Jobs, PLA’s, Slauson, MLK

Exposition Park Welcomes New Soccer Stadium


Los Angeles County and City officials along with owners of the Los Angeles Football Club joined together with a few hundred soccer fans to break ground on a new stadium in Exposition Park. Designed by LA-based architectural firm Gensler, the new soccer-specific facility named Banc of California Stadium will be built on the site of the former Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena accommodating 22,000 fans and LA’s newest soccer franchise.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joined Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAFC owners including Los Angeles legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, actor and comedian Will Ferrell, inspirational life coach and entrepreneur Tony Robbins, entertainment and sports legend Peter Guber, business leader and LAFC Lead Managing Owner Larry Berg, Co-Managing Owners Bennett Rosenthal and Brandon Beck, and LAFC President Tom Penn, in celebrating the historic groundbreaking.

“The stadium project represents a tremendous investment in South Los Angeles, providing a major league boost to our economy,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.


IMG_0456The new development will bring more than $350 million in private investment to South Los Angeles including a commitment to 40 percent local hires and 35 percent minority business. The development will include a large public plaza, restaurants, retail store, and a conference and events center, serving as a sports, entertainment, civic, and cultural landmark for Los Angeles.

“We start here,” said Larry Berg, LAFC Lead Managing Owner. “After years of planning and hard work we are set to make history here in the heart of the city.”

“This world-class stadium,” said Peter Guber LAFC Executive Chairman and Owner, “Will be a state of the art venue featuring ‘state of the heart’ experiences for players, fans and artists.”

“Los Angeles is the sports and entertainment capital of the world, and today we open a new chapter in our rich history with the world’s most popular game,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti.

“It has always been important for me to invest in projects that create and support jobs in communities that are often overlooked, especially here in Los Angeles. The shovels in the ground today mean real dollars are now flowing into this community, benefitting thousands of people,” said Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

“So I say to the LAFC, Welcome to Expo Park… Now let’s get to work!” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.

The new major league soccer team is expected to begin play in 2018 at the new stadium.

A Promise Zone in South LA

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The Obama administration has awarded South Los Angeles a federal Promise Zone designation, giving it priority access to federal funding as well as technical assistance to address the area’s 46 percent poverty rate.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Nani Coloretti made the announcement during a press conference at Los Angeles Trade Technical College (LATTC). She said the goal of the Promise Zone initiative, created by President Barack Obama in 2013, is to significantly reduce poverty by providing greater resources to serve residents.

The new South L.A. Promise Zone is home to nearly 198,000 residents in parts of Vernon-Central, South Park, Florence, Exposition Park, Vermont Square, Leimert Park, and the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw neighborhoods. It is one of one of 13 urban Promise Zones in the nation, and the second in the City of Los Angeles.

IMG_0656 (1)A coalition of 53 community partners and more than 50 allies who developed the winning application call it the South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone (SLATE-Z). They seek to capitalize on opportunities that new light rail lines bring for economic development and neighborhood revitalization.

“SLATE-Z represents an unprecedented partnership among dozens of diverse organizations with the collective vision of improving the quality of life in South LA,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “This place-based approach aims to transform distressed neighborhoods into destination neighborhoods.”

Larry Frank, president of LATTC and convener of the SLATE-Z coalition, said, “With preference points on most federal grant opportunities and a partnership with HUD staff, the existing LA Promise Zone received more than $100 million in grants since designation in 2014. It is now South L.A.’s chance to step up.”

The federal designation will bring crucial benefits to residents. For example, students at the 11 comprehensive high schools in SLATE-Z will receive increased support to prepare for colleges and careers. Currently, more than half of residents older than 25 have less than a high school education and only nine percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher. The coalition also plans to tackle the 12 percent unemployment rate and under- employment to move more residents into living wage jobs and career pathways.

One of the coalition’s early victories was securing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s unanimous approval to create the Universal Pass or U-Pass pilot program, making more part-time students eligible for fare discounts. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, Metro Board chair, carried the motion.

“The Promise Zone designation will help build on the incredible things already happening in South Los Angeles,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “This will bring new resources, energy, and urgency into our movement to expand opportunity in all of L.A.’s neighborhoods.”

US Rep. Karen Bass added, “This isn’t just an incredible victory for South Los Angeles, it shows that when our community leadership works together, we can accomplish great things for our neighborhoods.

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Creating Jobs in Los Angeles County

Making good on its promise to create and promote good paying jobs across the region, the Board of Supervisors received and filed a report and presentation on the Economic and Community Development motion approved by the Board last year.

On a motion by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Hilda Solis on October 20, 2015, the board funded a consultant team led by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation with an initial deposit of $965,000 into the Trust Fund, including $365,000 to boost the bioscience industry and $450,000 to support other sectors that could generate high-paying jobs that can support local families. At that time, the Board set an initial minimum goal of $4.5 million for this coming fiscal year, followed by a gradual increase over the next five years to an annual commitment of at least $15 million.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, March 1, 2016

“Maintaining economically healthy and sustainable communities is essential County business,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “We need to be vigilant and proactive in the quest to maintain a healthy economy.”

He elaborated further on the need for putting increased focus on the County’s economic development strategy in an Op-Ed, Job Creation: Essential Los Angeles County Business.

The Economic and Community Development initiatives focused on retaining and expanding employment opportunities throughout the County at all skill levels. The new initiatives complement other programs including permit streamlining, small business assistance, local hire, living wages for County contractors, the minimum wage initiative and the new industry sector focus of the Workforce Development Board.

