The San Mateo County Transit District has lowered the flags at all its facilities to half-staff in memory and honor of Omar Ahmad, the mayor of San Carlos and a member of the transit district's board of directors and the vice chair of the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, who died Tuesday morning.
Officials with the two transit boards on which Ahmad served issued the following statements:
Caltrain Board president Sean Elsbernd said, "This is a kick in the stomach, a loss that cannot be fully described. He was everything anyone could want in a human being, a public servant, and a friend. He had a good sense of humor. He was absolutely dedicated to public transit and his dedication was matched by his commitment. He also had something you don't see often – an ability and a willingness, an eagerness, really, to look ahead, to see what the future could hold and to plan and prepare for that future. He loved working on the problems of today, but he loved even more thinking about the possibilities tomorrow could bring. I will miss him dearly."
SamTrans Board President Karyl Matsumoto said, "We are all devastated by Omar's passing. He was kind and funny, warm and genuine and he believed in the work he was doing on behalf of the public. Omar was not afraid to ask the tough questions or make difficult decisions. He was committed to the people who ride our buses and use our paratransit service. He has left a lasting impact on all of us personally, and on the people of San Mateo County. He loved his work, he was passionate and he had a terrific sense of humor. We treasure the all-too-short time we had with him. He will be sorely missed — farewell Omar."
SamTrans general manager/CEO and Caltrain executive director Michael J. Scanlon said, "He made things better — by his courage, by his vision, by his creativity, and, perhaps most especially, by his sense of humor and fun. He was deeply supportive of the men and women who work in the public arena and respectful of the work they do and the working people he served have lost a true champion. Now and for decades to come, those of us who were fortunate to know him, who worked with him, who joined him in his battles, who were touched by his humanity, will say with pride that Omar Ahmad was our friend and this statement will be a credit to us all."
Ahmad was appointed to the SamTrans Board to represent southern San Mateo County in January 2010. The board and its committees determine overall policy for the district, which operates SamTrans bus service.
Ahmad was appointed to the Caltrain Board to represent the San Mateo County Transit District. The board, which owns and operates Caltrain, consists of representatives from San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.