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Wishing a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving

“I’d like to wish you a blessed Thanksgiving. We’ve been facing very challenging times, and yet we remain lifted in gratitude for all the gifts with which we are endowed.

“Despite these trying times, we can be thankful for the community building and the togetherness that has resulted—a concern for one another demonstrated through acts of service to protect and help each other during this pandemic as we strive to end homelessness and all manner of injustice.

“I’m thankful for your strength, your caring, and your patience that has helped us through this very challenging set of circumstances and to celebrate this holiday season with cheer.

“And to those who will not be gathering today with loved ones, I commend you for putting health and safety first.

“It is with gratitude that I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.

“Thank you and be well.” -Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas

LA County Moves Forward with New Vision for Juvenile Justice System

Los Angeles County is moving to dismantle the largest youth justice system in the country and begin to transition the County’s youth justice system to a rehabilitative, care-first model by 2025. The action was taken in response to a report titled “Youth Justice Reimagined” produced by the County’s Youth Justice Work Group which called for reducing the size and scope of the juvenile probation system and reallocating resources from youth incarceration and supervision to a healing restorative model. The plan is consistent with the County’s “care first” approach and in accordance with a growing body of literature on juvenile justice. Rather than a punitive system in a prison-like setting with large institutional buildings and barbed wire distant from young people’s communities, this Youth Justice Reimagined vision proposes a home-like setting in communities with 24/7 youth centers and support teams made up of people who develop personal relationships with the young people in their care.

“Our youth simply can’t get well in a cell,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

LA County’s youth justice system is the largest in the country with approximately 500 young people in the County’s two juvenile halls and six probation camps. Research indicates that the current system often fails to help young people thrive and is characterized by stark racial inequity.  A single arrest nearly doubles the likelihood of a young person dropping out of high school, and Black youth are six times more likely to be arrested and 25 times more likely to be incarcerated than their white peers.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, author of the motion, said, “We know now that we will have more success in helping young people to thrive, as well as improve community safety, by providing rehabilitative, health-focused, and care-first programming. We have a lot of analysis and planning still to do, but today’s motion affirms that this is our vision and this is what we plan to build.”

The action taken today mirrors similar efforts in jurisdictions around the country that are reimagining their approach to youth justice including San Francisco, Houston and St. Paul.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, co-author of the motion, said, “The County must resist the tendency towards institutionalizing youth and instead seek out trauma-informed practices that make space for hope and healing and insist on structures that promote positive youth development and rehabilitation. Punitive youth justice systems give up on youth before offering them a chance. The County must be bold in reforming its youth justice system to recognize capacities for rehabilitative change and promote the belonging, usefulness, and competencies that justice-involved youth need to empower themselves and lead healthy, responsible, and caring lives.”

The Youth Justice Work Group included more than 100 staff from County departments, community leaders, labor partners and current and former justice-involved youth, working over many months to reimagine a youth justice system that is rehabilitative, health-focused, and care-first.

Statement on Health Officer Order to Close Outdoor Dining

“Today, the Board of Supervisors reaffirmed the Health Officer’s recommendation to close outdoor dining in light of alarming new rates of new COVID-19 cases.

“These are not decisions that we have made lightly. We are acutely aware of the compromises all Angelenos have been forced to make in order to protect the health and safety of themselves and their loved ones. Unfortunately, as we seek to balance the public health and economic health of our region, there is no win-win outcome. There are downsides to every decision.

“I have always been guided by one fundamental question: How do we do act in a manner that is likely to cause the least amount of permanent, irreversible harm to our residents?
Despite what some naysayers may say, it has not been for naught. Compared to many other cities and regions of our size and density, we’ve avoided overwhelming our healthcare systems and prevented many deaths.

“As we move forward – I hope this Board will continue to prioritize strategies that are designed to get our metrics low enough so that we can reopen schools and get our children back to optimal learning as quickly as possible. Their future is on the line. And frankly, I think incremental efforts to re-open the economy have made it more difficult for us to leave the most restrictive tier and safely move in this direction.

“If this is our objective, we must be consistent. If we are asking that everyone stay home and limit physical interactions with people outside of their homes, our policies align with this message. The public is being bombarded with confusing and incomplete information, much of which is contradictory. Allowing outdoor dining, where people of mixed households gather to dine and mingle without face masks is inconsistent to our request for people to stay home.

“Accordingly, I support the Health Officer’s recommendations and ask that we all do our part to help push through these challenging times.” -Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas

A New Future for Victoria Golf Course

A rendering of the sports plaza that will be a part of “The Creek at Dominguez Hills.”

 

After years of financial, environmental, and operational challenges, the Victoria Golf Course in the City of Carson is on track to be transformed into a state-of-the-art community hub for recreation, community gathering, and economic development.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a lease with Plenitude Holdings, LLC for “The Creek at Dominguez Hills” on the southern 94 acres of the site. The Creek at Dominguez Hills includes over half a million square feet of commercial and privately-operated recreational uses, including an enhanced driving range, a seven-acre traditional golf practice facility, a multi-use sports facility, a sky diving facility, an outdoor adventure park, and a 6.6-acre public park. These facilities, which will be complimented with a club house, retail stores, restaurants, and a sports health and wellness building, will bring a plethora of recreational amenities suitable for all ages and interests.

