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LA County Seeks to Host Amazon Headquarters

Amazon corporate office building in Sunnyvale, California (credit: Getty Images)

On a motion by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Board voted unanimously to partner with the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) to support a bid to host Amazon’s second corporate headquarters in Los Angeles County.  The Board also approved a motion by Supervisors Solis and Barger to report back to the Board with recommendations for potential sites for Amazon’s headquarters.

Chairman Ridley-Thomas speaks at the September 19 Board of Supervisors meeting. All Board photos by Diandra Jay / Board of Supervisors

On September 7, Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, announced they were shopping for a home for their second $5-billion corporate headquarters with initially at least 500,000 square feet.

“This could be a game changer. Los Angeles County has already become a world-class destination for technology companies, and we expect Amazon’s presence to continue to improve economic stability and expansion throughout the region,” Chairman Ridley-Thomas said.

On September 11, 2017, Bill Allen, President of the LAEDC, and Chairman Ridley-Thomas, co-authored a letter to key stakeholders throughout Los Angeles County, in an effort to initiate collaborative support for submitting a bid to Amazon.

(Left to Right) Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation CEO Bill Allen, Chairman Ridley-Thomas, and Cal Poly Pomona College of Environmental Design Dean Michael Woo

“This should send a message to other large employers that we are serious about doing business in Los Angeles County,” the Chairman said.

Within Southern California, Los Angeles County will be competing with the counties of Orange, San Diego, and Riverside/San Bernardino.

“At LAEDC, we believe LA County offers an extremely compelling mix for Amazon,” said LAEDC CEO Bill Allen. “We have been working with Chairman Ridley-Thomas and the Board to explore key incentives that may be needed in this competitive environment.”

Should Los Angeles be chosen, Amazon is expected to generate 50,000 full-time jobs with an average annual total compensation of over $100,000 resulting in $750 million in economic benefit to the region over the next 15 years.

50 Years of Community Service

Photo by Diandra Jay/Board of Supervisors.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas marked the 50th anniversary of a community service program created to help residents of Watts and surrounding neighborhoods in the aftermath of the civil unrest there in 1965.

“The Watts Counseling and Learning Center is one of a kind,” he said while presenting its leaders with a commemorative scroll at the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration. “May you thrive and continue another 50 years of outstanding service.”

Sponsored and run by Kaiser Permanente Southern California, the Center has been providing mental health counseling, outreach, and educational services since 1967. One does not need to be a Kaiser Permanente member to receive services.

The program’s goal is to empower individuals and families to overcome barriers, and to strengthen local communities. Through community partnerships and grants, it also aims to improve the health of local residents, reduce health inequalities, create safe communities, improve access to health care, expand healthy food choices, and promote physical activity.

“It has really been a labor of love for the staff,” said Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s community benefit managing director, Angela Coron. “When you walk into the Center, you know that you’re in a special place with people really dedicated to helping people grow, to supporting our families and children and the community.”

Also present during the ceremony were the Center’s director, Maria Aguirre; and founding director Bill Coggins.

Every year, about 4,500 individuals participate in one or more of the 25 programs at the Center. To date, 1,125 children have completed their preschool program; 1,600 high school students have received college entrance test preparation training; and 400 professionals have been participated in the Masters of Social Work training program.

In addition, $284,000 has been awarded to 207 Watts area students through the Bill Coggins Community Leadership Award for college. Of the program’s 32 employees, many are local community members.


Kaiser Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Medical Offices Now Open

With the opening of the Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Medical Office Building, more than 50,000 members of the community will have greater access to innovative, high-quality care in their own neighborhood.

Photos by Henry Salazar / Board of Supervisors

“Members of the Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw community will now have access to a first-rate, state-of-the-art, care experience,” Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Designed with the community in mind, this new facility will offer many convenient features and services to help Kaiser Permanente members and their families live healthier lives.

The new facility will have 60 primary and specialty care doctors providing adult primary care, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, health education classes, optometry, pediatrics, and physical therapy, among other services.  A pharmacy, lab, and nurse clinic will all be housed under one roof.

Altogether, the facility spans 100,000 square feet of space, and also includes two miles of walking paths to promote health and wellness.


Wiseburn Walking Path Opens

A once blighted area has been transformed into a beautiful walking path, the first ever green space dedicated to the Wiseburn community located just east of the 405 freeway.

The $2.7-million Wiseburn Walking Path extends just over half a mile from 132nd to 139th Streets along La Cienega Blvd. At different points in the path, residents can rest on park benches, exercise on outdoor fitness equipment, and play on hopscotch courts surrounded by drought-tolerant landscaping and 100 trees. The light poles are solar powered, the irrigation system uses recycled water, and animal waste stations are provided for the convenience of pet owners.

All photos by Diandra Jay/Board of Supervisors

“We are thrilled to open this long awaited walking path that everyone in Wiseburn, from children to seniors to pets, should be able to enjoy for years to come,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “It is the culmination of years of work and advocacy by the community, as well as collaboration at various phases of government, to turn blight into beauty.”

Members of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps created the walking path, and the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation will maintain it. Aside from Board Chairman Ridley-Thomas, among the other contributors to the project were Wiseburn Watch, whose leaders advocated for the walking path, and Caltrans, which leased the land to the County to construct the trail. The West Basin Water District, the California Natural Resources Agency, and the Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District, were also involved in the project.

“We are so grateful for the opportunity to work on the Wiseburn Walking Path project,”LA Conservation Corps CEO Wendy Butts said. “This invaluable experience and cross-jurisdictional partnership provided our Corpsmembers with training in construction and various types of landscaping skills. This learning will provide another meaningful building block in putting our young people on the pathway to a future filled with hope and opportunity.”

The LA Conservation Corps is a youth development nonprofit organization whose mission is to transform the lives of youth from disadvantaged communities through work and education. Its projects seek to improve the quality of life in communities and to protect the environment for future generations.

Board Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas with members of the Wiseburn community, and the LA Conservation Corps.

Sickle Cell Clinic Celebrates 1st Anniversary at MLK

All photos by Diandra Jay / Board of Supervisors.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Outpatient Center celebrates the first anniversary of its Sickle Cell Disease Clinic to serve adults suffering from this painful and sometimes deadly blood condition. It is estimated there are 5,100 sickle cell patients in Southern California, most of whom are African American. Sickle cell disease can lead to numerous complications, including anemia, recurring pain episodes, respiratory troubles, and even death.

“It has been a great year for advancing treatment of sickle cell disease in the County of Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas at the clinic’s recent celebration of its first year in operation.

Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new medication called Endari that was developed by researcher Dr. Yutaka Niihara from LA Biomed and the Harbor UCLA faculty to help treat the condition.

Once thought of as a childhood illness, sickle cell disease is also common among adults since many with this condition are now living into adulthood thanks to improved treatments. But it can be challenging to find clinics with the expertise and resources to appropriately manage patients with this complex condition.

“Adults with sickle cell disease deserve health care providers that understand the disease, its complications, and their pain. Knowing the people who worked hard to open this clinic gives me confidence it will meet the community’s needs,” said Mary Brown, Director of the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California.

The new clinic is the first new focused facility in decades built to serve adults in Los Angeles County with sickle cell disease.