Environment, Parks, Libraries

Supervisor Honors Beverly White for Exemplary Journalism

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas presents a scroll to NBC4 reporter Beverly White, flanked by members of the Board of Supervisors, top executives from NBC4 Southern California, and members of the National Association of Black Journalists – Los Angeles. Photo by Diandra Jay/Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas presented NBC4 reporter Beverly White with a scroll in honor of her being chosen to receive the 2018 Chuck Stone Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas with NBC4 reporter Beverly White and her husband, Xavier Higgs. Photo by David Franco/Board of Supervisors.

“It is a national acknowledgement of how her extraordinary work as a journalist has contributed to the enrichment, understanding and advancement of black life and culture,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said during the ceremony at the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration.

White has covered a variety of breaking local and national stories during her nearly 40-year career, including the Northridge earthquake, the Montecito mudslides, and the Boston Marathon bombings. She has said that she was drawn to journalism because of its power to help correct racial disparities through accurate and thoughtful news coverage of important issues.

As a pioneering black woman in this highly competitive field, she has been an inspiration to many, as well as a mentor to the next generation of reporters.

“I am humbled to have Los Angeles County’s most influential body of elected officials acknowledge my NABJ Chuck Stone Lifetime Achievement Award,” White said. “This recognition touches my heart since I’ve spent most of my career in LA, covering civil unrest, labor actions, natural disasters and more.”

Members of the National Association of Black Journalists – Los Angeles (L-R): Marqueeda LaStar, Robert Harrell, Veronica Hendrix, Tre’Vell Anderson, Beverly White, Lois Pitter Bruce, Xavier Higgs, and Jarrett Hill. Photo by David Franco/Board of Supervisors.

Born and raised in Killeen, Texas, White was one of four children and the first in her household to finish college. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, she reported for news stations in Waco, San Antonio, Cincinnati and Miami. Her reporting on Hurricane Andrew earned her and her news team a Peabody Award.

Her career took a meaningful turn when she attended an NABJ convention and met the executive who ultimately recruited her to join NBC4 in Los Angeles, where she recently celebrated her 25th anniversary.

Aside from the Peabody Award, White is also a recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Journalist Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, the 2008 California Legislative Black Caucus Leadership Award, and many other honors.

“Beverly White is simply a legend, a broadcasting mainstay,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover, social media editor for NBC-owned television stations. “For more than a quarter of a century, Beverly has been delivering strong news stories in the country’s second-largest market. To say she has a powerful presence that resonates with her viewers would be an understatement.”

Working nights allows White to meet with students during the day and encourage them to enter the profession. She has served as a scholar-in-residence at Citrus College and an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California.

“I think Beverly is the ultimate example of what a black journalist is, what a black journalist can be, and a really great person who has a great heart,” said Tre’vell Anderson, president of NABJ – Los Angeles, and a film reporter at the Los Angeles Times.

The NABJ bestows its Lifetime Achievement award on journalists with at least 15 years of experience and a track record of extraordinary contributions to the enrichment, understanding and advancement of black life and culture. The award is named after Chuck Stone, late columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News and former Tuskegee Airman, who died in 2014.

L-R: Senior VP of Government Affairs for NBC Universal Steve Nissen; NBC4 Southern California President and General Manager Steve Carlson; Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas; NBC4 reporter Beverly White, NBC4 Southern California VP for News Todd Mokhtari; NBC4 Southern California VP for Communications and Community Affairs Terri Hernandez Rosales; and NBC4 Executive Producer Carlos Hopkins. Photo by David Franco/Board of Supervisors.

Statement by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on Placing a Water Quality Funding Measure on the Ballot

“Clean water is critical. Let the voters decide if they want to pay for it or not.”

The Final Step to Constructing the Park to Playa Trail

Rendering of Park to Playa pedestrian bridge over La Cienega Boulevard courtesy of Los Angeles County Public Works.

