Help Us Name the Slauson Corridor

For too many years, the Slauson corridor, which stretches from La Brea Avenue to Angeles Vista Boulevard, has been a thoroughfare not a destination. But residents of View Park, Windsor Hills and Ladera Heights long to turn this corridor into a neighborhood hub. The Slauson Corridor Revitalization Project, spearheaded by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, includes plans to make the area more pedestrian friendly and a destination neighborhood hub for local merchants and community residents.

Now we need your help by voting for your favorite name:

  • Winview Crest (47%, 463 Votes)
  • Overhill Crossings (41%, 406 Votes)
  • Slauson Heights Village (12%, 121 Votes)

Total Voters: 983

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These names were the top vote getters on December 15th, when residents of these neighborhoods gathered for a stroll around the area to kick off the holidays, listen to some live jazz, patron local businesses, enjoy holiday treats and place their vote on the name they liked most. Many thanks to CJ’s Elegance and all of our local partners for making the event such a success!

The Slauson Holiday Stroll was the last in a series of creative engagement events hosted by Chairman Ridley-Thomas in partnership with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the local arts non-profit, LA Commons, which aims to identify and celebrate the unique and historic characteristics of the View Park, Windsor Hills and Ladera Heights neighborhoods. The information gathered at these events will be used by the environmental design firm, Sussman/Prejza, to develop a brand identity and some timely aesthetic improvements for this section of the Slauson corridor.

Please vote by January 25, 2013. The winning name and branding concept will be presented to the community in early 2013.

Second District Residents Win ”Beat the Odds” Scholarship


As a newborn, Roneisha Pugh was placed in the care of a grandfather who looked after her until he died of complications from AIDS. Pugh and her brothers were then sent to live with an aunt who cared for them until she died of cancer. That tragedy left Pugh and her brothers at the mercy of her aunt’s alcoholic husband who, Pugh says, was physically and mentally abusive.

But Pugh, who lives in Inglewood, was determined to succeed. So she moved out of her uncle’s home and found the love and support she needed with extended family. She went from nearly failing out of school to being among the top 15 students in her class now at St. Mary’s Academy. She won an award for her dedication to community service, and is now focused on going to college and becoming a doctor.

“Getting out of that situation was the best thing that has happened to me,” said Pugh, who is 17. “I am beating the odds and becoming one step closer to my goals.”

Pugh was one of five teens awarded with the 2012 Beat the Odds $10,000 scholarship sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund at its 22nd Annual Gala in Beverly Hills. The Beat the Odds Scholarship and Leadership Program provides high school students with a college scholarship and numerous support services, including mentoring, internship placements, leadership development, college counseling, and SAT prep.

More than 450 education supporters including Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, Children’s Defense Fund President, Marian Wright Edelman, a wide range of Hollywood entertainers, and community organizers attended the event.

But the real stars of the evening were Pugh and Yahydia Iñiguez, Richard Kent, and fraternal twins Jade and Jalen Woods. One-by one, an emotional documentary based on the life of each recipient was shown before the large crowd followed by an award presentation.

Fraternal twins, Jade and Jalen Woods, have drawn strength from each other. At the age of four Jade and Jalen’s parents separated, forcing their mother to move them to a shelter in Arizona. When they returned to California bouncing from their mother to their father, the bitterness between their parents made it difficult to remain focused in school. But the siblings pulled through and today they are leaders in their community. Jade is the Chairperson for the Children’s Defense Fund- Los Angeles Youth Policy Advisory Committee. Jalen, a star athlete, has earned more than 45 trophies and MVP awards for basketball. The two, who attend Frederick K.C. Price III School in South Los Angeles, maintain grade point averages above 4.0. and are eager to go to college.

To learn more about the Beat the Odds Scholarship Program please visit:
http://www.cdfca.org/programs-campaigns/beat-the-odds/

Nominations for Preschool Teacher of the Year Are Now Being Accepted

Do you know any outstanding preschool teachers? This is your chance to nominate a preschool teacher that has made a difference in a child’s life by firing up their imagination, nurturing individuality and setting the stage for a lifetime of learning.

Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP), a Los Angeles based non-profit that supports the operation and/or development of more than 325 preschools in Los Angeles County, is now accepting nominations for five outstanding preschool teachers in Los Angeles County.

The 2013 Preschool Teacher of the Year Awards are open to all preschool teachers in Los Angeles County, including those who work in non-LAUP affiliated preschools. Candidates may nominate themselves or be nominated by anyone associated with the preschool including parents, administrators and co-workers. One teacher from each of the five Los Angeles County supervisorial districts will be chosen. The five winners will be notified in February and recognized during an awards dinner to be held in early April.  Each of the five winners will receive a $2,000 cash award.

