Cheryl Brinkman, far left, and six other appointees to city commissions take oath of office
Newsom "very pleased and enthusiastic" about new commissioner
Newsom says he put Brinkman "through the wringer" over MTA appointment
Mayor Gavin Newsom swore into office a much-anticipated new member of the Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) Commission at City Hall ceremonies this morning. Newsom described Cheryl Brinkman as someone who is "qualified, capable, and deserves this position." The mayor said he expected Brinkman to serve the MTA for a long time, adding, "I'm absolutely confident that anyone who replaces me will re-appoint her. I'm very pleased and enthusiastic."
In an expansive introduction to Brinkman, the mayor remarked about the difficulty of serving on the MTA Commission. "I don't know why anyone would want to serve on the MTA, but I don't think anyone could be a better supporter of its work," he said. He recalled that he had put Brinkman "through the wringer" by telephoning her at least three times to propose different scenarios for her reaction. He said he respected her clear, candid, and informed responses.
Newsom added that he didn't hold it against Brinkman that many of her most ardent supporters were frequent critics of his own office's responses or pace for implementing city improvements. Brinkman has worked for several years, as Streetsblog recently noted, with organizations that advocate safer walking and biking, better transit performance, and safer streets for all users -- an admittedly large constituency. Her appointment has been widely applauded by the Board of Supervisors, MTA management, and citywide advocates.
Shortly after the City Hall ceremony, Brinkman reflected on her background and the importance of neighborhood-level advocacy for a better city:
I'm thrilled to be able to serve on the MTA Board, and I think that the fact that I came out of the public application process, and the fact that I come from the advocacy world, and the world of neighborhood involvement and neighborhood boards, is important because it says something about all the work we all do: the Citizen Advisory Committees, the neighborhood board and groups, it has meaning. It has value. All of the involved citizens are so important and know so much about their neighborhoods and the city.
It's hard work to be involved on the neighborhood level, it takes time and effort after a full day of work to go to your neighborhood group meeting, but it's important and bears fruit - NOPNA knows that, and DTNA (ed. note: Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association) where I served on the Board knows that. I am so grateful to have all those connections to people who care about the City and to know how committed so many people are to the livability and success of San Francisco.