Thursday, March 01, 2007

Santa Clara County foregoes opportunity for leadership at MTC

By a single vote at the Santa Clara Cities Selection Committee, Santa Clara County just lost the opportunity to have one of its own to be the chair of MTC for the next four years. Sunnyvale Councilman Dean Chu was voted in 8-7 over the incumbent John McLemore, a former Santa Clara City Councilman who has been serving as the vice-chair on MTC. Yesterday, MTC selected a representive from Napa County to be the chairperson and another from Alameda County to be the vice-chair.

Besides Dean Chu, all the other MTC representives from Santa Clara County are new. Dave Cortese from San Jose is a delegate from ABAG, replacing a delegate from Sonoma County due to obscure rules about committee assignments. Ken Yeager, a newly elected Supervisor, has replaced Jim Beall, which has moved up to Sacramento as an Assemblyman. Because all of them are new, none of them are qualified to become the chair nor vice chair.

This is Margaret Okuzumi's assessment of Dean Chu's selection:

While Dean Chu is a reasonable choice if he had more than 24 hours in day, he is currently stretched so thin that I don't think he'll be able to devote sufficient time to his MTC duties. Chu was recently selected to serve on a transportation committee for the National League of Cities, in addition to serving on the Dumbarton Rail Policy Advisory Committee.

The other problem with Dean Chu is his obsession with the BART project, which won't go anywhere in Sunnyvale, a city that he was elected to represent. Or, may be because of his obsession, was the reason that he got chosen over John McLemore, which in addition to his MTC duties, has also served on the Caltrain Joint Powers Board and has been a strong supporter for Caltrain projects such as electrification.

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