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“Economic development efforts need to be multi-dimensional,” said Martha M. Escutia, former California State Senator and Vice President for USC Government Relations.

Left to Right: Cecilia Estolono, Martha Escutia, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, Sherry Rudnak, Bill Allen

The major program elements include 1) assistance for the manufacturing sector; 2) commercial corridor revitalization, and 3) formulating strategies and loan programs to grow key industry sectors.

“The focus will be on those industries with the greatest growth potential such as bioscience,” the Supervisor said.

The Trust Fund will provide loans to small and medium-sized manufacturers, as well as technical support to the bioscience industry, which includes research on genes, living organisms, agriculture and food processing to develop new medical procedures, devices and pharmaceuticals. Although currently a small sector of the regional economy with approximately 40,000 jobs, bioscience has significant growth potential, according to a 2014 County-commissioned study by the Battelle Memorial Institute.

The bioscience industry is the initial key industry sector that has received support from previously Board-approved directives. County real property assets are also targeted to assist with the growth of the bioscience industry, including underutilized assets located at the County’s five medical campuses.

“If we are going to do a bioscience cluster and a bioscience sector, it has to be related to employing our youth, the folks coming out of our community colleges as well as our Universities,” said Cecilia Estolono, Executive Director for Los Angeles Bioscience Hub.

“In the areas of biomed and advanced manufacturing, there is a lot of research coming out of our lab at USC. But we need to make sure that research and its job creation capacity stays in LA County,” Escutia said.

The economic development programs approved by the board are slated to be funded and implemented by June of 2017.

Inglewood and Los Angeles County Rejoice – Rams are Back

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas honors the city of Inglewood and Mayor James T. Butts, Jr. at Board of Supervisors Meeting on January 19, 2016.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors honored the city of Inglewood and Mayor James T. Butts, Jr. for their successful efforts to bring the NFL Rams back to Southern California after two decades. The Rams’ return to Los Angeles County will spur economic development in the city and for the entire region, creating thousands of temporary and permanent jobs.

“We’re proud of Inglewood to be the vessel that brings so much work and prosperity back to the region,” said Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts, Jr.


Rams owner Stan Kroenke and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, with Inglewood Mayor James Butts

NFL owners voted overwhelmingly to let the Rams return to Los Angeles after 21 years in St. Louis, and then gave the Chargers the chance to join the Rams. If the Chargers decide to remain in San Diego, the Oakland Raiders will get the option to join the Rams instead.

The Rams are building a $2-billion dollar stadium – to be called City of Champions Stadium – near the site of the Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood over the next three years. It would be the centerpiece of a massive entertainment, retail and housing development – not to mention the largest stadium of any team in the NFL.

“The $1.8 billion, state-of-the-art sports and entertainment stadium will have a profound impact on the economy of Inglewood as well as the regional community,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.image3 (1) 

Promising to bring thousands of new construction and permanent jobs to local residents, the new stadium is but the latest example of the New Inglewood. Other notable accomplishments include:

• The complete renovation and reopening of The Forum as an internationally recognized entertainment venue operated by the Madison Square Garden Company.

• The $2 billion redevelopment of Hollywood Park into a mixed-use development with housing, open space and more than 600,000 square feet of shopping and entertainment.

• Construction of the $2 billion Crenshaw/LAX Transit line with three stations in Inglewood.

• And recently announced plans for market rate housing developments that will revitalize the City’s Market Street area to rival the Third Street Promenade.

“We know why Inglewood is known as the city of champions, because they got it done!” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.

The Rams are not expected to play at City of Champions Stadium until the 2019 NFL season. In the interim, they are expected to play at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Exposition Park, home of the USC Trojans.

Last week, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher met with Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, who serves as president of the Coliseum Commission, the governmental entity that oversees the Coliseum. Fisher, a former Trojan, told Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, “All I need is a level field and some grass and we’re ready to play.”


LA County Creates Opportunities for Small Business

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas stands with small business owners and advocates who testified before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in support of his motion.

Los Angeles County is looking to award more contracts to small businesses, as well as businesses owned by disabled veterans, under a motion approved by the Board of Supervisors.

“Supporting small business is good business for the County as they provide half of all jobs in the region,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, lead author of the motion. “This would bring a triple-bottom line benefit: meaningful employment for the disadvantaged, reducing the demand on County services, and increasing the tax base.”

The motion noted the County is in a unique position to strengthen the local economy because of its immense purchasing and contracting spending power.

“Small businesses help our regional economy in big and small ways by meeting consumer needs and by providing local jobs,” said Board Chair Hilda Solis, who co-authored the motion. “The County needs to advocate on behalf of these entrepreneurs and this motion does exactly that.”

The motion, as amended by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Don Knabe, directs the County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) to develop an action plan to have small businesses account for 25 percent, and for businesses owned by disabled veterans to account for 3 percent, of the County’s procurement by 2020.

DCBA said awarding contracts to small businesses and business owned by disadvantaged community members not only results in the delivery of goods and services, but a “measurable social impact.” The federal government, as well as several state and local governments, have similar policies.

Bill Allen, president and CEO of the LA Economic Development Corporation, expressed support for the motion, calling it “another encouraging step in a series of enlightened motions from this Board, evidencing a clear commitment to increasing economic prosperity and opportunity, to reducing income inequality, and to raising standards of living for all County residents.”