Ara Najarian attends a forum, which took place at Karamanoukian Glendale Youth Center on Thursday, February 13, 2013.

Ara Najarian attends a forum, which took place at Karamanoukian Glendale Youth Center on Thursday, February 13, 2013. (Cheryl Guerrero/Staff photographer / February 18, 2013)

The transportation future of this region rests, in no small measure, with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. And that body's board is about to change.

In part, that is because Los Angeles will be getting a new mayor. That mayor will sit on the MTA board and appoint three other members, giving him or her a sizable voice in directing money and identifying projects, from subways to freeways. Indeed, outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa may be best remembered for his contributions to the area's transportation network and innovative attempts to pay for it.

But even as the mayor's race plays out in full public view, a behind-the-scenes political fight is being waged that could bring further change to the MTA board. Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, joined by representatives of a few local officials in the San Gabriel Valley and elsewhere, are attempting to oust Glendale City Councilman Ara Najarian from his MTA seat — which some see as punishment and others as a power grab.

"My future career in transportation, my future in local politics, really, could come down to this," Najarian told me last week. Najarian believes Antonovich is angry over Najarian's support for a half-cent sales tax for transportation; the supervisor already removed Najarian from the Metrolink board.

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-- Jim Newton, Los Angeles Times