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Celebrate LA!

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas speaks during the launch of Celebrate LA! All photos by Martin Zamora / Board of Supervisors

Massive crowds celebrated as the  Los Angeles Philharmonic marked its 100th anniversary with an eight-mile long street festival connecting both of its venues, the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas marches with the Centennial High School Marching Band from Compton.

Dubbed Celebrate LA!, the unprecedented community event featured 1,800 musicians, dancers and visual artists — mostly from L.A. – as well as live shows, food, and family activities. Presented in partnership with CicLAvia and Community Arts Resources, the festival kicked off with a performance by a marching band from Centennial High School in Compton.

“I couldn’t be more pleased to see how the LA Phil has chosen this gift for Los Angeles that celebrates community and creativity as reflected in the myriad performances all day and into the evening,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “Arts are a vital part of the engagement, education, and empowerment that builds community every day here in Los Angeles County.”

“This Centennial is a chance to rededicate ourselves to the transformative power of music and to the magnificent City of Angels, where we will continue to make magic happen,” said LA Phil Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel.

“Our Centennial is as diverse as the communities the LA Phil serves,” LA Phil Chief Executive Officer Simon Woods added. “It’s a big embrace of Los Angeles, its people and its amazing creative identity, and it’s as international as the artists who perform on our stages.”

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas with Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles.

The eight-mile route was transformed into an auto-free zone, with people walking, running, skating, scooting and biking on the streets instead. Major hubs along the route included Walt Disney Concert Hall, Koreatown, Melrose, and the Hollywood Bowl. Each featured performance stages, art installations, food trucks, screen-printing, kid-friendly activities, dancing, and live music from LA’s best musicians.

The festivities culminated in LA Phil 100 at the Bowl, a free community concert featuring Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil, and special guests Kali Uchis, Herbie Hancock, and Youth Orchestra Los Angeles.

Statement by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on the Signing of AB 1577


“For years, Sativa mismanaged the delivery of a basic necessity to our communities. With the signing of AB 1577, Los Angeles County is ready, willing and able to step in as interim administrator of Sativa, and ensure that residents of Compton and Willowbrook receive the clean and safe water they deserve.

“The County’s Department of Public Works has extensive experience operating water systems countywide and currently serves 245,000 customers. It is well suited to take on the role of interim administrator, and to lead the search for a competent replacement water service provider for the long term.”

Mobilizing in Men’s Central Jail to “Unlock the Vote”

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and rapper, activist, and Selma cast member “Common” enter Men’s Central Jail to register voters.  Photo by Bryan Chan / Board of Supervisors

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas stood on the steps of Men’s Central Jail with rapper and activist “Common” and representatives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, Office of Diversion and Reentry, American Civil Liberties Union, and Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership to promote voter registration for justice-involved individuals. In honor of National Voter Registration Day, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas promoted the recent launch of a campaign to bring voter awareness to incarcerated individuals called “L.A. Free the Vote”, followed by a voter registration drive inside the jail.

The motion to officially dedicate Tuesday, September 25, 2018 to voter registration in Los Angeles County was authored by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. Together, he and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, created the Voter Engagement Taskforce for Justice-Involved Populations, directed at increasing voter education and registration to justice-involved communities. Their L.A. Free the Vote work aims to register as many justice involved individuals as possible by the November 2018 election.

“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy, yet more than one million eligible citizens in Los Angeles County have not registered to vote,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

“I think the vote is one of the first steps that we can do as people in this country to show that we care and people have made mistakes, but we’re still reaching out for them. That’s what America is supposed to be about,” said rapper, activist and Selma cast member.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas stands with LASD Commander Roosevelt Johnson, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan, Director of the LA County Office of Diversion and Reentry Judge Peter Espinoza, Director of the American Civil Liberties (ACLU) SoCal Jails Project Esther Lim, rapper and activist “Common” and others on the steps of Men’s Central Jail. Photo by Bryan Chan / Board of Supervisors

Commander Roosevelt Johnson, who oversees the Men’s Central Jail, stood with the facility unit commander, Captain Ruthie Daily, and Chief Joanne Sharp, who oversees Custody Services Division-General Population, and stated, “We are excited to partner with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Registrar Recorders Office and ACLU’s SoCal Jails Project to ensure eligible inmates in the county jail system are afforded an opportunity to register to vote. While we realize this is not an easy task, we are committed to assisting our partners in this effort.”

Dean Logan, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, Los Angeles County, said, “When we don’t use our vote, we unwittingly give up our voice either to others or to deafening silence. By exercising our right to vote we are claiming power, influence and significance.”

Judge Peter Espinoza, Director of the Office of Diversion and Reentry and co-convener of the County’s Taskforce, said, “The Office of Diversion and Reentry is excited to help lead the L.A. Free the Vote taskforce and campaign to support the reentry population in exercising their civic right to vote. We see this as an important part of ODR’s strategy for supporting this population holistically through job training, mental health services, housing and more.”

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Common help a Men’s Central Jail inmate register to vote. Photo by Bryan Chan / Board of Supervisors

Esther Lim, Director of the American Civil Liberties SoCal Jails Project, announced participation in today’s event, as part of the “Unlock the Vote” project, designed to bring voter registration to eligible individuals incarcerated within the Los Angeles County jail system. “All because someone is behind bars DOES NOT preclude them from participating in our most important right, the right to vote. We are proud to be a partner in this countywide effort that we hope will be a shining example across the state and country to show that every voice matters and every vote matters.”

Troy Vaughn, Executive Director of Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership (LAARP) states, “LAARP is thrilled to be a community partner in the LA Free the Vote campaign, engaging thousands of people in Reentry who don’t know they are eligible to vote, because research tells us that after a job, civic engagement is one of the best protective factors that can drastically reduce recidivism.”

