Challenging three-term incumbent Gail Murray
County pension board trustee Debora Allen announced, Wednesday morning, that she is running for District 1 BART Director, in the 2016 general election. The chief financial officer of East County Glass is challenging incumbent Gail Murray who is seeking her fourth term on the BART board. District 1 includes the Concord, Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre, Walnut Creek and Lafayette BART stations, and the cities of Martinez, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Concord, Danville, San Ramon and Clayton, as well as Alamo and Blackhawk.
“Over the last decade, the BART experience has deteriorated with increased crime, system delays, labor strikes, equipment malfunctions, fake security cameras, high fares, budget shortfalls and overall public dissatisfaction,” Allen said. “BART is so antiquated, their control system is from 1972 and they buy replacement parts on eBay.”
Allen’s campaign platform is focused on five primary objectives:
- DEMAND accountability from management for the financial stability, affordability, and cost effectiveness of BART.
- REBUILD the old infrastructure to provide a renewed, sustainable, and durable transportation system for future generations.
- REPLACE obsolete, broken equipment with clean, innovative, modern replacements, and maintain them.
- INTEGRATE the current system with our numerous other Bay Area transit systems to create greater accessibility and efficiency in our lives.
- PROVIDE a better BART experience to the customer, the rider, and the workers.
In an email, last week, Allen stated “BART needs strong leadership that is willing to stand up for change and hold management accountable for its revitalization.”
Numerous, prominent East Bay leaders have joined in supporting Allen’s campaign, including California State Senator Steve Glazer, a Democrat who has been an outspoken critic of strikes by BART employees, as well as BART operations and finances.
“Debora Allen will bring an important voice and fiscally responsible vote into the BART boardroom. She’s smart, she’s tough, and she’s a problem solver,” Glazer said. “She will stand up to special interests and management incompetence and fight to improve BART while protecting the interest of taxpayers.”
“Debora Allen brings a refreshing new energy and approach to getting BART’s fiscal house in order,” said Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, a Republican. “She will be a champion for the transit rider and taxpayer.”
President of the Association of Bay Area Governments (known as ABAG) and Vice Mayor of Clayton Julie Pierce also endorsed Allen, stating “Our BART system is incredibly important to the residents of Contra Costa County. I am confident that Debora Allen will be strong leadership on the Board of Directors and a loud voice for transparency and financial accountability to the stakeholders as we rebuild BART into a world class transportation system of which we can all be proud.”
Contra Costa County Supervisor Candace Andersen also offered her support.
“Debora Allen brings the business experience and financial acumen we need to lead BART in the right direction,” she stated.
Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson also endorsed Allen, stating “I trust Debora Allen to protect the taxpayers’ investment in BART, for the riders, the workers, and for the future of Bay Area living.”
Former California State Assemblywoman (1996-2002) Lynne Leach added her support.
“Debora Allen is a talented, trusted and experienced businesswoman,” Leach said. “Her background of working to stem the ever increasing growth of public pension costs prepares her well to serve on the BART Board.”
Also endorsing Allen are Mayor of Pittsburg Ben Johnson, Mayor of Clayton Howard Geller, Pittsburg City Council Member Sal Evola, Contra Costa Community College District Board President Vicki Gordon, Central Contra Costa Sanitary District Board Member and Past President Contra Costa Taxpayers Association Michael McGill, attorney and Contra Costa County Employees Retirement System Board Trustee Scott Gordon, Alamo Municipal Advisory Council Member Steve Mick, Former Mayor of Clayton Pete Laurence, former Walnut Creek School Board Member Dan Walden, and retired BART employee Robert Leach.
“I am an independent, thoughtful, outsider, willing to take on the challenges of the troubled BART system,” Allen said. “I have spent over 25 years in a career in various financial management and board level positions. I now want to use that experience and knowledge to help the BART stakeholders, the riders, the taxpayers, and the BART employees.”
This is Allen’s second run for public office. She ran for State Assembly in the 14th District in the June primary, but did not make the run-off, placing a close third in the race behind the top-two candidates. She has a college degree from Sac State in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting, is married to Tim Allen and they have two adult sons. They live just outside of Clayton, next to Mt. Diablo State Park.
The election will be on Tuesday, November 8.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.