Three candidates are in the running for the BART District 5 open seat – Mike Wallace, Steven Dunbar and incumbent John McPartland. District 5 covers Castro Valley, Cherryland, Dublin, Fairview, Hayward, Livermore, Pleasanton and Sunol.
Candidates are listed alphabetically. Their statements have been edited for length.
“As a member of our community who has relied on public transit for years, I’m passionate about improving it for everyone,” Dunbar notes on his website. “Since 2017, I’ve worked independently with our local governments to integrate and improve transportation in our community, and I want to continue that work by bringing my experience and commitment to BART’s Board of Directors.”
According to Dunbar, better transit means shorter commutes, more time with our families, cleaner air and greater opportunity for everyone.
“I’m a transportation advocate and engineering professional committed to improving the way we move,” said Dunbar. “I care about our community, the people that create it, and the infrastructure that supports it. My passion is creating transit systems that are effective, environmentally friendly, and equitable for all.”
Professionally, Dunbar is a systems engineer in transit vehicle manufacturing, creating transit buses used throughout the U.S. He is also a board member with Bike East Bay, working directly with city staff and local communities throughout the district to improve safety for all modes of travel.
“For years, I have lived my beliefs. I’ve biked and used BART to get to work, and I’ve spent the last three years working with our local governments to improve our transit systems,” he said. “But that’s only taken me so far. Too many of us are still spending our lives in traffic, because it’s our only option. We need to relieve this strain on our families, our communities, and our environment. We need focused and dedicated leadership who can face the many challenges ahead of us, and who can be candid about the tradeoffs involved, too. I know that I have the experience, expertise, and dedication to do just that, and I’d love to be your representative on BART's Board of Directors.”
With his policy platform, Dunbar believes we can make BART more open and accessible to the public, bolster its safety and long-term sustainability, and create a better experience for everyone who uses it.
He plans to accomplish this by expanding open communication, improving accessibility for all, solidifying sustainability, enhancing public safety and creating a better BART experience.
McPartland is seeking reelection to his fourth term on the BART Board of Directors in the 2020 election. Since 2008, he has served as the BART director for District 5.
“If reelected, my top priorities will be to protect the public from COVID-19 and provide a safe environment as we rebuild ridership,” said McPartland. “I also want to provide discounts for disadvantaged people so everyone can ride, and I want to stop the fare evaders out there. Finally, I support extending real transportation with Valley Link to Livermore and into Tracey.”
Before running for public office and joining the board, McPartland was engaged as a BART safety specialist for six years, where he worked as a liaison, and facilitated major emergency response training for all municipal public safety agencies and BART staff throughout the BART four county service area.
McPartland came to BART with a strong background in emergency management and leadership after a career with the Oakland Fire Department, where he retired as a chief. In addition to his emergency response duties in Oakland, John was assigned to Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Hazardous Materials (HazMat) and the FEMA-sponsored Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces (USAR T/F).
He also brings to his role an extensive military background. Before retiring as an Army colonel and combat veteran, he experienced more than 30 years of active and reserve service to the nation in command and staff positions in airborne, infantry, artillery and transportation units. His stations included multiple locations across the U.S., Europe and Southeast Asia. While serving in the reserves, he was mobilized to active duty for special operations during Operation Desert Storm and the Northridge Earthquake, and for a deployment to Korea. His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and many more.
He earned a BA from St. Mary’s in Moraga, CA (thesis: disaster planning), a master’s in public administration from Cal State East Bay in Hayward; and a graduate degree from the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s Executive Leadership Program at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He also holds numerous military and professional qualifications in leadership, management and emergency operations.
McPartland will continue working to improve BART safety and service by enhancing the BART Police Force, continuing oversight, refining surveillance measures, controlling fare evaders, opening two new stations in Phase 1 of the Santa Clara County BART extension in early 2020 (Milpitas and Berryessa) and changing out the BART Legacy Fleet with the new Fleet of the Future.
Wallace wishes to represent the taxpayers and BART transit riders so they will have “an informed and energetic voice in the decisions affecting each of us.”
He pledges to competently consider the transit needs of all constituents of the entire BART system.
“BART riders and taxpayers deserve a safe, clean and affordable transit experience,” states Wallace on his website. “BART riders do not deserve to be accosted while using the BART transit system. (They) must expect a clean and safe environment while in BART trains and facilities.”
Wallace’s career includes working as an analyst in the finance department for the Zone 7 Water Agency in Livermore for the last 10 years. Previously, he worked for the Alameda County Employees Retirement Association in downtown Oakland, where he first entered paid public service.
“I also currently serve as treasurer for the 1,300-member strong Alameda County Management Employees Association (ACMEA),” he added. “Before joining Alameda County, my experience included the leadership positions of general manager for a start-up service company, vice president of a start-up software company and western regional manager for a multinational corporation.”
Wallace has lived in Alameda County his entire life and traveled throughout the world. He grew up in San Leandro, where he attended Marina High School. His college work culminated in a management and economics degrees from California State University, Hayward.
“My home is Castro Valley, the town where my wife of 30 years and I raised two engaging, independent and now-married daughters, and I have now worked in Livermore for over 10 years,” he said. “Throughout my life, I have sought to help those around us achieve a positive sense of self and growth. I have coached youth sports, including basketball, baseball, swimming and soccer. In addition, I have served as president of a more than 120-member sports team and as treasurer for a school PTA.”
Wallace also created and operated a place for at-risk younger adults to play basketball for 12 years. This program in Hayward attracted over a thousand people and served a very diverse group of men and women from throughout the Bay Area.
He concluded, “Next, I would love to represent you as the District 5 Director for BART, and that could begin when you vote for Mike Wallace on Nov. 3, 2020.”