BART board official’s embarrassing gaffe

BART Board Director John McPartland represents the Tri-Valley and Castro Valley. PHOTO/BART

John McPartland, the BART board director who once received a concealed weapons permit to protect himself from upset constituents, metaphorically shot himself in the foot after offering cringe-worthy comments to an attorney, who is female. The exchange occurred as the BART Board of Directors was presented with a report for a proposed ban on panhandling at its stations.

McPartland, who represents the Tri-Valley, Castro Valley, and a portion of Hayward on the BART board, apparently believed he was giving a compliment to the African American woman who testified on the panhandling item. “Very articulate,” he said of the speaker.

“If you are a law student, then you’re doing great. If you are not, you should consider it,” McPartland said.

When somebody notified McPartland that the speaker had previously described herself as a staff attorney for the ACLU, he replied, “She’s already a lawyer? Oh, okay.” McPartland paused and added, with embarrassment, “Doing great.”

The sequence of events was first reported on Twitter by San Francisco transit activist Chris Arvin.

Below is public comments by the ACLU lawyer Abre’ Conner.

Conner later made light of McPartland’s comments on Twitter. “Guess I took the right path though,” she quipped about the board director’s career guidance.

Meanwhile, the controversial proposal to ban panhandling at BART stations appears stalled. Oakland BART Board Director Rebecca Saltzman wrote on Twitter shortly after the meeting that her colleagues comments suggest a majority of the board does not support moving forward with the proposal.

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