Received Presentation on Recommendations from Ad-Hoc Financial Stability Committee.
Chairperson Kennedy left her seat at 6:07 p.m.
Commented on the recommendations by the consultants.
Discussed the time-line for recommendations suggested.
Chairperson Kennedy returned to her seat at 6:08 p.m.
Discussed the need for new revenue sources.
Discussed the potential vote in November 2004 and the time-line associated with that.
Discussed the support of Statewide Legislative efforts to broaden the sales tax and reduce the threshold for broad-based local transportation measures.
Mentioned the Board of Directors support of the ACA 7, Dutra bill.
Discussed seeking to partner with other entities when seeking new revenue sources.
Discussed the recommended fare changes.
Discussed the adoption of a formal policy guiding fares.
Discussed streamlining the procedure for considering a fare change.
Discussed organizational and labor negations and restructuring issues.
Discussed capital asset management and reduced fleet levels.
Discussed the possibility of placing vehicles back in service if service requirements change in the future.
Discussed service reductions and adopted service standards.
Discussed the need to review with the Board of Directors the annual presentation on the nature and magnitude of VTA services.
Board Member Chavez took her seat at 6:16 p.m.
Discussed the capital programs cost allocation.
Board Member Beall left his seat at 6:19 p.m.
Discussed the desire to have all new capital programs have operating revenue sources identified.
Recognized the members and stakeholders of the Ad-Hoc Financial Stability Committee.
Mike Macarelli, Bus Driver for VTA, expressed concern over the proposed budget and suggested that Peter M. Cipolla, General Manager, and his team be removed from office.
Marilynn Smith, Chapter Chair for Service Employees International Union Local 715 at VTA, expressed concern over the proposed cuts to employee health care benefits noting that the cuts will not solve VTA�s current fiscal crisis. Ms. Smith suggested VTA raise more money for operations and presented to the Board of Directors the proceeds of $650 from a bake sale to help off-set the cost of health care benefits.
Tom Fink, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 265 and stakeholder on the Ad-Hoc Financial Stability Committee, thanked Ad-Hoc Financial Stability Committee; expressed concern over final recommendations from consultants; further stated that the organization is top-heavy; supported expanding sales tax base; expressed concern over saving existing system from a downward spiral that may soon reach the point of no return. Further stated there is opportunity to use future revenue from 2000 Measure A to bridge financial gap.
Alan Triplett, President of ATU Local 265, expressed concern over reduction of transit service; stated 21 percent service cut scheduled for October 2003 need not happen; stated expanding system without existing revenue for operations is a mistake; encouraged the Board of Directors to use 2000 Measure A funds to reduce pressure on current budget; recounted current practice of VTA using 2000 Measure A funds to repay debt costs for purchase of 70 low-floor light rail vehicles. Urged the Board to advance 2000 Measure A funds for operating approved light rail extensions; urged VTA to advance 2000 Measure A funds to cover paratransit costs.
Terri Visperas, driver with VTA, expressed concern over how current situation is taking away public transportation from public. Urged Board Members to not allow any more service cuts.
Board Member McHugh arrived at 6:35 p.m.
Michael P. Goiman, currently laid-off VTA employee, expressed concern over statement of Mr. Cipolla to cut nothing from his upper management level out of the budget. Urged Board Members to cut from Mr. Cipolla's Management team. Expressed concern over a new BART station in San Jose.
Chris Clark, retired from VTA, expressed concern over suggestion by management for employees to pay portion of medical benefits, expressed concern that members of VTA would not retire due to not being able to afford to pay for medical benefits, resulting in aging work force.
Alvin Weldin Reese, driver at VTA, expressed concern over proposal by management to sell or close the North Yards bus center. Suggested closure of River Oaks Facility and either sell or lease property for additional revenue.
Karen Grimes, SEIU Local 715, expressed concern over proposals put forth by management to deal with the current budget crisis and disagreed with proposal by management to force employees to pay for portion of their medical benefits.
Board Member Chavez left her seat at 6:35 p.m.
