- Second District
The beautiful new Lennox Library and Constituent Service Center is set to open with a celebration in April. Built in 1949, the original library was the oldest and most outdated facility within the county’s public library system. The $8.4 million library renovation, however, is only the latest project in Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’s longstanding effort to fuel community engagement by providing attractive and useful public spaces for constituents.
Since taking office in 2008, the Supervisor has invested more than $13 million to upgrade and create constituent service centers in strategic locations throughout the Second District. The centers, fully staffed and open to the public on weekdays, provide venues for town halls and public meetings on important issues, as well as space for ongoing educational programs for residents. In some locations, county agencies such as the Department of Community and Senior Services are on-site to directly serve residents.
“We need to meet our constituents in their communities,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “The policy work we do at the Hall of Administration is only part of our mission. By attracting residents to our constituent centers we also create opportunities for members of the community to engage with us and each other, to enable residents to let us know what services they need and how we can help make neighborhoods better.”
The much-anticipated Lennox Library and Constituent Service Center is set to open with a celebration in April.
“I am eager to see the smiles on our resident’s faces when they walk into the new Lennox Library and Center,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “They, like all of the other constituents in Los Angeles County, deserve nothing but the best in services and facilities.“
Originally built in 1949, the Lennox Library was the oldest and most outdated library within the County’s Public Library System. The new library will be more than double the size. There will be a children’s section and teen study room, as well as a community meeting room and of course, an adult reading area. There will be nine new public access computers and a community meeting room with seating for 75 people.
The Exposition Park Constituent Service Center, located adjacent to several popular museums and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, currently features the largest public meeting space of the centers, which has made it possible to host numerous well-attended events there since its 2011 completion, including a Town Hall meeting with Max Huntsman, the County’s new Inspector General overseeing the Sheriff’s Dept, a round table discussions on stormwater pollution control, LAX rail connection options, a discussion on citizen’s oversight of the Sheriff’s Department and a forum on financing clean energy projects.
The Florence-Firestone Constituent Service Center, located across the street from the Sheriff’s station, is open from 8:30am to 4:30pm on weekdays. Also, with an on-site outpost of the County Registrar-Recorder’s office, constituents can easily apply for birth certificates, marriage licenses and death certificates without traveling to downtown Los Angeles. The facility also offers constituents free access to computers, fitness facilities and a recreation room.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is pleased to announce his selection of Martin Luther King Community Health Foundation Board Chair Linda Griego and Board Member Candace Bond McKeever as the Second Supervisorial District’s Women of the Year; both women are being honored for their outstanding work as advocates for better healthcare, their philanthropy and community service.
Griego and Bond McKeever were chosen by the Supervisor for their vision and guidance on the MLK Community Health Foundation board. As members of the board, Griego and Bond McKeever play a crucial role in building a deep base of support for the new MLK Community Hospital. In January, Griego and Bond McKeever were instrumental in raising more than $600,000 for the new hospital at the Building the Dream Luncheon held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles. The new hospital, scheduled to open next year, will offer state of the art medical services and wellness and preventative health programs.
Griego and Bond McKeever will join six other honorees, selected by the other members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors at the 29th Annual Women of the Year Awards Luncheon, sponsored by the Los Angeles County Commission for Women on March 10.
Griego plans to dedicate her award to her grandmother, who raised her, and who she said instilled in her a strong sense of entrepreneurship and work ethic and who taught her the importance of helping others.
Aside from leading the MLK Community Health Foundation Board, Griego has spent the last 28 years as president and chief executive office of Griego Enterprises, Inc., a business management company. Griego was also Interim President and CEO of the Los Angeles Community Development Bank, Los Angeles director of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and President and CEO of Rebuild LA, Inc. She has also served on a slew of nonprofits, including the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the California Community Foundation.
“It is an extraordinary honor to be one of the recipients of the Woman of the Year Awards,” said Griego. “It means a great deal to me that Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has recognized my community advocacy work, social entrepreneurship and life-long dedication to improving the quality of the life of women and girls in Los Angeles County.”
Bond McKeever shares Griego’s passion for community outreach. She is the current president of Strategic Solutions Group, which specializes in strategic planning, business and nonprofit development. She is a member of President Obama’s Advisory Committee on the Arts, a lifetime member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and a board member on both the California Science Center and the National Medical Fellowship.
“I consider myself privileged to be included among these outstanding women who are making a huge difference in the lives of women every day,” said Bond McKeever. “Whether it is improving access to health care, education or advancing economic and social equality, these women are responsible for catalyzing the lives for all LA County residents through the empowerment of women.”
The Los Angeles County Commission for Women is dedicated to ensuring that all women are treated equally regardless of race, ethnic and social backgrounds, religious convictions, sexual orientation and social circumstances. The Commission champions many causes including employment, gender equality, healthcare, ending violence against women and supporting legislation that positively impacts the lives of women.
