Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on Tuesday December 6 became the chairman of the Board of Supervisors, expressing his commitment to “a progressive government that practices inclusivity, intentional civility and respect for the wide range of constituents we serve.”
Ridley-Thomas will hold the one-year position during an era of historic change in which four of the board’s five members are now women, two of whom—Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger—were sworn into office on December 5. They join Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis, the board’s outgoing chair.
During the recent Board of Supervisors meeting, Ridley-Thomas praised the Board’s new composition.
“Today, we usher in a new chapter for the Board of Supervisors, and it is indeed a very, very new chapter,” Ridley-Thomas said. “The composition of this Board is simply unprecedented. It is historic. It is meaningful. It is purposeful. It is what I’d like to describe as the fulfillment of the promises of democracy.”
Ridley-Thomas is now the longest-serving member on the Board. He assumed office in December, 2008, to represent the County’s Second District, which spans nine cities and 42 communities, from Lynwood to Culver City to Wilmington and portions of Downtown Los Angeles.
Ridley-Thomas has emerged as the Board’s leading voice on the region’s deepening homelessness crisis.
Earlier this month, the Board unanimously passed two motions he co-authored that cleared the way for a sales tax measure on the March ballot, which, if approved, would infuse hundreds of millions of dollars into the County’s fight against homelessness.
In assuming the panel’s chairmanship, Ridley-Thomas also authored a motion, adopted by the Board, seeking to improve the performance and accountability of County departments. Under the action, each Board member will be assigned responsibility for overseeing individual departments.
The motion also called for an assessment of the County’s new Health Agency, in which the departments of Public Health, Mental Health and Health Services were integrated.
“As Chairman, I will endeavor to ensure that the daily operations of the County function in an efficient and effective, productive manner,” Ridley Thomas said.
“With an incredibly diverse group of experienced leaders with fresh perspectives on the Board and in key management positions, we are well-positioned to tackle the critical challenges facing the County, ranging from securing ongoing funds to combat homelessness to providing more effective public safety and services for the most disenfranchised members of our communities. Los Angeles County will continue to lead the nation as a progressive government that practices inclusivity, intentional civility, and respect for the wide range of constituents we serve.”