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METROPOLIS LA

Curren Price 

arraignment

delayed on

criminal charges

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LA Councilman Curren Price.

City News Service

LOS ANGELES (CNS)Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price made his first court appearance July 13

on criminal charges of theft by embezzlement, perjury, and conflict of interest for allegedly voting on projects involving developers tied to his wife's consulting firm, then failing to report the connections.


Price is now set to be arraigned Aug. 28 at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse.


Superior Court Judge Kimberley Baker Guillemet allowed the 72-year-old councilman to remain free on his own recognizance, but granted Deputy District Atty. Casey Higgins' request for two conditions requiring that Price
be fingerprinted and booked and that he announce any conflicts of interest on any contracts or agreements before the City Council and immediately recuse himself from voting on those issues.
 

The criminal complaint alleges that Price effectively embezzled money between 2013 and 2017 by having the city cover roughly $33,800 in medical premiums for Del Richardson, to whom he claimed to be married, although he was still married at the time to Lynn Suzette Price.
 

Pricewho has maintained his innocencehas represented the Ninth District, which includes most of South Los Angeles and Exposition Park, since 2013. He previously served in the state Assembly and state Senate.
 

Following Thursday's court hearing, Price issued a statement saying, "We are looking forward to engaging with the DA in the coming weeks and we are grateful that the court has given us time to do so. I want to thank my
constituents and the entire city of Los Angeles for the outpouring of support I have received and I look forward to continuing to do the people's business."


Price's statement went on to say, "As we said when the charges were brought, we believe that the charges filed by the DA's office are completely unwarranted and that the facts will bear this out. I have always conducted myself, in and out of the public eye, with integrity and professionalism."
 

The councilman was charged June 13 with five counts of grand theft by embezzlement, three counts of perjury, and two counts of conflict of interest, according to the criminal complaint.
 

Price sent a letter that afternoon to Council President Paul Krekorian announcing his decision to step down as council president pro tem, and surrendering all of his committee assignments.
 

"While I navigate through the judicial system to defend my name against unwarranted charges filed against me, the last thing I want to do is be a distraction to the people's business," Price wrote in the letter, first obtained
by the Los Angeles Times.
 

Krekorian introduced a motion to suspend Price a day after the criminal case was filed. But the Los Angeles City Council's Rules, Elections, and Intergovernmental Relations Committee subsequently voted to defer a
recommendation regarding the possible suspension of Price until its Aug. 25 meeting.
 

Price issued a statement shortly after the committee meeting, saying he was pleased that the committee delayed its vote as he has "not yet had the opportunity to answer the unwarranted charges" against him.
 

"I hope that the committee, and the full Council, will extend the same presumption of innocence that the law extends to me, and I look forward to proving my innocence," Price said in a statement.
 

If convicted, Price could face a sentence ranging from probation to roughly eight to 10 years behind bars, the prosecutor said outside court.


Price is the latest Los Angeles city official to fall into legal or political turmoil. Former council members Jose Huizar and Mitch Englander have both pleaded guilty to federal charges in recent years, while Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas was convicted earlier this year of federal charges for trading votes during his time on the county Board of Supervisors in exchange for benefits provided by USC to his son.
 

Former City Council President Nury Martinez resigned last year after being caught on tape in a racially charged convo with two other council members and a county labor official about the council's redistricting process.

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Sheriff Robert Luna address news conference.

Sheriff's deputy union challenges tattoo, gang probe orders

LOS ANGELES (CNS)A union representing Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies has taken legal action against Sheriff Robert Luna and the Office of the Inspector General for their directives requiring deputies to show certain tattoos and answer questions about alleged deputy gangs.


The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs maintains in the Los Angeles Superior Court petition brought Monday that their members' constitutional rights are at stake and that the issue should have been dealt with
beforehand in bargaining.


"As a matter of law, the implementation of those changes must be preceded by reasonable advance notice to ALADS, the opportunity to meet and confer with authorized representatives of defendants as well as exhaustion of any and all applicable impasse procedures," the petition states.


