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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Is BART Spokesman Linton Johnson in Trouble?

Posted By on Thu, Sep 15, 2011 at 8:40 AM

click to enlarge This is no joking matter
  • This is no joking matter

One of the many demands Anonymous made in exchange for ending the weekly BART protests was that the transit agency fire its chief spokesman, Linton Johnson. And while the group might have succeeded in making him a target, it's had no luck in ousting him.

BART board members admit they aren't keen with the way Johnson, who has been out on leave for a month, has handled the ongoing BART protests -- including scripting passengers to offset the negative criticisms of the transit agency --- but they aren't planning to fire him.

His boss, BART external affairs chief Jennifer Barton, told the Bay Citizen that despite his mounting errors, Johnson will still be employed by BART come Monday when he returns.

Although she didn't say what job he might have.

"He has a job here when he comes back," she said. "We'll be working on where we're going with that."

Hmmm. Does that mean he could be disciplined? BART board members aren't saying one way or another, but they are rather forthcoming with their disappointment in Johnson's recent PR faux pas.

For starters, Johnson put BART in a bind when he told protesters that their freedom of speech would stop at the fare gates. He then reportedly arranged for pro-BART riders to attend BART protests, going as far as to

write them a script and pick up the tab for private

cars to shuttle them around.

"I think it's inappropriate and unnecessary," Bob Franklin, BART's board president told the Bay Citizen. "I've spoken to our general manager and we're not going to do this again, we're not going to transport people or script responses."

Because that might fly in the face of freedom of speech.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert has been Online News Editor for SF Weekly since 2010. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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