loading the RapidBART would be quicker since it could be free. For the airtrain each passenger would have to pay $6.00 to get on and be dropped off in a parking lot near a terminal from which they will schlep their bags across many lanes of traffic to get to their airline, rain or shine. The RapidBART can drop off passengers at their airline just as a car can. After one experience on the airtrain, particularly on a rainy or hot day, passengers will surely choose to come by car next time.

    And RapidBART can be as “green” as an airtrain by using zero-emissions buses (and I don’t mean costly unreliable fuel cell buses.) A new bus company, Proterra, is developing an electric bus that can run without recharging for 30 miles, about 10 trips, and then can be recharged in 10 minutes. It is having its test run in Southern California in about a year.

    So I think on all counts, RapidBART is the best bet!

  4. Navigator October 6, 2009 at 10:51 am #

    I would oppose this if it meant that the money would go a light rail system for downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt and the waterfront. I would support a light rail line linking downtown to College and Piedmont Avenues via Broadway. Opposing this project in order to leave more money for buses keeps Oakland in the dark ages.

    Oakland needs to have a reliable alternative to the use of the money supposedly saved by blocking this project. It’s nice to oppose things but sometimes Oakland needs to be for something. I just don’t see Oakland being proactive only reactive. Oakland International is becoming a back water airport. How does Oakland compete with SFO? Oakland is going to compete with a bus? Don’t we already have a bus?
    Again, where would the money saved from opposing this project go. How would it benefit Oakland’s future?

    • das88 October 6, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

      Navigator, how about as an Oaklander being for common sense.

      The connector is going to lose more jobs than it creates, starve other transportation for funds, and cost somewhere around $6 each way to ride.

      Plus you are always going on about the aesthetics of the lake — well the overhead connector is going to be one ugly POS replacing a fairly attractive road median.

  5. dto510 October 6, 2009 at 11:36 am #

    Actually, there is a feasibility study for a downtown streetcar. It makes more sense now than when it was created, because Oak-to-Ninth, Alameda Point, and Upper Broadway redevelopment are require transportation investment. That is an example of the projects that could be funded with ACTIA money if the OAC doesn’t take every last penny.

  6. Navigator October 6, 2009 at 1:08 pm #

    DTO, I’d like specifics on how much of the money saved would go to which transportation projects in Oakland. We need to negotiate that in writing before we start tearing down a proposal which if done correctly, (I’m talking seamless) would be a tremendous competitive boost to Oakland International.

    Das, I agree about the aesthetics on Hegenberger. However, Oakland International needs to be competitive with SFO. Is another fancier bus going to accomplish this?

    Oakland needs to modernize. If the money saved from this project would go directly to a light rail system mimicking the old Key Route system, then I’m all for it. If the savings are intended for regional AC Transit benefits, I’m against it. Every major city in the State has a light rail system except Oakland. Why?

    • Becks October 6, 2009 at 1:13 pm #

      Have you been following this conversation at all Navigator? I know you read Oakland blogs so by now you should know these things.

      The OAC is not seamless! At the BART station, you’ll have to go up an escalator and across half a football field. At the airport, you’ll need to go down an escalator, and cross several lanes of traffic before entering the terminal (3 more lanes of traffic than the current AirBART).

      We’re also not talking about just a “fancier” bus. We’re talking about a completely revamped BRT system that would solve the reliability problems.

    • dto510 October 6, 2009 at 1:50 pm #

      The stimulus funding from the OAC would go to AC Transit (and BART, and MUNI) if the OAC is rejected. The other capital money could be allocated to a variety of projects. ACTIA’s $89m would have to stay in Oakland, and the Port’s $71m would probably go to terminal renovation.

      It’s unfortunately true that Oakland does not have a well-developed plan for light-rail or other fixed-guideway improvements behind a single BRT line. There is, though, a downtown streetcar study gathering dust, which as I said above, makes a lot more sense now. We have to make transportation accommodations for several large-scale developments no matter what.

