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Landmark Sports and Academic Complex Planned in Carson

Some of the world’s biggest names in sports have teamed up with Los Angeles County to unveil their game plan for building a massive athletic and academic campus for underserved children in South L.A.

The Carol Kimmelman Athletic & Academic Campus is proposed to be built on a portion of what had been the Victoria Golf Course in Carson – spanning more than 80 acres and featuring up to 52 tennis courts, soccer and multi-purpose fields, and as well as state-of-the-art academic center with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

The USTA Foundation – the United States Tennis Association’s charitable arm – and the Tiger Woods-founded TGR Foundation envision offering their programs at the campus at little or no cost to underserved local youth and families.

Rendering courtesy of The Carol Kimmelman Athletic & Academic Campus “This project brings great potential to transform an underused site into an unrivaled community resource that will benefit not just the South Bay, but the entire region.  Individuals of all ages could be enriched by the recreational opportunities made available at the Kimmelman Campus, and the STEM-based learning opportunities at the TGR Foundation would create an unrivaled educational opportunity for our youth,” said L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

The project was inspired by the passion and generosity of Carol Kimmelman, a California native who passed away in 2017. A member of the 1983 national champion USC women’s tennis team and former South L.A. elementary school teacher, she believed fervently in the power of tennis and other sports to transform the lives of young people from all backgrounds.

Two years after she lost her battle with cancer, her husband and four children are continuing her mission to make sports and education more equitable by opening this premiere center.

Doug Kimmelman, President of the Kimmelman Family Foundation, said, “Carol was passionate about the potential for children to learn important life lessons both in the classroom and on the tennis court or sports field. This exceptional, cutting-edge complex will be a safe place for young people throughout the region to experience these lessons firsthand, helping them achieve their full potential and opening doors throughout their lives.”

The USTA Foundation foresees establishing the West Coast hub of the National Junior Tennis & Learning program at the campus. NJTL offers tennis programs, youth services and college scholarships to more than 200,000 underserved youth around the country each year.

Additionally, the USTA Southern California Tennis Association intends to move their headquarters to the Campus and USTA’s Player Development division, which works to develop world-class American players, expects to make the campus its West Coast center of operations.

On the academic side, TGR Foundation – founded by golf legend Tiger Woods and his late father, Earl Woods – will oversee the Kimmelman Campus’ expansive 25,000 square foot learning center, which will be equipped with high-tech labs, classrooms, and interactive stations that encourage innovative and hands-on STEM learning.

“My dad helped me launch TGR Foundation over 20 years ago, inspired by our family motto of ‘share and care,’” said Tiger Woods, the philanthropist, entrepreneur and 14-time major champion. “Like Carol Kimmelman, Dad was dedicated to helping young people find their self-worth and confidence and I’m proud and honored to help her legacy live on. TGR Foundation is excited to be part of the Carol Kimmelman Athletic & Academic Campus, where we can continue to spread our mission of empowering students to pursue their passions through education.”

Dynamic tennis programming for children of all ages and abilities will be offered by both the SCTA and the USTA Foundation’s NJTL program on tennis courts spanning 29 acres, allowing more students throughout Los Angeles to grow and learn life lessons through the sport.

“This is the most significant undertaking by the USTA Foundation on the West Coast supporting our mission of combining tennis and education together to change lives,” said Chris Evert, the 18-time Grand Slam singles champion and former world No. 1 who was recently appointed chair of the USTA Foundation’s Board of Directors. “By making high-quality tennis and educational opportunities available to all local children, regardless of income, this campus will provide a transformative experience for thousands of young people that inspires them to succeed both on and off the court.”

Already, the Kimmelman Family Foundation, along with the USTA Foundation, USTA, SCTA, and representatives of TGR have met with school district leaders, local community-based non-profit organizations, law enforcement officials, and business groups to collaborate on programs and opportunities at the Kimmelman Campus.

The County is also reviewing proposed plans for the remaining portion of the project to include other sports and recreation facilities, including up to eight full-sized soccer fields; two multi-purpose fields that can accommodate rugby and other sports; basketball courts; a sprint track; and training turf to promote active and healthy lifestyles for the entire community.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to formally consider a ground lease and associated environmental documents this Summer.

Reforming the Jail System

Statement by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on Reforming the Jail System

 

Photo by Bryan Chan / Board of Supervisors

“Today, the Board of Supervisors helped ensure that Men’s Central Jail – an inhumane environment – would be torn down. We rejected a jail for those with mental illness and instead committed to looking into providing mental health treatment through a decentralized continuum of care.  Finally, we invested in a plan to scale up diversion, and commissioned multiple studies to better understand and serve those in our care.

“The work is complex – the nine motions today on these topics underscore this — and must be viewed in the larger and continuously evolving context of criminal justice reform. But there is clearly an ongoing paradigm shift towards treatment and rehabilitation for individuals with mental illness who are caught up in the jail system.

“I am encouraged by the progress we have already made in the County, including diverting nearly 3,000 individuals from jails to treatment and other services, and building innovative psychiatric urgent care centers in our communities. It is time to expand upon these solutions, and today was an important step in that direction.”

The State Steps Up on Homelessness

Statement by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on the Creation of a Statewide Commission on Homelessness and Affordable Housing

 

“I applaud Governor Gavin Newsom for creating the Commission on Homelessness and Affordable Housing and enabling the State of California to have a larger role in tackling the defining civic and moral crises of our time.

