Every year on July 1, the Chairmanship of the Metro Board of Directors changes hands. This year, Glendale City Councilman, and former Mayor, Ara Najarian takes the helm. While outgoing Chair Villaraigosa is rightly proud of his steering of the Board during the Metro debate, he often seemed bored at meetings and liked to skip "open comment" and just show up to vote.
Najarian’s ascension could be good news for bicycle and pedestrian advocates. Recently, the City of Glendale has forged a partnership with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition to make Glendale streets more safe for everyone and Coalition staff has nothing but good things to say of the Councilman. Also, Najarian is one of the few Metro Board members to take time out for events such as "Bike to Work" week kickoffs .
Regionally, Najarian isn’t one to make waves; but recently he did earn headlines for his opposition to the I-710 Tunnel Project . As a matter of fact, a search of the Streetsblog  archives only reveals three stories that mention him by name.
With Najarian officially in the Chairman’s seat, it will be interesting to see what, if any, changes occur at the policy level or in the way Board meetings are run. If anyone has any more information on Najarian or wants to give the new Board Chair some advice, feel free to use the comments section as a forum. Since it wasn’t available online at the moment of publication, you can find Metro’s press release after the jump.
GLENDALE CITY COUNCILMAN ARA NAJARIAN
NEW CHAIR OF THE LOS ANGELES
Glendale City Councilman Ara Najarian takes over as chairman
of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Board
of Directors effective today, July 1. He replaces outgoing Board Chairman, Los
Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
“As the new Board Chair, I look forward to
providing the leadership necessary to enhance transportation options throughout
the region,” said Najarian. “This next year will be both
challenging and rewarding as we move the agency through difficult financial
times while at the same time, begin implementing transportation improvement
projects voted by the public with the passage of Measure R, the half-cent sales
Najarian was elected to the Glendale City Council in
2005 and served as Mayor from 2007 to 2008. He is currently Chair of the
Glendale Housing Authority and previously served as Chair of the Glendale
Redevelopment Agency. He also served on the Glendale Community College Board of
Trustees from 2003 to 2005 and was Chair of the Glendale Transportation and Parking
Commission. Najarian has served as a director since 2006 and also currently
serves on Metrolink’s Board of Directors.
has been an attorney in private practice in Glendale
for 20 years and attended Occidental
College where he received
a BA degree in Economics and later earned his JD from USC School of Law.
is the third largest public transportation agency in the United States.
It has a $3.9 billion annual budget and more than 9,000 employees. It operates
approximately 200 bus routes serving a 1,433 square mile service area and five
subway and light rail lines that crisscross Los Angeles County.
Metro’s total annual bus and rail ridership exceeds 400 million boardings.