Former Hancock Campaign Aide to Replace Kaplan on AC Transit Board

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday February 26, 2009 - 10:22:00 PM

A divided AC Transit Board chose Oakland corporate attorney and former State Senator Loni Hancock's campaign field organizer Joel B. Young this week to fill the vacancy left when At-Large Board Member Rebecca Kaplan left for the Oakland City Council. 

It took two rounds of voting for the board to make its decision, first deadlocking 3-3 on a motion to choose Obama Transition Team member and former Google executive Elizabeth Echols of Oakland. The board then voted 4-2 to select Young. 

Not selected was the woman who won the most votes when the board winnowed down the original 17 candidates earlier this month, former Vallejo Superintendent of Transportation Pamela Belchamber, a Berkeley resident. 

Belchamber had received six votes to Echols' five and Young's four in that initial round of voting, but had been the subject of some email traffic by public transportation advocates in the intervening week questioning her credentials. 

Young, who said in his application letter that a "significant amount" of his life had been spent riding public transit and that his father was a 19-year San Francisco Muni bus driver, will serve until December of 2010. Voters in the two-county AC Transit area will vote in November 2010 for the full four-year term of the at-large seat that Young now occupies.