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UPDATE: BART Officials Reverse Course, Announce Lateefah Simon Will Stay on Board of Directors

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- BART officials on Wednesday announced that Lateefah Simon -- the sole Black member of the BART Board of Directors who was removed earlier this month -- will continue to serve on the transit agency's board.

BART had previously announced that Simon was being removed from the agency's Board of Directors after a dispute over whether she lived in District 7, the area she represented.

BART had said that 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.

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

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."

A statement issued by BART Board President Rebecca Saltzman and BART General Manager Bob Powers said the Board "and BART staff are working to address the unfortunate chain of events surrounding BART District 7 and the impact to Lateefah Simon, who has been a champion for BART and our riders."

The statement said the board sought outside legal counsel with expertise in election law to ensure the proper steps were followed.

"Based on counsel's opinion, Lateefah Simon will continue to serve on the BART Board, as the BART Board of Directors have not made a determination that a vacancy exists in District 7," the statement read.

The statement went on to note that "BART staff alone are not independently empowered to declare a vacancy in District 7. Formal action by the majority of the Board or an order by a court in a special judicial proceeding, known as a quo warranto action, is required to declare a vacancy."

Officials said Simon will resume her position on the board while the matter is handled by outside legal experts and said she was elected based on "her leadership, advocacy, and proven ability to advance equity at BART."

"This has been a very difficult situation, especially for Director Simon who moved her family for safety reasons and to live steps away from the transit system she relies on for transportation and that she proudly represents," the statement concluded. "We want to express our deepest apologies to Lateefah and all stakeholders for how this has played out. BART will continue to work with outside legal counsel through any next steps and we are committed to transparency throughout the process."

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