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Bringing Transportation Hubs to Athens Westmont

projectsThe Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved $471,000 to develop a transportation hub within a half-mile radius from the Metro Green Line Vermont/Athens Station in the West Athens Westmont community.

The West Athens proposal is the latest in a series of plans aimed at increasing public transportation use in Los Angeles County. It is a high priority for Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who authored the West Athens motion approved Tuesday, and who has been leading the effort to increase transportation hubs, most recently in west Carson near Harbor/UCLA Medical Center.

The transportation hubs also work in concert with the construction of other transit lines such as the Crenshaw-LAX rail line, which is projected to serve thousands of commuters by 2019. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has proposed creating affordable housing, commercial and residential developments on county-owned real estate along major public transportation lines to improve the quality of life and the environment.

“Bringing public transportation hubs to communities will bring more opportunities,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “Getting people to and from jobs, building affordable housing and creating good schools are essential to establishing a higher standard of living.”

The West Athens-Westmont plan will promote mobility, public safety, community revitalization, and economic development. This effort will play a major role in creating a sense of place in communities as well as an overall safe and inviting area, and hopefully, a reduction in car trips.

The Department of Regional Planning will begin holding meetings in the local community with the goal of completing the study within the next two years.

Crenshaw/LAX Rail Line: Construction On Track

Construction of the $2-billion, 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX rail line continues to move forward, with another round of excavation underway for an underground train station.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been working on the project for just over a year, tackling challenging feats of engineering while also supporting businesses in the hard had areas.

Once completed in 2019, the Crenshaw/LAX rail line will have eight stations, the northernmost connecting to the Expo Line, and southernmost to the Green Line, not far from one of the world’s busiest airports. Funded through Measure R, a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2008, it is projected to have a daily ridership of 13,000 to 16,000.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, vice chairman of Metro’s Board of Directors, said the importance of the Crenshaw/LAX rail line cannot be understated.

“This rail line will transform neighborhoods by allowing people to get where they need to be, and quickly,” he said. “It’ll also cut air pollution and traffic congestion, and boost businesses along the route by carrying customers almost to their doorstep. In short, it will change the landscape of Los Angeles for the better.”

Jerome Stanley Appointed to New Board

10-p1Jerome Stanley, President of SAFE Sports Management, arguably one of the nation’s leading sports law firms  with a roster that represents professional athletes in both the NBA and NFL has been named to the Small Craft Harbor Design Control Board by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Stanley brings more than three decades of business acumen to the board, which is also comprised of architects and land developers.

The Control Board, composed of five appointees by the Board of Supervisors, is charged with reviewing the design of new buildings and plans for renovations and exterior modifications to existing buildings in Marina Del Rey.

“Jerome brings a wealth of experience to this Board,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.  “I am confident that his expertise and contributions will not only benefit Marina Del Rey but the County of Los Angeles.”

As commissioner, Stanley said he hopes to develop partnerships and collaboration among the environmental community, development interest, boaters, greater Venice and Marina Del Rey residents and general recreation enthusiasts.

“I want to be able to help balance the competing agendas of growth and environmental concerns,” Stanley said.  “The Marina is a resource to the entire Greater Los Angeles Area, not just the adjacent communities.”

A native of Los Angeles, Stanley notes that his involvement with the Los Angeles World Airports as the Subcommittee Chairman of Advertising and Branding and his role as the Recreation and Parks  Chairman of the Concession  Subcommittee have prepared him for the four year appointment on the Control Board.

“I think I have an expertise in balancing stakeholders of competing interests when it comes to a unique asset like the airport, the harbor and the marina,” Stanley said. “They are not just assets of those that they touch in continuous communities but they are assets of the entire region and there must be fairness in play and a balance that makes it so that there is a benefit to the great community without a burden to the adjacent community and that’s what I’ll be trying to do.”

Stanley is a member of the California Bar, the American Bar Association, the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, the L.A. Sports and Entertainment Commission Advisory Board and has been on the Agent Advisory Committee of the National Basketball Players Association.

New Metro CEO Phillip Washington Welcomed to LA

HS5_0018Phillip Washington, former CEO of Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) was selected Thursday as the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency’s new chief executive officer, starting no later than May 29.

