Watch BART Board Candidates Nick Josefowitz and James Fang Debate

The race is on for the BART Board of Directors seat representing District 8, which wraps around northern, western, and southern San Francisco. Twenty-four year incumbent James Fang faces a challenge in the November election from Nick Josefowitz, and the two debated for the first time at last week’s meeting of the Sunset Heights Association of Responsible People. The video of the debate above was provided by the Josefowitz campaign.

BART District 8 is shown in orange on the left. Image: BART
BART District 8 is shown in orange on the left. Image: BART

Josefowitz, a solar power tech entrepreneur and a London-raised newcomer to SF, could be a serious contender to defeat Fang, the BART Board’s longest-running member and the only elected Republican in SF.

Josefowitz’s attacks against Fang include the fact that he is a Republican, and his record on keeping BART escalators and elevators clean and running (or not). Josefowitz has also pointed to Fang’s role in the poorly managed labor negotiations last year that culminated with a strike. Fang defended his record: the BART extension to SFO, a doubling of BART’s ridership, and consistent budget surpluses since he joined the board in 1990.

Fang, a Sunset District native, is the president of the magazine Asian Week and former owner of the SF Examiner. He continues to push his vision for “BART to the beach,” an extension through the Richmond District under either Geary Boulevard or Fulton Street (see the 22:00 mark).

Josefowitz’s platform includes a push to develop BART station parking lots into housing (5:30 and 10:00). Fang insists that BART does have such plans at all stations except Orinda and Walnut Creek (7:20), but that many residents don’t want the development.

Check out the video to see Fang and Josefowitz discuss other topics, like crackdowns on people sitting in stations (8:30) and BART workers’ right to strike (12:00).

Fang has been endorsed by the Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents BART workers, whom Fang supported during last year’s strike. He also has been endorsed by Mayor Ed Lee, former Mayor Gavin Newsom, Representative Nancy Pelosi, Supervisor London Breed, BART Director John McPartland, and a roster of other veteran SF officials and community leaders. The SF Democratic County Central Committee voted “no endorsement” on the race (the DCCC can’t endorse Republicans), but Fang listed DCCC as an endorser.

Josefowitz’s endorsements include Supervisors Scott Wiener, Eric Mar, David Chiu, Katy Tang, and Mark Farrell, Livable City director and BART District 9 (eastern SF) representative Tom Radulovich, the SF Bicycle Coalition, former Mayor Art Agnos, the Sierra Club, and the SF Chronicle.

You can read more coverage of the race in the SF Bay Guardian, the SF Examiner, and BeyondChron. The election for BART District 8 seat will take place on November 4.

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