The deadline to nominate a preschool teacher is Friday, January 11.
To obtain a nomination form, please visit:

http://www.laup.net/

Advocates Plead for a Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence

Eva Flores had never spoken publicly about her son’s story. But at a recent Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting, the young mother from Maywood worked up her courage to talk about the beating her son suffered last August at the hands of sheriff’s deputies. He was pepper sprayed, handcuffed and suffered several broken bones in his back and his nose after being beaten, she said, by sheriff’s deputies. Since that day he has suffered from headaches.

“My son deserves respect and dignity; nobody deserves to be treated this way,” she said in Spanish. “I am concerned for the safety of my son and I don’t want this to happen again.”

Flores was one of more than 100 people that attended the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday to push for the formation of a citizens’ commission on jail violence to oversee the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Ever since the department came under intense public scrutiny for allegations of violence in the County jails, Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas proposed that the Board establish a permanent citizens’ commission to oversee the department. At the meeting Tuesday Supervisor Gloria Molina said she was “leaning” in the direction of supporting the citizens’ commission.

The group of advocates, called the Coalition to End Sheriff’s Violence in LA County Jails, is made up of nearly a dozen organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, Youth Justice Coalition and the California Drug Policy Alliance. It was formed in response to the violence that has been plaguing Los Angeles County jails and the need to have civilian oversight of the treatment of inmates.

Patrisse Cullors, founder of the coalition, also became an advocate for personal reasons. Her brother was beaten so badly while in custody that he blacked out. She said he was later denied water and meals. He did not have a history of mental illness when he went into jail, but now he needs medication to handle the trauma he endured, Cullors said.

“It changed my family’s life,” she said. “The citizens’ commission is crucial to holding the sheriff’s department accountable and restoring any sort of faith in the community. It is easy to turn a blind eye to the people who are inside jail. But every single one of those people has a family that loves them. This is a community issue.”

The Rev. Peter Laarman, a member of the coalition and executive director of the organization Progressive Christians Uniting, said they will not stop until long term structural change happens.

“This will take courage and persistence to make the change we need and it will be difficult because it will shake the foundation of the sheriff’s department,” said Laarman. “We know that it is not simply the passion for change but the persistency in advocacy that will achieve an outcome that will serve the people of our county.”

Congressmember Karen Bass Honors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas

Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas was recognized for his work in public service by his longtime friend and ally Congressmember Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) this week. Speaking about him on the floor of the House of Representatives, Congressmember Bass lauded Chairman Ridley-Thomas for his efforts to increase civic participation among his constituents as well as encouraging neighborhood-based engagement in decision making.  Chairman Ridley-Thomas attended an event earlier in the week with Congressmember Bass at the Doubletree Hotel in Culver City where nearly 300 constituents gave him a standing ovation for his decades of service and his current position as Chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.  “He has devoted his life to the betterment of the people of Los Angeles County and has used his leadership to bring about effective change in Los Angeles County,” said Bass in the statement. “He has left an indelible mark on Los Angeles, and continues to inspire my work in Congress and people of Los Angeles.”

Here is the text:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the work of a distinguished public servant from Los Angeles, Mr. Mark Ridley-Thomas. In 2008, Mr. Ridley-Thomas was overwhelmingly elected as the first African American man to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. This past November, Mr. Ridley-Thomas’ leadership was further acknowledged and he was unanimously approved by the Board to become the first African American man to chair the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

First elected to public office over twenty years ago, Mr. Ridley-Thomas served with distinction on the Los Angeles City Council for nearly a dozen years. He later served two terms in the California State Assembly, where he chaired the Assembly Democratic Caucus. Thereafter, he served as a California State Senator where he chaired the Legislative Black Caucus and initiated unprecedented levels of cooperation and collaboration between the Black, Latino, and Asian-Pacific Islander Legislative Caucuses.

Mr. Ridley-Thomas is widely regarded for uniting civic engagement and government decision-making. In an effort to encourage neighborhood-based advocacy and citizen leadership, Mr. Ridley-Thomas established the Empowerment Congress which served as a model and predecessor for the citywide Neighborhood Councils. Through education, engagement, and empowerment, Mr. Ridley-Thomas equipped and inspired his constituents to confront prevailing racial and economic disparities and improve community and public policy outcomes.

Throughout his life, Mr. Ridley-Thomas has shown a dedication and passion for improving the health and wellness of communities by inspiring participatory engagement to provoke change. After earning a baccalaureate degree in Social Relations and a master’s degree in Religious Studies, he further went on to receive his Ph.D. in Social Ethics from the University of Southern California focusing on Social Criticism and Social Change. He has devoted his life to the betterment of the people of Los Angeles County and has used his leadership to bring about effective change in Los Angeles County.


In addition to this exemplary public service, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas is deeply committed to his roles as father and husband. His wife Avis and twin sons, Sebastian and Sinclair, are shining examples of love and inspiration that Mr. Ridley-Thomas derives from his family and graciously shares with the community.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to have called Mr. Mark Ridley-Thomas a friend and partner in the fight for social and economic justice. He has left an indelible mark on Los Angeles, and continues to inspire my work in Congress and people of Los Angeles. It is a great honor to recognize his work here on the floor today.