When it was revealed earlier this month that a majority of BART train surveillance cameras are decoys, we all did a bit of a collective face-palm. BART officials, for their part, seemed shamed by the lack of security footage of the fatal January 9 shooting that occurred aboard a crowded train and announced their intention to replace the fakes with real cameras (at some point). Well, we now learn that the actual likely reason BART officials are publicly scurrying to install working cameras is that they fear this entire incident may jeopardize the public's willingness to approve a planned $3 billion bond measure to fund the agency.
The thought being that if the public views BART negatively, it will be less likely to vote in favor of additional funding. In other words, it's all about the money.
“It’s damage control,” state Senator Steve Glazer (of Orinda) told the Chronicle. “They have to convince the public that everything is going well when they go to the ballot.”
Senator Glazer is not the only who thinks this is more about money than anything else, as one BART insider who wished to remain anonymous told the paper that officials within the agency "are really freaking out” that the decoy camera scandal has tanked public confidence in BART and thus could result in the transportation bond failing.
BART was awarded a $3.8 million Homeland Security grant in 2010 to install live-streaming cameras on trains, however the Chron helpfully informs us that "[much] of the equipment is still boxed up in storage, though."
In the meantime, BART spokesperson Alicia Trost wants you to rest assued that the agency puts your safety first.
“BART has committed to install a working camera system on each and every train car as quickly as possible," Trost said in a statement last week. "Staff is already working on funding options, a procurement plan, and deployment strategy. Our riders and employees' safety is BART's top priority."
Don't you feel so much better?