Joel Keller to Challenge Mary Nejedly Piepho?

Silly season is upon us as the latest rumor that is beginning to have legs is that Bay Area Rapid Transit Director Joel Keller is taking a serious look at challenging Contra Costa Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho in District 3.

According to Lisa Vorderbrueggen 12/22/2011 piece, Keller apparently says people are asking him to run.

“There is interest in the community in having new ideas on the board about how to do business as we reduce the size of county government and still ensure that people in the county are safe and can rely on law enforcement,” he (Keller) said.

Simply put, with nearly three decades serving in public office, there is nothing new he could bring to the table. He speaks of shrinking the size of county government, yet he hypocritically serves on the BART Board where its employees have bloated salaries, outrageous pensions, high fares to travelers, and offers a poor service.

I am actually quite offended by Keller’s statement (I am sure he chose his words wisely)  because what he is apparently preaching needs to be done for the County is the opposite that he done while in office for BART. If he can’t shrink the size of BART, then there is no reason to believe he could do this on a much larger scale with the County as he would deal with many more unions.

To be blunt, I don’t want anyone who is associated with any BART leadership position leading anything in Contra Costa County—especially a Supervisor position. The County does not need leadership from someone who has been with BART since 1994 while having accomplished very little.

More to the point, Keller is a former Antioch Mayor and should know Antioch taxpayers have been paying into the system for 30 years for services they still do not have. His record as mayor and councilmember speak volumes—he helped transform Antioch into what it is today which is not something to be proud of.

YouTube search his reaction to the BART cell services shutdown—its six minutes of rambling rather than substance. I don’t want a rambler trying to lead the County; I want someone with backbone and a proven record.

If this is the best people can do to put someone up against Piepho then why bother? It’s almost like the approach being taken is “anyone but Piepho” which is counterproductive in itself.

It’s rather silly that someone who has no shot at winning is being urged to run because of a few people stroking his ego claiming he can win. The truth is, someone would have needed to announce long ago to begin fundraising, gathering endorsements, while creating a campaign strategy.

At this point in time, I am actually more curious about who is trying to talk him into running rather than whether or not he enters a race because he has no shot at winning—not with a BART background.  I would encourage Mr. Keller to look into the backgrounds of those encouraging his run before making any decision.

No one enters a race to lose, that ends political careers which this pretty much would do to Mr. Keller.

Below is a perfect example of why BART is so horribly run, Keller’s Bio has not been updated since 2009 which I have posted below which provides more information into Keller’s background.

Joel Keller joined the BART Board when voters elected him in November 1994.  He was sworn into office on December 14, 1994.  His colleagues on the BART Board of Directors chose him to serve as President in 2002 and 2005, and Vice President in 1998, 2001 and 2004.  Director Keller represents the 2nd BART District, which includes Antioch, Bay Point, Bethel Island, Brentwood, Byron, Clyde, Crockett, Discover Bay, Hercules, Knightsen, Martinez, Oakley, Pinole, Pittsburg, Port Costa, Rodeo and portions of El Sobrante, Pacheco and Pleasant Hill.

Director Keller serves as Chairperson of BART’s Engineering and Operations Committee and is a member of the Board’s District Security Advocacy Ad Hoc, eBART Policy Advisory, West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory (WCCTAC) and Pleasant Hill BART Station Leasing Authority committees.  He also is a member of the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority Board.

Keller retired as a Probation Manager for Contra Costa County in 2003 and as a Chief Deputy Probation Officer for Solano County in 2008.  Voters also elected him to be the Mayor for the City of Antioch in 1984 and re-elected in 1988 and 1992.  Keller served as a member of the City of Antioch’s City Council and as Commissioner of the Delta Protection Commission; and as Chair of both the Contra Costa Transportation Authority Board and Contra Costa Mayor’s Conference.  His public service includes serving as Board member of the following entities: Association of Bay Area Governments, Delta Diablo Sanitation District, Tri-Delta Transit, Highway 4 By-Pass Authority, and Transplan.

Keller was the founding Chair of Delta 2000, an East county group that works to bring together non-profit organizations and empower community-based organizations.  He has been the President of the Contra Costa County Leadership Board of the United Way and a Board member of the United Way of the Bay Area.

Keller holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley, from which he graduated in 1971, and has completed 40 hours of graduate studies in Public Administration from California State University, Hayward.

Director Keller lives with his wife, Laraine, in Brentwood. 

Media & Public Affairs
Updated June 4, 2009

Lisa Vorderbrugen Column

BART Profile:


About burkforoakley

I call it like I see it . I love my city, I love my community and I want what is best for the people around me. Do the right thing, I will support you. Do the wrong thing, I will oppose you!
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