Najarian should fight for spot on the board

City Councilman Ara Najarian has a political decision to make this weekend: fight to keep his seat on the Metrolink board of directors, or fold.

On Monday, Najarian could lose his influential seat on the rail oversight board, likely in retaliation for diverging from the positions of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich on a couple of key issues — the Measure R tax extension and the controversial 710 Freeway extension.

As chairman of the county Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which appoints members to the Metrolink board, Antonovich has the power to move people around as he sees fit, and that's just what he intends to do Monday, replacing Najarian with fellow Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

The region Najarian represents includes several major rail lines and stations that interact with bus hubs, a light rail and, soon, an airport. What would Ridley-Thomas represent? Hardly anything, not to mention a void of experience in terms of putting crash-plagued Metrolink on the forefront of high-tech safety systems.

While highly unusual, Najarian on Monday could try to rally the majority of his colleagues on the MTA board to essentially block Antonovich's move to replace him. It would be unusual because the chairman's power in such matters typically isn't messed with, but Antonovich — who will be termed out of office in 2016 — will soon reach lame-duck status.

Given his popularity on the regional political circuit, that his replacement makes no sense, and the fire-breathing dragon that is Antonovich has been all but tamed by term limits, let us hope Najarian throws down on Monday. And let's see where he ends up.

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