By JR Valrey, The People’s Minister of Information
Last Thursday, BART Board Director Lateefa Simon was preparing for the BART Board of Directors meeting, when she was informed by BART officials that her new residence was a “stones throw” outside of her district line. This was after the legally blind BART Board Director, Lateefa Simon consulted senior BART officials about the address of her new residence, prior to moving her family from their former Richmond residence where they received multiple death threats, as well as urine on the porch.
Simon told the SF Chronicle that before she moved, senior BART officials whom she had been conversing with, had helped her to execute a conflict- of – interest memo, since her residence is a part of a transit-oriented development, on agency owned land. Simon also presented documentation as proof, according to the SF Chronicle story, on March 10, 2022.
The border to Simon’s district shared representation of MacArthur station with Board Director Robert Raburn, according to a map of BART’s district boundaries. Simon’s district included the station, while Raburn’s district covers the portion east of northbound State Route 24 that includes the station’s entrance plaza, parking garage and apartments built on BART property. Her removal was briefly mentioned at the beginning of last Thursday’s Board of Directors meeting.
“I can’t say much, but I can say that my legal team is at work, and I’m not finished serving, and I am going to fight to retain my seat. I owe the people of District 7 that. I am 300 feet away from the line,” said Lateefa Simon, after moving her family to a condo on 40th and Telegraph adjacent to the MacArthur Bart Station.
In light of Simon’s disability, her family’s move puts them in a safer environment with public transportation, right along the street.
She was elected in 2016 to BART Board of Directors, where her service was highlighted by her introduction of hiring community civilian ambassadors, to help with security, limiting the need for uniformed police. She was also extremely outspoken about re-opening the investigation of the murder of Oscar Grant at Fruitvale BART station on New Years morning of 2009, which is what prompted the death threats and harassment of Lateefa Simon and her family, at their prior residence.
In 2019, she was elected to BART Board President, and months later the pandemic hit. She sought out hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds, to help successfully save the local transit agency financially, who’s ridership had plummeted by 94%, in Spring of 2020.
“I am upset that one of our most powerful voices for equity and justice in the Bay Area has been silenced from her role where she has been guiding one of our most important regional transit agencies – especially as this was predicated on the advice/guidance of the agency’s staff,” said Oakland City Councilman and mayoral candidate Loren Taylor.
“This directly undermines the democratic process through which Director Simon was voted into office twice by residents of her district. It is even more damaging because she was the only Black board member, and one of only two people of color on the 9 member board.”
District 7 voters are planning to decide Simon’s permanent replacement in a forthcoming election. The Board of Directors has 60 days to appoint a replacement to fill the vacated seat in the interim. A legal battle is sure to ensue, so we will see what the winds blow in. Stay strong Lateefa Simon.