Column: Ex Sen. Kopp a no-show to BART SFO party
- Published Saturday, June 28, 2003, in the Redwood City Independent
Nobody asked me, but ...
By Jerry Fuchs
Nobody is more important to the success of BART into the airport
than Superior Court Judge Quentin Kopp, who as state senator placed
Proposition I on the San Francisco Ballot when the city supervisors
failed to help fund the project.
Prop. I, which was passed by the citizens of San Francisco
overwhelmingly, required the city government to put BART into the
airport -- no ifs, ands or buts.
It was Kopp's early vision to push the measure and he, almost single-
handedly, fought to put BART into the airport against the wishes of
the then San Francisco International Airport CEO, Lou Turpen. Turpen
was so angry with Kopp that he rescinded the state senator's parking
pass at the airport and actually had him ticketed.
Those were the good old days when politics in the county were played
for keeps with no fooling around. Kopp eventually triumphed over
Turpen, who fled north to the peaceful environs of Toronto, where he
heads that city's airport.
That's why it was a shock to note that Judge Kopp was absent during
the Friday evening black-tie event at the BART opening in San
Co-chairs James Fang of San Francisco and Dan Richards of Contra
Costa counties, who serve on the BART board, really turned out a
spectacular affair with every piece running like clockwork.
Kopp refused the invitation to attend because he said it was totally
inappropriate to hold a lavish black-tie event to celebrate the
opening of BART to the airport when BART was raising fares. When he
told this to Richards, the reply was that the event was put on by
Friends of BART and had nothing to do with the transit system.
Supervisor Mike Nevin gave a toast to the opening of BART and sat at
the head table with San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, SF Airport CEO
John Martin and BART director James Fang.
Also in attendance for hard-to-obtain tickets were state Sen. Jackie
Speier; SamTrans Chair and Daly City Councilmember Mike Guingona;
board members Mary Janney, Burlingame councilmember; Art Lloyd;
Shirley Harris; CEO Mike Scanlon; attorney Dave Miller; former
SamTrans CEO Jerry Haugh; and supervisors Jerry Hill and Mark
Church. Daly City Councilmember Adrienne Tissier was one of the few
city officials unrelated to transportation invited.
Seen at the dinner were Controller Tom Huening and San Bruno Mayor
Larry Franzella. South San Francisco Mayor Pedro Gonzales was turned
away at the door.
Three invitations went to the Millbrae council, but when BART was
called. Mayor Linda Larson and two councilmembers were then
uninvited by officials at BART.
Shirley Harris, longtime member of SamTrans, was upset because
SamTrans commissioners were not introduced during the festivities.
Mike Scanlon, CEO of SamTrans, was miffed because his dinner table
was at the rear of the hall.
The evening was a "class event," for those who came, thanks to co-
chairs Fang and Richards and to the committee who put the event
together with money contributed by contractors who built the BART-to-
Jerry Fuchs, the publisher of the Independent Newspaper Group, has
been in the newspaper industry for 46 years, beginning in New
Jersey. In 1980, he founded Fuchs Publications, which included the
Hillsborough-Burlingame Boutique & Villager, the Millbrae Sun, the
San Mateo Weekly, the Foster City Progress and the San Carlos-
Belmont Enquirer-Bulletin. Contact him via e-mail at
jfuchs@... or by fax at 650-692-7587.