Lateefah Simon retains seat on BART board amid residency dispute – SFBay

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Lateefah Simon will be allowed to keep her seat on the BART board of directors, agency officials announced Wednesday, after she was briefly removed from her position due to a dispute over whether she lives in the district that ‘it represents.

In a joint statement, BART board chairwoman Rebecca Saltzman and general manager Bob Powers said they consulted with an attorney outside of the transit agency after Simon was removed from his duties. functions at the beginning of the month.

According to Saltzman and Powers, a vacancy can only be declared by a majority vote of the BART Board of Directors or by court order, while BART staff members do not have the legal authority to declare a seat vacant. , as they did with the Simon Seat representing parts of San Francisco, Contra Costa, and Alameda Counties.

As a result, Simon will be allowed to retain his seat on the board while the dispute over his residency is resolved by “outside legal experts,” Saltzman and Powers said.

Simon said in a statement:

“Above all, with deep honor, I thank the voters, community members, workers and riders of BART who have spoken so powerfully and who deserve to be represented. …I will continue to do what I have always done – fight for transit justice, accessibility and fairness for people.

Saltzman and Powers were contrite in their statement, calling the dispute “a very difficult situation, especially for manager Simon.”

They said:

“We want to express our deepest apologies to Lateefah and all stakeholders for how this has unfolded. BART will continue to work with outside legal counsel on all next steps and we are committed to transparency throughout the process.

BART officials announced on March 10 that Simon would be removed from his position because, according to the agency, she did not live in the district she represented.

In a March 10 statement to her supporters, Simon said she moved from a previous residence last year after her family received threats over her support for police reform.

Simon also argued that she consulted with BART officials prior to the move and was “assured the building is in District 7.”

Many of Simon’s other administrators and politicians in the Bay Area have decried BART’s decision to strip Simon of his seat, arguing that his current residence is just yards from the boundary of his district, which bisects the MacArthur BART station and is adjacent to the neighborhood pictured. by director Robert Raburn.

Simon’s supporters have also argued that few are more qualified to serve on BART’s board of directors, as she relies primarily on the public transit system as she is legally blind and cannot drive.

In a Twitter post earlier this month, San Francisco Mayor London Breed said:

“Lateefah has been a tireless leader for those who have no alternative to transportation other than our BART system or public transit. She delivered on fairness, fairness and reforms that put people first.

Simon was first elected to the board in 2016 and served as chair of the board in 2020. She is the only black member of the nine-member board.

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