- Second District
It has been my honor and pleasure to chair the Board of Supervisors this past year, and I want to convey my heartfelt appreciation to my colleagues on the Board now that my tenure is concluded. The accomplishments we have achieved together this year have been the result of collaboration and cooperation – not the work of just one person. Also, congratulations to Supervisor Don Knabe for assuming the gavel.
Likewise, the Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection, with its mandate to review all the county departments that deal with child welfare, will provide recommendations that I expect will ultimately result in structural, systemic changes that will protect our most vulnerable residents—children.
As Board Chairman, I also had the responsibility of chairing the meetings of the Countywide Criminal Justice Coordination Committee. Together we have worked hard to understand, to measure and to mitigate the impact of realignment – the mandated transfer of inmates from state prisons to Los Angeles County for supervision. Yet by far, it is our ongoing discussions about recidivism, how we define it and how we measure our success at re-entry that have and will be crucial to this effort. We are looking forward to an annual report that documents the committee’s work and accomplishments this past year. I want to thank Mark Delgado and the committee’s staff for their work this year as well.
I also want to highlight our work on the First 5 L.A. Commission, where we were able to increase funding for early childhood education, develop resources for identifying early signs of autism in younger children and find more money for permanent housing for homeless families. The commission also established programs to help at-risk young fathers and young mothers learn parenting skills. I would like to thank Kim Belshe and the First 5 Commission staff.
I’d like to thank the Chief Officer, County Counsel, the Auditor-Controller and the rest of the County family for their work, patience and cooperation.
Thanks to Sachi Hamai and the staff of the Board Executive office for their support. Their standard of professionalism is one we came to appreciate even more over the course of the last year.
Finally, a very special thanks to the staff members of the Second District, for they have been exemplary and L.A. County is better for it.
A hallmark of our representative government, particularly at the local level, is the ability to turn over the reins of leadership seamlessly. And while we bring to the chairmanship our own priorities and style, we do so mindful that while we may differ on matters of politics and policy we uphold a tradition of civil discourse and informed deliberation.
It has been an honor to serve as Board Chairman.Hide content
• Pursue an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach on efforts to address human trafficking
• Support for more effective Transition Age Youth services
• The Sex Trafficking Task Force created a Countywide response model to combat the sex trafficking of children
• In a joint motion with Supervisor Knabe, called for the State of California to increase criminal penalties for adults who either buy or attempt to buy sex with children by closing the loophole that allow “Johns” to avoid jail time and felony charges
• Departments of Mental Health and Children and Family Services are working together to clarify the Multi-Disciplinary Team recommendations to identify specific treatment services needed and agencies to provide these services within the youths’ neighborhoods • Department of Public Health created a vetted substance abuse provider list and enhanced their electronic reporting system to identify Probation and DCFS youths who receive their services
• Youths with no substance abuse related court orders are screened for potential substance abuse issues
• Department of Public Social Services’ Pathway to Success program designed a four-week job readiness and job activity course for General Relief Opportunities for Work (GROW) Transition Age Youth participants • Community and Senior Services implemented a year-round subsidized employment program for low-income or foster/probation youth
• Department of Mental Health will increase psychiatric services that target adolescents by reducing emergency room crisis overcrowding and providing urgent care center access
• A tracking application was created to track outcome data electronically, which obtains data through an electronic interface with DCFS’ Child Welfare Services/Case Management System
• Develop and rationalize the County’s approach to economic development and low and moderate income housing efforts in the aftermath of the dissolution of redevelopment agencies
• Review seismic safety, security and efficiency of the Hall of Administration and develop options for modernization and possible replacement of the buildingAchievements
• Community Development Commission and the CEO prepared the Affordable Housing and Economic Development Framework
• In a joint motion with Supervisor Molina, as amended, allocated $15M to the CDC to release an affordable housing Notice of Funding Availability with no less than half of the funds being allocated for homeless-special needs populations
• CEO completed the Phase 1 Building Evaluation Report of the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration (HOA) which analyzed the HOA from an architectural, structural, seismic, mechanical, plumbing, life, fire safety and electrical standpoint
• CEO is in process of developing options for replacement of the HOA that will vary in size and cost
• Implement health care reform
• Leverage MHSA to ensure that the County is making optimal use of the resources it receives
• Establish goal to meet 300,000 enrollment by December 2013 into Healthy Way LA coverage program
• Established over 130 “Patient-Centered Medical Homes” throughout DHS sites
• Implemented the “Girls Health Screen”, a national health screening protocol for girls entering the County’s Probation camps
• Expand Countywide school-based health centers which are located on school campuses accessible to students and the community-at-large
• Nearing completion for facilities on the Martin Luther King, Jr. medical campus, including the Outpatient Center and the MLK Hospital
• County departments, including Public Health, Health Services, and Public Social Services continue to work on Health Care Reform implementation as well as on targeted outreach efforts
• Expand mental health services in multiple categories including Community Services and Supports, Prevention and Early Intervention and Innovations projects.
• Fully implement AB 109 realignment efforts within the resources established by the funding stream provided by the passage of Proposition 30
• Monitor implementation of the Citizens’ Jail Violence Commission recommendations
• The departments of Probation, Mental Health and Health Services have co-located at the Pre-Release Center to screen Post-release Supervised Persons’ files before their release to identify potential service needs
• Deputy Probation Officers have been assigned to liaison with several local law enforcement agencies for compliance check operations and absconder searches, leading to the development of a “Best Practices and Guiding Principles” policy
• The Public Safety Realignment Team and the Countywide Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee have established a Countywide definition of recidivism which, in consultation with independent experts, will be used to measure program outcomes
• Approved a 3-phase program to implement recommendations of the Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence totaling $89 million and the hiring of 278 positions
• Hired Max Huntsman as the Inspector General with LASD oversight responsibilities.
• Promote effective development of Information Technology and telecommunications
• Reform and review contracting processes to ensure more effective calendaring and standardized language
• County departments continued their virtualization effort, and approximately 80% of the servers are virtualized with over 300 old servers decommissioned
• The departments of Parks and Recreation, Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures, Probation, Auditor-Controller, Regional Planning and Public Defender successfully migrated to the centralized email system
• New mobile sites for the departments of Human Resources and Consumer Affairs have been launched, and the departments of Probation, Animal Care and Control and Health Services launched new websites using the County’s shared portal infrastructure
• County departments collaborated to develop a Countywide Contract Management System application that is integrated with the County’s enterprise financial and procurement system
Studies show that fathers play a crucial role in the development of self-esteem and emotional health of their children. Many young men, however, don’t know how to be the fathers they strive to be because they lacked a positive father figure in their own lives.
So, to help young fathers who want to be loving and present in their children’s lives, First 5 LA, a nonprofit that seeks to improve educational and emotional outcomes for children under the age of 5, has allocated $600,000 for a two year pilot that will help young at-risk fathers of children under five to complete school, get a job, participate in their children’s lives and be strong parents and partners.
Those who are or were in probation camps or were foster youth are viewed as “at-risk,” but the program will have an evaluation component to determine who will qualify. The effort would be coordinated with the California Endowment’s Sons and Brothers initiative, which invests $50 million over seven years to support the development of 1,000 youth leaders throughout California, improve attendance by 30 percent in targeted schools, increase reading proficiency among other programs that help young people stay out of the criminal justice system.
“These are difficult challenges, but they can be addressed and overcome” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who authored the motion. “This is a modest pilot effort to support young, motivated at-risk fathers who want to be loving fathers for their young families. With this, we are investing in our future.”
Chants of “Our children are not for sale!” echoed loudly along a stretch of Long Beach Boulevard as nearly 400 residents, members of church organizations, community activists and elected officials marched from Compton to Lynwood, ignoring a light evening drizzle to bring attention to the plight of children who are sexually trafficked.
