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MLK Medical Center Project Labor Agreement Authorized by the Board of Supervisors

After six months of negotiations, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors approved a project labor agreement for the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Ambulatory Care Center, the first such agreement for a County construction project.

This agreement ensures that local residents have first priority when contractors select workers for construction of the ambulatory care center. Residents who live within a five – mile radius will be given priority at the time of hiring, and County residents in zip codes where unemployment exceeds 150% of the county average also will now have special access to jobs. Another component of the local worker project is job opportunities for low-income disadvantaged workers, such as those who are homeless, are high school drop-outs or single custodial parents.

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Metro Finds Funding Options for Leimert Park Station and Park Mesa Heights Tunnel

The community wants the Crenshaw-to-LAX light rail line to have a train station in Leimert Park. The community wants that same line to stay underground through Park Mesa Heights instead of running down the middle of Crenshaw Boulevard. What has been the key point of opposition to these two reasonable requests by residents and business owners, churches and other stakeholders along the route? Money. But late last week, staff at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority did some digging. The result? By realigning existing funds, Metro could cover the costs for these two key features of the upcoming Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line.
The funding study, requested by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, examines ways to pay for a rail station at Leimert Park Village (estimated cost $131 million) and moving an 11-block section of the rail line along Crenshaw Boulevard below ground (estimated cost $269 million).
The report from Metro’s planning division identifies $2 billion from which portions could be shifted to cover the Crenshaw project costs.

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Three Key Facts

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas Urges Congress, Obama Administration To Back First-Class Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line

Senator Feinstein, as always, impressed us all


Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, in a series of meetings in Washington, D.C., urged key Members of Congress and Obama Administration officials to ensure the coming Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line will deliver first-rate service to Los Angeles rail commuters while maximizing benefits to Crenshaw corridor communities. The line will also provide a long-overdue rail connection to Los Angeles International Airport.

Ridley-Thomas met with key members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, both Democrats and Republicans, to discuss potential federal funding sources.

“I was pleasantly surprised to find there is no partisan divide over the need for a rail line to LAX. Both Republicans and Democrats told me that the nation’s second-largest city needs such a connection to call itself a first-rate city,” Ridley-Thomas said.

Ridley-Thomas is leading a drive for additional funding for the $1.4 billion project, while also working with Los Angeles Metro to find ways to cut project costs. He currently has a motion before the Metro Board of Directors to add a Leimert Park Village station to the line. The motion also calls for the train to run underground through Park Mesa Heights, which would speed travel time and avoid the potential disruptions of a street-level train to local businesses and neighbors.

“Money, or the lack of it, is not an excuse to build a cut-rate rail line,” Ridley-Thomas said. “In the past, we were told there was only money for a bus line. We rejected that, and now we have a rail line,” he said.

“When there is a will there is a way. We have shown our allies in Washington we have the will, and they can show us –as they have in the past– there is a way,” Ridley-Thomas said.

In addition to Second District-area Congressional Members Karen Bass, Maxine Waters and Laura Richardson Ridley-Thomas also spoke about the rail project with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica(R-Florida), and committee members Jimmy Duncan, Jr. (R-Tennessee), Tom Latham (R-Iowa) and Jeff Denham (R-Atwater).

Ridley-Thomas also met with Federal Aviation Administration officials to explore potential cost savings for a portion of the rail line that runs through LAX. By modifying the current construction plan, tens of millions of dollars could possibly be saved.

The Crenshaw/LAX rail line will travel 8.5 miles from the new Expo rail line south to the Green Line. It is scheduled to start service in 2016.

Along with his push for rail funding, Ridley-Thomas also visited two innovative Washington, D.C. public schools. He toured the Maya Angelou Academy, located in Washington, D.C.’s juvenile custody facility, the New Beginnings Youth Development Center. He also visited SEED School of Washington, D.C., a public boarding school that sends close to 100% of its graduates to college.

Ridley-Thomas travelled to Washington with Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich, Don Knabe and Zev Yaroslavsky and several County officials including Sheriff Lee Baca. As a group, they lobbied Members of Congress against funding cuts to Medicaid as well as cuts to the federal obligations to fund the jail costs of illegal immigrants.



Actor Roger Guenveur Smith Honored By Board of Supervisors

Actor and Leimert Park native Roger Guenveur Smith was honored by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, May 10 for his dramatic work that is often informed by his roots in African American Los Angeles.

Smith, who is also a writer and director, is performing in a new show opening May 19 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. “Juan and John,” which Smith authored, tells the story of a brutal incident at a Giants-Dodgers game. This one, however, occurred in 1965.


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One Step Closer to the “Park to Playa” Trail

Community  members , representatives from the Baldwin Hills Conservancy and County Department of Parks and Recreation  recently  gathered for  a ribbon cutting ceremony at Kenneth Hahn State Recreational Area  to  debut the new “Baldwin Hills Parklands” logo system . The new signage directs  users to the various open space opportunities throughout Baldwin Hills. The event also celebrated streetscape and pedestrian improvements at the La Brea entrance to the park.

These  park  improvements are important  elements of the proposed  “Park to Playa”  trail,  the first urban trail in the County to connect the Santa Monica Beach to the Baldwin Hills , spanning  over 13 miles.   The  trail will  dramatically  improve  recreational access by connecting key amenities such as the  State’s Scenic Overlook Park, the Culver City Baseball Fields, Ballona Creek and Rueben Engold Park.

For a map of the entire proposed Park to Playa trail, please click here.