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Villaraigosa names top transportation deputy

Borja Leon will become Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s deputy mayor for transportation, officials announced Tuesday.

Leon, the mayor’s associate director of transportation and a familiar face in transportation circles, takes the place of Jaime de la Vega, who last week was named interim general manager of the city’s Department of Transportation.

The mayor tapped De la Vega for the post following a series of audits alleging poor policy management and missed revenue opportunities at the transportation agency.

One of the audits, authored by City Controller Wendy Greuel, also highlighted a little-known “Gold Card Desk” at the Department of Transportation that was designed for elected officials and their aides to fast-track citation reviews for their constituents –- and possibly have fines reduced or eliminated.

Greuel raised the specter that the desk could have provided special treatment for some, in part because there seemed to be little documentation regarding some of the citation reviews.

Other city officials said the desk simply improved constituent services, but still the mayor moved swiftly to shut down the operation.  De la Vega, whose permanent appointment is subject to City Council approval, takes over the embattled agency as it is under scrutiny for alleged employee misconduct.

Leon has worked for Villaraigosa since 2005 and said he is “humbled to be chosen for this position.”

Before working for the mayor, Leon worked on project development, engineering and construction management for major infrastructure projects at Caltrans. He also worked for AECOM Inc. on transportation projects.

He has been “responsible for overseeing and implementing Mayor Villaraigosa’s transportation agenda at the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, providing public policy advice at the MTA Board and overseeing major transportation infrastructure projects,” according to a city press release.

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-- Ari Bloomekatz

 
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