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Mayor appoints Chinese American nonprofit exec to transportation board

San Francisco Mayor London Breed has nominated Gloria Li to serve on the SFMTA board. | Courtesy Gloria Li

San Francisco Mayor London Breed has nominated Gloria Li, a nonprofit director and former state government employee, to serve on a board with powers to set Muni fare and public transportation policy. 

Li—a Chinese immigrant and 10-year SF resident who lives in downtown’s Transbay neighborhood—will replace Sharon Lai on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s seven-member board.

The Board of Supervisors will have a final say on Li's nomination.

This isn’t the first time Li has served on a local governing body: she spent six years on the Citizens Advisory Committee of Transbay Joint Powers Authority

The MTA board has more independence compared to other city commissions. It has the ability to set policy and adjust Muni fares and regulate taxis, bicycles and pedestrians. The board also provides oversight of the San Francisco Parking Authority.

“I am excited to be considered and nominated by Mayor Breed for the position on the SFMTA commission,” Li said in a statement. “I aim to bring close to a decade of experience working in government and community to advocate for San Franciscans and improve our transit systems.”

Li was a longtime staffer for State Treasurer Fiona Ma, and she’s now working for an Asian community-based professional group Ascend Leadership.

“She is a champion for the Chinese and AAPI community,” Breed said in a statement, “and will work hard to ensure our transit system is operated equitably and safely.”

Last year, Li said she planned to move to Taiwan to be close to family and because she felt unsafe in San Francisco because of violence against Asians. But now she decided to stay in the city because of family reasons and other priorities—including now her new role with the MTA.

“As an immigrant, a woman of color, and a mother of a young child, I hope to ensure that everyone feels safe and welcomed,” Li said in a prepared statement. ”There is no greater honor than to serve the city I call home, and I’m eager to get to work.”

Han Li can be reached at