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VALLEY PANEL SEEKS DELAY IN BUS VOTE ADVISORY COUNCIL NOMINEES WANT TO ADD INPUT ON ROUTES.

Byline: Lisa Mascaro Staff Writer

Several nominees to the MTA's new San Fernando Valley advisory council have asked the agency's board to postpone today's vote on upcoming bus route changes until they take office next week and can review the plans.

The community transit leader said they want a role in Metropolitan Transportation Authority decisions for which the public will ultimately hold them accountable.

``The sector council should have its correct opportunity to discuss and make decisions on these changes, if that's possible,'' said nominee Kymberleigh Richards, president of the Southern California Transit Advocates, whose group dashed off a letter raising the issue last week.

Nominee Coby King said routes and scheduling are a main area of responsibility for the new board, and moving ahead without input would get the new council off to a poor start.

``I think it's a huge mistake to be doing this,'' King said. ``It's really a poor way to start off the relationship.''

The MTA board's Operations Committee was scheduled to discuss the changes at today's meeting, which comes one week before the nominees are expected to be approved by the MTA board for the new council.

Valley General Manager David Armijo said postponing a decision more than two weeks would be ``detrimental,'' as his staff needs to work out schedules for hundreds of bus drivers.

``Time lines are time lines,'' he said. ``If we could have been here 30 days ago we wouldn't have this discussion.''

The nine-member Valley council nominees are slated to be approved by the full MTA board next week as part of the agency's efforts to bring local control.

The Valley's council has lagged behind those from other regions, in part because City Hall missed a December deadline to submit nominees.

``This body could have been in place and had its review of the recommendations. Now, because of the time it's taken, that has not been possible,'' said Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich's deputy Rosa Fuquay.

Nominee Bart Reed, who has pressed for bus line changes in the new schedule, said it seemed unlikely the group could be in place in time to recommend changes.

Main changes coming in June will be the addition of a new Van Nuys Boulevard Metro Rapid bus route, discontinuation of service to Los Angeles International Airport and connections with the new Gold Line light-rail service between Pasadena and downtown.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 20, 2003
Words:395
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