Monday, 28 June 2004

T Riders Union, Rider Oversight Committee join opposition to MBTA searches

The following message was sent to several public mailing lists. Since I haven’t been able to find in anywhere on the Web, I’m reposting it in full (with the author’s permission):

From: “Khalida Smalls” [Executive Director of the T Riders Union , a project of the Alliance for Community and the Environment (ACE)]
Subject: TRU Update - T security issue!
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2004 18:24:00 -0400

TRU Update- T security issue (my apologies to anyone getting this more than once!)

We had the Rider Oversight Committee meeting (Monday [June 21]) and it was very interesting to hear from [MBTA General Managaer Michael] Mulhern that he doesn’t even want any public input on this new security policy and does not intent to discuss anything with community folks!. Well, the MBTA has not finished their new Security Policy yet, but they plan on implementing it on July 1st! Last night [June 21], the T Riders’ Oversight Committee passed a resolution that requires the MBTA to hold a public meeting on the new resolution before implementation. This will be a true test of the new Oversight Committee’s power. If the MBTA chooses to ignore our request, we have the power to hold a special meeting. In the mean time, the T Riders Union is holding a special, emergency meeting on the new Security Policy next on Monday, June 28th, at 5:30 pm discuss the Riders Union’s position and action plan. PLEASE JOIN US! Details are below.

Additional questions answered were: 1) if you refuse to be “checked” you will be asked to leave the system; 2) It will be T police enforcing this policy not just any T employee.

Unfortunately, Mike got a little annoyed with us “asking so many hypothetical questions” about the policy and the implementation and procedures around it. Hence the reason why we want our own damn meeting!

It would be great if some lawyer folks can come and share the info they have been researching.

If you can’t make this meeting (especially TRU members!) please chime in via email or call us (617) 442-3343 ×21. WE NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU. We will also need help to pull off whatever actions come out of the mtg.

Announcement below please forward…

Action Alert

Emergency meeting on MBTA security!
Monday, June 28th, from: 5:30-7:30pm
ACE/T Riders Union office
2181 Washington Street, Roxbury
(Next to Payless Shoes, Dudley Square)
Childcare & Light refreshments will be provided

We must discuss the T’s proposal to create a new security policy
that would require “security checks” (of bags and possibly IDs)
for riders using the system. Do we take action on this issue?
Join us to learn more and develop OUR position.

(617) 442-3343 (or 3435)

There are also more details of the latest MBTA statements about the search policy in the Boston Globe . More and more letters to the editor in the Globe as well as Boston-area bloggers are also speaking out against the stops and searches of transit passengers. And a week-long informational campaign by the National Lawyers Guild kicked off with a news conference this morning at which NLG national president (mid-identified in the Associated Press story as the president of the Mass. chapter) and Suffolk University law professor Michael Avery, speaking along with representatives of the American Friends Service Committee and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee , said that, “Public transportation is a community resource that should be available to everybody without requiring people to sacrifice their constitutional rights in order to use it.”

Link | Posted by Edward on Monday, 28 June 2004, 07:33 ( 7:33 AM)

Hey, are you attending this meeting?
Sadly, I don't think I can get there in time.
I've got one important question, though what are they searching the bags for.
The airport has instructions of which items not to bring onboard, but I haven't seen anything like that for the T. Will my pocketknife be grounds for booting me out of the station? My husband's corkscrew? So far, all they've said is "only small bags" and "they may be searched" but that honestly doesn't do anything to make trains more secure.

Posted by: Lis, 28 June 2004, 13:57 ( 1:57 PM)
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