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Bernard Parks steps down from MTA board

January 29, 2009 |  4:10 pm

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (R) apppointed LA City Councilman Bernard C. Parks (L) to the MTA post that he has recently vacated. Word arrived today that Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard C. Parks resigned from the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority earlier this month. Parks was not at the MTA board meeting last week, nor had there been a public announcement of his resignation.

"I thank you for your appointment to this very worthwhile position and hope that my departure, after almost four years, will give someone else an opportunity to become involved in resolving our county's all-too-important transit needs," Parks wrote in his resignation letter, dated Jan. 8.

In November, Parks lost his bid for county supervisor to Mark Ridley-Thomas, who as a supervisor now serves on the MTA board. The 13-member board oversees the agency, deciding how to spend more than $3 billion annually on bus and train service in Los Angeles County. The board also gets to decide which big transit projects get built next.

Parks was appointed to the board by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2005. The mayor gets to appoint three board members, and he will choose Parks' replacement. The mayor's two other appointees are David Fleming and Richard Katz, both of whom live in the San Fernando Valley.  By law, one of his appointees must be a member of the City Council.

Because the appointment is likely to come from outside the Valley, likely candidates who have shown some interest include Tom LaBonge, Bill Rosendahl, Herb Wesson and Jose Huizar, according to sources. One thing is certain: Villaraigosa will not, under any circumstances, appoint someone who doesn't support his goals — by which I mean building the Westside subway extension sooner rather than later.

-- Steve Hymon

Photo: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (R) apppointed LA City Councilman Bernard C. Parks (L) to the MTA post that he has recently vacated. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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