County Will Fight Moves to Cut Its Metro Board Seats

By Elizabeth Marcellino, City News Service

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors went on record Tuesday against a state bill that would cut the number of county seats on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors from five to two.

Senate Bill 1379, sponsored by Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, would maintain 14 board seats, but replace three of the county seats with a post for Long Beach and for appointees of the president pro tempore of the Senate and the speaker of the Assembly.

Supervisor Hilda Solis recommended sending a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders opposing the bill and directing county lobbyists to actively advocate against it.

In her motion, Solis said each of the supervisors acts on behalf of the incorporated cities that comprise their district when they vote on the Metro board, not just the unincorporated areas of the county.

In addition to the five county seats, the current board includes Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and three of his appointees, four members appointed from other cities and one non-voting member appointed by the governor.

The debate comes as officials wrangle over Metro’s plans for spending the estimated $120 billion that would be generated by a half-cent sales tax increase proposed by Measure M. The measure is set for the Nov. 8 ballot and requires the approval of at least two-thirds of voters to pass.

Also known as the Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan, the measure includes a package of new rail and bus lines, highway improvements, bike lanes and street repairs.

Mendoza said the plan does not consider the needs of communities countywide and questioned the Metro board’s process for choosing and prioritizing specific projects.

He originally proposed adding 10 seats to the Metro board to address what he sees as a “lopsided system.”

Supervisor Michael Antonovich said if Mendoza “was interested in having a real regional body,” he should reallocate seats held by the city of Los Angeles to other municipalities.

Before the vote, Antonovich amended Solis’s motion to also oppose any measure that would reduce the county’s representation on the board or expand the city of Los Angeles’ representation.

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August 25, 2016  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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