AC Transit officials are seriously considering raising fares, despite assuring East Bay voters last fall that if they chose to tax themselves then fares wouldn't go up. The resulting parcel tax that voters approved is costing East Bay homeowners nearly $15 million a year. AC Transit officials say they now need to break their promise and raise fares because of the steep recession and a projected $52 million deficit. The agency also plans to consider slashing bus service. But what's not on the table - and should be - are proposed cuts to AC Transit's bloated bureaucracy. At this point, the agency looks like it would prefer to stiff riders, many of them low income, than its well-paid staff.