Tag: San Francisco

Maria Ayerdi Kaplan Salesforce Transit Center Speech

In Salesforce Transit Center San Francisco Story Maria Ayerdi Kaplan Fights For Respect

Maria Ayerdi Kaplan is the focus of a completely wrong effort that tries to keep the truth from the public.

In San Francisco, California stands the brand-new Salesforce Transit Center. It’s six-stories high, 1,500 feet long, and costs $2.2 billion. It replaced the historic, yet earthquake-damaged Transbay Transit Center and has taken almost 20 years to start and finish.

The only news you may know is about cracks found in two steel beams, or about the cost overruns. If you read about Salesforce Transit Center, you may find references to any number of events that happened before 2017, and not between 2017 and now. None of those attempts to fix the news are true.

But what’s true is this: a woman named Maria Ayerdi Kaplan was responsible for the conception, financing, and construction of what stands today.

There were both private and public officials that worked to stand in her way during the process toward building what is Salesforce Transit Center. Kaplan withstood those challenges, and retired from running the organization she created and helmed since 2008, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA), in 2016.

Now, Maria faces an attack that at times take on the appearance of racism and sexism, and from people who would seek to put their mistakes on her. That’s wrong. First, they worked for her, and so she trusted them to get the project done. Second, they have an expertise she lacks, which is why you hire anyone to do a thing to start with. Third, Maria left in July of 2016, the project wasn’t opened until August 12th of 2018.

With that, the focus has not been on what happened in the development of the Salesforce Transit Center from late 2016 to August 12th of 2018, and the over 10,000 people who walked on the pavement of Salesforce Park, but on inspections done in the past. There have been deliberate misrepresentations of the past, only to help make certain other people look good. The fact is, Maria Ayerdi Kaplan’s reputation has been wrongly attacked and the people who have done it owe her an apology.

San Francisco should first know about and second be proud of the work Maria Ayerdi Kaplan has done. That includes the organizations that were hired to work for her.

Maria Ayerdi Kaplan, SF Salesforce Transit Center Builder, Under Unfair Attack

San Francisco’s Salesforce Transit Center is undergoing a retrofit and it to reopen on Wednesday of this week. Fremont Street has already opened as of today.

Over at Oakland News Now is a retrospective on what now former Transbay Joint Powers Authority Founder and Executive Director Maria Ayerdi Kaplan had to do to get what is now called Salesforce Transit Center developed. In particular, we have a segment on security at the facility. That is here at this link: Maria Ayerdi Kaplan and Salesforce Transit Center Security.

In this update, it appears that Ms. Ayerdi Kaplan may have been the victim of some undermining on the part of contractors for the Transbay Project. She is made to be the target of a new lawsuit against the Transbay Joint Powers Authority. Read about it, here.

Stay tuned.

Maria Ayerdi Kaplan Salesforce Transit Center Speech

Maria Ayerdi Kaplan, Salesforce Transit Center Builder, Gave A Must-Hear Speech

Lost in all of the current talk about the woes of Salesforce Transit Center, is the fact that it’s the realization of the dreams and hard work of one person: Maria Ayerdi Kaplan.

There have been a lot of wrong or just plain mean media accounts written about her work, and all of them wrong. Maria Ayerdi was never responsible for cost overruns caused by the steel market. She also did the right thing in increasing the budget spend for security after September 11th. Maria Ayerdi Kaplan was rightly praised by the late San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

To understand just show special her work was, read and listen to the speech Maria Ayerdi gave at the Salesforce Transit Center grand opening.

Thank You Mayor Brown. Ladies and gentlemen. Leader Pelosi. Mayor Breed. Distinguished guests.

Good morning everyone! It is a pleasure to be here at the inauguration of the Salesforce Transit Center.

For nearly 20 years, I’ve been visualizing what the new Center would look like. Feeling it. Thinking about it. Having a lot of sleepless nights.

But I never experienced the joy that I feel today – that’s finally seen it in its full grandeur! It’s really a wonderful feeling and I’m very happy about it.

It’s also very humbling to have been a part of creating such a timeless landmark. And I’m honored to have worked alongside the thousands of men and women both in the public and private sectors across the entire United States, who contributed to this historic achievement.

Envision the millions of visitors who will pass through the NewsCenter, many will be young people with hopes and dreams. It’s these young people that I think about today and as I think about them I reflect on the little girl that I was when I came to this country as an immigrant.

Immigrants can achieve great things when given the opportunity. Mayor Willie Brown gave me that opportunity when I was entrusted to leave this project in 1998 and for that I will be eternally grateful.

I hope my contribution to the center will inspire young people to learn about the math and science behind the gleaming Penroze. To appreciate art and nature to marvel at the engineering and technology behind the structure and to want to make the world a better place and leave a lasting positive mark.

Most of all I hope these young people will learn what it takes to make their dreams come true to have faith in yourself to have faith in your vision. To have curiosity, passion, uncompromising integrity, decisive leadership, and above all: to have courage.

Speaking of leadership, I want to recognize and thank the people who have worked with me over the many years to make this dream a reality. Speaker Leader Pelosi was our angel investor: she was the person who believed from the very beginning that this project was worthwhile and that it was worth pursuing. She gave us the first seed funding of close to ten million dollars to get it off the ground.

And remember the surprise that had been studied and debated since at least 1967? It wasn’t until Mayor Willie Brown and leader Pelosi that we were able to get that first seed money to start the studies.

Then of course there was Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer, who were all by my side, as well throughout all those years.

Senator Burton deserves special thanks and recognition because he made this project possible by working to convince Caltrans to transfer the 19 acres of land that built this project and the surrounding neighborhood which of course now includes also the iconic Salesforce tower. We can all be grateful that he also helped us secure, with the help of Leader Pelosi, Senators Feinstein and Boxer, the $400 million to build the rail levels which will fulfill the mandate of the public to bring commuter and high-speed rail into the Salesforce Transit Center.

I want to acknowledge all of them.

There’s too many people to thank, but I thank all of you for all of your support.

In closing, when you visit the new center, give yourself some time to experience all it has to offer.

Reflect on the words circling the beautiful light column that’s in front of me. Walk through the terrazzo floor. Can you identify the cultures represented by the patterns found in the floor? Can you find the hidden key? Make your way to the rooftop park. Breathe in the lush plants that come from all over the world. Have fun observing the whimsical water fountain as it announces the arrival of the buses below. Stroll along the park’s pathway. Relax in the amphitheater. The possibilities are simply endless.

The dawn of a new transportation era has arrived, embracing, treasure our new jewel in the city. Protect it for the next generation and most importantly make it something special and memorable to you.

Thank you.