Thursday, October 14, 2010

Los Angeles City Council Approves Two New Port Commissioners

The Los Angeles City Council has approved the appointment of two new commissioners to the Port of Los Angeles governing board, one a long-time political confederate of the city's mayor and the other a veteran dockworker.

In September, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa nominated his former chief-of-staff Robin Kramer to the harbor commission. A month later the mayor nominated longshore union activist David Arian to fill a second vacant seat on the five-member port board.

Kramer, who served as Villaraigosa's chief of staff from 2005 to 2009, also served as former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan's chief of staff from 1994 to 1997. Kramer will fill a seat left vacant by the departure earlier this year of Commission Vice-President Jerilyn Lopez Mendoza.

Arian, a native of San Pedro, began his career as a longshoreman in 1965 and remained an active member of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union for 44 years until his retirement in 2009. In 1991, he was elected to a term as International President of the ILWU. In 2006, Mayor Villaraigosa asked him to sit on the joint port advisory for the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach’s Clean Air Action Plan. Arian has also served for nearly a decade as president of the Harry Bridges Institute, a San Pedro-based non-profit dedicated to the memory and legacy of ILWU founder Harry Bridges.

Arian will fill a seat vacated abruptly in mid-September by Commissioner Joseph Radisich, also a longtime ILWU member.

Los Angeles Port Commission members can serve two five-year terms, though in the past new mayoral administrations have brought in all new commissioners. Villaraigosa, first elected in 2005 and re-elected in 2009, is termed out and will finish his second term as mayor July 1, 2013. Past history indicates that both Kramer and Arian are unlikely to remain on the commission following the next mayoral election.