“The redevelopment of Victoria Golf Course will be transformative for the City of Carson, the South Bay, and the region at-large,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who authored the motion to authorize a lease with Plenitude to redevelop the site. “The Creek at Dominguez Hills will exponentially increase and diversify opportunities for recreation and community gatherings and have the companion benefit of creating well-paying jobs. Authorizing a lease for this development paves the way for realizing the highest and best use of this property in a manner that will benefit hundreds of thousands of Angelenos annually.”

In summary, the Creek at Dominguez Hills will:

  • Exponentially increase recreational opportunities in Carson;
  • Generate additional revenue for the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation that can be reinvested in park programs in underserved areas;
  • Create hundreds of construction and permanent jobs; and
  • Support economic development in the South Bay region at large.

 

The proposed redevelopment of the site was first contemplated in November 2017, following direction from the Board to the Department of Parks and Recreation to explore expanded uses of County golf courses, including developing more community-based programs to ensure properties were better utilized to serve a broader section of the population. A 2016 Countywide Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment identified the City as an area with high park need. As compared to the County average of 3.3 park acres per 1,000 residents, the City currently has only 1.5 park acres per 1,000 residents.

In 2019, the Board approved a  lease for the Carol Kimmelman Athletic and Academic Campus on the northern portion of the golf course, which will include a tennis center to be operated by the United States Tennis Association Foundation, sports fields, and a youth-focused learning center operated by the Tiger Woods Foundation.

The Kimmelman Campus is anticipated to attract between 75,000-100,000 visitors in its first year, and the Creek at Dominguez Hill’s recreational amenities are anticipated to attract an additional 600,000 visitors a year. In comparison, the Victoria Golf Course has attracted an average of 43,000 annual users over the past three years.

The Creek at Dominguez Hills will be constructed by workers from the local community. Over 300 construction and 750 permanent jobs will be created, which is a stark difference from the 11 jobs that support current golf course operations on the site.

In its first ten years, including while the project is in its construction phase, the County anticipates generating more than double the rent revenue compared to the current golf concession. This revenue will be used by the Department of Parks and Recreation to support its general operating costs and generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in new annual revenue that can be invested in park programming in underserved areas across the County.

“We recognize Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas for leading the way to provide diverse recreational opportunities at the future ‘The Creek at Dominguez Hills’,” said the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation Director, Norma E. García-González. “We look forward to working with Plenitude Holdings, LLC, to develop the Project and the community benefit which include a public park and a golf component for Los Angeles County residents to enjoy.”

“We’re pleased that we have been able to work so closely and successfully with the County of Los Angeles to move this project to the next stage and to secure approval of the Environmental Impact Report. This development will be a tremendous asset for the greater LA region, providing jobs as well as much needed community space for residents. In addition to the multi-use indoor sports complex, the project will also combine a traditional and modern take on the golf experience with FlyingTEE, along with other sports-oriented offerings,” explained Bill Shopoff and Randy Blanchard, Principals of Plenitude Holdings LLC.

A rendering of the FlyingTEE sports complex.

County Leaders Statewide Honor Supervisor Ridley-Thomas

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas was honored with the President’s Award at the 126th Annual Meeting of the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), an organization that is considered the voice of California’s 58 counties at the state and federal level.

“Supervisor Ridley-Thomas embodies the essence of tenacious leadership,” said CSAC President and Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett. “When he speaks, people listen… in Los Angeles, California, and across the nation.”

“He went above and beyond in his efforts to ensure our collective County voices were heard in Sacramento and we had a seat at the table on key initiatives that impacted all Counties,” she continued. “Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has been a dear friend and mentor and I am deeply grateful for his leadership, expertise and willingness to foster the potential he sees in others.”

“Thank you very kindly for this honor,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “I wish CSAC nothing but the best as it navigates the policy agenda for the State of California and sets an example for the rest of the nation. It’s important that we view our work through an equity lens if we are to fulfill the promise of democracy for all.”

“I’ve learned a lot over the years I’ve had the opportunity to serve on  CSAC’s executive committee, and I’ve benefited from the fellowship and camaraderie as well,” he added. “Though I’m joining the ranks of city service, that will not in any way diminish my commitment to counties: once a Supervisor, always a Supervisor. It’s just that simple.”

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has served his community for more than 30 years, including as Executive Director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and terms in the Los Angeles City Council, California Assembly and California State Senate.

He has been an active member of CSAC’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors, and also served Counties as the co-chair of Governor Newsom’s Council of Regional Homeless Advisors and chair of CSAC’s Homelessness Action Team.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, who is on his third and final term at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, recently won election back to the Los Angeles City Council, where he will represent the 10th District.

CSAC President and Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas in a file photo.