Cedric de LaBeaujardiere, interested citizen, presented a memo to Board of Directors from Mr. Stuart Cohen, of the Transportation and Land Use Coalition. Urged VTA to identify stop-gap sources of funding to prevent service cuts. Stated there would be approximately $68 million needed to stop service cuts. Identified some potential sources of revenue.
Rick Trujillo, President of Labor Council Latin America Advancement, expressed concern over proposed service cuts. Stated organization will hand out 5000 leaflets in Spanish resisting any service reductions. Stated his union members and all unions involved at VTA should unite and stick together to resist any such service cuts forcing management to find money in other areas.
Joseph Devito, ATU Local 265, driver from Chaboya Division, and shop steward, expressed concern over proposed service cuts to working class, expressed concern over Mayor of San Jose wanting to construct new City Hall and build BART system to City of San Jose providing no ridership on the system currently in use in Santa Clara County.
Lupe Madrano, interested citizen, expressed concern over proposed service cuts, expressed concern for the disabled community that will be affected by service cuts if implemented.
Miriam Broumas, transit operator for VTA, stated that the current state of the company is an embarrassment. Stated in Spanish - Shame on you to Mr. Cipolla. Expressed concern over budget reserves being depleted. Expressed concern over proposed service reductions. Further stated Board Members should prevent service reductions or risk being voted out of office.
Rosemarie Lang, interested citizen, expressed concern over proposal to change paratransit service from door-to-door to curb-to-curb service. Stated clients that are blind, visually impaired, Alzheimer�s patients, and elderly need door-to-door service. Expressed concern for 90-year old mother being dropped off at curb and not being able to make it inside the Senior Center. Suggested raising rates of regular transit service riders instead of raising rates on paratransit services.
Barbara Williams, Work-Site Organizer for SEIU Local 715, expressed concern over current economic situations. Stated SEIU Local 715 members need to be able to afford shelter and basic medical care. Stated that other unions will work with SEIU Local 715 to mobilize members to work with VTA to obtain new revenue sources.
Rose Deterding, interested citizen, expressed concern over issue of curb-to-curb service versus door-to-door service. Suggested call-in program where you request door-to-door if needed and if not you receive curb-to-curb service.
Cathy Bonilla, president of the disabled club at DeAnza College, expressed concern over the consideration of VTA to change from door-to-door service to curb-to-curb service. Urged Board Members to stop cutting bus service and challenged Mr. Cipolla to travel around Santa Clara County using bus service while sitting in a wheel chair for a one-month time period during all types of weather.
Shira Leeder, interested citizen, requested VTA keep door-to-door service and stated that being within a three-quarter mile radius of a bus stop near your house rule would make her ineligible for Outreach services. Asked Board Members to consider not taking door-to-door service away as disabled community worked so hard to obtain it.
Tony Marquez, SEIU Local 715 Member, requested Board Members to support using 2000 Measure A funds for operations at VTA. Requested Board Members stop allowing management to balance current budget crisis on backs of disabled, students, and especially employees by cutting their health benefits. Stated there are too many supervisory positions supervising too few personnel. Asked who supervisors would be leading if workers get laid-off in next round of service reductions.
Board Member Dando left her seat at 7:03 p.m.
Tom Starkey, Business Representative for County Employees Management Association Local 3, expressed concern over plan of management to shift considerable health care costs to members of his union. Stated that his union and other unions will help find ways to contain health care costs.
Dr. Steinke, Alzheimer�s treatment doctor, expressed concern over consideration of management to institute curb-to-curb service for Outreach. Stated there are thousands of disabled and seniors that depend on door-to-door service Outreach currently provides. Stated that the recovered income changing from door-to-door service to proposed curb-to-curb service will be gained by eliminating approximately 20,000 to 30,000 seniors that will no longer be able to use service after change is made to curb-to-curb. Stated VTA will incur a large amount of liability as a senior may be left at a curb some day and not realize what block they are on and get lost. Dr. Steinke stated a senior�s cognitive state can change from moment to moment. Urged Board Members not to consider curb-to-curb service and suggested instead that a neutral solution be established.
Chris Firestone, interested citizen, expressed concern over the lack of respect for people riding bus and light rail by management. Stated that the Board of Directors and management staff at VTA have been very irresponsible with money. Stated current plan of management counting on 2000 Measure A funds is flawed. Suggested cutting management instead of raising fares for senior and disabled categories.
