District 7 BART Board of Directors member Lateefah Simon was asked to leave her position due to discrepancies about her home residence.
According to Simon, she had moved in the interest of her family after receiving “multiple threats” due to her police reform activism. Simon added that she only made this move because she had confirmed that her new residence would be within District 7.
“Before moving, I informed top BART officials and sought their input, and was assured that the building is within District 7. I would not have moved my family otherwise,” Simon said in an email.
A board member since 2016, Simon has a history of activism and public service. Throughout her time on the BART Board of Directors, Simon noted that she has done work to increase justice, accessibility and equity within the transit system.
While BART declined to provide an interview to The Daily Californian, BART General Manager Robert Powers released a statement on its website claiming that Simon’s seat vacancy is “horribly unfortunate” and apologized for any misleading advice that may have been given. This sentiment has been echoed by other city officials.
“Director Simon has been such a powerful & effective voice on the BART Board, and I’m so grateful for her service representing Berkeley,” said City Councilmember Rigel Robinson in an email. “This outcome feels incredibly unfair, both to Director Simon and to the voters who democratically elected her.”
Going forward, Simon said in an emailed statement that she will support whoever fills her position in order to make the transition more seamless.
The seat for District 7 is currently vacant and is expected to be filled by an interim within 60 days, according to an announcement posted on the BART website March 10.
“It has been an honor to work with my colleagues on the BART board, and to fight for transit justice, accessibility and equity,” Simon said in the email. “I am confident that the Board will appoint someone who can represent District 7 well.”