Madrid Wants Ewin Removed From MTS Board

LA MESA -- Animosities that have been roiling largely beneath the waters between Mayor Art Madrid and Council Member Ernie Ewin appear to be erupting as the council returns from its summer break.

On the agenda at Tuesday night's meeting is a proposal to change La Mesa's representative on the Metropolitan Transit Authority Board, a position that Ewin (pictured above right) has filled for years.
Madrid filed papers with the council signaling that he was going to propose replacing Ewin with Councilwoman Ruth Sterling, a clear public swat at Ewin.

Madrid's papers did not enumerate reasons for removing Ewin. Called for comment Monday, Madrid (pictured below right) said he would wait to discuss the issue at the council meeting to avoid any accusations that he is violating open meeting laws.

Ewin said Monday he saw the item on the agenda and had a sense of deja vu.
"Four times,'' he said when asked how many times have his detractors on council have tried to remove him from MTS. "It takes three votes and I hope they give their reasons if they're going to do this.''

In seeking re-election two years ago, Ewin listed his service with MTS as one of his leading contributions to the community. He said he helped initiate an audit committee to improve transparency at MTS.

"I would say that's been a success,'' Ewin said Monday. "They've asked me to be the chairman of that committee.''

Council member Mark Arapostathis, often an ally of Madrid's effort, was clearly not in the Madrid camp on this proposal. He has opposed earlier attempts to diminish Ewin's role.

Said Arapostathis: "For the record I would say I have been very happy with the quality of the representation the city has had --  with Art (Madrid) on Sandag, Dave Allan with Homeland Security and with Ernie (Ewin) on MTS. They've all done a good job.''

But it has also been increasingly clear that Madrid, Sterling and Councilman Dave Allan have bristled in recent years as Ewin has questioned council spending on travel and has broken with the majority on other issues.

In questions prior to the 2010 elections, Ewin was asked if he would like to be mayor someday and he hasn't hesitated to answer yes.

But Madrid has been mayor for 20 years and hasn't been making any noises about retiring, even as some of his supporters have suggested he should step down after overseeing the city's Centennial celebration during this term.

Whether Madrid can convince two other council members to join him in replacing Ewin with a council member who clearly is not familiar with MTS operations is yet to be seen.

The council meets at 4 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.


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Tags: Art Madrid, Ernie Ewin, Government, La Mesa, La Mesa City Council, MTS


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Comment by Squadron on September 15, 2011 at 2:53pm

Mr. Lavin ~ Councilwoman Ruth Sterling served on the Metropolitan Transit Development Board (MTS) for many years, until Ewin was elected to the La Mesa City Council (2002) and appointed 2003 to MTS.  Ewin's activisim on MTS may be better served somewhere else when reviewing MTS budget deficit of multi-millions of dollars.  Councilwoman Sterling's knowledge and abilities with finances, and her years of experience with MTS will serve La Mesa and regional residents well. 

Comment by Scott H. Kidwell on September 13, 2011 at 5:09pm
After years of Sterling and the Mayor battling over issues and calling each other names it is true that “Politics makes strange bedfellows”!
Comment by John C Schmitz on September 13, 2011 at 12:47pm
The silence on this is deafening.  Where are all the cheap shots from the "peanut gallery?"

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