Carole Ward Allen

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Carole Ward Allen
Director of San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit, District 4
In office
December 8, 1998 – December 2, 2010
Preceded by Margaret Pryor
Succeeded by Robert Raburn
51st Oakland Port Commissioner
In office
Preceded by Christine Scotlan
Succeeded by Ada C. Cole
Member of California Commission on the Status of Women
In office
Governor Jerry Brown
George Deukmejian
Personal details
Nationality African American
Political party Democratic Party
Residence Oakland, California, U.S.
Education San Jose State University
(B.A., M.F.A.)
Nova Southeastern University (Ed.D.)
Occupation Consultant, Professor, Politician
Website CWA Partners, LLC

Carole Ward Allen is a politician, professor, political consultant, member of the Democratic Party and was an elected member of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District Board of Directors. Ward Allen represented District 4 on the BART board (Oakland, California and Alameda, California), where she served three terms from 1998 to 2010. At the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, Ward Allen led efforts to secure $4 billion in capital for system rehabilitation projects, the transit system’s transit oriented development of the Fruitvale Village, and seismic retrofit programs. On December 15, 2005, Ward Allen attained a major milestone as a leader in transportation when she was elected among her colleagues to serve as its president and Lynette Sweet as its vice president, which made BART the first major transportation agency to be led by two African-American women in American history.[1] In 2010, she had achieved her greatest accomplishment as a policymaker; having led the BART board and San Francisco Bay Area region through the process of approving the $484 million Oakland Airport Connector project,[2] and securing federal funds under President Barack Obama's administration.[3]

In 1987, Ward Allen was appointed to the Oakland Port Board of Commissioners by Oakland's 45th Mayor Lionel J. Wilson. In 1990, she made history after having been elected among her colleagues to serve as president; making her the first woman to do so and the longest African-American woman to achieve such stride with two terms to date.[4] During the late 1980s and early 1990s, she was often featured in Jet Magazine for making history in local politics as an African American woman. After having served six years in office, her tenure with the Port of Oakland ended in 1993. Before entering the transportation industry, Ward Allen was appointed to serve on the California Commission on the Status of Women by 34th Governor of California Jerry Brown in 1980 traveling biweekly to the State Capitol. In 1983, she was elected by her colleagues to serve as the commission's first African American president for a one-year term.[5] [6] Ward Allen served on the Governor's commission until 1985.


Ward Allen is a native and current resident of Oakland, graduating from Castlemont High School in 1960.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Fine Arts from San Jose State University, and a Doctor of Education in Higher Education from Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She also completed post-graduate studies at the Sorbonne, Paris; Fourah Bay College University, Sierra Leone; University of Ile-Ife, Nigeria; the University of Kumasi, Ghana; and University of Nairobi, Kenya.

She has served as Assistant Vice Chancellor and Director of Community Relations and Marketing for the Peralta Community College District.[7] Prior to this position, she was a College Administrator at Laney, managing the largest Retired Senior Volunteer Program in Northern California, and monitoring a federal budget of $500,000 including the Office of Community Services, as well as several special grants and programs. She also served as president of the Peralta Federation of Teachers Political Action Committee (PFT-PAC) for two years (2002–2004) where she fought to improve salaries, benefits and pensions of teachers as well as oversaw the Political Action Committee. The PFT-PAC endorse candidates seeking elective office(s) of the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees.

In March 2011, Dr. Ward Allen was inducted into the Alameda County Women's Hall of Fame in the category of Education.[8] She has taught over 100,000 students in the Bay Area according to The Oakland Post. In 2008, Laney College President Frank Chong recognized Ward Allen for her leadership with the President's Award of the College. Ward Allen has received multiple awards for her expertise in transportation including the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. Oakland/Bay Area Chapter's Pioneer Award at the 7th Annual Madam C.J. Walker Business and Community Recognition Awards Luncheon in 2005 as the Vice President of BART.[9]

As of 2017, she is a retired Professor at College of Alameda and Laney College in the Ethnic Studies Department and the CEO of CWA Partners, LLC, which is a transportation consulting firm.

California Commission on the Status of Women[edit]

In 1980, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Ward Allen to the California Commission on the Status of Women.[10] In 1983, she became its first African American president.[11] [12] Her mentors on the commission were Congresswomen Diane Watson and Maxine Waters while they were serving in the California State Legislature. She was motivated to follow in their footsteps in making public policy changes that would impact the quality of life for women. During her time as president on the commission, Ward Allen was invited to the White House by Ronald Reagan's daughter, Maureen Reagan, to speak at the U.S. Commission on the Status of Women Dinner Reception, which made headlines around the Bay Area. In addition, she was often asked to make speeches across the state to empower women and let them know that they had a voice in society and in policy-making. She worked on the state commission with women from diverse backgrounds including: Irene Hirano.

