BART removes only Black board member after dispute over location of residence

Lateefah Simon has been elected BART board president for 2020.  (BART )

BART officials announced Thursday that Lateefah Simon was removed from the agency's Board of Directors after a dispute over whether she lived in the district she represented.

According to BART, Simon's current residence sits outside the bounds of District 7, which includes parts of Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties, making her ineligible to represent the district on the Board of Directors.

Simon said in a statement to supporters that she moved from her previous residence last year due to threats her family received as a result of her support for police reform. 

She added that she had consulted with BART officials prior to moving and was "assured that the building is within District 7."

"I would not have moved my family to this residence otherwise," she said. "I am deeply disappointed about this situation."

Simon, the only Black member of the nine-member board, was first elected in 2016 and served as the board's president in 2020.

Board Director Janice Li, who represents part of San Francisco and is now the only person of color sitting on the board, called Simon's removal "a loss to this board" and argued that few cared more about the transit agency than her. 

"At every board meeting I've been in over these past few years, Director Simon has consistently spoken up for the most marginalized and has always brought the deepest compassion to educate this body and the public on issues that our communities and our riders face," Li said in a Twitter post.

BART officials said an interim board member will be chosen within 60 days to fill the District 7 vacancy. Voters in the district will eventually choose a permanent successor.