An LASD representative issued a statement Wednesday regarding the petition, saying the department is aware of the legal action and that labor and legal representatives are better equipped to address specifics of the
investigation.


On May 12, the OIG sent letters to the affected deputies, including ALADS-represented employees, as part of its investigation into alleged law enforcement gangs existing within the department.


"You are directed to appear in person to participate in an interview to be conducted by the Office of Inspector General concerning the presence of law enforcement gangs in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department," according to the order, which further states the OIG is "conducting a series of witness interviews to establish the membership of the Banditos and Executioners."


The affected deputies are asked by the OIG to bring a photograph of any tattoos on their left or right legs from the area of the ankle to the knee and a photograph of any tattoo anywhere on their bodies that has any symbol or images of the nature specified in the directive.


ALADS filed an unfair employee relations practice charge with the Los Angeles County Employee Relations Commission on March 19 over the compelled compliance and is seeking to preserve the status quo until the outcome of their case is decided.


Luna also sent an email to the affected deputies on May 18, but the ALADS petition states that the communica- tion does not state whether those ordered to testify before the OIG will receive an admonition or will otherwise receive protection against any incrimination in a potential criminal action.


ALADS further maintains that the deputies have a "reasonable expectation of privacy in non-visible tattoos that are covered by clothing" and that a judge must determine this issue.


Despite the alleged obligation to do so, the OIG "failed to meet and confer in good faith with ALADS" prior to sending out the OIG's May 12 order, the petition states.


A trial-setting conference is scheduled Aug. 8 before Judge James Chalfant.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom

Governor Enters LA Council Fray

Joins cacophony 

for LA councilmen Cedillo, de León,

to resign

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Gil Cedillo

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Kevin de León

LOS ANGELES (CNS)Gov. Gavin Newsom weighed in on the City Hall racism scandal, and called for councilmen Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo to resign.


Asked by reporters after Sunday's election debate in San Francisco whether de León and Cedillo should leave their positions, Newsom replied, "I think they should."


"I was very clear with (former Council President Nury Martinez) that she did the right thing, and I think the others should do the same. I wanted to provide the opportunity for them to justify ... what they said and the
opportunity to be transparent about what they said," Newsom said. "So we're hoping and looking forward to announcements soon."


The October 2021 conversation between de León, Cedillo, Martinez and Ron Herrera, former president of the LA County Federation of Labor, included racist comments and discussions over favorable redistricting schemes. Both Martinez and Herrera have resigned.


Newsom did not initially call for resignations. "Words matter," he said, adding, "Racist language can do real harm."


Both de León and Cedillo were removed from various committee assignments last week, leaving the vital Homelessness and Poverty, and Housing committees without chairs.


But both councilmen have so far defied calls for them to resign. De León said earlier this week that he does not plan on stepping down, and a spokesman for Cedillo said Wednesday night that the councilman remains at "a place of reflection."


Newsom joins a chorus of calls from around the country, including from President Joe Biden, for all involved in the meeting to resign.

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"It is with a broken heart that I resign my seat for Council District 6, the community I grew up in and my home,'' Nury Martinez said in a written statement Wednesday afternoon."

Nury Martinez resigns LA Council seat over recording 

By ERIC HE
City News Service


LOS ANGELES (CNS)Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez resigned Oct. 12, three days after the release of a recorded conversation from 2021 in which she made a series of racist comments.


"It is with a broken heart that I resign my seat for Council District 6, the community I grew up in and my home," Martinez said in a written statement Wednesday afternoon.
 

Her lengthy statement made no direct reference to the recording that likely ended her political career, nor did it include an apology to Councilman Mike Bonin or any of the communities she directed racist slurs at in the tape although she said, "To my staffI'm sorry that we're ending it this way. This is no reflection on you. I know you all will continue to do great work and fight for our district. I'll be cheering you on."


In a statement moments after Martinez's announcement, acting City Council President Mitch O'Farrell said Martinez's resignation is the "first, necessary step in the process'' of accountability. When asked later by
reporters about Martinez's statement excluding those apologies, O'Farrell said: "I noticed that."


