Meet Garcetti’s New Team on the Metro Board of Directors: Bonin, Krekorian and Dupont-Walker
Earlier today, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced his three appointees to the Metro Board of Directors. The Mayor’s Office controls four of the thirteen appointments to the body (Garcetti being the first himself.) The appointments include two City Council Members: Mike Bonin and Paul Krekorian, as well as Jackie Dupont-Walker, a community activist from the West Adams Neighborhood in South Los Angeles.
Some critics are complaining that Garcetti violated state law by appointing two Council Members to the Board. We are currently researching that claim, first made by John Walsh in an email to journalists and editors, but for now we’re assuming that this list of Garcetti’s appointments will stand.
(Update 7:45 pm – It is now confirmed, the Mayor can appoint to the Metro Board anywhere from 1-3 City Council Members.)
Here’s a quick look at the Mayor’s team on the Metro Board:
Dupont-Walker is the freshest face for most Streetsblog readers. She is the founding president of Ward Economic Development Corporation, a faith-based community development. She also chairs the USC Master Plan Advisory Committee where she represents the residents of the West Adams district.
Dupont-Walker’s appointment may also represent an olive branch to the Crenshaw Subway Coalition, a group of community groups and advocates advocating for a grade-separated Crenshaw Light Rail Line for the twelve blocks that the line will run through the Crenshaw Business District. In addition to advocacy, the group has sued Metro over the environmental documents for the light rail.
Dupont-Walker, in addition to being a resident and activist in South L.A., was part of a delegation that met with then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to push for a station at Leimert Park. Villaraigosa eventually backed the station and it was added to the project plan literally days before the Mayor left office.
Dupont-Walker will join Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas as Board Members dedicated to making sure that jobs created by the construction of the Crenshaw Line stay in the South L.A. Community.
“I am looking forward to collaborating with Mayor Garcetti to create an L.A. transportation system that will help bring our city’s diverse neighborhoods closer together in every way,” Dupont-Walker said. “A world-class system should be accessible to every L.A. neighborhood, and new transportation hubs and corridors are opportunities to spark
much-needed job creation and neighborhood revitalization by spurring local economies.”
Bonin is certainly the easiest for Streetsblog to write about since we’re in the middle of publishing a two-part interview with Bonin conducted because he is also the Chair of the Transportation Committee for the City Council. For a man who took office less than three weeks ago, Bonin is now one of the most important people on transportation policy in the region.
The good news for Livable Streets advocates is that Bonin may be the first true-believer in “people powered” transportation ever appointed to the Board. Together with the car-free Santa Monica Council Member Pam O’Connor, who founded and chairs Metro’s ad-hoc sustainability committe, they form a powerful block of votes for funding a variety of transportation options.
“I’m excited to work with Mayor Garcetti to improve and increase bus and rail service in Los Angeles to cut congestion and make commutes faster,” Bonin said in a prepared statement. “We on the Westside are especially eager to get moving with real solutions that give us back the family time and dollars we lose while we are stuck in traffic and gridlock.”
Krekorian has a reputation as a budget hawk, which seems to be a major reason for his appointment to the Board. Krekorian also sits on the City Council Transportation Committee. Krekorian is a solid vote on sustainable transportation issues and has been a leader on fighting against speed limit increases for motor vehicles at both the city and state level. Krekorian’s Council District 2 represents a portion of the San Fernando Valley.
“I look forward to working with Mayor Garcetti, my MTA colleagues, and all stakeholders to tackle Southern California’s most pressing transportation issues,” said Council Member Krekorian, also through a statement. “Through innovation and efficiency, we need to get more for our transportation dollars and accelerate MTA’s work toward enhanced mobility throughout the entire region. This is a critical moment in our pursuit of a seamless public transportation system that cost-effectively reduces congestion in the San Fernando Valley and all of Los Angeles, and I’m honored that the Mayor has entrusted me with this responsibility.”