Gilroy Officials Should at Least Show Up at VTA Meetings to Advocate Reform

Dear Editor,
No doubt that the interests of Gilroy would be better served if
its representatives would at least show up at Valley Transportation
Authority meetings, ask hard questions and resist being steamrolled
by the San Jose crowd.
Dear Editor,

No doubt that the interests of Gilroy would be better served if its representatives would at least show up at Valley Transportation Authority meetings, ask hard questions and resist being steamrolled by the San Jose crowd. However, it’s worth noting that when Tom Springer was mayor and worked very diligently to represent Gilroy’s interests at VTA meetings, his enormous hours of effort provided little payoff.

The reason is that VTA’s governing structure is inherently undemocratic. It provides San Jose, and in particular the mayor of San Jose, with too much power. Until VTA is restructured through state legislation to give every city a vote on the VTA board, it will continue to stifle reasoned discussion and fail to uphold the best interests of the public.

BayRail Alliance has examined these structural failures and has put forth a proposal for reforming VTA. You can view our white paper at http://bayrailalliance.org/vta_proposal.pdf

Sen. Joe Simitian has expressed interest in sponsoring legislation to reform VTA. Early this year he actually put in some initial language to do it, but let it die when it was apparent that there was not yet enough of a broad community consensus for reform.

The composition of the VTA board has changed in the last year. The VTA PAC also started to assert itself but has weakened due to lack of a quorum. Gilroy reps need to embrace their responsibility to put up a fight; it is easier to do so at VTA now than during the time when Tom Springer had the misfortune of being the rep.

Meanwhile, voters should contact Supervisor Don Gage and ask him to oppose putting another tax for VTA on the ballot. If the measure makes it onto the ballot, vote NO. We can do better than BART, without a new tax.

Margaret Okuzumi,

Executive Director, BayRail Alliance

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