Palmdale Pol Wants to Take One of L.A.’s Metro Board Slots

Assemblyman Steve DeKnight (R-Palmdale) has introduced legislation that would strip one of Los Angeles’ seats on the Metro Board and instead have it rotate annually between the cities of Lancaster, Palmdale and Santa Clarita.  Currently, the Mayor of Los Angeles appoints three members to the Metro Board to represent the city in addition to himself.  DeKnight claims that this change is needed because:

Adding a member from northern Los Angeles County
to the MTA Board would improve our County’s ability to develop a
regional transit plan.

Hmmm, I guess DeKnight doesn’t think much of Supervisor Michael Antonovich’s ability to represent the needs of their shared constituents.

At first I didn’t report on this story because I thought the bill had no chance to advance, but tomorrow the Los Angeles City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution opposing DeKnight’s bill.  Curiously, the Council resolution is being voted on by the full Council even though it hasn’t gone to committee yet.

Here’s a thought.  If it’s so important for the city to have four representatives to the Board, then why doesn’t Mayor Villaraigosa get around to appointing a City Councilman to fill the seat vacated by Bernard Parks?  Parks resigned from the Metro Board almost two months ago, yet his seat remains vacant.

  • Every few years we have another one of these bills introduced amid chest beating by folks claiming they aren’t getting their fair share of seats. It should be noted besides Antonovich Glendale City Councilmember Ara Najarian sits on the Metro Board and represents the quadrant that includes the north county; this is one of the 4 seats allocated by the L.A. County City Selection Committee.

    I suspect this is empty parochial pandering and like past bills will stall. The L.A. City Council likely is acting post haste to dispatch their lobby team to squelch it PDQ.

    The real imbalance on the Metro Board is having all 5 County Supervisors sit on it. And dont hold your breathe over that one being addressed.

  • Here are a few inconvenient facts about the real imbalance on the Metro Board of Directors.

    Based on a 13-member Board, the unincorporated areas (which are what the Supervisors should legitimately be representing, as they have no other voice on the Board) are entitled to one seat of their own based on 11% of the population.

    The City of Los Angeles, with about 40% of the county population, should actually have FIVE seats, not four.

    The City of Long Beach, being by far the highest population city otherwise, has only enough residents to warrant one-sixth of a seat, if it were trying to have one of its own.

    The Antelope and Santa Clarita Valleys do not, in an objective view of population, have enough residents combined to even match Long Beach.

    They certainly don’t have enough to justify taking a seat away from the City of Los Angeles.

  • Is there anything sacred about the number 13?

    What about having 15 seats and including a North County representative and a designated seat for Long Beach?

    A total theoretical question here:

    – What about having an elected Los Angeles Metro, elected from 15 single-member districts of equal population?

    – Are there any examples of elected transit authorities and how did they work?

  • Mr. Wentzle—first, Sacramento is an odd place and since any change to the Metro Board would require state legislation the process to do anything would be long, drawn out and likely end up stalled. This is about the 3rd or 4th such bill since Metro was formed, and none got very far.

    The trouble is larger Boards get unwieldy. Equity and fair share depends on where you are sitting and how you measure it. Ventura and Riverside Counties have huge numbers of folks on their Transportation Commissions to assuage the cries of every city etc. that they need their voice heard. And with the resulting cacophony can you see that being much of use?

    The three elected transit authorities I am aware of are the Boards of AC Transit (Alameda-Contra Costa counties in the Bay Area), BART and RTD (Denver). They have often been very political and/or dysfunctional. One BART Board member was indicted a while ago for corruption. And the one BART member with actual engineering and transit knowledge got beat by an up and coming politico. I would support have an elected metro Board, but have no illusions about that being a panacea.

  • Kym, the supervisors are elected by EVERYBODY in the County, not just the unincorporated areas. As such, they look for, or should be looking out for, interests Countywide. If there was a special “unincorporated area” seat I would be all for it, but there isn’t one.

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