“There’s a lot of work to be done, and we will function as a team in doing it,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said during a press conference at Metro on Thursday. “Phillip Washington’s experience in Denver of delivering projects on time and on budget is precisely what all of us have desired and expected, and we fully look forward to that happening here in Los Angeles as we move toward the implementation of Measure R.”

Washington said he was looking forward to delivering “the best possible transit experience and infrastructure for the LA area.”

“I take that responsibility very seriously, and I also take very seriously being a good steward of taxpayer dollars,” he said.

Washington is an Army veteran who grew up in the south side of Chicago. In Denver, he was responsible for a $2.8-billion operating budget and $5 billion in transit expansion projects, including one of the largest in the country, FasTracks. He ensured the award-winning Denver Union Station was completed five months ahead of schedule and the West Line Rail was completed eight months ahead of schedule. The latter was under budget as well.

During Washington’s tenure, RTD achieved an on-time bus and rail rate of 90 percent, and his emphasis on safety training led to a 40 percent decline in preventable bus accidents in 2012.

Metro has a budget of $5.5 billion and, with a Measure R, is in the process of building or planning five new rail lines, widening freeways, and dozens of other transit, highway and mobility projects.

“This is a pivotal appointment at a pivotal time,”Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at the news conference. “I’m confident we have chosen the best possible CEO at Metro, who will work side by side with us (the Metro board) to cut commutes, to cut smog, to drive prosperity across our entire region.”

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Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas extends a welcoming hand to new Metro CEO Phillip Washington, flanked on the left side by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman Mike Bonin and on the right side by Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts and Metro Board member Jackie Dupont-Walker.

Los Angeles County Honors a Korean American Living Legend by declaring Susan Ahn Cuddy Day

1MZ_0027Acting on a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Board of Supervisors unanimously declared Tuesday, March 10, 2015, as Susan Ahn Cuddy Day throughout Los Angeles County, in honor of a 100-year-old Korean American pioneer and patriot.

Susan Ahn Cuddy was the first Asian American woman to join the US Armed Forces. During World War II, she trained pilots in air combat tactics as the Navy’s first female gunnery officer. She eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant in the Navy’s elite code breaking team.

During the Cold War, Ms. Cuddy served with the National Security Agency, supervising more than 300 scholars and experts on the U.S.S.R.

“These were all firsts as an Asian American woman in a man’s world,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said during a ceremony at the Hall of Administration. “Anti-Asian sentiment was brazenly prevalent but that didn’t deter Susan Ahn Cuddy – she just knew what her mission was.”

Ms. Cuddy said, “When the war came up, I took the opportunity (to join the military). It didn’t matter whether I was Asian or not – I was fighting for freedom.”

Breaking through the barriers of race and gender were a struggle sometimes, according to Ms. Cuddy’s children, Philip and Christine.

Philip Cuddy said his mother endured segregation despite being a patriot. “When my mom was in the Navy, she would wear her military uniform on the bus – but she had to sit in the back of the bus because of segregation in Atlanta,” he said.

Christine Cuddy said even her mother’s marriage to fellow code breaker Frank Cuddy, an Irish American, was an act of courage.

“Interracial marriages were not common in the 1940’s – in fact, she couldn’t get a marriage license in Virginia because it was against the law,” Christine Cuddy said. The couple decided to wed at naval base chapel instead.

Born in Los Angeles in 1915, Ms. Cuddy was the daughter of the first married couple to immigrate from Korea to the United States. They taught her to embrace being American without forgetting her Korean heritage.

Ms. Cuddy’s father, Dosan Ahn Chang Ho, is a national hero in South Korea for being a leader of the independence movement against imperial Japan. He is also believed to have co-written the lyrics to South Korea’s national anthem.

While in Los Angeles, he created a hub for the fledgling Korean American community, including founding the Young Korean Academy. Upon his death, Ms. Cuddy carried on his legacy. She devoted her own life to civic engagement, and helped manage the family-owned Phil Ahn’s Moongate restaurant, which became a community landmark in Panorama City.

Ms. Cuddy’s brother, Phil Ahn, also raised the profile of Los Angeles’ Korean American community, becoming the first actor of Asian heritage to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 

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The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declares Susan Ahn Cuddy Day on March 10, 2015. From left, Philip Cuddy; Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas; Susan Ahn Cuddy; Supervisors Don Knabe, Sheila Kuehl, Michael Antonovich and Hilda Solis; and Christine Cuddy.