Hundreds of people packed the San Jose City Hall Rotunda recently to celebrate the $900 million grant agreement from the federal government for the BART extension to Silicon Valley.
Several notable elected leaders – congress members Zoe Lofgren and Mike Honda, Mayor Chuck Reed and VTA Board Chair Ken Yeager – spoke eloquently about this important success, and I applaud each of them for their roles in making the BART extension happen.
Yet as I looked out into the audience, I could not help but note that such a big success is carried on the shoulders of hundreds of quiet warriors whose part in championing BART should also be celebrated and commemorated:
* Former Mayor Ron Gonzales – for launching the effort and helping to lead the 2000 “measure a” campaign.
* Governor Gray Davis – for authorizing $640 million in state funds.
* City councilman Sam Liccardo – for volunteering on both the 2000 and 2008 campaigns.
* Silicon Valley Leadership Group staff – like Bena Chang, for 80 hour work weeks on the 2008 effort.
* Labor leader Cindy Chavez – for raising money both before, and after, the campaign was completed.
When BART rolls in to San Jose in 2016, enjoy the ride – but also remember that hundreds of hard-working community members came together to make it happen.