California: BART caught organizing and scripting “spontaneous” citizens demanding repression

BART spokesman Linton Johnson arranges "citizen demands" for political repression; says people have no rights when in transit system

BART spokesman in hot water for staging support

Justin Berton, Chronicle Staff Writer

Thursday, September 15, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO — The head of BART’s Board of Directors on Wednesday denounced an attempt by the transit agency’s chief spokesman to stock a news conference with riders critical of activists who have staged rush-hour protests in downtown San Francisco stations.

The spokesman, Linton Johnson, sent an e-mail to BART colleagues hours before a planned protest Aug. 11 in which he outlined a strategy to win over public opinion by showcasing “loyal riders” at a news conference. The riders were to say that protesters were putting their safety at risk.

Johnson planned for two sport utility vehicles to bring 10 to 15 riders to the news conference at the Powell Street Station in San Francisco, where they would read from scripts that the spokesman wrote. The scripted statement concluded, “We riders demand an immediate end to these illegal acts that make us late and put our lives at risk.” Continue reading