July 04, 2013

By Jennifer Bihm



Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has ap­pointed former Los Angeles City Council­woman Jan Perry as interim general manager to the renamed Eco­nomic Development Department, a department being created to replace the now de­funct Community Re­devel­opment agency.

Perry will oversee the creation of the city’s new Economic De­velopment Depart­ment.

“The job entails bringing under one roof all economic activities and adding in innovative strategies in not only bringing in new businesses but retaining businesses we have in our city,” Perry explained to the Sentinel during a recent interview.

Garcetti cited Perry’s accomplishments with the revitalization of downtown as the catalyst for his decision.  Her work, he told reporters Tuesday, exemplifies the “kind of leadership and expertise” he wants to make the department “into a true economic engine” for Los Angeles.

“I’m excited that Jan Perry and I will be working closely together on getting people back to work and helping businesses open and grow,” he said.

“Mayor Garcetti and I share a passion for revitalizing neighborhoods and improving the quality of life for all Angelenos,” said Perry. “I am excited to support the mayor's vision to put Angelenos to work and to make it clear that Los Angeles is open for business.”

Perry’s appointment comes just one day after she officially termed out her ninth district council seat, now occupied by Curren Price. After her unsuccessful bid for mayor, she endorsed Garcetti who was engaged in a run off with Controller Wendy Greuel. Perry said she is looking forward to her pending duties.

“I’m looking forward to being very innovative in leveraging the access that we have to the programs that have worked and going beyond where we are already,” said Perry, who implied that she is up for the new challenge, armed with a keen understanding of “the complexities involved in bringing together development and people looking for job opportunities.”

Other appointments to the mayoral administration include Doane Liu as deputy mayor of City Services, overseeing Water and Power, Parks and Recreation, Transportation and Public Works. Also, Garcetti’s transition director, Rich Llewellyn, will be the Counsel to the Mayor, a role in which he will serve as the mayor's senior adviser and give legal advice, according to news reports.

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June 27, 2013

LAWT News Service


Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento, is pleased to an­nounce that he was elected Presi­dent of the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM) for the coming year. Mayor Johnson and eleven fellow mayors were unanimously elected at the 39th Annual NCBM conference in Atlanta, Georgia from May 29 to June 2, 2013 under the theme "Restore, Rebuild, Renew: Leaving No City Behind."

As President, Mayor Johnson will set the organization's agenda, appoint committee and task force chairs, and serve as national spokesman for the nation's 650 Black mayors representing some 48 million U.S. citizens.

"I am honored to assume this new position with the National Conference of Black Mayors," said Johnson.  "NCBM has a rich 40 year history that is important to preserve and build on. The organization has faced some challenges, but we are going to address each one head on with the appropriate corrective and rehabilitative action required. I have no doubt that the new officers of the organization will restore it to preeminence and serve as an important voice on the national stage."

The election of new leadership led by Mayor Kevin Johnson marks the beginning of a new chapter for the organization as a leading voice for African Americans across the country.

Elected in November 2008, Kevin Johnson is the 55th mayor of Sacramento and the first African American to serve in this office. He was reelected in 2012 to a second term. He previously served as NCBM's First Vice President and Executive Board Member (April 9, 2011 to Present); and NCBM's Chair, Task Force of the Education Committee.  Johnson also serves as 2nd Vice President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and is slated to become President in June 2014.  Mayor Johnson succeeds The Honorable Robert L. Bowser, the 12th Mayor of East Orange, New Jersey.

About NCBM:

The National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM) represents more than 650 African American Mayors across the United States; collectively its membership represents over 48 million citizens. NCBM is a leader in the redevelopment of our most vulnerable communities and works towards the empowerment of leadership on the local level. Founded in 1974 with the mission to enhance the executive management capacity of its member mayors, NCBM articulates public policy positions and serves as a clearinghouse of information pertinent to municipal development and financing.  NCBM provides technical and management assistance through cutting-edge research, best practices and partnerships that enable its mayors to challenge and overcome grappling issues that erode the vitality and sustainability of our nation's cities.

You can follow the Mayor on twitter @kj_Mayorjohnson

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June 27, 2013

LAWT News Service


Following a major remodeling, Council President Herb Wesson was on hand to launch the celebration of the re-opening of the Ralphs Baldwin Hills Supermarket.  Also attending the celebration was Congresswoman Maxine Waters and over 200 community residents.

The $18 million in renovations included a 21,000 square-foot expansion, bringing the total size of the market to 60,000 square feet.  The major remodeling will accommodate a wider range of fresh, organic and natural meats, produce and seafood.

“Having quality grocery options in our community is important and I want to express my appreciation to Ralphs for this important commitment and investment in my Council District,” said Wesson.  “Not only will this expanded market create more jobs, it will also encourage healthy living by providing a more fresh and organic food options.  Everyone will reap the benefits.”

Based upon shopper’s requests and input, the remodeled and expanded store offers a full range of products and services, including a bakery with freshly baked breads and desserts, a full-service delicatessen and a floral department with blooming fresh flowers and plants.

The store will be served by a free shuttle that will run throughout the neighborhood, to and from the store on a regular basis.

The remodeled Baldwin Hills store employs approximately 150 full-time and part-time associates, including more than 40 newly hired associates from the surrounding community.

The celebration also included Ralphs’ presentation of a special donation of $7,500 to be shared by Dorsey High School, Audubon Middle School, and Baldwin Hills Elementary School.

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June 20, 2013

LAWT News Service


Sacramento – The Legisla­ture has voted to increase basic CalWORKs grants by 5%, reversing a trend of annual cuts in aid to California’s neediest families since 2007 which Assemblymember Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), primary advocate for the increase, had argued was pushing too many children into deep poverty with irreversible impacts.

“This is a measured first step in our effort to reduce poverty in California, and it comes at the expense of no other program,” said Assemblywoman Mitchell, whose district includes low-income areas in south Los Angeles. “If you care at all about freeing children from the strangling yoke of poverty, this vote was the opportunity to join the freedom march.”

While supporting Governor Brown’s proposal to spend extra budget dollars on K-12 education in low-performing schools, Mitchell, who chairs the Budget Subcommit­tee on Health and Human Services, argued for targeting state aid to meet other basic needs of children. Four out of five CalWORKs beneficiaries are children, yet the basic benefit equals only 39% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), despite the fact that 50% of FPL is the “deep poverty” threshold associated with life-long adversity. Initially seeking a 12% CalWORKs raise, Mitchell, welcomed the 5% increase approved in AB 85 as part of the final compromise on the 2013-14 budget adopted June 15.

“The maximum benefit for which a CalWORKs family can qualify now is $7,600 for up to two years – less than half of the Federal Poverty Level at $19,000,” the Assemblywoman pointed out. “Chil­dren can’t come to school ready to learn when their minimal needs go unmet, and most students in the state’s low-performing schools are poor. Poverty is toxic to our kids.”

 AB 85 was one of several recommendations put forth by the Assemblywoman to increase support for families struggling with deep poverty. Dubbed the “Mitchell Plan” by advocates for needy families (see attachment), other elements of the plan, advanced by the Budget Subcommittee, were improved welfare to work and homeless assistance services, childcare subsidies, and an increase in the allowed value of vehicles owned by CalWORKs’ recipients.         

AB 85 and the other budget bills now proceed to the Governor for signature.

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