The Board of Supervisors approved building a pedestrian bridge over La Cienega Boulevard to create the final link in the 13-mile Park to Playa trail that would stretch from the Baldwin Hills to the Pacific Ocean once completed in 2020.

Stoneview Nature Center Ribbon Cutting on April 8, 2017.

The bridge will link the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook and Stoneview Nature Center to the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation area. Aside from the bridge, the Board also approved new trails, landscaping, security fencing and wayfinding signage on both sides of the bridge.

“What we are doing here is trailblazing,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “With the Park to Playa trail, South Los Angeles residents finally have a direct route for walking, running or biking through the Baldwin Hills all the way to the beach. It will be good for their minds, bodies and souls.”

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas at Stocker Corridor Trail Dedication on March 4, 2016.

“This bridge will be a dream come true for hundreds of daily trail users in the Baldwin Hills Parklands,” added David McNeill, Executive Officer of the Baldwin Hills Conservancy. “The Conservancy is grateful the final piece of the Park to Playa vision is fully funded and ready to be built for people and wildlife to safely cross La Cienega.” 

The Park to Playa network of trails, parks and open spaces begins along Stocker Street just west of Crenshaw Boulevard, proceeds west through the Baldwin Hills and onto the Ballona Creek to the Ballona Wetlands in Culver City, eventually connecting to the Marvin Braude bicycle path on the beach in Playa del Rey.

The eastern half of the Park to Playa trail is a 6.5-mile system of walking, hiking and biking trails through the Baldwin Hills Parklands. The segment of the trail that connects the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook to the Stoneview Nature Center was completed this summer.

Couple walks a trail at Stoneview Nature Center.

The County Departments of Parks and Recreation and Public Works, the Baldwin Hills Conservancy, and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority have been working together to complete the trail, which spans multiple jurisdictions, including the cities of Culver City and Los Angeles, and State Parks property.

Stoneview Nature Center Grand Opening on April 8, 2017.

Modernizing Los Angeles County’s Voting Infrastructure

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas issued the following statement on June 12, 2018 after the Board of Supervisors authorized contracts advancing the Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP) project. Launched in 2009, VSAP’s goal is to modernize Los Angeles County’s aging voting system by creating an improved hand-marked vote-by-mail ballot, an innovative interactive sample ballot, a robust tally system based on modern scalable technologies, and a new ballot marking device.

“The challenges we experienced during the Statewide Direct Primary Election are symptomatic of an aging voting infrastructure that I believe can and will be corrected.

“On June 5, errors in the voter roster caused the County to activate the fail-safe mechanism that is known as the provisional ballot. While this guarantees every eligible voter their constitutional right to cast a ballot that will, in fact, be counted, it is well understood that people generally do not like how it feels to deal with a provisional ballot. It makes one feel as though voting is provisional rather than constitutional, and the experience raises a degree of angst that is certainly understandable.

“It is fair to say that the current voting infrastructure is ill-equipped to provide the kind of voting experience that inspires the level of confidence that we know is necessary. This Board and the staff at the County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk want every single eligible voter – some 5 million in the County of Los Angeles – to know that we mean business in securing and protecting the constitutional right to vote. Many people fought, bled and died so that we can enjoy this right, and the County of Los Angeles has an obligation to ensure it is fully appreciated.

“Since 2009, the County has invested significant efforts to dissect and redesign a voting experience sensitive to and, you might even say, hyper-focused on, the voter’s needs and requirements in compliance with the Voting Rights Act. This is not a negotiable set of circumstances. It is what we can and must do.

“I think it is appropriate that we continue the effort to create voting infrastructure that lets people vote on more than one day and at any voting center, vote on fully accessible voting equipment, vote on the same day they register, and vote on better vote-by-mail ballots.

“Part of that work is what’s being advanced today. The culmination of these efforts should raise the level of confidence in our voting infrastructure and ensure that the experience we had this past week won’t repeat itself.”