MTA board picks closer to approval

Although members of the Board of Supervisors have held up Mayor Gavin Newsom’s appointments to The City’s public transportation board for weeks, on Thursday the candidates were forwarded out of committee and are now headed for confirmation.

When the three appointees first came up before a board committee on Jan. 17, Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin said he wanted a presentation on the mayor’s “vision” for the transportation agency before making any appointment decisions. Several days later, the legislative leader raised questions about recent revelations that Newsom used $749,232 dollars of Muni funding to pay for his own staffers — something the Mayor’s Office defended, saying since staffers were working on transit-related matters it’s a proper use of the funds.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisor unanimously approved a resolution introduced by Peskin that urged Newsom to return funding not directly related to Muni matters.

No such political strife accompanied Thursday’s meeting, however, as the board committee sent Newsom’s three appointees to the full board for confirmation this Tuesday.

“Thank you very much for your patience everyone,” said the committee chair, Supervisor Tom Ammiano.

Newsom’s appointees to the MTA board are Bruce Oka, a disabled rights advocate; Malcolm Heinicke, an attorney who has sat on the Taxicab Commission; and Jerry Lee, who sits on the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s citizens’ advisory council.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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