Glendale councilman holds off on bid to save Metrolink board seat

Glendale Councilman Ara Najarian on Monday decided to take a “wait-and-see” approach in his efforts to overturn a decision to replace him on a rail oversight board.

At the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority meeting on Monday, Najarian held off on floating a motion to keep him on the Metrolink board until more of his supporters can be in attendance, he said.

Those supporters — Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and real estate broker Mel Wilson, whose firm serves the San Fernando Valley — had given prior notice that they would not be at the meeting, so Najarian decided to hold off on a motion to overturn a decision by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, the incoming chairman of the MTA board of directors, to replace him on the Metrolink board with county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

The next opportunity for Najarian to place a motion on an agenda will be for the Sept. 27 meeting, Najarian said.

“I am going to reach out one more time informally to the supervisor and see if we can avoid the need to have a public sort of referendum on his decision,” he said.

Najarian said Antonovich’s decision may be in retaliation for his support of placing a Measure R tax extension before voters — an action the MTA board approved on Monday. It may also be tied to the fact that Najarian has publicly opposed a tunnel connecting the Long Beach (710) and Foothill (210) freeways.

Antonovich has said he selected Ridley-Thomas because they share a similar view of regional transportation in the county.

Prior to the board’s vote on Measure R, Antonovich pointed out what he thinks are the shortcomings of the extension. Najarian said after the meeting that Antonovich still appeared to be upset about his support of the sales tax measure, which would fund transportation projects in the county.

Najarian said he might have still had enough support to overturn Antonovich’s selection even without Wilson and Villaraigosa.

Wilson’s alternate, David Fleming, attended the meeting in his place. Fleming is a past chairman of the Valley Economic Alliance and a strong supporter of the San Fernando Valley. Fleming might have supported Najarian’s motion, the councilman said, but he didn’t know Fleming was going to be there.

“That came as a surprise,” Najarian said, adding that he would like to wait for a “full contingency” of the board before considering a motion.

And he would want to make certain of Antonovich’s attendance.

“He needs an opportunity to respond to the issues,” Najarian said.


Twitter: @LAMarkKellam

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