Martinez resigned as council president on Monday, following Sunday's release of the recorded conversation in which she made racist comments aimed at Bonin's 2-year-old Black adopted son and at other ethnic groups while the group discussed the politically sensitive process of redrawing council district boundaries.


The recorded conversation was leaked, appearing on Reddit before being removed from the website. City News Service reviewed the conversation, but it was unclear who was responsible for the recording and its leak. The meeting apparently occurred at a Federation of Labor office, and the federation is investigating its source.
 

Martinez issued a statement Monday announcing her decision to surrender the council presidency, and apologizing to Bonin, his husband Sean Arian and their son.
 

With Martinez resigning from her leadership role, O'Farrell, the council president pro tempore, was elevated to acting council president. He has repeatedly called for Martinez, Kevin de León and Gil Cedilloall of whom
took part in the recorded conversation
to resign their council seats.


"The wound is deep," O'Farrell said. "The harm is vast. The transgressions are of a profound significance. In order for us to move forward with the people of Los Angeles, we need two more resignations."
 

O'Farrell said he spoke with Cedillo for an hour Wednesday and claimed there was some progress made toward a resignation. He has been attempting to reach de León all day, but has not been able to connect.
 

At a news briefing Oct. 12, several council members expressed shock at the racist comments revealed in the recording made by their longtime colleagues, and implored the two remaining embattled council members
to resign.

 

"When someone is being bullied, those around the bully have an obligation to step in and stop the bullying," said Councilman Paul Krekorian, when asked of Cedillo's being in the room but not partaking in making racist comments.


Councilman Bob Blumenfield said he hopes Martinez "gets the help that she needs."
 

"The revelations of this tape showed a very hateful heart and a disdain for others in a sick way," Blumenfield said. Blumenfield added that the council needs to put together a leadership team that "leads instead of trying to rule."
 

Councilman Paul Koretz tried to isolate the incident to those on the recording.
 

People out there will think this represents the conversation that council has," Koretz said. "I'm here to assure you: This is not the council. This is those three people."
 

Councilman Curren Price said Martinez's announcement signals "the beginning of the end of this nightmare that she, along with Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo created for our city."
 

"This sad chapter has left a stain on our City Council, forever changing the face of LA politics," Price said.
 

At least two council membersKrekorian and Marqueece Harris-Dawsonsignaled an intent to hold a special election for Martinez's seat as well as de León's seat if he resigns. Both of their terms expire in December 2024. Cedillo lost a re-election bid to Eunessis Hernandez earlier this year, and Krekorian suggested swearing in Hernandez immediately if Cedillo resigns.


Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a statement saying, "Nury made the right decision, one that I realize is painful to her personally but unquestionably in the best interests of a city that I know she loves. Racism and hateful words cannot ever be overlooked by our community or within one's self, and she needs the time and space to reflect, make amends and move forward with her life.


"Her two former colleagues must arrive at the same decision soon, because Angelenos deserve a government focused squarely on meeting challenges in their neighborhoods that are too serious to risk a paralyzed City Council."
 

Both mayoral candidates supported the resignation.
 

"Ms. Martinez did the right thing," Rep. Karen Bass said. "For Los Angeles to move in the right direction, Mr. De León and Mr. Cedillo must resign as well."


Developer Rick Caruso, Bass' opponent, said: "She made the right choice. We need to move forward as a city and heal."
 

Gov. Gavin Newsom called Martinez's resignation "the right move."
 

"Again, these comments have no place in our state, or in our politics, and we must all model better behavior to live the values that so many of us fight every day to protect," Newsom said in a statement.
 

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden also wanted all three council members to resign, following the lead of now-former Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, who also took part in the 2021 conversation and resigned from his post Monday night.
 

"The president is glad to see one of the participants in that conversation has resigned; they all should" Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.


"He believes that they all should resign."


De León and Cedillo have not resigned their seats. O'Farrell said at a news briefing Wednesday before Martinez's resignation that he advised both de León and Cedillo to not come to the Council Chamber Wednesday for the council's scheduled meeting, and they agreed.
 

O'Farrell's briefing came after he was forced to adjourn Wednesday's council meeting, with protesters chanting and shouting in the chamber for Martinez, De León and Cedillo to resign. O'Farrell called several recesses in hopes of quieting the crowd before the meeting could begin. But the protesters refused to relent. After about an hour, O'Farrell announced that the meeting was being adjourned, with all items on the agenda postponed until Friday's scheduled meeting.


O'Farrell told reporters afterward that he was prepared to wait as long as it took to hold the meeting, but he said the council lost a quorum at 11 a.m. when Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson left the chamber. A rep-
resentative for Harris-Dawson told City News Service Harris-Dawson left because O'Farrell had "lost control of the meeting."


O'Farrell again called on the council members involved in the recorded conversation to resign, calling it "personally and professionally frustrating" that they have yet to do so. O'Farrell said it will be nearly impossible for the council to conduct its business until they resign.


"It's holding us up from moving forward," he said. "The emotions are only going to flare up more and more and more. This is not going to calm down. It's at a boiling point. It's boiling over."


O'Farrell said he gave the protesters the benefit of the doubt Wednesday, but noted that council meetings need to resume ``at some point very, very soon."


"This is a time unprecedented in the city's history in terms of the dynamics at play,'' O'Farrell said. "We need to take this one moment at a time."


Michael Hunt, one of the protesters who showed up Wednesday, said activists plan on returning to disrupt meetings until the council members resign.


"People want the City Council to do the work of the people, not the work of name-calling," Hunt said.
 

Calls for resignations have been almost universal among city, state and federal elected officials—including from Biden, who arrived in Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon for a two-day visit.
 

Bass, D-Los Angeles, and Caruso have also called on the three to give up their seats.
 

Martinez, 49, had served on the council since 2013 representing the Sixth District in the San Fernando Valley. She was the second Latina to serve on the council and was its only female member when she was elected. Six years later, she became the first Latina to become council president when she was elected in 2019, replacing long-time President Herb Wesson.


Prior to being elected to the council, Martinez served on the San Fernando City Council from 2003-09 and on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education from 2009-2013. Martinez's term runs through 2024. It was not immediately clear if the council would call a special election to fill her seat.
 

De León, 55, has been on the council since 2020 and made an unsuccessful run for mayor this year. He previously served in the state Senate and Assembly. Cedillo, 68, has been in office since 2013 but lost his bid for re-election this year. His term will expire in December, and he will be replaced by Eunisses Hernandez.
 

Among other comments in the recorded conversation, Martinez belittled Bonin, who is White and openly gay, and criticized his adopted Black son for his behavior at a Martin Luther King Day parade, saying the boy was misbehaving on a float, which might have tipped over if she and [others] hadn't stepped in to "parent this kid."
 

"They're raising him like a little White kid," Martinez said. "I was like, 'This kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and then I'll bring him back.'"
 

Martinez also called the child "ese changuito," Spanish for "that little monkey."
 

De León also criticized Bonin. "Mike Bonin won't f---ing ever say peep about Latinos. He'll never say a f---ing word about us," he said.


De León also compared Bonin's handling of his son at the MLK Parade to "when Nury brings her little yard bag or the Louis Vuitton bag."


"Su negrito, like on the side," Martinez added, using a Spanish term for a Black person that is considered demeaning by many.


At another point in the leaked conversation, Martinez recalls a conversation with businessman Danny Bakewell about possibly transferring Los Angeles International Airport out of Bonin's council district into Harris-Dawson's. Martinez said she told Bakewell to "go get the airport from his
little brother—that little bitch Bonin."


On the subject of Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas' suspension following an indictment on federal corruption charges, Martinez said Controller Ron Galperin would decide whether Ridley-Thomas still gets paid.
 

"You need to go talk to that white guy," she says. "It's not us. It's the White members on this council that will motherf—you in a heartbeat."


Martinez took aim at Los Angeles County District George Gascón in profane terms, after the group appeared to discuss whether Gascón would endorse Cedillo in his re-election campaign against Hernandez.


"F--- that guy. (inaudible) ... He's with the Blacks,'' she said of Gascón.


