AC Transit

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Jovanka Beckles

Submitted by caitlin on Mon, 10/12/2020 - 16:45

Elect Jovanka Beckles to push the AC Transit Board in the right direction. 

About the Position

Transit systems in California are generally governed by a five-person board. A transportation board is responsible for operating transit service, setting service levels, routes, and fares, and regulating transit facilities. AC Transit Board directors are elected every four years and can serve indefinite four-year terms until they resign or are replaced.

About the District

AC Transit Board is responsible for public transportation within Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The AC Transit Board oversees the needs of 1,423,713 people according to the most recent population report in 2011 and manages an estimated budget of $471 million annually. The AC Transit Board is managed by a seven-person president-director structured government. AC Transit Board Ward 1 serves 284,966 people and operates in Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Kensington, and Richmond.

About the Race

Jovanka Beckles is the only challenger to incumbent Joe Wallace, who was first elected to AC Transit Board Ward 1 in 2000 and has been re-elected every term. He currently serves as president of the board. Wallace is endorsed by San Pablo City Council Member Rita Xavier and the Sierra Club. No campaign filing statements have been filed for either Wallace or challenger Jovanka Beckles. 

About the Candidate

Jovanka Beckles, a former Richmond City Council member, is from Richmond, CA. Beckles is also a children’s mental-health professional, a leader in the Richmond Progressive Alliance, and a self-described democratic socialist following the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr. She is a longtime supporter of environmental protections and public safety, having co-sponsored the Climate Emergency Declaration in Richmond, voted against Chevron’s plan to produce dirtier crude oil, and opposed the transportation of coal into Richmond. According to campaign materials, Beckles is running for election at the urging of AC Transit workers in Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192. 

Beckles’s priorities for the AC Transit Board this term include establishing fare-free transit, making a Green New Deal for transit in the East Bay a reality by taxing corporations, ensuring a safe ride for all--specifically with COVID-19 in mind--and continuing to fight for labor rights for transit workers, including safe working conditions. 

Beckles is endorsed by a strong majority of progressive groups and elected officials in the district, such as Carroll Fife (director of Oakland’s ACCE Action chapter), Lateefah Simon (BART Board of Directors, District 7), East Bay Democratic Socialists of America, and Mark Williams (AC Transit Board of Directors, Ward 4). Beckles does not have any problematic endorsements at this time. According to our analysis, Beckles is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

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