Call your representatives

A few weeks ago I saw this article on TransForm’s blog. Senate Bill 1 and Assembly Bill 1 are state budget measures which are making their way through our legislatures right now. I agree that these bills are putting lots of money into freeway infrastructure that could be much better spent in other places, and even if the state is more willing to fund transit than in past years, the federal government has become a wildcard and we can’t count on their investment anymore.

I called Scott Wiener’s office to make my grievances known. During his time as my representative on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, he was one of the most pro-transit public officials, and was largely responsible for the Subway Master Plan and did a lot of advocacy work. A few days ago, he co-wrote an opinion piece for the Sacramento Bee with fellow state senator Ben Allen to call for more transit funding. Mr. Allen represents parts of western LA and some surrounding cities—an area which is currently trying to walk back decades of underinvestment in transit and fixation on cars. If any constituency knows the dangers of continued prioritization of motorists above all other modes of transportation, he’s certainly speaking for them. Our representatives are listening, and this is how they elevate our voices to the rest of the state government.

There has been an unprecedented level of public involvement in the democratic process lately, largely as a result of the actions of the Trump administration. People are calling their senators and congresspeople over many issues. It’s gotten to the point where I often get full mailboxes and busy signals! This is great, because it’s how we make our voices heard outside of elections and how we can get our elected officials to better represent our collective opinions. But we should also remember that this is useful at the state and local levels, as well. Transit in particular is an issue which all levels of government set policy around, and we can make a big difference by calling our state and city officials.

The state legislature provides a page to find your state senator and assemblymember here, and if you live in San Francisco, you can find your supervisor by searching for your address here and going to the “Supervisor District” section in the report. Get calling!