Craig Sundstrom 
Member since Dec 8, 2010


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Recent Comments

Re: “BART's Big Gift to Wealthy Corporations


Thank you for finally coming out and saying it: you don't like that BART is funded by fares; and since buying a train ride is ultimately like buying, say, a pack of gum, I'm assuming you don't like the actual consumer "funding" that purchase either, since the poor will pay proportionately more than the wealthy. Well, gee, yeah, they sure will...that's how market systems work. (At least that seems to be what your're saying, I admit that I'm somewhat putting words in your mouth).

With regard to capital funding - which was what most of your (self-designated) "experts" were discussing - there is sense in out-of-system funding: BART's very existence provides a positive externality, so it's logical to try to recapture the wealth to pay for what created it. (Although to the extent that BART>higher property values>higher property taxes it already does that, it's just that the mechanism for reimbursement is poor). It's a Public Good: agreed.

But actually riding BART (i.e. operating costs) it is very much a private good. I don't benefit if you or Pamela wish to ride from point A to B, nor do you benefit if I do so (other than my not clogging the highways by driving; but NOT creating a negative externality doesn't qualify as a public good). So fares are exactly the right way to fund operating costs. And unless the fares (plus other system-generated revenue like advertising) are greater than the operating costs, then the costs are already too high. Why should the Board or BART's hard-working riders allow them to go even higher.

Does that make sense ??

8 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Craig Sundstrom on 07/17/2013 at 7:08 PM

Re: “BART's Big Gift to Wealthy Corporations

And your point with regard to my points is what , exactly ?? BART is largely funded through fares, so unless you want fares to be based not on distance traveled but rather on peoples's income - maybe riders could bring their 1040's to the "hard working" station agent and have their tickets adjusted manually - the funding will always be "regressive"...just like every other purchase one makes.
And I know very well how Assessment districts work, thank you (you might recall we have quite a few of them in Oakland.) My point was that BART has no ability to simply impose them on people. To suggest otherwise is disingenuous.

9 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Craig Sundstrom on 07/17/2013 at 5:26 PM

Re: “BART's Big Gift to Wealthy Corporations

Beyond preposterous is right.
1)Although there is nothing wrong with the idea of an assessment district to fund capital improvements, BART certainly doesn't have any unilateral authority to do so (as evidenced by the statement "uphill fight to convince AGREE to pay taxes"). BART is stuck with the funding mechanisms from when it was created in 1962, and the (mostly minor) revisions since then; your complaint is a half century late.
2) As for " BART is funded almost entirely through regressive means": by your own figures 57% of revenue comes from fares, so if asking a poor person to pay the exactly the same as a wealthy person for exactly the same service qualifies as "regressive" then every transaction in the country would seem to be; that's how a market economy works, so you're two centuries late with that complaint.
3) Are BART workers overpaid?? Since BART only gets 57% of its revenue from fares - I think there's also an advertising revenue you omitted - anything beyond that is a subsidy; so in a sense BART pays "too much" for everything....(especially) including wages.

10 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Craig Sundstrom on 07/17/2013 at 12:41 PM

Re: “Streetcars Might Make a Comeback in Oakland

This article might be more useful if it didn't start with misinformation: streetcars stopped running in Oakland in November, 1948; what ran until 1958 were Key System transbay trains, which tranferred neither to ferries nor commuter rail, for the obvious reason that they WERE commuter rail.

Then again, minor historical gaffes are the least of the problems here... obvious silliness is. How silly can be summed up in one sentence: " opportunity to solidify Broadway as a corridor that’s a major destination for shopping and retail." ROFLMAO... you can't "solidify" what doesn't exist in the first place.

I can save everyone the several hundred thousand $$$ allocated to study this nonsense: the cost will be enormous, and the benefits will be zero (execpt to the usual analysts who profit from these fantasies) Of course it's not our money
-"lots of funding available through the Federal Transit Administration and the Department of Transportation, plus local Measure B funds" - so maybe we shouldn't really care more than people in, say, Omaha: they're paying for it too.

3 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Craig Sundstrom on 05/28/2013 at 12:38 PM

Re: “Tuesday Must Reads: Oakland Unions Denounce Quan’s Proposal; DeSaulnier Schedules Hearing on Bay Bridge Bolt Scandal

"The city is in better financial shape now because of the recovering economy"

A more accurate way of phrasing it would be to say "... is in less terrible financial shape...", but even that would be misleading because the long-term prospects are exactly the same: certain bankruptcy in a few years once retirement/medical benefits for a growing army of retirees overwhelm everything else in the budget...too bad all the Greens on Councils past didn't stretch their definition of "sustainability" to include finances.

Posted by Craig Sundstrom on 04/30/2013 at 11:05 AM

Re: “The Election Is Not Over in the East Bay: Many Contests Are Still Too Close to Call

Remarkable to note that the Trib's rec'd candiate for Dist 1 came in dead last (pulling a hefty <5%): I guess their endorsement is no longer a ticket to victory... OTOH, if Mr. Kalb and his Green buddies can somehow harness the power of Joe Knowland pirouetting in his grave, Oakland will have clean power for years.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Craig Sundstrom on 11/08/2012 at 10:59 AM

Re: “Death of Oakland's Retail Plan

"Without redevelopment, the city's plan for a major shopping district...may be history"; perhaps, but the same would most likely be true even WITH redevelopment. What this misty-eyed tribute to seeking retail El Dorado conveniently failed to mention was that, beginning in the mid-1960-s, the city spent more than 30 years - yes, a full third of a century - pursuing various plans similar to this one (first at City Center, then at the same "uptown" location that is now fodder for the Gray Lady's "to do" list)... that Oakland "failed to use redevelopment funds to build one or more major retail destinations in the city before redevelopment was eliminated" certainly wasn't for want of trying. Rather, it failed because neither developers nor potential anchors would commit to such schemes, or at least not without hefty subsidies that obliterated any gains from increased tax revenues. With potential anchors having since been eliminated thru consolidation, and with Oakland's image as an under-served but overly-dangerous place now augmented with a reputation as being frequently "occupied" by various malcontents - something the Express just can't seem to say enough good things about - the outlook is even bleaker...and no amount of access to bus routes or (even more laughably) bike lanes will change that.

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Craig Sundstrom on 02/18/2012 at 9:05 PM

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