It’s Official: Metro Will Have Ara Najarian to Kick Around for Awhile

The long process of reconfirming Ara Najarian to the Metro Board of Directors has come to an end with the Glendale City Councilman still standing. Flying in the face of tradition, a group of cities that support the 710 Big Dig Project, allegedly at the direction of Supervisor Mike Antonovich, attempted to squash Najarian’s nomination from the North County cities he represents.

One of these men will be serving on the Metro Board of Directors in July. Image:##http://thesource.metro.net/tag/ara-najarian/##The Source##

At a December meeting of the City Selection Committee, fellow Board Member and Duarte City Council Member John Fasana and Alhambra Mayor Barbara Messina managed to get Najarian’s nomination rejected. Every L.A. County City, excepting Los Angeles, votes in the City Selection Committee with weighted votes. Cities such as Culver City and cities in the South Bay rejected a nomination from the North County in December. Last night, the opposition to Najarian vanished. His nomination passed  by a weighted vote of 3,160,000 to 290,999.

“I’m very happy that I’ve been confirmed to take my seat on the MTA Board,” said Najarian. “L.A. is moving in the right direction in terms of transit, subway and light rail. I look forward to working with my fellow directors and community leaders to continue to make L.A. a good place to live, work and travel.”

Najarian is currently a member of the Metro Board of Directors and chaired the board in 2009. He was also a member of the Metrolink Board of Directors until he was removed by Antonovich last year.

After his rejection in December, a heated campaign that included the No on 710 Coalition, Congressman Adam Schiff, and Najarian himself ensued. Eventually, the Los Angeles Times’ Jim Newton weighed in on the Najarian nomination and pointed the finger at County Supervisor Antonovich for the confusion. With the wind at his back, North County cities met to re-consider the nomination and refused to nominate anyone else for the position except Najarian.

With the media paying attention and North County holding firm, Najarian’s nomination seemed assured at last night’s meeting. Of course, nobody expected his earlier nomination to be held up.

“I actually reviewed the minutes of the past 11 years of City Selection Committee meetings and found that no unopposed nominee has ever failed to be ratified — not just for the MTA Board, but for all the Boards that are ratified by the City Selection Committee,” writes Jan Soo-Hoo, one of the leaders on the No on 710 Coalition.

“Unlike some others, Najarian has been a good and conscientious representative of not only the North County/San Fernando Valley sector cities, but also an advocate for good transportation projects in all sectors of the County.   I am very glad that he will retain his seat on the MTA Board for at least the next four years and am confident that he will continue to work in the best interests of the entire region.”

  • As Walter Cronkite said to conclude the broadcast of the CBS Evening News on  X-Mas eve 1975 about the triumph of Siegel & Shuster winning a settlement from Warner Communication for creating Superman after being ripped off by greedy corporate weasels for decades, we can equally say about this turn of affairs in re Najarian:

    “Today at least, truth, justice and the American way has triumphed!”

  • calwatch

    I have the video and it was a hoot. It was not as noncontentious as Damien implies there. http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1CRegjsTBOE-4tl3MqiGCw?feature=g-user-u

  • Rumple72045

    Typo correction. No on 710 coalition should read “NO on 710 Action Committee”

  • Joanne Nuckols

    Thanks calwatch for the link so that we could watch the action.  It was contentious and very one-sided FOR Najarian, thankfully.  He’s done a great job representing all the cities, not just those he represents, for the greater good.

    Unfortunately, Board Member Fasana, my city’s representative, has done a terrible job, because he disproportionately fights to build the expensive, bad 710 toll-tunnels against the good Gold Line Foothill Extension to Montclair.  Had he not been so myopic, we would have made much better progress getting the project competed to the East by now.

    And then there’s the ultimate NIMBY Barbara Messina.  She has spent 26 years trying to ram a freeway, now twin tunnels, through Alhambra’s neighboring cities Los Angeles (El Sereno), South Pasadena and Pasadena.  Note: the extension of the SR 710 does not go through Alhambra.

    There is only a finite amount of transportation money to spend.  I grateful that Ara Najarian will be there to keep an eye on that money so that it’s spent on the most financially feasible projects that move the most people, not their cars.

  • calwatch

    The funniest thing was when the far north county cities – Palmdale and Lancaster – didn’t get the memo. Since I aimed the camera at the dais, you can see the back channel communications between Fasana and Najarian as they try to bury their hatchets and focus on the real enemy – the City of Los Angeles (yes, I’m being sarcastic).

  • Jan

    You don’t have to use too much imagination to figure out who was driving the effort to pass a motion to refer the nomination back to the North County/San Fernando Valley sector cities for reconsideration.  Antonovich was hoping to not only remove Najarian’s voice but also to shift the focus to the Lancaster/Palmdale area where his pet project, the High Desert Corridor, is positioned.   He didn’t get either of his wishes.  La Canada Flintridge Mayor Pro Tem, Laura Olhasso, was succinct and eloquent in her remarks to the Lancaster/Palmdale contingent as was attorney Chris Sutton when he pointed out the illegality of acting on items not on the agenda.  The City Selection Chair did a good job of consulting, and then abiding by the by-laws and rules for conducting the ratifications. 

  • Erik Griswold

    Glad to see this was all doen at an even sponspred by a large oil company.  Says alot about how transportation is governed in California.  Good Luck with that!