South L.A. needs second voice, vote on the MTA board

Story Published: Feb 5, 2009 at 6:02 PM PDT

Story Updated: Feb 5, 2009 at 6:02 PM PDT

With issues running the gamut from serious safety concerns on under-construction rail lines, to the relative inattention the area receives overall in the planning of modern mass transit, it is perhaps not an accident of fate that South Los Angeles has for years had two representatives on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board.

Last month's abrupt, unexplained resignation of City Councilman Bernard Parks from the powerful panel leaves one - L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who received an automatic seat upon his election last November - and we urge Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to appoint a new MTA board member with a demonstrated commitment to South L.A.'s transit future.

Anyone who has ever ridden an over-crowded bus on Crenshaw Boulevard, or been frustrated by the fact that no rail lines currently stop in the heart of historically Black L.A., knows just how lacking and underfunded mass transit is in the region. From both a political and public policy standpoint, the right thing to do with this sudden vacancy would be to fill the seat with an experienced policymaker or activist with deep knowledge of, and sensitivity to, South L.A.'s transit needs.

Since debates on the board often descend into provincial arguments over a small amount of resources, it would help if this individual was capable of articulating how those needs could be better integrated into an overall transit plan for L.A. County, and convincing his or her of colleagues of such. The sometimes vengeful behavior on the board only slows down its work, never moving us any closer to a more sensible, inclusive and aggressive approach to solving the myriad problems caused by our clogged streets and highways, and the insufficiency of a transit system that does too little to relieve these ills.

Of the names believed to be on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's short list of possible appointees, L.A. City Councilman Herb Wesson, a former Assembly speaker known for his skill as a dealmaker, is the lone representative of South L.A.

He would likely make a fine choice for a board that could probably use an injection of affability. But whomever the mayor decides to tap, he should take special care to keep in mind a large number of constituents who too often draw the short straw on matters of transit.

Posted by erniemixon on 03/11/2009
Sponsored Links
Advertise Here!

Promote Your Business or Product for $10/mo


For just $10/mo you can promote your business or product directly to nearby residents. Buy 12 months and save 50%!


Zip Code Profiler

90037 Zip Code Details

Neighborhoods, Home Values, Schools, City & State Data, Sex Offender Lists, more.