      The OAC is aggressively bad for Oakland. It will not only drain every last penny of transit improvement funds for a generation, it will destroy all development potential along Hegenberger (which will look like 7th St). The fact that Oakland has no future-oriented transit planning is a serious problem – the OAC, planned by and for interests outside of Oakland, is a symptom of that problem. It’s time to stand up for ourselves and for our money.

  7. Navigator October 6, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    DTO, Out of a possible 500 million dollar infusion of capitol in Oakland, we are talking about keeping just 89 million if we derail this project? This is outrageous. What city decides to give away 411 million for the benefit of regional transportation?

    Why don’t we make sure that this project is a seamless and aesthetically pleasing project instead of trying to save money for BART and MUNI. We are supposed to derail a project in Oakland so that BART and MUNI get more money?

    I’m not too keen in transferring millions of dollars from Oakland to San Francisco’s MUNI.

    How are we saving our money? Our money is going to San Francisco’s light rail system while we’re still in the dark ages worrying about buses. That airport connector is supposed to be for the benefit of the Airport and the economy around Hegenberger. As Oakland International continues to lose market share to BART friendly SFO, what’s going to happen to the hotels and restaurants in that part of town? How does a bus compete with a direct BART link to the airport?

    Also, I don’t understand how putting 500 million dollars into Oakland’s economy is “for interests outside of Oakland?” Do we want a regional airport in Oakland? Do we want the business associated with a major airport? Why are we trying to make this connector into local bus service? The idea is to get more travelers to Oakland International. The idea is not to get someone from Francesco’s to Denny’s.

    • Becks October 6, 2009 at 3:51 pm #

      Do you even read these blog posts? Oakland, at most would get 172 jobs! Oakland doesn’t just get $500 million handed to us – it’s mostly going to go out of the Bay Area for concrete.

      Also, we’ve been fighting to improve this project for many months, but BART hasn’t listened. We’d love it if they’d make it seamless, at the intermediate stop, and lower the fare, but that isn’t happening.

      Also, Oakland would not just get $89 million back. Please, before commenting further, take a few minutes and read what we’ve already written about this project.

  8. Navigator October 6, 2009 at 4:14 pm #


    17.4 million of this money will go back to MUNI. This money will go to regional transportation projects. If this money were to come back to Oakland, I’d be all for it. Why allow the MTC which is extremely anti-Oakland to decide in which municipality these funds will be spent?

    I agree with you. I don’t like the PRESENT proposal. I like the fact that we will lose all this money to other cities even less.

    • Becks October 6, 2009 at 4:16 pm #

      But that’s the thing – if this project is built, Oakland doesn’t get $500 million. A tiny fraction of that will go into our economy – most will leave the region entirely. I’m not sure I can explain it any more clearly than that.

  9. Navigator October 6, 2009 at 4:41 pm #

    Yes, but if thing were done properly Oakland would have a seamless world class connector to its International Airport which would then be able to compete with SFO for more passengers. Becks, Oakland Airport was growing by leaps and bounds a few years ago. Oakland was the fastest growing airport in the Nation taking market share from SFO. Ever since the BART connection to SFO Oakland has been losing airlines and passengers at an alarming rate while SFO has been growing.

    How do we justify not investing in our future? Why do we insist on providing a windfall for MUNI and other BART projects in other municipalities?

    Becks, that 500 million dollar investment isn’t just in cement. We’re investing in Oakland’s future. We’re investing in modernizing the accessibility to Oakland International thereby allowing Oakland’s economy to grow. A healthy and growing airport is good for hotels, restaurants, transportation workers, etc. in Oakland.

  10. Oaklandguy July 21, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    I’m a believer in innovation, and Oakland should be an example for the rest of the state. I understand the financial implications make it a complicated issue, but I agree with one of the prevous comments about Oakland needing to modernize. We have the 4th largest port in the country, and the “big three” professional sports teams..why shouldn’t Oakland have world class transportation systems?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: