Leona Bridges, the former Barclays Global Investors manager, was sworn in today by Mayor Gavin Newsom as an SFMTA Board director during a ceremony at San Francisco City Hall and will attend her first meeting next week. Bridges was among five appointees at the swearing in, including the Mayor’s policy advisor, Jason Elliott, who has advised Newsom on transportation issues and will become a member of the Commission on the Environment.
“We talk about behavioral health and mental health and I say that in the context of anyone that wants to serve on the MTA Board,” said Newsom. “Leona clearly passed the test and I’m grateful she did. It’s a pretty remarkable thing with all the internecine warfare as it relates to public transit in the city and the challenges of dealing with what, $200 million of state cuts in the last year?”
In a Rules Committee meeting earlier this week, Bridges outlined six policy priorities and her supporters said she would bring much-needed diversity and financial expertise to the SFMTA Board. She will be the only African American member.
Cheryl Brinkman, a transit advocate who became an SFMTA director last year, said she’s had the opportunity to talk to Bridges and believes she’ll be good.
“I think she’s going to have a really good sense of economic justice based on her connection to the African American community,” said Brinkman. “I think it makes it more affordable for people to be able to rely on public transportation or rely on a bicycle and not have to own a car because owning a car is a huge expense.”
Brinkman, who attended the ceremony today, added that she is hopeful Bridges’ appointment “will bring more people of color into the transportation world. That’s a great connection we all have now.”