Letter of resignation from the Bay Area Public Transit Committee
February 28th, 2023
Senator Scott Wiener
1021 O St, Suite 8620
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Senator Wiener,
I hereby resign from the Senate Select Committee on Bay Area Public Transit, effective immediately. The failure of Bay Area leaders to hold BART financially accountable makes my participation in this transit support committee incompatible.
I recognize and support the pressing need for the state to invest in public transit agencies throughout the Bay Area given the financial uncertainty that looms over these systems. However, there is no guarantee that these agencies will spend taxpayer dollars sensibly without adequate oversight of their expenditures. I point to the recent alarming reports from BART’s Inspector General regarding BART’s financial mismanagement and brazen defiance of voter-mandated oversight.
In June 2022, an Alameda County Grand Jury found that BART’s leadership has repeatedly blocked the Inspector General’s authority and autonomy. Specifically, the Grand Jury found that BART’s board of directors and management engaged in a “pattern of obstruction” that has impeded the Inspector General’s ability to conduct independent oversight and “stymied OIG independence and the confidentiality of investigations.”
Just two months later, former State Auditor Elaine Howle, comparing the powers and responsibilities of the BART IG to other, similar offices, found that the BART office “lacked the authority and independence necessary to do its job according to the best practices recommended by national professional organizations that set standards in the accountability field.” She also asserted in a letter to Governor Newsom that “(e)nsuring the independence of the BART Inspector General is critical to the credibility and effectiveness of the office.”
As BART and other regional transit systems seek additional state funding to stave off upcoming fiscal problems, the Legislature must ensure that these systems spend public resources responsibly.
I wish you well with your important work.
Steven M. Glazer
Senator, 7th District