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Editorial: Dufty for D9 BART board seat

by BAR Editorial Board

BART Director Bevan Dufty. Photo: Steven Underhill
BART Director Bevan Dufty. Photo: Steven Underhill  

Bevan Dufty is exactly the type of public official BART needs: a "nuts and bolts" director, as he described himself in his Bay Area Reporter candidate questionnaire. First elected four years ago, Dufty, a gay man, has served as board president and been a key part of the progressive bloc of directors working to implement programs designed to be compassionate toward homeless people and increase safety for riders. Those include elevator attendants in the busy San Francisco stations, and ambassadors who steer unhoused people into services. Soon after he was elected, he went down to the 16th and Mission BART station and, along with San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen, picked up a broom and regularly cleaned it until the agency improved services.

Dufty, a former San Francisco supervisor, is seeking reelection this November and we enthusiastically endorse him. His 25 years of government experience has provided him the tools to get the most out of the regional transit agency for train operators, station and maintenance staff, and passengers. Perhaps most importantly, BART, which was vilified for the 2009 killing of Oscar Grant by a former BART police officer, has reformed the agency's police department. He and Lateefah Simon, the current board president, and out directors Rebecca Saltzman and Janice Li, are leading the agency's efforts to redesign public safety and redirecting funds into more proactive approaches to reduce negative interactions with BART police.

The transit agency has been hit hard by COVID-19; daily ridership has plummeted, resulting in ballooning budget deficits. BART has unveiled a 15-point Welcome Back plan for passengers, and this week announced the addition of more trains during peak commute hours as ridership levels slowly return. Dufty also strongly supports BART's housing development projects on its properties in Oakland and Berkeley, which requires 30% affordable housing on its land.

Overall, Dufty is the smart choice for the District 9 BART seat.

Also up for reelection this year are Saltzman and Simon. Saltzman, representing District 3, won't appear on the ballot because she's unopposed. Simon, a straight ally, has continued many of the progressive policies that are beginning to transform BART. She should also be reelected in District 7.

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