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Entries in BART (3)

Sunday
Jun302013

Potential BART Workers Strike Could Strand San Francisco Commuters

iStockphoto(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Nearly half a million commuters in the San Francisco Bay area could wind up beginning the work week stranded at the station if Bay Area Rapid Transit workers go on strike Sunday night.

Josie Mooney, a chief negotiator for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021, says there's a 95 percent chance her union, along with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1555, will go on strike after their contracts expire late Sunday. The two sides have been debating over issues involving wages, health and safety regulations and pension contributions.

The unions walked out on negotiations Saturday night. BART says they have a new proposal to give the union, but members need to come back to the table to receive it.

“We have a document, an offer, ready to make to them and we will deliver that. We will also review the document that they gave us and respond to it,” said BART spokesman Rick Rice.

Before they left, the Unions did say that the 400,000 BART riders should be prepared to find other modes of transportation to work come Monday morning. They gave commuters 72 hours warning of the potential strike. They were not required to give any warning by law.

The last time BART members decided to strike was 1997. That strike lasted six days.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug172011

BART Police Officers' Personal Info Posted by Hackers

A demonstrator wears a mask during a protest inside the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Civic Center station on August 15, 2011 in San Francisco. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The hacking group Anonymous claims to have struck again, finding and publishing the private information of 102 police officers who work for BART, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in the San Francisco area.

It was the hacking group's latest attempt to derail the transit system after a BART officer shot and killed a homeless man in early July. BART tried to quell subsequent customer protests by shutting down cellular service for underground San Francisco train stations.

"Leaked personal data, emails and passwords for 102 #BART police officers," said a post Wednesday on Twitter put up by "@YourAnonNews." The post included a link to a website listing home addresses and personal email accounts with their passwords.

BART management did not immediately respond to calls requesting confirmation that its employee database had been hacked.

BART has been mired in controversy since the July 3 shooting of Charles Blair Hill on a train platform. Officers said Hill came at them with a knife, but protesters said they were outraged after his death. Demonstrators stopped trains, organizing their efforts by smartphone and text messages, and said their First Amendment rights were violated when BART cut off cellular signals.

Anonymous, a shadowy and loosely organized group, says it has been an organizer of the protests. It claimed to have crashed a BART marketing website, and encouraged people to come to a downtown rally at BART stations late Monday. BART closed the stations in response, though it did not cut off cellphone transponders.

The Federal Communications Commission said it was investigating BART's right to cut off cellular service. The ACLU of Northern California held off on filing suit against BART but sent an angry letter to the FCC, calling BART the "first known government agency in the United States to block cell service in order to disrupt a political protest."  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug162011

BART Protests: Can City-Run Agencies Censor Your Cellphone Usage?

(SAN FRANCISCODavid Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images) -- San Francisco's BART -- the Bay Area Rapid Transit system -- has clashed with demonstrators again over a First Amendment issue: whether it can legally cut off cellphone service on subway platforms.

When protesters and hacking group Anonymous organized demonstrations by smartphone, urging people to gather at subway stops over the police shooting of a homeless man, BART responded by turning off cellular service to four underground San Francisco train stations.  The transit agency said the outage lasted for three hours and only affected subway platforms where paying customers got on and off trains.

Monday night, when demonstrators crowded around stations again, BART closed the stations but did not shut down cell transmissions. That was not the end of the issue, though. In an email to ABC News Tuesday, BART spokesman James K. Allison said, "This, however, does not preclude the future use of this tactic should it be deemed necessary to protect our customers from the potential of dangerous conditions."

Legal scholars said the transit system's decision to shut off cellular service raises tremendous First Amendment issues that may not be addressed adequately by existing laws -- a question of how cellphone service should be regarded. Is it a means of free speech, like a printing press or a bullhorn? Or, in a subway station, is it a convenience provided by BART -- a service it has a right to cut off?

The Federal Communications Commission said it was investigating BART's right to cut off cellular service. The ACLU of Northern California held off on filing suit against BART but sent an angry letter to the FCC, calling BART the "first known government agency in the United States to block cell service in order to disrupt a political protest."

"I think it's very dangerous territory," said Gene Policinski, executive director of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University. "The right to protest is as American as apple pie."

"At sporting events, it's not uncommon to limit the number of people allowed on a train platform," he said. "But in this case, do they meet the very high test of imminent danger in a specific area?"

In a statement Monday, BART management said, "BART accommodates expressive activities that are constitutionally protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Liberty of Speech Clause of the California Constitution (expressive activity), and has made available certain areas of its property for expressive activity." But it said there are limits.

"Paid areas of BART stations are reserved for ticketed passengers who are boarding, exiting or waiting for BART cars and trains, or for authorized BART personnel. No person shall conduct or participate in assemblies or demonstrations or engage in other expressive activities in the paid areas of BART stations, including BART cars and trains and BART station platforms."

A BART official, asking not to be quoted by name, said the shutoff was intentionally limited, and someone with an urgent call to make could simply walk up to street level.

But there was disagreement within BART itself. By cutting off demonstrators' ability to send a text message starting a protest, did it violate the rights of bystanders who might be using their cellphones simply to call family or friends?

"I'm just shocked that they didn't think about the implications of this," said Lynette Sweet, who serves on BART's board of directors. "We really don't have the right to be this type of censor. In my opinion, we've let the actions of a few people affect everybody. And that's not fair."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio