Message from MRT, July 2013

Greetings and welcome to our July edition of the Second District newsletter.  There have been no summer doldrums in the Second District.  As you’ll see, we have a lot going on.  You’ll find an important update on child protection and safety issues.  We have too many systematic failures when it comes to children in the care of the county.  Last week, the board created an independent Blue Ribbon Commission to rigorously examine why child protection reforms at the Department of Children and Family Services as well as other county agencies stall, lapse or simply evaporate before they are implemented.  With regard to transportation, the good news continues on the Crenshaw-to-LAX light rail line.  After more than 30 years of discussion organizing and advocating, full funding for the design and construction of the Crenshaw-to-LAX light rail line was approved by the Metro Board.  And it is that time of year again.  Time for Freedom Schools this Summer.  I have never seen an academic program engage and inspire our young people the way Freedom Schools do.  And this summer marks the first time we are bringing these schools to two county probation camps.  Like many of you, I’ll be celebrating Independence Day with family and friends. I encourage everyone to celebrate safely and responsibly.

With hope,
MRT

Message from MRT, June 2013

Greetings and welcome to our June edition of the Second District newsletter.  In it you’ll find an important update on the Leimert Park Station.  After years of struggle and determination, our hard work has paid off.  The Metropolitan Transportation Board last month approved our motion to fund a Leimert Park Village station on the Crenshaw-to-LAX light rail line. This was a test of will, but the community banded together and demonstrated that it does indeed take a village to get a station at Leimert Park Village.  And it was a moment to relish.  I would like to thank all of those who have advocated for the station, insisting that the Crenshaw line had to stop in the heart of the Crenshaw community.  Also, included in this month’s newsletter is a mental health campaign involving Lakers Star Metta World Peace.  This exceptional human being and terrific athlete has joined with the County Department of Mental Health to visit high schools and encourage students to “Talk It Out.”  Together we are lifting the veil of shame and secrecy on an issue that affects nearly one in five Americans. Finally, you’ll find our favorite architectural heritage site for the month.  In June we highlight the John C. Argue Swim Stadium at Exposition Park. The site has a rich history, and today there is a three-story recreation center with two basketball courts, weight and fitness rooms, a family pool, an outdoor amphitheater and a 50-meter competition pool.  I encourage you to take a look and let me know your thoughts on this historic gem.

With hope,
MRT

Message from MRT, May 2013

Greetings and welcome to our May edition of the Second District newsletter.  Let me begin with an update on the Leimert Park Station, which we hope will be a part of the Crenshaw-to-LAX light rail line.  Two years ago this month we were at the MTA urging its inclusion. The station is important to the immediate community as well as to communities across Los Angeles County. You’ve made your wishes known, and getting the station remains our objective.

Last month we observed the Season for Nonviolence, the period between the assassinations of Mohandas K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., with a wonderful vigil atop the Baldwin Hills Overlook. Fittingly, we also turned our attention to the issue of bullying, hosting a wonderful anti-bullying seminar and summit with the Special Needs Network at the University of Southern California. Read more about it in this newsletter.

As usual, you’ll find our favorite architectural heritage site featured in the newsletter.  This month we look at Compton City Hall. Take a look at this striking building, designed by the one and only Harold Williams, an architect of note to many of us in the greater Los Angeles area and beyond.

Finally Cinco de Mayo is on its way.  We celebrate the tradition.  And this year we will be back at the MLK Center for Public Health with food, with fun and with fitness.  Come join us!

With hope,
MRT

Message from MRT, April 2013

Welcome to the April 2013 Newsletter. We begin April with a vigil to conclude the Season for Non-violence, a 64 day-period between the tragic anniversaries marking the deaths of Mohandas Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Please join me tomorrow evening at 6:30 p.m. at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, where we will gather to commit to the principles of peace — and remember those we have lost to acts of violence. I look forward to sharing this time of peaceful reflection with you.

As you know, last month we celebrated Women’s History Month and in this newsletter you will find a feature on several of the extraordinary women heading county departments. These powerful women collectively manage thousands of employees for Los Angeles County, and I invite you read their thoughts on success.

Improving services to those most vulnerable among us is a constant concern to me and the entire Board of Supervisors. Of particular concern are the thousands of children in foster care, who too often wind up institutionalized in a county probation camp. Now the Board has asked for the departments of Mental Health and Probation to work together and follow up with kids who need a bit more help. You’ll find more information on this in the newsletter.

Also in March we congratulated Yolonda Simmons for her winning submission in our street naming contest.  Simmon’s winning entry, “Healthy Way,” will be placed on the road sign leading to the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital.

As we do every month, we encourage you to continue to weigh in and let us know your favorite architectural site in our community. This month’s feature brings us to the 28th Street YMCA. This historic building was designed by legendary African-American architect Paul Revere Williams, and it has been fully rehabbed with a beautiful new modern addition that includes 48 units of special needs housing. Check out our architectural feature and let me know what you think.

Lastly, the economy is still on its way to recovery and we’re working hard to bring jobs to our communities. Attend the Second District Spring into Summer Hiring Spree on April 17th. This is an opportunity to meet dozens of local employers who are hiring now. Hope to see you at an event soon.

Thank you for your time and attention and I look forward to seeing you again in May.

With hope,
MRT

Message from MRT, March 2013

Welcome to the March 2013 Newsletter. As you know, in February we celebrated Black History month with several features on our website. Los Angeles County now has the most African-American executives in its history, and seven leaders are highlighted in this month’s newsletter.

In March we take time to celebrate Women’s History Month. We have much to celebrate with our first female and African-American District Attorney in Los Angeles County, and this year, attorney Marsha Temple, has been named Woman of the Year for her work as a homeless advocate. Read more here.

And on a different note, you will remember that just last week, Congress renewed the Violence Against Women Act; the text of the legislation is available here. This bill strengthens our commitment to bringing the force of law to protect women from domestic abuse and other violent crimes. So while this month we mark an appropriate celebration of progress in our country for women’s rights, much more needs to be done.

When it comes to safeguarding all of our hard-won rights, we cannot be too vigilant. If you have not yet seen it, last week I published an opinion piece on the Huffington Post.com, in defense of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The legacy of the Voting Rights Act is under siege at the United States Supreme Court, and this matter deserves our sustained attention.

On a lighter note, this month’s architectural feature brings us to Culver City’s beautiful City Hall. The building has had a fascinating history since its creation in 1928, and it provides insight into Culver City itself – one of many gems in the Second District. Check out our architectural feature and comment to let me know what you think.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to seeing you again in April.

With hope,
MRT