In the Media

Urban Habitat’s Connie Galambos Malloy Tapped for California’s New Citizens Redistricting Commission

Connie Galambos Malloy PhotoUrban Habitat’s Director of Programs Connie Galambos Malloy has been selected as one of the first eight members of California’s inaugural Citizens Redistricting Commission. The Commission will re-draw the boundaries of state legislative, Congressional and Board of Equalization districts. California voters mandated the Commission when they passed Proposition 11 in 2008 and extended its powers to cover Congressional districts with this year’s passage of Prop. 20.

“I’m honored to be chosen as a Commissioner,” Galambos Malloy said. “I will strive to collaborate with my colleagues, and with the public at large, to fulfill the intent of the California electorate: ensuring that our state’s electoral system provides representation for all. Our work will be vital in protecting civil rights and securing a voice for each of us--and someday for our children--in the political process.

City Council Agenda: Housing Element Task Force, Sewer Connection Incentives

Housing Element

For Tuesday's City Council meeting, city staff will provide an update on the task force putting together an update of the city's housing plan.

According to a staff report, a public draft of the updated housing element could be available by February 2011.

With the Urban Habitat settlement, Pleasanton must put together a housing document, which provides an outline for the regional requirements for affordable housing in the city.

Some AC Transit Service Restored, But Funding Problems Could Return

Mashasin Abdul Salaam, left, of Genesis, looks on as a coalition member is interviewed by KRON.

AC Transit riders took solace in the news on Tuesday that the agency plans to restore service that was cut twice this year after a labor arbitrator settled a contract dispute. Transit advocates worry, however, about the agency’s long-term solvency and have called on elected officials to develop significant revenue measures for funding buses in the East Bay.

The arbitration panel in the AC Transit labor negotiation reached a decision on a contract between the transit district and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192, which represents 1,750 of its bus drivers and mechanics, saving the agency $38 million over three years. The binding decision calls for increased contributions from the members to their health and benefit plans, as well as work rule and holiday changes.

AC Transit had cut service in March by 7.8 percent, or $10.3 million in service hours and in October by 7.2 percent, or $11.4 million in service hours. Fare increases this year amounted to an increase of 25 cents per trip for local riders and $10 for the price of a monthly pass. Transbay riders have been paying an increase of 50 cents per trip and $16.50 for a monthly pass. Youth, senior and disabled riders saw a hike of 15 cents per local trip and 30 cents for Transbay trips.

The Pacifica Evening News, Weekdays, for November 9, 2010 - 6:00pm

Listen to Lindsay Imai's comment on KPFA (at 44:24), calling our state's funding pattern discriminatory.

The Pacifica Evening News, Weekdays - November 9, 2010 at 6:00pm

Click to listen (or download)

Pleasanton candidates set to tackle familiar problems

PLEASANTON -- Voters started a new era on the city school board Tuesday, while keeping familiar faces on the dais less than a mile a way at city hall.

Jeff Bowser and Joan Laursen received 40 and 38 percent of the vote, respectively, and were elected to their first term on the school district's five-member board. Incumbent Jim Ott and longtime member Pat Kernan had opted not to seek re-election, leaving the race void of incumbents for the first time in at least a decade.

At city hall, Mayor Jennifer Hosterman held off council member Cindy McGovern with 53 percent of the vote versus McGovern's 47 percent. Council incumbents Jerry Thorne and Cheryl Cook-Kallio retained their seats against political newcomers Karla Brown and Fred Watson.

Fed Funds to Bolster Bay Area Transit

Bay Area transit agencies are about to get tens of millions of dollars more to maintain and replace their aging fleets of vehicles, the federal Department of Transportation announced today.

The grants, part of a $776 million outlay to 152 projects nationwide, announced in a national conference call by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Federal Transit Agency head Peter Rogoff.

"This means that transit providers can finally make many of the repairs they have been putting off," LaHood said.

AC Transit board votes to cutback weekend service


OAKLAND, CA (KGO) -- Serious cuts are coming for public transit in the East Bay. AC Transit board members hammered out a plan Wednesday night, despite protest from those who rely on the busses. In Oakland, weekend service will take a major hit.

The pleas were passionate and personal.

"How dare you cut the lifeline that I have that provides my homecare provider her way to get to work every day," said Michelle Rousey.

"This is preposterous. What am I going to do on the weekend to get to church?" said AC Transit rider Celia-Faye Russell.

Some residents tried to encourage the board to keep looking for alternate solutions.

"What I see before you is a plan for AC Transit's decline. What I don't see is a plan for how we're going to build AC Transit up and how we're going to shake those trees because there are trees where money can be found," said Lindsay Imai from Urban Habitat.

EPA's "environmental justice" tour comes to California

Environmental justice, a movement to focus attention on pollution in low-income communities, is a burning cause for Lisa Jackson, the first African American to head the U.S. Environmental Protection agency.  Over the last several months, Jackson has toured poor white, black and Latino communities with a message: Eco-issues aren't just for rich folks.

On Saturday, the EPA chief took a bus tour of low-income neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay area, stopping at a Superfund site where the federal government is coordinating toxic chemical cleanup, and an urban food cooperative.

Pleasanton to host green living fair

PLEASANTON -- In its bid to become the greenest city in the state, Pleasanton will host a Green Scene Fair for local employees and residents from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21 at the CarrAmerica Conference Center, 4400 Rosewood Dr.

The fair will feature 75 vendors that specialize in green practices, including air, water, waste, commuting and transportation, healthy homes and healthy living and energy. Fuel efficient vehicles will also be on display and sustainably produced food will be sold.

The event is part of a series of activities the city has planned as part of its climate action plan it will adopt as part of a settlement it reached with Urban Habitat. The environmental justice group sued the city and won over its voter-approved housing cap of 29,000 units, saying it prevented the city from meeting is share of regional housing needs.

For more information visit www.pleasantongreenscene.org.

Robert Jordan covers Dublin and Pleasanton. Contact him at 925-847-2184.

BART Board Reaffirms Commitment to Build Airport Connector



OAK_rendering1At a hastily scheduled board meeting today, BART’s directors once again voted to approve the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC), this time granting General Manager Dorothy Dugger the flexibility to proceed with the contract, despite several outstanding sources of funding still unresolved.

BART needed to send strong signals to the contracting team of Parsons/Flatiron that the agency intended to move forward with the construction bid, which is set to expire on September 21st, one year after it was initially awarded. BART has been scrambling to fill a funding gap created when the Federal Transit Administration denied the agency $70 million in federal stimulus funds because it hadn’t done a proper civil rights review.