25-year-old wins seat on BART board

In a surprising turn of events, District 7 BART Director Lynette Sweet was voted out of office and will be replaced by 25-year-old Zakhary Mallett, a recent UC Berkeley graduate.

Mallett, who recently received his master’s degree in urban planning, said he was the only candidate running for District 7 with training in transportation.

Sweet, who has been a board member since 2003, oversaw District 7 which includes a small eastern part of San Francisco along with parts of Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Results showed Sweet won among most San Francisco residents while East Bay voters primarily voted for Mallett.

Mallett is pushing to extend BART along the I-80 corridor in order to connect places like San Pablo, Pinole, and Hercules and hopes it will ultimately decrease highway traffic.

While Mallett is popular among contractors, Sweet was not. Several BART contractors funded tens of thousands of dollars in attack ads against her. Sweet says she had pushed for women- and minority-owned businesses so they can “compete alongside the big guys for BART contracts.”

Mallett told the Ex:

“She [Sweet] regularly overstepped her boundaries, in terms of the subcontractor provisions and the bidding processes. I think I received support because I made it clear I wouldn’t engage in that kind of cronyism.”

BART is one of only several transit agencies in the country to have an elected board of directors. If you don’t know how BART elections work, don’t worry, neither do the people being elected. Incumbent Tom Radulovich told SF Examiner:

“I still really don’t know how BART elections work. Sometimes I think the person who works the hardest gets elected. Sometimes I just think it’s completely random.”