Victoria Fierce, co-founder of East Bay for Everyone and director of operations for the California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund, is running for the AC Transit Board of Directors at-large seat.
Fierce, who was also elected to the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee in Assembly District 18 this year, is a community organizer who focuses on changing how housing is regulated and built in California. She officially launched her campaign in July.
“The other half of this housing problem is transportation, and that’s why I’m running,” Fierce said. “The atmosphere collapsed recently when the sky was blood red and there were wildfires out here. A big part of that is our carbon consumption and carbon emissions, and the way to reduce that as a society is to get more people to use public transit.”
According to Fierce, AC Transit may have to cut service up to 20%. This can result in a “death spiral” of people not wanting to ride transit because of poor service, leading to an influx of cars that clogs up the roads and makes public transportation even worse, said Fierce.
Fierce added that the Bay Area should invest more into community bike-share and scooter-share systems instead of relying on private companies. As an example, she referenced Key System, the original, privately owned network that became AC Transit.
“When the Key System went bankrupt, the people of California didn’t just give up. We formed AC Transit. We socialized this private service.” Fierce said. “I don’t see why we can’t do that with bike-share. I don’t see why we can’t do that with scooter-share.”
Another of Fierce’s platforms is to tax ride-share services like Uber and Lyft in order to get cars off the streets. Fierce advocated “no” on Proposition 22, the Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Act. The proposition would restrict local regulations on app-based drivers. According to Fierce, voting “no” would place ride-share companies on equal footing with AC Transit when it comes to paying employees a living wage.
Fierce also supports voting “yes” on Prop. 15, the California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act, which would tax commercial and industrial properties and generate funding for AC Transit, according to Fierce.
The at-large seat covers the entire inner East Bay, so Fierce says she has a broad base of support both demographically and geographically. She has received the endorsement of Berkeley City Councilmember Rashi Kesarwani and California Assembly District 20 Assemblymember Bill Quirk, along with organizations including East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club and East Bay Young Democrats.
Fierce also called for the creation of a crisis communication plan and discussed the need to make AC Transit a more transparent and open organization.
“We should be thinking more beyond the bus, and that’s what I wanna do,” Fierce said. “That’s the thing I’m running to change, is to make AC transit a leader of public communication.”