Gascón issued a statement late Sunday saying he was "saddened and disappointed" in the comments.
 

"I share the outrage of council member Bonin as well as all members of the African-American community. Anti-Blackness has no place in Los Angeles," he said.
 

Martinez, de León, Herrera and Cedillo apologized separately on Sunday for their roles in the conversation.


"In a moment of intense frustration and anger, I let the situation get the best of me. I hold myself accountable for these comments. For that I am sorry,'' Martinez said in a statement provided to City News Service.
 

"The context of this conversation was concern over the redistricting process and concern about the potential negative impact it might have on communities of color. My work speaks for itself. I've worked hard to lead this
city through its most difficult time."


De León said: "There were comments made in the context of this meeting that are wholly inappropriate, and I regret appearing to condone and even contribute to certain insensitive comments made about a colleague and his family in private. I've reached out to that colleague personally," he said.


"On that day, I fell short of the expectations we set for our leadersand I will hold myself to a higher standard."
 

Herrera's statement said: "The calls for accountability are loud clear and deserved. I recognize that the com- munity and our affiliates deserved an apology earlier and I am sorry this has not been the case. I had to face my family and granddaughters personally and apologize to them for my failure to stand up to racist and anti-Black remarks in that immediate moment. I failed them in the moment and for that I hold the deepest regret.


"And now, I apologize to all of you, Mike Bonin and his family, the affiliates and community members, spe- cifically those in the Black and Oaxacan community. There is no justification and no excuse for the vile remarks made in that room. Period. And I didn't step up to stop them and I will have to bear the burden of that cross moving forward," Herrera said. "I will do better and I hope that all of you can find it in your hearts to forgive me."
 

Cedillo issued a statement saying, "I want to start by apologizing. While I did not engage in the conversation in question, I was present at times during this meeting last year. It is my instinct to hold others accountable when they use derogatory or racially divisive language. Clearly, I should have intervened. I failed in holding others and myself to the highest standard. The hurtful and harmful remarks made about my colleague's son were simply unacceptable. We choose public life, but our families should always be off limits and never part of the political discourse."


Bonin and Arian tweeted a lengthy statement from the family Sunday calling for the council to remove Martinez as president and for her and de León to resign their seats entirely.


"We love our son, a beautiful, joyful child, and our family is hurting today," the statement continued. "No child should ever be subjected to such racist, mean and dehumanizing comments, especially from a public official. It is painful to know he will someday read these comments.
 

"We are equally angry and disgusted by the ugly racist comments about our son from Kevin de León and Ron Herrera, who should also resign their posts, and by the tacit acceptance of those remarks from Gil Cedillo. It hurts that one of our son's earliest encounters with overt racism comes from some of the most powerful public officials in Los Angeles."

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The 6-foot-10 Jalen Hill played 77 games in three seasons for UCLA, starting 40 games, averaging 6.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Hill played his last game for the Bruins on Jan. 30, 2021, going scoreless in 11 minutes against Oregon State.

Former UCLA basketball player Jalen Hill dies in Costa Rica

LOS ANGELES (CNS)—Former UCLA power forward and center Jalen Hill has died after going missing in Costa Rica, his family announced. He was 22.


In an Instagram post, Hill's family wrote they were unable to share any details surrounding his death.


"We know Jalen has played a part in the lives of so many people," the family wrote Tuesday. "We also acknow- ledge the role that so many of you have played in his. As we try to navigate this devastating time in our lives,
we ask that you please give us time to grieve. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.''


Hill was a star at Centennial High School in Corona, leading the Huskies to the CIF Southern Section Regional Division I championship game as senior in 2017. He was ranked as the No. 47 player nationally in his high
school class by ESPN.com.


"I'm so stunned I don't even have an emotion right now," Josh Giles, Hill's coach at Corona Centennial told the Los Angeles Times. "To hear something like this is next-level devastating."


Bruins coach Mick Cronin called Hill's death heartbreaking.


"Jalen was a warm-hearted young man with a great smile who has left us far too soon,'' Cronin said in a statement.


