San Francisco BART's Day of Shame

Today we learned that San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit has joined Iran, Syria and Egypt in the hall of shame of governments that have used communications censorship to impede civilian protest.

In SF, two major public officials, Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting and State Sen. Leland Yee, both mayoral candidates, spoke out against BART's telecommunications blackout, as did BART Director Lynette Sweet. I tried to call the BART Board and would have liked to leave messages for each member. However, the one listed number and each number that one rolls to have no ability to take a weekend voicemail, and the one live person it rolled to in operations transferred me back into the loop. Additionally, only two of the nine BART board members have listed individual email addresses on their public web pages.

Here is my letter:

BART Directors -

My name is Adriel Hampton. I have been a regular BART rider since 1999, using the system from several times per week to several times per day for the past 12 years. ... we bought our first home based primarily on its proximity to the station. I have always been a huge supporter of the system.

Until today.

Today we learned from press reports and your official press statements that on Thursday agents of BART ordered and carried out a shutdown of cell communications in several stations in order to impede a protest. This cannot and must not stand. I don't need to lecture you on the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. I am asking you to immediately suspend all management officials in the police and other BART divisions responsible for this heinous act and to initiate an investigation to terminate all responsible management employees.

I also want to say how regretful it is that only a handful of your members have listed individual email addresses, and that your publicly listed phone number on the BART board web pages has no voicemail, nor do you appear to have individual voicemail numbers.

I want to thank directors Franklin and Raburn for listing direct email addresses, and Director Sweet for making immediate public statements questioning the actions by BART management today.

Additionally, here is Ting's statement, which includes the three valid contact email addresses, and here is Yee's statement, which says he will call on the FCC to investigate BART's actions.

For my part, if there are not suspensions in the BART management ranks by end of business on Monday, I will join in any coordinated efforts to unseat complicit BART Board members.

  • BART Board email addresses - boardofdirectors@bart.gov; bobfranklinbart@aol.com; robertraburn@covad.net
  • Phone - (510) 464-6095
  • Fax - (510) 464-6011

(I do not believe disrupting the ridership of BART is an appropriate response here; I will be taking the bus instead of BART depending on Monday's Board response.)

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