“Los Angeles County is the epicenter of these crises, accounting for about 40 percent of the state’s homeless population. Almost exactly two years ago, we took the unprecedented step of declaring a state of emergency and placing Measure H on the ballot. This initiative has now taken tens of thousands of people off the streets and into housing, and prevented many more of our neighbors from falling into homelessness.

“Given the dire shortage of affordable housing, however, the situation remains tenuous. I applaud the Governor for stepping up to the plate, and I look forward to working with Mayor Darrell Steinberg and the Commission to continue developing innovative and effective strategies to address homelessness.”

Black History Month: Stephanie Wiggins

Stephanie Wiggins at the February 12, 2019 presentation. Photo by Diandra Jay / Board of Supervisors

In the second celebration of Black History Month, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas presented a scroll to Stephanie Wiggins, the first female and first African American CEO of Metrolink.  In this role, she is now responsible for a commuter railroad that covers over 2.8 million train miles and transports over 400 million passengers per year.

“A true trailblazer, Stephanie Wiggins has enjoyed a stellar career in the transportation industry,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.

Stephanie Wiggins was named chief executive officer of Metrolink by a unanimous vote of the board of directors in December 2018. Wiggins assumed leadership in January 2019 and leads the 275-employee strong commuter railroad with a budget of $793 million.

As CEO, Wiggins directs an agency that operates a commuter rail network on seven routes across a six-county, 538 route-mile system.  Wiggins has held high-level positions at three of the five-member agencies that comprise Metrolink and is well-known as a customer -focused leader who finds solutions from a regional perspective.

Wiggins’ vision for the agency is to create value and exceed expectations by prioritizing a customer-first orientation with three pillars to provide an outstanding customer experience: safety and security, an integrated system, and modernizing business practices.

Prior to leading Metrolink, Wiggins was Deputy CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) where she assisted the CEO in providing leadership and formulating and achieving strategic public transportation objectives, including the passage of Measure M, a half-cent sales tax approved by 71 percent of voters in LA County. During her tenure at LA Metro, Stephanie also served as the Executive Director of Vendor/Contract Management, where she implemented procurement streamlining initiatives and greatly expanded Metro’s utilization of small and historically underutilized businesses.  Prior to that role, Stephanie was the Executive Officer and Project Director of the Congestion Reduction/ExpressLanes Program where she launched the first high occupancy toll lanes in LA County, the I-10 and I-110 Express Lanes, which improved travel times and travel reliability on two of the County’s most congested freeway corridors.

Prior to Metro, she served as Regional Programs Director for the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) and oversaw transit, commuter rail, rideshare, goods movement and rail capital projects.

Wiggins began her career in transportation when she accepted a temporary assignment at the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority and fell in love with the mission of the agency. The six-month temporary assignment turned into more than four years. She then accepted a policy analyst position with the RCTC where she worked for an additional nine and a half years in management and senior management roles.

Feeling the need for personal and academic growth, Wiggins earned a Master of Business Administration from the USC Marshall School of Business in 2007. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Whittier College in 1992.

Wiggins is a self-proclaimed “military brat” whose father made his career in the Air Force. She credits her experience moving from base to base and country to country as a child for teaching her the importance of diversity.

Wiggins is the founding president of the Inland Empire Chapter of Women’s Transportation Seminar. She is the recipient of many awards including the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials 2018 Women Who Move the Nation Award. She is a Board Member of the Los Angeles Chapter of Friends of the Children.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas presents scroll to Stephanie Wiggins. Photo by Diandra Jay / Board of Supervisors

EMT Program Inspires Young Women to Improve their Lives by Saving Others

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas recognizes the first female cohort of the Los Angeles Emergency Medical Technician pilot program during the February 12, 2019 board meeting. Photo by Diandra Jay / Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas honored the first all-female and the final cohort of the intensive five-monthLos Angeles Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) pilot program designed to introduce young adults to sustainable career pathways in the public safety and health sectors.

“It wasn’t easy, but you persisted. You’ve achieved this milestone and you are one step closer to your ultimate dream career goal,” he told them. “No matter your selected path, rest assured the demand for professionals in the health and public safety industries are already high and projected to continue growing over the next decade.”

The earn and learn program provides career-technical education, life coaching and leadership development, and job placement assistance, mentoring, and integrated supportive services.

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby shares remarks at the board meeting. Photo by Diandra Jay / Board of Supervisors

“The motto of the LA County Fire Department is Proud Protectors of Life and Property and we have found people who had a need to be mentored and to be developed,” said LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby. “I saw these young ladies five months ago and to see their growth is just amazing.”

Graduates are guaranteed employment after successfully completing the program. Working as an EMT can lead to careers as nurses, physician assistants, firefighters and doctors.

“For me personally, this class was definitely a second chance,” said Zayana Ross-Torrance, one of the new graduates. “I am grateful for programs like this that let some of us take our first steps into the medical field and I’m glad to have these ladies continue on this journey with me.”

LA EMT Program participant speaks to the Board of Supervisors. Photo by Diandra Jay / Board of Supervisors

LA EMT Program partners include the Workers Education and Resource Center, Central Baptist Church, the Los Angeles County Stentorians, and McCormick Ambulance.

The success of this model was identified in the County’s Preparing Los Angeles for County Employment, or PLACE program, as a pipeline for training potential future firefighters.

“This program goes back to 8 years ago when I was appointed and wanted to do things in the community to make a significant difference,” said Chief Osby. “We have maintained this commitment and this is the fruit of our labor.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women are unrepresented as firefighters and the percentage of women firefighters in the County and City of LA is slightly below the national average at 2 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

More than 70 young adults have participated in the program since it launched its first cohort in May 2017.