Newsom Ousts Three MTA Board Members, Including Transit/Bike Advocate Leah Shahum

Yesterday, Mayor Newsom announced that he has accepted the resignation of three members of the MTA Board:

  • Leah Shahum, the Executive Director of the SF Bike Coalition and a long-time Rescue Muni member and advocate for alternative transportation in SF;
  • Peter Mezey, former Chair of SPUR (current board member) and member of the former Parking and Traffic Commission and long-time advocate for better Muni service; and
  • Wil Din, a rider advocate who formerly served on the SFCTA CAC, Expenditure Plan Advisory Committee, and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Minority Citizens Advisory Committee.
  • The mayor has nominated to replace them:

  • Malcolm Heinicke, member of the Taxi Commission,
  • Bruce Oka , a long-serving member of the MTA CAC who is also currently serving on the Taxi Commission, and
  • Jerry Lee, member of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission CAC.
  • Part of this change was clearly to complete the merger of the Taxi Commission into the MTA, which is allowed by Proposition A (2007), and Proposition E (1999) before it. However, before the Board of Supervisors considers these nominees, we need some answers. Why were two key advocates for alternative transportation (Mezey and Shahum) ousted from the board? Is this an example of better mass transit and transit first policy taking a back seat to politics?

    The Supervisors should think carefully about these issues, and the positions of the new nominees on key transit issues like parking policy, bus rapid transit, congestion pricing, and more, before approving the new nominees.