“Every day, children as young as 12 are bought and sold by adult men,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, who organized the march. “We will shine a light on this despicable behavior. You, who come here days, nights, weekends to buy these girls, we see you. And we will bring changes throughout Los Angeles County and the state of California.”The march, which began at Palmer Avenue in Compton and ended at Helen Keller Elementary School in Lynwood, was attended by State Senator Holly Mitchell, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, Compton Mayor Aja Brown, attorney and social justice advocate Sandra Fluke and other local officials as well as community residents. Marchers followed a 1.6-mile route that is often the site where “johns” and “pimps” buy and sell young victims. Seedy motels and some businesses along the corridor also contribute to this activity. Human sex trafficking is a $32 billion dollar business increasingly run by gangs. The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that 100,000 children in the United States are sold for sex each year. In Los Angeles, it is estimated that as many as 3,000 children are trafficked. Sheriff Baca pledged that his department would arrest the men who have sex with underage girls. “These young girls are victims. Our strategy is not to put them in a prosecutorial place but to save them from those who should be prosecuted,” he said. At the event, survivors moved the crowd by telling their stories and calling for action. “As a child, I was bought and sold here on these streets,” said D’Lita Miller, who was kidnapped and raped at 11 and ultimately forced into the life of sexual exploitation. Miller, who is now an advocate for girls, with the organization Saving Innocence, urged the crowd to look at girls on the street with compassion and love. “I stand here as a voice for the voiceless. These are not prostitutes. These are children of God. Stand up because they need you. All of you here are making a statement.” Maria Suarez, with the National Council of Jewish Women, was purchased for $200 at the age of 15 and endured years of beatings and sexual exploitation, thanked the crowd. “It is so beautiful to see everyone here,” she said. “We are human beings. We are not disposable. I encourage all of you to keep on fighting.” Many residents said they turned out for the march after witnessing too many lewd acts committed by men with young victims in parked cars, or coming in and out of a row of seedy motels and the adjacent alleyways. Much of the activity occurs in front of the school or in the school parking lot when children are getting in and out of school. The march even drew residents from Long Beach, who said that what happens on the stretch of boulevard in Compton and Lynwood can also affect their own community as well. “We are neighbors,” said Carlos Valdez of the Coolidge Triangle community in Long Beach, noting that whenever law enforcement cracks down on the trafficking activity in Lynwood and Compton, it gets pushed into their neighborhood. “We know that this can be a cat and mouse game. So we like to get involved.” Senator Mitchell pledged to the crowd that her first pieces of legislation in January would attack the issue of sex trafficking in California. “If you are here tonight, that means you intend to do something about this travesty happening in our state and our country,” she said. “Thank you for making a public commitment to do the right thing for our children.”
The city of Lawndale will host its annual tree-lighting ceremony at 4 p.m. Monday, December 2 at at the Lawndale Civic Center. Popularly known as the Angel Tree Lighting ceremony, this annual event will feature live entertainment, stage performances from local kindergarten, elementary and middle school students, arts and crafts, a slide with real snow, train rides around the Civic Center Plaza and refreshments for sale. The lighting of the angel tree will take place at 5:45 p.m. with Santa arriving at 6 p.m. Pictures with Santa will be available from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
For more information, please contact the City of Lawndale Community Center by calling (310) 973-3270.
In an effort to see that horses and other barn animals in the Athens area never again are warehoused in makeshift stables with dangerous electrical conditions, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors established strict guidelines for commercial horse stables in the West Rancho Dominguez.
On June 18, 2012, a fire broke out in a horse stable in the unincorporated community of West Ranch Dominguez, killing three horses and a goat. This facility previously had been cited for numerous fires, building and safety violations, animal cruelty cases, and was the focus of criminal investigations. More than 60 horses were kept in small quarters, many of them near starvation.
The board recently adopted a plan that outlines requirements for future stables built in the community. The new standards set minimum sizes for feed and water storage, manure management, exercise and recreation areas such as riding rings and riding arenas and require stalls to be large enough to safely accommodate horses. In addition, stalls now will have to be constructed with fire resistant materials.
“Those dangerous conditions that resulted in the deaths of animals and unsafe conditions for their owners will not be tolerated,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who initiated the move to establish guidelines. “The county is committed to developing new standards that will keep the animals safe and yet, preserve the tradition of horseback riding in this community.”
However, in order to find a way to accommodate the long-standing tradition of urban horseback riding, the supervisor also has funded a study to look at opportunities to build suitable horse stables within the area. A review of potential sites with enough open space to accommodate horse stables is currently underway.