Eugene Bradley, Santa Clara VTA Riders Union, expressed concern over financial stability plan of management to make riders pay more for less service. Expressed concern over recommended budget showing an increase in managers positions. Urged Board Members to use whatever means necessary to preserve county�s transit service.
Andrew Franco, VTA employee, stated there used to be pride in working for a government agency. Expressed concern over fact that current situation may leave him without a job. Asked management to keep in mind those that contribute to transit.
Board Member Chavez left her seat at 7:10 p.m.
Matt Paulin, VTA employee, expressed concern over planned service reductions. Stated service cuts will make him lose his job. Challenged Board Members to ride the buses and ask members of the public what they think about service. Urged the General Manager to ride buses and hear complaints of the members of the community.
Tammy Dhanota, SEIU Local 715, expressed concern over labor negotiations concerning health care benefits. Stated members realize a compromise is necessary and that the proposal by management is not reasonable. Stated it is believed management is using current financial crisis as an excuse to make members pay higher benefit costs. Reminded Board Members that SEIU Local 715 was mobilized to help elect many of the sitting Board Members and stated that members are prepared to use their voting power at future elections.
Craig Ferguson, coach operator, stood at the podium and said nothing making apparent his silence. Stated that the silence is what the service cuts will feel like to passengers when they are initiated. Stated that service cuts need to be fair and equitable from the top of organization to bottom.
Carlos A. Guevara, interested citizen, expressed concern over last round of service reductions resulting in a friend losing a job because he could no longer get to work and could not afford a car. Stated that he is here to represent those in the same situation that rely on the transit service for transportation.
Gordon, taxi cab driver, expressed concern over issues surrounding changing Outreach service from current door-to-door service to recommended curb-to-curb service. Stated switching service from door-to-door to curb-to-curb is ridiculous as workers providing transport service for Outreach are willing to get out and escort elderly and disabled to the door. Suggested contacting drivers providing service for Outreach and ask them how to save money in the program.
Terry Applegate, interested citizen, expressed concern over management�s decision to restrict paratransit. Stated Board Members made promises to not let eligibility requirements be modified. Stated Board Members voted unanimously to restrict eligibility and increase fares on paratransit. Stated Board Members are asking to restrict paratransit further including restricting service to three quarters of a mile from a bus stop, and replacing door-to-door service with curb-to-curb service. Stated Board is further slapping the members of the disabled community in the face by recommending that seniors and disabled pay $20 per month for a monthly pass. Stated that at the paratransit meeting this past week Mr. George Tacke, Manager of VTA Accessible Services, never mentioned proposed paratransit fare increases. Stated Mr. Tacke answered a disabled member of the community claiming the changes would prevent them from getting to work by saying they should contact a faith-based agency. Reminded Board of Directors that the mission of VTA is to provide safe, accessible, affordable transit. Stated that she believes that the recommendations concerning paratransit are a Title II violation by eliminating people that have no other options but to comply with the recommendations by management.
Ron Compton, VTA employee, expressed concern about building a system over a 30-year period for the public and now laying off workers. Stated $174 million is not a small mistake or a miscalculation.
Karen Grimes, VTA employee, expressed concern over proposed service reductions that may result in the loss of her job. Urged the Board Members to reconsider proposed service reductions and asked Board to consider cuts at the upper management level.
Barbara Serrano, Yellow Cab driver, expressed concern over issue of three-quarter mile rule for paratransit riders. Stated entire South County area will not have paratransit service if the rule is implemented where paratransit riders must be within a three quarter mile of an existing bus stop to receive paratransit services.
David Schonbrunn, TRANSDEF, stated that at the last Board Meeting he handed out a legal opinion from his legal staff that concluded that VTA Board of Directors has discretion to use 2000 Measure A to fund existing bus operations. Stated General Counsel of VTA has a differing opinion of that matter. Requested Board ask General Counsel to go to court and seek declaratory relief to get a statement from a local judge as to the meaning of 2000 Measure A in a severe economic recession. Stated that with that information available Board Members would be prepared to make judgments that are weighing at this time. Stated without the declaration from a local judge the Board will not be able to make a responsible judgment.
