Mirkarimi assumes chair of Transportation Authority 

During Tuesday morning’s Transportation Authority meeting a new chair was elected to the post, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi. The political maneuvering puts the more progressive members of the Board of Supervisors, who enjoy a majority rule, in charge of the authority.

The authority was created in 1989 to administer a half-cent transportation sales tax program and approves the spending of the money on various projects, including those of the MTA. The authority is made up of the 11 members of the Board of Supervisors.

The authority was led by Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who apparently saw the writing on the political wall when he offered a motion Tuesday morning during the annual election of the chair to succeed and nominate Mirkarimi as the chair.

Dufty is a more moderate member of the Board of Supervisors who is also running for mayor.

Mirkarimi had served as the authority’s vice-chair.

“We are at an intersection of incredible crisis,” Mirkarimi said, after he was voted in as chair in a 10-0 vote. He spoke of holding agencies who receive money from the TA more accountable and imposing more conditions on either loans or money handed out.

“We are often mistaken as a glorified bank,” Mirkarimi said. “We are not an ATM without conditions.”

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, a more moderate member of the Board of Supervisors, called on the new chair to use a skill Dufty exhibited, which was to listen to all sides and collaborate.

“It’s not an authority that serves one part of San Francisco, one group of san Franciscans, but serves the entire city of San Francisco,” Elsbernd said.

Supervisor David Campos, also a progressive member of the board, was elected as vice-chair of the authority.

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