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Painting for the future of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas addresses 200 young scholars at the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital.

A sea of smiles from 200 children ages five to 16, surrounded the Supervisor and his wife Mrs. Avis Ridley-Thomas as they arrived at the Interns and Residents Building at the new Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital.

Led by City Year staff to their canvases with smocks on and paintbrushes in hand, these children were ready to paint panels for display on the 900 foot – long Multi- Service Ambulatory Care Center walkway.

Freedom School scholars cheer and chant in preparation for painting.

The student artists were drawn from several Freedom Schools, a six week summer literacy program in the Second District. As part of the Freedom School Curriculum, Freedom School students read books, illustrate their comprehension through arts, crafts, dance, sports and music, go on field trips, and engage in community service in a nurturing environment that fosters growth and development.

Freedom School’s was established in 1992, by Children’s Defense Fund founder and children’s advocate Marian Wright Edelman, Freedom Schools provide rigorous, quality summer and after school instruction to children who live in urban areas. The programming, which is both challenging and entertaining, is based on the belief that all children are capable of learning and achieving high standards.

For the past month, the schools in the second district have taught more than 200 students at the four sites located at: First New Christian Fellowship in South L.A.; Bethel A.M.E. Church in South L.A; Community Coalition at Foshay Learning Center in South L.A; and First Church of God in Inglewood.[pullquote_right]”Your young , intellectual, and creative minds are painting dreams of a bright future,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.[/pullquote_right]

In preparation for the 2013 opening of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas partnered with City Year Los Angeles, the Department of Public Works, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Multi- Service Ambulatory Care Center to provide Freedom School students with the opportunity to paint the mural.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas & Ms. Avis Ridley-Thomas direct young painters on the “dream” mural.

The finished product was a colorful collage that depicts dreams of a bright future for themselves and their community.

The mural will be displayed in front of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center.

Watts Park opens after long-awaited $6.8 million makeover

[pullquote_right]”All around you’ll see a newly landscaped and expanded areas for recreational opportunity,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas[/pullquote_right]Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joined the Department of Parks and Recreation and a host of community organizations to dedicate the newly renovated Ted Watkins Memorial Park.  Crowds packed the park to celebrate the freshly renovated public space.

Eighty-five percent of the 27-acre park underwent a $6.8 million renovation. Improvements include a new walking path, fitness stations, new picnic area, Skate Park and multipurpose sports field.

Summer programs like the Parks After Dark program brings the local community together in the evenings.  Free computer classes and a teen club are additional community benefits.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas participates in tele-town hall with LA Urban League

More than 950 stakeholders participated in a telephone town hall with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who fielded and answered questions from second district residents on the progress and future of the Crenshaw-to-LAX line.

Participants asked the Supervisor about job eligibility along the Crenshaw Corridor, the impact of the 600 residents who packed the Metro Board Meeting on May 26, and what Leimert Park homeowners can do to ensure a Leimert Park station is included in the Crenshaw-to-LAX line.

During the hour-long discussion at the Los Angeles Urban League, the Supervisor reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring that the best possible rail line is built. That means pushing forward on several fronts: locating the financial resources to fund a Leimert Park Station at Vernon as part of the Crenshaw-to-LAX light rail line, advocating for the safest possible alignment through Park Mesa Heights and pushing for a Community Benefits Package that includes a local hiring policy, a small business contracting initiative, and sidewalk, landscape and storefront improvements along Crenshaw Boulevard designed to build enhance the Crenshaw Corridor communities.
[pullquote_right] “Get Ready. The push for a superior Crenshaw to LAX line is not over. Remain informed; contact the Metro Board and your elected officials. Stay on board,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.[/pullquote_right] The tele-town hall, co-hosted by the Urban League, was organized in response to the outrage and disappointment among Crenshaw community residents, businesses owners, and stakeholders along the Crenshaw Corridor at the Metro Board’s refusal in May to underground the proposed light rail line through Park Mesa Heights and its unwillingness to include funding for Leimert Park Village Station at Vernon.

On May 26, the Metro Board rejected Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ motion that directed Metro staff to look into funding alternatives to finance a Leimert Park Village Station and underground the portion of the line that runs through Park Mesa Heights using non-Measure R sources. The motion received three favorable votes and needed seven of the thirteen Metro Board votes to pass. Instead, the Metro Board rejected the Park Mesa tunnel option outright and paid lip service to the Leimert Park Village station at Vernon, agreeing to add it to the final environmental document, but failing to provide funding for it. Mayor Villaraigosa’s vote and the additional three votes of his appointees were critical to the passage of the weaker motion after unanimously opposing the tunnel.

Although the Metro Board did not deliver the outcome the community hoped for, the Supervisor reminded listeners that the community must move forward, they must “stay on board” – insisting on a Crenshaw-to-LAX line that is safe, efficient and provides economic opportunities and benefits for those who live, work and trade in the heart of South Los Angeles.

At the end of the tele-town hall, the Supervisor called on listeners to attend the Sept. 22 Metro Board meeting to support the Local Hire/Construction Careers Policy element of the Community Benefits Package, and left listeners with these final words, “Get Ready. The push for a superior Crenshaw to LAX line is not over. Remain informed; contact the Metro Board and your elected officials. Stay on board.”

Click here to view the Urban League’s poll results.

Click here to participate in the poll.

Click here to listen to the tele-town hall.

Metro goes even greener – One construction site at a time

Expediting LA County MTA’s Measure R Projects promises to reduce carbon emissions and get people out of their cars and onto public transit sooner. However, until today, the MTA Board had not addressed the threat of harmful emissions from traffic congestion caused construction activities as well as the use of outdated construction equipment on transit projects.

The MTA Board, with support from Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, committed to using greener, less polluting construction equipment and vehicles, and implement best practices to meet or exceed air quality emission standards in all construction projects performed on MTA properties and in the MTA rights-of-way.

With project costs estimated to only increase by only 0.3%, the “Green Construction Policy” will facilitate county-wide, cost-effective solutions to address this serious threat to our air quality.

Tree giveaways in Lennox

We are grateful to have partners like the Lennox Education Neighborhood Zone helping to improve the quality of life in Lennox…one orange tree at a time! Check out this video about their collaboration with the Great Park Corporation to hand out 115 trees at the Lennox Family Festival at Lennox Park last month.