“Linda Griego and Candace Bond McKeever are tireless in their efforts to help make Los Angeles a better place,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “I commend them and this year’s other honorees not just for their efforts, but for their successes in making a difference in the lives of many and for their strong leadership in bringing quality healthcare for all.”
When someone is having a heart attack, time is of the essence; minutes after it stops receiving blood, the heart muscle begins to die causing permanent damage. Eventually, the heart will simply stop. In South Los Angeles, however, the nearest available treatment was more than 10 miles away – and many minutes away to hospitals around the county as far as Torrance or downtown Los Angeles.
St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood is now a certified ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (known as STEMI) Center, offering trained cardiologists and immediate treatment for anyone suffering a heart attack. There are now 34 such centers in LA County, with St. Francis and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center as the other such locations in the Second District. The new center is particularly important for Los Angeles County, considering that coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death for residents–with blacks and Latinos suffering the highest rates among all other ethnic groups.
“The heart is a muscle like the brain,” said Adam Garcia, a cardiovascular and radiology technician at St. Francis. “If it doesn’t get fed, it won’t do well. And so that is why we have to take care of the problem as fast as possible.”
Within minutes at St. Francis, trained staff can stabilize a patient, insert a stent in a blocked artery or perform surgery. The STEMI Center compliments The Heart Center at St. Francis Medical Center, which has a full-time staff of cardiologists, specialty trained nurses, surgeons and technicians who offer a full range of heart care services. Quick treatment can not only save lives, but also reduce the risk of long-term heart damage and prevent life-threatening complications.
“We needed to provide this care and so this is super exciting,” said Dr. Michael Stephen, Chief of Staff, St. Francis Medical Center.
Added Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who attended the launch of the new center: “The residents of South Los Angeles deserve access to high-quality services in their community and the opening of this new receiving center does just that. Lives will be improved and even saved because of what is happening today.”
Mervyn M. Dymally, the Trinidad-born former Congressman who broke race barriers as a legislator in California and in Congress, was honored posthumously at Charles R. Drew University with a bronze memorial sculpted in his image.
A true pioneer, Dymally, who died in 2012, was the first Trinidadian to serve California as State Senator and as Lieutenant Governor. He was one of the first U.S. Congressmen of African and Indian origin. Dymally was also one of three African-Americans ever to hold statewide office in California.
Among his most noted and successful efforts was his tireless work on to see that Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II receive reparations.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who attended the sculpture’s unveiling, said Dymally was “a character, a charmer, a generous teacher and one of the hardest working elected officials I’ve ever met.”
The bronze bust by internationally acclaimed artist and sculptor Nijel Binns, has been 10 years in the making. Binns is best known for his 16-foot bronze “Mother of Humanity” sculpture of an African woman standing on the globe and holding a feather of peace located at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee.
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas credited Dymally with being the first major political figure to help launch his career into elected office in 1991.
“Merv’s legacy lives on not just in his legislative career,” said the supervisor, “but in the legions of people across all ethnicities, he mentored.”
Every year, Loyola Law School presents the Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Public Service Award to an individual who is dedicated to social justice and shows a commitment to serving their community. This year, the award was given to Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
The great-grandson of slaves, the grandson of a sharecropper and the son of a Golden State Mutual insurance salesman, Cochran became one of the leading lawyers of his time before passing away in 2005. Inspired by Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Cochran graduated from Loyola Law School and went on to create a highly successful criminal defense practice.
No issue was more defining of Cochran’s work than police reform. Both Cochran and Supervisor Ridley-Thomas were entrenched in the battles of the 1980’s and 1990’s around reforming the Los Angeles Police Department. Now, as a Los Angeles County Supervisor, Ridley-Thomas is pushing to bring structural reform to a Sheriff’s Department that needs more accountability.
Thanks to a motion authored by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, Sheriff’s Inspector General Max Huntsman and Interim Sheriff John Scott will come up with a plan for how a citizen’s oversight commission would work and serve as a means of checks and balances for the Sheriff’s Department.
This comes after ongoing investigations into the Sheriff’s Department use of force in county jails, including a criminal investigation by the United States Department of Justice, the indictment of 20 deputies and a civil investigation.
In addition, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas authored a motion to change the way juvenile defendants are appointed legal representation. The board is now set to analyze and review the current system which often does not offer young offenders adequate defense.
“I am honored and humbled to receive this award and be a part of this tribute to a man who embodied a dedication to social justice and a commitment to serving his community,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas to the crowd of nearly 200 lawyers. “The legacy of Johnnie Cochran lives on in those whom he mentored, those who continue the fight to improve the quality of life for all people and those who have been influenced by his good works and deeds.”