Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Furey Runs for Regional MTA Rep

Torrance Mayor Pat Furey is seeking to oust his Santa Monica counterpart as the regional representative on the Metropolitan Transit Authority board, a role Pam O’Connor has held since 2001. (Daily Breeze)

There are nineteen cities in the MTA council, of which Torrance belongs.

The current representative, Pam O'Connor, claims that her tenure has been a boon for South Bay as well as West Los Angeles residents.

Then again, why should Torrance residents submit to leadership from the more left-leaning Westside, where sound business practices have not developed as smoothly as in Torrance?

Torrance Mayor Pat Furey

Of course, Furey's lobbying efforts may distract him from local concerns for the city, like the battered roads, or the regulations holding back businesses from expanding?

“It is my feeling a closer association with the Metropolitan Transit Authority will greatly assist the transit projects that benefit the South Bay, such as the Green Line extension,” Furey said at the outset of Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Other individuals close to the city council share the same outlook on Furey's seeking this position.

Santa Monica Mayor Pam O'Connor

O'Connor expressed surprise about this development:

“I came back (from out of town) Friday night and heard he was running; he never told me that,” she said. “Pat threw his hat in the ring at the last minute.

“The surprise is more that I had talked to him and he did not in that conversation say there was a problem,” she added. “I bring years of transportation experience both at Metro and regionally before that to the table; I don’t know what his transportation experience is.”

Not just experience counts, but a dedicated awareness and interest in South Bay concerns, as well as the better allocation of state and county funds of transportation.

The MTA projections for 2020 (including North Torrance extension)

For years, the city and the county have engaged in discussions about extending a Metro Color Line through North Torrance. Easing traffic in the city would be a welcome development, considering that people still want to live and play in this city, and the traffic congestion has not gotten better.

Unlike some conservatives, I do not oppose investment in public transit, but public-private partnerships provide the best means for local leaders to work with county officials and offer private citizens more options for transportation, commuting, and local travel.

Besides, Torrance is investing in a new transit center, which would replace the Torrance Transit thoroughfare which existed in the Northern section of the Del Amo Mall.

At any rate, the South Bay has every right to flex its muscles in Los Angeles County. More than thirty years ago, the South Bay beach cities attempted to break away and form their own county government apart from Los Angeles. While that measure failed, Furey's application for the regional leadership seat in the MTA would do more good than harm for Torrance.

Whether Furey replaces O'Connor or not, the city will have the opportunity to be heard on transit issues, and call out the County leadership for ignoring the transportation needs of the region.

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