Zackary Cribari, interested citizen, asked if any of the Board Members use public transportation.
Brian Rose, interested citizen, stated that the changes recently implemented to the existing paratransit services have made the program worse for users. Stated turnover in drivers at Outreach is high due to drivers being bullied and treated unfairly.
Silvia Ramirez, VTA employee, expressed concern over proposed service reductions, job cuts, and lay-offs. Stated we need to keep our customer service agents to answer the phones when people call. Stated we need our riders, we need our drivers, we need our facility workers. Stated we need everyone at VTA except Peter M. Cipolla, General Manager and his administration.
Alvin Welton Reese, VTA employee, and member of ATU Local 265, stated that privatization is growing and VTA is shrinking. Suggested VTA start to privatize and lease out some of the work and job duties that take place at the River Oaks facility.
Angie Dixon, ATU Local 265 member, stated she listens to the customers and they have a lot to say. Stated customers prefer to talk to a human being and can�t figure out the automated system. Stated there are complaints coming in about no bus showing up for service. Stated she has to tell customers that there is no driver for that bus tonight or the bus broke down and there is no mechanic to fix it. Stated there has to be a way to keep the buses rolling. Stated that the citizens of this County need to get around to get to their jobs. Urged Board Members to use the money from 2000 Measure A to keep the buses rolling.
Robin Andersen, interested citizen, expressed concern over proposed increase in transit fares and the disabled on fixed incomes. Expressed concern over transit route service reductions and suggested cutting administrative personnel at the River Oaks facility and removing Peter M. Cipolla, the General Manager, from office. Suggested putting the money saved from closing River Oaks facility back into the current operating system.
Roberto Fuentas, interested citizen, expressed concern over proposed service reductions.
Walter Schinke, Gilroy Center for the Visually Impaired and the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center in San Jose and Gilroy, expressed concern over proposed change in Outreach Services from door-to-door to curb-to-curb. Agreed with a suggestion offered that caller should specify if they need door-to-door service or if they could use curb-to-curb service. Noted there are many seniors and disabled that cannot get up and down stairs.
Karl Wright, VTA employee, expressed concern over proposed budget on Page 116 to spend $23 million on the Cerone Division Bus Yard. Asked when you have a bus fleet of 200 buses which can operate out of one bus yard, what is the use in spending $23 million. Urged Board Members to take a good look at the Proposed Budget and find out where the money is being wasted.
Randy Tamez, Chairperson for VTA Committee for Transit Accessibility (CTA), expressed concern over proposed change in Outreach paratransit services from current door-to-door to a curb-to-curb service. Stated CTA unanimously did not support the change. Stated he analyzed the proposed change to determine where VTA would save money changing from current door-to-door service to the proposed curb-to-curb service. Stated VTA would save money on the 15-20 percent of the population that would no longer be able to use the Outreach service.
Melanie Lanstrom, interested citizen, expressed concern over the fact that she can use her bicycle to get around faster than the bus service in Santa Clara County due to all of the cuts made to the bus service. Stated bus fares are too expensive. Cautioned when management raises the cost of the fares to increase revenue, riders will stop using the system, which will result in a decrease in revenue. Urged management to decrease cost of fares to entice more riders to use the system.
Barbara Rhodes, VTA CTA member, Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Elderly and Disabled Advisory Committee member, expressed concern over proposal by management to eliminate door-to-door service with Outreach services and replace it with curb-to-curb service. Stated disabled and elderly community have tried to work with VTA, and have incurred such hardships as increased time on board, increased fares, and longer wait time for Outreach services. Stated she is willing to educate the community to work with management. Stated there are members of the elderly and disabled community that need assistance to and from the vehicle. Further stated in the Proposed Budget there is an item that says that VTA expects to save money on paratransit by eliminating 20 percent of the riders that would be able to use the service. Noted that making individuals ineligible for service is not the proper way to solve budgetary problems concerning paratransit services. Inquired about some of the personnel management issues and stated that she has five or six questions on that subject. Noted she would put questions in writing and send to Mr. Cipolla for response.