September 05, 2013

City News Service


Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nominees for the Police Commission were confirmed on Friday August 30 by the Los Angeles City Council. Garcetti earlier last month announced he was replacing all but one member of the five-person board that oversees the Los Angeles Police Department.  The council voted 14-0 to confirm the appointees, each of whom will serve five-year terms.

Among the newly confirmed commissioners is Steve Soboroff, developer of the Playa Vista housing community, one-time candidate for Los Angeles mayor and former recreation and parks commissioner. He was also an adviser to former Mayor Richard Riordan.  The other newly confirmed commissioners are:

• Paula Madison, a former television news executive, reporter and partner in a Chicago-based investment firm;

• Kathleen Kim, a Loyola Law School professor who once served on a state anti-human-trafficking commission; and

• Sandra Figueroa-Villa, executive director of the family and youth resource center El Centro del Pueblo.

They join Robert Saltzman, a USC law professor who has been serving on the Police Commission since 2007.

Parent Category: News
Category: Community

August 29, 2013

By Brandon I. Brooks

Managing Editor 

By Kenneth Miller

Assistant Managing Editor 


The decision to run for political office is one based on a myriad of circumstances, but it’s outcome rest in the hands of voters who determine their fate.

There have been a number of established elected officials whose offspring have attempted to follow in their footsteps.

Former State Senator Kevin G. Murray became the first California Assemblyman to serve alongside his father Willard Murray in 1994.

Current Assemblyman Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) is the son of former State Senator and longtime Los Angeles City Councilman Nate Holden.

Others tried, but were not successful.

Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, the 26-year old son of Avis, who was the administrator of the Dispute Resolution Center in the office of the Los Angeles City Attorney and powerful Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, is representing the NEXT generation of African American leadership.

Sebastian’s quest to serve follows in the public service footsteps of his mother – Avis Ridley-Thomas, a pioneer in conflict resolution – and his father, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Chairman of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors and founder of the community empowerment movement that has become a model for communities nationwide.

“He is a new generation of leadership, committed to public service in a honored way,” explained 2nd District Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.

The 54th District Assembly Seat that Sebastian is vying for is one that encompasses a long and illustrious history of dynamic African American political leadership, from Ret. Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke, late Assemblyman and Congressman Julian C. Dixon, Ret. Senator Kevin G. Murray, City Council President Herb Wesson, Congresswoman Karen Bass and current Assembly-member Holly Mitchell who is vacating the seat to run for State Senate.

The 54th Assembly district includes Culver City, View Park, Windsor Hills, Ladera Heights and parts of West and Southwest Los Angeles.

“This seat represents significant African American leadership and a cross section of diversity that stretches from Westwood to Western Ave. I am very well aware of its significance because I was raised in the district,” eloquently stated Sebastian in an exclusive interview with the Sentinel.

It was during the Senate Fellow Program where he impressed many state office holders with his acumen and he was subsequently sought after by several senators, but chose to work for then Senator Curren Price.

Sebastian served as Public Policy Director for State Senator Curren Price, advising Price on economic development, transportation, housing, public safety, and local government issues – all of which are of critical importance to constituents in the 54th Assembly District.

“He has seen with his own eyes what can be accomplished as a public servant,” added his father.

His experience as a legislative consultant to the Senate Select Committee on Procurement which is responsible for securing the community’s fair share of lucrative state contracts to qualified small business owners in underserved communities, has prepared him for his first political campaign.

It is a campaign that is already steep in financial resources having surpassed the $200,000 threshold just out of the starting blocks.

A graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, it’s not by design that he has selected to dip into the murky waters of politics. His twin brother Sinclair by contrast is a polished accountant enrolled in the prestigious USC Marshall School of Business. Sebastian and his twin brother came of age as students of participatory politics.

“I’m supportive of both of them, but he and his brother were not raised to follow in my footsteps. I was in my mid 30’s when they was born, so my wife (Avis) and I created opportunities for exposure not knowing where it would necessarily lead,” continued The Supervisor.