Landmark Women's Issues[edit]

Much of her policy-making consisted of advancing women in small businesses and enterprises, improving military wives' circumstances, fighting for women to return to their jobs after pregnancy, pushing practical workplace policies that allowed women to receive paid maternity leave (Maxine Waters introduced a bill while she was a member of the California State Legislature on this issue and Ward Allen worked closely with her during the early 1980s to advance women's rights),[13] and advocating for women to receive equal compensation for comparable worth. These pressing issues were paramount in the 1980s, Ward Allen felt compelled to work with the Governor of California and the state lawmakers to change laws that were unequal and unjust. It is important to note that she was a strong proponent of the Equal Rights Amendment, which the California State Legislature passed in 1879, before all states in the country. Later the ERA was passed by both houses in Congress in 1972, it did not receive ratification in 1982 due to failing to reach adoption by 38 state legislatures in the country as required under federal law to amend the U. S. Constitution.

Oakland Port Commission[edit]

In 1987, Ward Allen was appointed to the Oakland Port Board of Commissioners. She was appointed by Oakland's 45th Mayor Lionel J. Wilson and confirmed by the Oakland City Council. Ward Allen was responsible for transportation, businesses, financial and political strategies for the development of the maritimes facilities, Oakland International Airport, and commercial real estate holdings budget of $100 million, accounting for directly and indirectly more than 44,000 jobs.[14] [15] She served as Commission president for two years (1990–92), as the first woman and first African American woman to do so.[16] She was the second African American woman to be appointed to the commission and third female.[17] During her tenure on the Port of Oakland, she traveled to Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Spain, Ivory Coast, and Australia to speak with various officials with respect to port business. Ward Allen is also noted for helping Mayor Lionel J. Wilson bring Southwest Airlines to Oakland International Airport during the late 1980s for the very first time.

Amtrak to Oakland[edit]

In addition, Ward Allen along with her board members advocated and secured funds to bring Oakland - Jack London Square (Amtrak station) to Oakland in the early 1990s after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.[18] This was the first time in history Amtrak had come to Oakland. The site of the Amtrak station officially opened in 1995 and owned by the Port of Oakland. Ward Allen was involved in much of the contracting and legal work surrounding the Port of Oakland owning the facility where the Amtrak station was built when she headed the Port -1990-1992.

Jack London Square Development[edit]

Ward Allen was a critical proponent of the Jack London Square Development project during the late 1980s and early 1990s.[19] In 1989, when Ward Allen was Vice President of the Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners, the Port's office was relocated to Jack London Square and her name was engraved on the building. The Jack London Square was supposed to help retail and businesses bring revenue into Oakland as one of its attractive tourist areas.[20]

Oakland Aviation High School[edit]

Ward Allen was an advocate for the creation of Oakland Aviation High School, which was adopted by the Oakland Unified School District and Port of Oakland is a partner of the charter school.[21] While she was on the BART board, she remained committed to serving as an advocate of this charter school since her days on the Port Commission.

1998 and 2001 Oakland City Council Campaigns[edit]

Ward Allen was a District 6 Oakland City Council candidate in 1998[22] and in 2001,[23] both times making a strong showing, but unsuccessfully.[24] In 2001, Ward Allen lost to Moses Mayne by 129 votes in the special election[25] and in 1998 she challenged then-City Councilman Nate Miley.[26] [27] [28] She was believed to be the chief opponent to beat in both hotly contested races according to the Oakland Tribune and noted as "the best candidate" in The Oakland Post. Ward Allen ran a grassroots campaign knocking on doors block by block in District 6.

BART Board of Directors[edit]

Ward Allen was first elected by voters on November 3, 1998.[29] Ward Allen changed policies, procedures, operations, and reformed the BART Police with assistance from the California State Legislature and members of the general public under her watch.[30] In addition to her accomplishments, she hired the first woman to serve as general manager or CEO of the entire BART organization, Dorothy Dugger. She also enhanced transit oriented development policy-making for affordable housing and livable communities in the Fruitvale, Coliseum, and Lake Merritt districts, helping minority and women owned businesses stay afloat financially, and generating employment opportunities to her constituents.[31] Above all, she is recognized for her courageous and tenacious effort to become the champion and "Godmother" dubbed by BART Director James Fang, of the controversial Oakland Airport Connector project.[32] [33] [34] She has served as Vice-President in 2005 and President in 2006 of BART, managing a budget of $672 million for the transportation agency.

Oakland Airport Connector Project[edit]

During Ward Allen's tenure on the BART Board, she fought for the creation of contracting opportunities for small minorities and women owned businesses. Providing employment opportunities to Oakland and Alameda residents was extremely vital to her. That is partly why she collaborated with the local unions to facilitate the creation of job opportunities. The Oakland Airport Connector project has generated approximately 2,500 to 5,200 direct and indirect jobs.[35][36] Ward Allen has been active in many of BART’s historic measures such as its first Project Labor Agreement.[37] On October 20, 2010, BART Director Ward Allen had a ground breaking event on the project at the Oakland Coliseum Station and was joined by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Mayor Ron Dellums, Assemblywoman Sandre Swanson and Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid, Port of Oakland, local unions and ministers on its announcement to the public.[38] Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) presented Ward Allen with the Lifetime Achievement Award at its annual awards ceremony in 2011 for her dedication to public service in the transportation industry. The Oakland Airport Connector began operating November of 2014.

