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California Transportation Commission (CTC)

CA Transportation Commission Welcomes New Commissioner Zahirah Mann

Mann is president and CEO of the South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone (SLATE-Z)

New CTC Commissioner Zahira Mann

Opening its two-day meeting today, the California Transportation Commission welcomed newly appointed commissioner Zahira Mann, president and CEO of the South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone (SLATE-Z). The organization worked to get the South Los Angeles area designated as a "Promise Zone" to address poverty there, and has served as a leader to bring community members together to work on equity, environmental sustainability, and economic revitalization issues.

SLATE-Z includes the words "Transit Empowerment Zone" in its name "to reflect the economic empowerment opportunities and transformational impacts the expansion of public transit brings to historically disadvantaged communities," according to its website. The Promise Zone area encompasses three Metro rail lines (A Line, E Line, and K Line), lots of high ridership buses, and encompasses the neighborhoods of Vernon-Central, South Park, Florence, Exposition Park, Vermont Square, Leimert Park, Crenshaw, and Baldwin Hills.

In remarks to the commission, Mann mentioned that, although she lives in L.A. County, she has family living in "a little town outside of Fresno." "I really appreciate the differences between what's happening in urban areas as well as in smaller communities," she said, enthusing about California's beauty and diversity.

As leader of SLATE-Z, Mann leads the group's efforts to convene communities working on climate reliance, equity, safe streets, and accessible transportation, among other issues. "All of that work intersects with environmental sustainability," she told the commission. "Part of my work is facilitating deep collaboration among community members to reach solutions on these key issues."

Mann has also served on the State Bar of California’s Legal Services Trust Fund Commission, as an alternate commissioner on the California Coastal Commission, and sits on the board of the Center for Nonprofit Management and the executive committee of the Black Equity Collective.

Mann was appointed last week by Governor Newsom to fill one of two empty commission seats. One of those was created by the resignation of Michelle Martinez, who left last fall to become City Manager at California City. The remaining seat is empty because last month Commissioner and former Chair Hilary Norton resigned because, she said, she couldn't afford to be a commissioner anymore. Not only does the position pay very little ($100 per diem) but due to conflicts of interest - and even just the potential for conflicts of interest - she was not able to accept jobs at her organization. She is the founding director of FAST (Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic), which focused on encouraging mode shift, building mobility hubs, expanding bus lanes, and finding alternatives for drivers stuck in traffic.

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