Congressman Weighs in on Metro Board Nomination: Keep Najarian

In the odd drama over whether or not Glendale City Councilman Ara Najarian will be reappointed to the Metro Board of Directors, there are a lot of conspiracy theories.

Congressman Adam Schiff. Photo: Tim Berger/La Canada Online

Some, including the Councilman, believe that Supervisor Mike Antonovich is using Alhambra Mayor Barbara Messina and Duarte City Council Member John Fasana to wage a proxy war against Najarian. Antonovich, a political heavyweight who used his current position as Chair of the Metro Board of Directors to replace Najarian with Mark Ridley-Thomas on the Metrolink Board of Directors, is believed to be stung by Najarian’s vote to place Measure J on the fall ballot and incensed over his effective opposition to the I-710 Big Dig project.

If this theory is true, then Najarian’s chances for renomination have brightened as an even bigger fish is now backing his bid to return to the Metro Board. Congressman Adam Schiff , in a widely copied letter, wrote to the League of California Cities to forcefully back Najarian and reject any notion that his position against The Dig should disqualify him from serving on the Board. His letter is  available exclusively online here at Streetsblog.

After defending both his record as a Board Member and his position on the Big Dig, Schiff argues that a vote against Najarian is a vote for parochial interests over that of the whole county.

The Metro Board is well served by members with a diverse set of views, so that the County has the benefit of a cross-fertilization of ideas and from the scrutiny from a Board that is not a rubber stamp from any particular point of view. Although Ara has served our region extremely well, he has not served in a parochial way; nor should individual voting members of the League of California Cities act parochially in attempting to reject his nomination.

Advocates backing Najarian with the No on 710 Coalition aren’t assuming Najarian’s continued support from the North County cities or Congressman Schiff will be enough to carry the day when the Los Angeles County City Selection Committee next meets. Advocates are writing to the Mayors of each city that either voted against Najarian in December or didn’t attend the meeting to urge a “yes” vote for the Glendale Councilman.

Najarian needs a majority of the weighted vote to be reconfirmed to another four-year term on the Metro Board. Until a confirmation of someone is completed, Najarian will continue to serve as the current representative of the North Cities.