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LA County Will Monitor Oil Drilling Activities

The oil pump

Hoping to reduce misinformation and continue monitoring oil drilling activities, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has asked for a detailed inventory of all oil fields currently operating within the jurisdiction of the County of Los Angeles.

The report, which is due back to the board by late fall, will be conducted by the Department of Regional Planning in consultation with the Department of Public Health and is expected to provide recommendations on a strategy to ensure optimal, appropriate and consistent regulation of these facilities.

In addition, the Board directed county representatives to advocate for statewide legislation to fund continued studies on the potential environmental and health impacts associated with oil and gas production activities.

“The Inglewood Oil Field has more protections than other oil fields in the State,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who co-authored the motion with Supervisor Hilda Solis. “However, we must ensure that adequate protections continue at Inglewood Oil Field and that other fields in cities and unincorporated areas throughout the County are monitored and are safely operated.”

Additional information, such as a comprehensive peer-reviewed community health assessment, a study of the impacts of hydraulic fracking, as well as a multi-year long air quality monitoring study of the perimeter of the Inglewood Oil Field, has been completed and finds no significant health or environmental impacts that could be correlated with drilling activities. These documents and other required reports can be reviewed at http://planning.lacounty.gov/baldwinhills.

Making Metro a driving force for improving quality of life

20150723_092650_resizedSupervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas took over as chairman of the board at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Thursday, and laid out his vision for making public transit a “driving force for improving the quality of life in Los Angeles County.”

“With the help of voters who generously committed to supporting the build-out of our transit system, and the riders we serve every day, Metro is on a mission to invest billions of dollars over the coming decades to make Los Angeles County’s public transit system one that really helps  people get where they need to go,” he told a packed boardroom at Metro headquarters adjacent to Union Station.


Ongoing construction of Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX Line

“We can accomplish this by remembering three basic principles: riders come first; we are building a system for tomorrow; and transportation will drive economic development,” the supervisor added.

With funding from Measure R, a voter-approved half-cent sales tax to be collected through 2039, Metro is leading a dramatic expansion of the county’s public transit system. It’s the most ambitious transportation investment in the region since freeways were built half a century ago.

“And we owe it to all Angelenos to deliver projects safely, on time, and on budget,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.

He added the board also has an obligation to ensure Metro’s long-term fiscal integrity, improve on-time service, and attract a new generation of riders. Finally, he called for vigilance in caring for an aging system, paying special attention to customer service, and encouraging the hiring or local workers and small and disadvantaged businesses.

Metro’s chairmanship rotates among the members of the Board of Directors every year, to enhance representation of all LA County geographic areas. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas succeeded Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Metro’s The Source website reported Thursday that several projects will keep the board busy, noting the second phase of the Expo Line to Santa Monica and the Gold Line Foothill Extension to Azusa are both nearing the end of construction, with early testing now underway.

Meanwhile, construction is in full swing on the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the Purple Line Extension section one, and the Regional Connector. According to The Source, Metro is also in the process of updating its long-range plan, looking at a potential ballot measure for Nov. 2016 to raise more money for transportation projects.

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Willowbrook is On the Move

For many who call it home, Willowbrook is best described in contradictions: urban and rural, industrial and residential, a small town in a big city. For Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, it’s a place brimming with promise.

Willowbrook’s four square miles are in the midst of unprecedented investment, with the state-of-the-art Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital – to be dedicated August 7 – as the centerpiece.

Still to come are multimillion-dollar renovations to the Rosa Parks Metro station; a new police station, library and senior center; and parks and streetscape improvements for Wilmington Avenue – all of which will complement recent upgrades to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Campus.

A new consensus is emerging: Willowbrook is on the move.

View Park Library to be named after Bebe Moore Campbell


Credit: Ellis Gordon, Jr., husband of BeBe Moore Campbell, and NAMI Urban Los Angeles

View Park Library will soon be named after one of the community’s most distinguished residents: the late bestselling novelist and advocate for the mentally ill, Bebe Moore Campbell.

The county Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the change Tuesday, on a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

“Bebe Moore Campbell was an accomplished journalist and author who, through her writing, engaged in tireless and undaunted efforts to confront racism and challenge the stigma associated with mental illness,” he said. “Her legacy of raising awareness for important social issues certainly will not be forgotten.”

Ms. Campbell authored four New York Times bestsellers: Brothers and Sisters, Singing in the Come Back Choir, What You Owe Me, and 72 Hour Hold.  She also wrote the Los Angeles Times bestseller and New York Times notable book of the year, Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine, for which she won an Image Award for literature from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Her byline has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Essence, Ebony, Black Enterprise, and many other publications.

Ms. Campbell was also the co-founder of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)-Inglewood, now known as NAMI Urban Los Angeles.

She died in 2006 of complications from brain cancer. She was 56.

In 2008, the US. House of Representatives passed a bill declaring the month of July as “Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.”

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Entrance to View Park Library, featuring artwork by Frank Matranga. Credit: Los Angeles County Arts Commission