June Meeting is all about Transportation

by Carla Hansen

The June Club meeting will feature two speakers, Janet Abelson, Mayor Pro Tem of El Cerrito and Rebecca Saltzman, BART Board Director District 3.

Mayor Pro Tem Abelson will address the club about the importance of Transit-Oriented Developments to the effectiveness of transit (pedestrians, busses and light rail), a study about using smart phones to reduce the number of cars on the road by setting up ride sharing and Measure J-funded programs and projects in West Contra Costa County.

Bart Board Director Saltzman will address the Club about potential BART extensions, maintenance of BART trains required to ensure a “state of good repair”, BART cooperation with AC Transit to increase connectivity and State and Federal legislation effecting BART.

Here’s a little more about our June speakers:

Janet Abelson is the current Mayor Pro Tem of El Cerrito. She is the current Chair of both the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) and the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee (WCCTAC). She also represents AD15 as an elected member of the Democratic State Central Committee.

She has also held volunteer leadership roles at a number of agencies including the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, BART, and AC Transit.She has received the California Transportation Foundation “Tranny” Award for her advocacy on behalf of the Bay Area Disabled Community. She is particularly interested in the connection between transportation, land use and the environment. She successfully travels all over the country using public transit and does not possess a driver’s license.

Abelson, the mother of five, has played a volunteer leadership role in education for over thirty years and has received PTA’s Honorary Service Award. As a member of CCTA, she fought for the successful inclusive of the low-income student bus pass program now available in West County through Measure J.

Abelson has an MBA in Management. She is now retired as a systems analyst from UC Berkeley. She met her husband at Berkeley while both were volunteering at a table kicked off campus during the Free Speech Movement. Needless to say, she firmly believes in free speech.

Rebecca Saltzman was elected to the BART Board in November 2012. Director Saltzman represents District 3, which includes parts of Albany, Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro, unincorporated Alameda County, El Cerrito, Lafayette, and unincorporated Contra Costa County as well as all of Piedmont, Moraga, and Orinda.

Before she was elected, Director Saltzman spent years as a public transit and policy advocate, coalition builder, grassroots organizer, and manager with local, state, and national issue-based organizations. In addition to her service on the BART Board, Saltzman also works as the Government Affairs Manager for the
California League of Conservation Voters, the non-partisan political action arm of California’s environmental movement. In that role, she coordinates Green California, a network of over 90 environmental, public health, and social justice organizations that work together to influence the state legislature and other regulatory bodies to make decisions that protect our air, water, and environment.

Saltzman served as Vice-Chair of the Oakland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee from 2011-2013, where she advised the City of Oakland on pedestrian and bicycle policy and infrastructure. In 2011, Saltzman received the League of Women Voters of Oakland’s Making Democracy Work Award in recognition of her work
and commitment to increasing citizen engagement in local government.

Saltzman graduated with a BA in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Oakland with her wife Caitlin, and relies on BART, buses, and walking to get around.