Historic California Legislation To Enforce Civilian Oversight[edit]

On July 15, 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the historic BART Accountability Act AB 1586 into California law, which Ward Allen advocated for and worked with Assemblyman Sandre Swanson to enforce civilian oversight of the BART Police Department.[39] Ward Allen thanked the governor, the community, the entire BART organization and Assemblyman Swanson for their hard work in getting AB 1586 bill implemented in the aftermath of the shooting of Oscar Grant.[40] The law also created the Office of the Independent Auditor at BART, which would investigate matters brought to the BART Board by the civilian oversight committee. In addition to changing California law, Ward Allen supported the family of Oscar Grant by being the only BART Director who attended the Oscar Grant trial on the nine member board in Los Angeles during the summer of 2010. Ward Allen was one of the keynote speakers at the inaugural vigil honoring the life of Oscar Grant and supporting his family, she apologized again on the behalf of BART for his tragic death.[41]

BART Police Department Review Committee[edit]

In 2009, the hiring of two independent organizations reviewed BART's policies and procedures in the process of overseeing the BART Police.[42] The two independent firms investigated the matters of BART Police Shooting of Oscar Grant and were charged with making recommendations to the board.[43] Ward Allen formulated and chaired BART's first Police Department Review Committee, and as a result, BART has made sweeping changes on many security measures, as well as corrected and implemented several policies and procedures.[44] BPD Review Committee has led to the retraining of all officers on use of force, diversity retraining and other issues. Ward Allen hired Kenton Rainey, the person selected to lead BART’s 296-member police force, to take command as Chief of Police.[45]

Small/Minority/Women-Owned Business and Bonding Committee[edit]

In 2009, Ward Allen formulated the BART's first Small/Minority/Women-Owned Business and Bonding Committee. The committee sought to address the critical problems that are preventing minority- and women-owned construction businesses from receiving adequate information in a timely fashion, making plan rooms available to low-income communities, expediting the response time of all allocations and qualifying for contracts. Ward Allen advocated that the BART Board should earmark a part of the capital budget to support disadvantaged business enterprises, resulting in BART injecting up to $45 million dollars between 2009 and 2014 into the local economy with much of that money going to minority- and women-owned businesses.[46]

Title VI[edit]

As Chairwoman of the Oakland Airport Connector Committee, she has solicited the input from diverse communities (such as non-English speaking and low-income), to ensure transparency and accountability at BART. She was the first BART Director to demand that signage and documentation was multi-lingual, she viewed as a requisite to serve her communities. Thus specifically served Oakland's Chinatown and Fruitvale districts that contained a predominant Asian and Latino population. Furthermore, she made sure there were live translators available for the first time in BART's history during community and townhall meetings.


Ward Allen's efforts toward cultivating a more eco-friendly and green environment for BART resulted in the largest BART bicycle station being created in the Fruitvale Village.[47] She has also been a strong advocate for citizens to utilize BART to diminish pollution in Alameda and Oakland inner cities as well as shop with a recyclable shopping bag. The "Bring Your Own Bag" initiative is essentially an effort to eradicating the excessive and careless use of plastic, and other sorts of shopping bags.[48] BART Board Directors including the City of Oakland representatives and Ward Allen, had joined together to promote a safer ecological environment by taking BART and a recyclable shopping bag when shopping.

Ward Allen served as the Chairperson of the following standing committees: Board’s Police Department Review Committee; Planning, Public Affairs, Access & Legislation Committee; and Oakland Airport ConnectorColiseum Station Development Liaison Committee. She also chaired the Fruitvale Policy Committee, Executive Management Committee; Small/Minority/Women-Owned Business & Bonding Committee; and was a member of the AC Transit Liaison Committee.


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  38. ^ "BART Breaks Ground on Oakland Airport Connector. Train-to-plane connection will be available to OAK travelers in 2014. - Oakland International Airport". 20 October 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2017. 
  39. ^ Reporter (July 16, 2010). "Governor signs bill into law authorizing citizen oversight of BART Police". Transportation Archives. 
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  41. ^ "Vigil honors Oscar Grant, BART slaying victim". 2010-01-02. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
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  43. ^ "Video Shows Second Officer Punching Grant". KTVU. January 23, 2009. 
  44. ^ Terry Collins (January 11, 2009). "Transit board gets another earful on Oakland death". Associated Press. Archived from the original on January 12, 2009. 
  45. ^ Linton Johnson (June 16, 2010). "BART's new Police Chief Kenton Rainey ushers in "era of change"". BART News Articles. 
  46. ^ "BART gives boost to minority- and women-owned businesses". Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). May 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  47. ^ "See a BART station, see a village". 28 September 2005. Retrieved 8 July 2017. 
  48. ^ BARTable (12 March 2010). "BYOB! Bring Your Own Bag!". Retrieved 8 July 2017 – via YouTube. 

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