After the news conference, volunteers and representatives went inside Men’s Central Jail to register incarcerated voters. They walked the rows, providing inmates with information on the voting registration process and giving them the opportunity to register for November’s election.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas added, “From where I stand — informed by the civil rights movement — every day is an opportunity to celebrate voter registration. Voting is how we are heard, and every vote counts.”

County Celebrates Groundbreaking of Affordable Housing Development for Homeless Young Adults

CDC/HACoLA officials join Supervisor Ridley-Thomas at the groundbreaking of the East Rancho Apartments.  Photo by Martin Zamora / Board of Supervisors

Officials from the Community Development Commission/Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles (CDC/HACoLA) joined Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to celebrate the groundbreaking of the East Rancho Apartments. Located in the unincorporated area adjacent to Compton, the development will provide housing for 10 transition aged youth who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness.

“Los Angeles County is committed to helping fund and construct affordable housing in efficient and novel ways,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “This project will do just that. We will house young people who had been grappling with homeless, and providing them with a range of supportive services to help them achieve their goal of independent living.”

The CDC/HACoLA provided the land for the new construction to developers Special Service for Groups, Inc., and Restore Neighborhoods LA, Inc. The East Rancho Apartments will provide two-stories of stacked duplex housing with an attached parking garage. Each duplex will have five single-room occupancy units, and will include shared bathrooms, kitchen, and a living room. The residences will emphasize a supportive communal lifestyle and provide onsite clinical and supportive services.

Monique King-Viehland, CDC/HACoLA Executive Director, stated, “The young adults that will eventually occupy these units have faced devastating barriers in life. We are proud to help provide the first stepping stone to a successful future by putting a roof over their head, and services and resources at their doorsteps.”

All residents will have access to a full range of case management, mental health, substance use disorder, education, and employment services to assist towards their goal of independent living.

Bioscience Gets a Boost in LA County

Los Angeles County took a major step towards fostering a vibrant business ecosystem to help the local bioscience industry reach its full potential as a job-creating economic engine that advances breakthroughs in global health.

Photo by Diandra Jay/Board of Supervisors

At the 2018 Bioscience Summit hosted by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, L.A. County announced the creation of Bioscience Los Angeles County or BioLA, which will serve as an innovation catalyst and entrepreneurial hub for government, research institutions and private investors to accelerate startup activity and amplify economic opportunity throughout the region. The move sends a strong signal that the County is committed to becoming a global leader in bioscience.

Photo by David Franco/Board of Supervisors

“With an $8.7-billion budget dedicated to health services, L.A. County is uniquely invested in the success of the bioscience sector as it develops innovations to improve health and quality of life,” L.A. County Chief Executive Officer Sachi A. Hamai said.

“L.A. County has always generated vast and exceptional bioscience research, and we deserve an infrastructure that helps scientists, entrepreneurs and investors come together to create America’s next wave of great companies,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “BioLA will be our public-private partnership singularly dedicated to growing this innovation ecosystem.”

Photo by Diandra Jay/Board of Supervisors

During the Summit, held at Loyola Marymount University, more than 300 bioscience experts and entrepreneurs, government officials, healthcare executives, academic leaders and investors discussed strategies for boosting L.A. County’s bioscience industry, including nurturing startup companies, spurring capital investments and building a trained workforce.

Biomedical Growth Strategies President and CEO Susan R. Windham-Bannister. Photo by Diandra Jay/Board of Supervisors

“BioLA will play an essential role coalescing the bioscience community to drive the discovery and development of treatments and cures for patients,” said Biomedical Growth Strategies President and CEO Susan R. Windham-Bannister, one of the panelists at the summit. “A key to transforming Los Angeles into a leading innovation hub is an independent entity like BioLA, whose sole mission is to strengthen and sustain the life sciences ecosystem through collaboration, strategic investments and the acceleration of startup activity.”

“L.A. County needs to play to its strengths: visibility, variety and viability,” added Larta Institute CEO Rohit Shukla, who also served as panelist. “I am proud to help connect start-ups and emerging innovations to the variety of incubation and development opportunities that exist in the area –  our hospitals, research institutions and space-based facilities.”

Wild Earth CEO Ryan Bethencourt and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Photo by Diandra Jay/Board of Supervisors

Grifols Biologicals LLC President Willie Zuniga, another panelist, noted his company is already working to create career pathways in bioscience. “Grifols partners with local colleges and universities to create sustainable employment pipelines of skilled individuals for key biomanufacturing and quality positions,” he said. “The best part is that many of these individuals are from our surrounding communities.

The local bioscience industry currently generates more than $40 billion in economic activity annually and supports 70,000 direct jobs and 160,000 indirect jobs, but has the potential to create even more, at all skill levels. Resilient against economic downturns, bioscience was the only industry sector that continued to grow during the Great Recession.

Creating BioLA is only the latest L.A. County initiative to boost the bioscience industry. The County is also:

  • Funding bioscience incubators at CalState LA and at LA Biomed on the Harbor-UCLA Medical Campus;
  • Developing a 15-acre biotech park on the Harbor-UCLA Medical Campus;
  • Setting aside $15 million to create a Bioscience Investment Fund for early-stage startups; and
  • Partnering with community colleges and industry leaders to implement life sciences apprenticeship programs.

Following the Summit, panel moderators and participants will recap discussions and formulate a “Bioscience Action Plan” for the region, focused on identifying achievable goals and setting milestones for measuring progress. For more information, visit http://economicdevelopment.lacounty.gov/bioscience/ or https://www.biolac.org/