It was Sebastian who led Price’s successful campaign to win a competitive 9th District Los Angeles City Council race and that is what inspired him to run for Assembly.

“It was really the encouragement of my community and the work that I did with Councilman Price, helping the Black Caucus in Sacramento as their political director that helped me make the decision to run,” said candidate Sebastian.

His father’s advice was clear; “I told him to think long and hard about it, twice and then some. It’s not for those who are weak. It’s for those who are committed to service and he’s ultimately convinced me of that.”

He currently works at as senior deputy for Councilman Price, focusing on economic development and health.

Sebastian served a full time internship at the Children’s Defense Fund, sponsored by American Baptist, and worked jobs between Washington DC and Los Angeles, while spending numerous hours in seminars.

Deeply grounded in faith, Sebastian was responsible for bringing together some 500 religious institutions spanning all faiths across 30 square miles as Senator Price’s chief liaison to Los Angeles’ faith-based organizations and clergy.

“Living in a house that defines public service leadership, he understands problem solving and conflict resolution,” revealed the elder Ridley-Thomas.

Sebastian says that he learned about conflict resolution from his mother, who recently retired from The City of Los Angeles after 30 years.

If elected to the assembly he will join African Americans Steve Bradford (D-62), Shirley Weber (D-72), Cheryl Brown (D-47), Holden (D-41), Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-59) and Isadore Hall III (D-64), although Hall is a leading candidate to become senator.

Obviously, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas would be the youngest member of the fraternity, but wise beyond his years and oozing the intellect and character, he is poised to embrace public service like his many great predecessors before him.

“From the time he was in elementary school to high school at Loyola and onto Morehouse he has been involved in levels of leadership that has prepared him. While at Morehouse he took it to another level, traveled internationally, studied theology and history,” concluded Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Assembly is just the first stop for this NEXT generation leader.

Parent Category: News
Category: Community

August 22, 2013

LAWT News Service


The We Still Have A Dream Coalition will hold a march and rally to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the march on Washington.  The event will be on Saturday, August 31 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Leimert Park (located at Crenshaw Boulevard and Vernon Avenue in Los Angeles).  The rally/ program, “Act Now For Human Rights”, will open with words from Rev. Tullus of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.  Nautica De la Cruz of KJLH Radio will emcee the event.  There will be a wonderful line up of speakers and there will be performances by the KJLH Per­forming Arts Choir, the First AME Church Unity Choir, a solo by Elaine Gibbs, along with a few surprises, and concluding with a march down Crenshaw Boulevard.  

The coalition is calling on Americans to join together to repudiate and fight against the ongoing legislative and political attacks on communities of color, while honoring the diversity and continued fight for freedom from oppression.

The We Still have a Dream Coalition is a non-partisan organization of individuals and groups who have joined together, which include Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, the NAACP, First AME Church, the MLK Coalition, Word Empower­ment Ministries, the ACLU,, Common Cause, and MOVI  For further information, call (310) 709-1698.

Parent Category: News
Category: Community

August 22, 2013

City News Service


Actor Lee Thompson Young —best known for his starring role on Disney Channel’s “The Famous Jett Jackson” — was found dead Monday August 19 in his North Hollywood apartment, Los Angeles police reported. Authorities did not confirm published reports that Young died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Officers sent to the 5000 block of Tujunga Avenue about 8 a.m. found Young dead at the scene, said Los Angeles police Sgt. J. Sandoz of the Media Relations office.

“It is with great sadness that I announce that Lee Thompson Young tragically took his own life this morning,” said the 29-year-old actor’s manager, Jonathan Baruch, E! News reported. “Lee was more than just a brilliant young actor, he was a wonderful and gentle soul who will be truly missed. We ask that you please respect the privacy of his family and friends at this very difficult time.”

According to TMZ, Young’s body was found at his residence with a gunshot wound. Young had currently been appearing on the TNT show “Rizzoli & Isles,” but failed to show up for work this morning, prompting staffers to call the landlord, who found the body, TMZ reported.

Parent Category: News
Category: Community

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