Eulogy for Ezra Rapport

Ezra Rapport served with distinction as ABAG’s Executive Director from 2010 to 2016.

Mr. Rapport passed away on October 6, 2022 after a long illness. In its tribute ABAG noted that during his years at ABAG, Mr. Rapport “spearheaded development of the regional planning framework that culminated in the 2013 adoption of the original Plan Bay Area and oversaw the ABAG units working on energy efficiency, clean water supply, climate adaptation and disaster resilience, risk management, local finance, trail management, open space and economic development.”.

ABAG’s tribute to him put it well when they noted “…Mr. Rapport is remembered by friends as a determined iconoclast who was unafraid to ruffle bureaucratic feathers with his bold ideas and strongly held beliefs. His integrity, good heart and commitment to public service were unquestioned, even by those he sometimes rankled. Mr. Rapport is survived by his wife Andrea and their three children.”

Before joining the ABAG staff, Mr. Rapport had many productive years, in part as an assistant to former state Senate Pro Tempore Don Perata. During that time he helped create and organize the Bay Area’s regional ferry system.

After his retirement from ABAG in 2016 Ezra became a member and regular participant in BATWG meetings until his health no longer permitted it. During those meetings he was consistently a strong and steady presence. As one member put it, “I got to appreciate and respect his focus, vast knowledge and commitment to the betterment of the Bay Area”

Getting Smart About Energy

If a major oil and natural gas producing country decides to cut down on its fossil fuel consumption in the name of climate change, there are at least two ways of doing it. One way is by choking off the supply. Done that way makes fossil fuel and the products made from oil and natural gas less available and more costly. A better way to achieve the same objective would be to increase the taxes on gasoline and other fossil fuels. Not convinced?

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Yes on San Francisco Proposition L

This extension of the ½ cent SF transportation sales tax for 30 more years promises to continue making things better for Muni riders, improving safety and providing new ways of encouraging commuters and other travelers to enter and move about in San Francisco without having to haul two to three tons of steel, glass and plastic around with them everywhere they go. For this reason and with determination to help hold the MTA to its promises, BATWG urges a yes vote on Proposition L.

BART, an Agency in Dire Need of Oversight

On June 21, 2019, pursuant to State Senator Steve Glazer’s SB1488, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Harriet Richardson from among three candidates selected by the BART Board to be BART’s first Inspector General (IG). The job calls for the IG to oversee and report upon BART activities and expenditures. What BART apparently didn’t anticipate was that Ms. Richardson would actually attempt to do her job. But the cat was soon out of the bag.

On July 7, 2022 the Alameda County Grand Jury released scathing 8-page report on how BART was treating its State-appointed IG, detailing how BART’s management and Board of Directors have aggressively interfered with, resisted and undermined the work of the IG. Anyone whose watches how BART goes through money will well understands the need for an independent BART IG. So what’s next? Will things get better?

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Picking Up the Pace and Wasting Less

Need for State and Federal Oversight:

Much of the funding needed to develop infrastructure in the Bay Area comes from State and federal sources.

Pursuant to the passage of the Urban Mass Transportation Act in 1964, federal funds began to be directed to various local and regional transit improvement projects. To avoid the heavy-handed and physically taxing involvement of the federal government in thousands of local and regional projects, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO’s) were established across the country.

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Golden Gate Sleaze Awards


The Valley Link Project:  Who in their right mind would spend upwards of $3 billion to wind a second set of duplicative tracks through empty hills to make way for a second low ridership rail line?!

The East Dublin Parking Garage:  It would take 76 years to recover the investment.

SMART:  It currently costs SMART over $60 to provide a one-way ride on its system to a SMART rider, who pays back less of $4 of that amount at the farebox. The other $56 + is forked over by the hapless tax payers of Marin and Sonoma Counties.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s (VTA’s) BART Phase II Project:  Four miles of gold-plated subway whose price has rocketed from $4.7 billion to an astonishing $9.15 billion.

The Muni Central Subway Project:  Oversold and Overpriced. It is now four years late and saddled with a $353 million unpaid debt.

The Link 21 Study:  Planners have spent 35 months and $42 million providing what? No one seems to know.

END OF JUNE 2022 NEWSLETTER