The 6-foot-10 Hill played 77 games over three seasons for UCLA, starting 40 games, averaging 6.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Hill played his last game for the Bruins on Jan. 30, 2021, going scoreless in 11 minutes against Oregon State.

 

The team announced the following week that he was sitting out a game against USC for personal reasons.


Hill later said the reason why he never came back to play was due to anxiety and depression after putting excessive pressure on himself to succeed.


"It was a tough decision to make, but once I knew what I had to do, it wasn't hard, like I figured out, like, this is going to help me," Hill told the Times in a 2021 interview.


Hill was among three UCLA freshmen arrested for shoplifting when the Bruins were in Hangzhou, China to open the 2017-18 season and remained at the team's hotel until their case could be resolved. Hill, LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley publicly apologized upon their return to campus and thanked everyone involved in helping to resolve the case so they could return home, including then-President Donald Trump.


Hill called his personal actions "stupid."


"There's just no other way to put it," he said. "And I'm not that type of person. I hope that this mistake will not define me as a person, but it shows that I have messed up and can learn from it. I don't want to be known for
this dumb mistake. I want to be known for my respectfulness and my love and passion for the game of basket- ball. This event has changed me in a way I can't explain."


The three players were initially suspended indefinitely from the team while they went through the university's disciplinary review process. Ball withdrew from school before the review was completed. Hill and Riley remained
suspended through the remainder of the season.

LA MAYOR: BASS VS. CARUSO

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The Nov. 8 general election will feature a slugfest between Karen Bass, who previously held the 37th District congressional post and billionaire developer Rick Caruso. But the other race scarcely mentioned to now, involves State Senator Sidney Kamlager and three-term LA City Councilwoman Jan Perry, which will likely catch fire in the quest by the opposing candidates to succeed Bass for the 37th District congressional seat. Photo by Tyrone Cole 

The other political race crying for attention: 37th District Congress

LOS ANGELES (MNS)Former Council- woman Jan Perry will advance to the gen- eral election in the race to replace Rep. Karen Bass in the 37th Congressional District. Perry will face State Senator Sydney Kamlager, who for the second time in as many elections, is leaving her current position after serving less than a year to seek higher office.

Updated results by the registrar's office added to Perry's lead over Culver City Mayor Daniel W. Lee in their battle to take on Kamlager for the Congressional seat vacated by Rep. Bass to run for mayor. 

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Jan Perry

Sidney Kamlager

Going into Friday, Perry had a 1,085-vote lead over Lee, but that margin expanded to 1,250 when the updated results were released.

 

"I think the voters of Los Angeles and the 37th Congressional District sent a clear message last night, exper- ience counts. You can't just buy elections, said Perry" Special interests from outside of the District spent $1.4 million in support of Senator Kamlager to influence the outcome of this election. The entire field of candidates combined was outspent by more than 3 to 1 by a free-spending billionaire.

"I look forward to a spirited exchange of ideas," said Perry. "We must discuss how to bring jobs and afford- able housing into our community, address the home- less crisis that plagues our neighborhoods, and debate ideas on how to provide much-needed relief from record-breaking gas prices and inflation, she continued."

 

Earlier this year, Sen. Kamlager sponsored legislation  on behalf of the Super PACs that supported her cam- paign, which would allow the State of California to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment. The Senate finance committee initially rejected the legislation, but it is currently under reconsideration.

"We need leaders in Washington who can get results for our community and who will fight to deliver affordable housing, health care, and good-paying jobs to the district," said Faye Geyen, resident of Culver City. "The time for talk is over. Jan Perry isn't afraid to push for policies like the repeal of the gas tax that help working people. She has a record of true accomplishment and my full support."

Perry currently serves as the executive director for two non-profits that address future infrastructure, economic development, and environmental challenges and support agencies that serve Los Angeles’ unhoused popula- tion. From July 2013 to December 2018, she served as the general manager of the City of Los Angeles’ Econ- omic and Workforce Development Department. During her tenure, the department enrolled 91,000 people in its training and placement programs.

Metropolis News Service.

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