I’d like to apologize for my work with Repeal SMART. I am so sorry that we aren’t voting on SMART this week. All I wanted was to give us that opportunity.
The outcome of the election was really not as important to me as just having one. I would like to thank the almost 15,000 people who signed our petition, the hundreds who gave their time and money, and special thanks to Clay Mitchell for being my partner in the effort to give the people a voice.
I will always regret that I didn’t do a better job with the petition management. It really was my fault that we failed. It’s wrong to think it was due to SMART support. I think SMART runs about even with the bullet train — about one-third of the voters would like to change their vote. I felt that it is the people’s right to decide the fate of this train in light of the major cuts, and not an unelected board.
SMART is anything but smooth right now. It was red-tagged last month for environmental violations in San Rafael, and must stop work until the spring. There has been major resistance in San Rafael and Santa Rosa over the zoning changes to build for the train. Also, SMART is quite happy that nobody has asked what happened to those 1,000 new jobs they had promised by now.
In order for SMART to now succeed, it needs to get the people behind it again. To own it again, and not just be the ones paying for it. The only way this can happen is if the SMART board becomes directly-electable by the voters. It would be nice to see Val Brown and Al Boro to be able to continue on with their passion despite retiring from elected office. It would also be nice to see someone from the bike community, such as Andy Peri on the board, as well as a critic or two. Giving the people a voice in SMART again will be the only way that SMART could ever ask for the second tax it will need to finish the project.
I was very optimistic when I heard both Michael Allen and Marc Levine promise to introduce legislation to make the SMART board directly-electable, at the Marin Grassroots debate in April. However, I was disheartened to see Mr. Allen go back on his promise just a few weeks later. He said that things at SMART had changed, although the only thing that really changed was that Mr. Allen won the primary. Mr. Levine says he still means what he said.
So SMART is on the ballot after all. If elected, Marc Levine remains committed to introducing this legislation, while Michael Allen will most definitely not. SMART hasn’t been an issue in this Assembly race, but it should be. A vote for Marc Levine will give people a chance to have a voice at SMART again.
Please vote. It really does matter.