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1,430 Individuals to be Buried at L.A. County Mass Grave

Supervisor Don Knabe issued the following statement in advance of tomorrow’s mass burial at the Los Angeles County Cemetery:

“This holiday season many of us are reminded of how fortunate we are to be surrounded by our loved ones.  Sadly, not everyone shares this blessing.  On Wednesday, the County will bury the remains of 1,430 individuals in a mass grave.  These are individuals who, for one reason or another, have no one but the County to provide them with a respectful and dignified burial.  Some are homeless.  Many are poor.  Some have no families to grieve for them.  Regardless of what their status in life was, each one of them mattered.  We take the opportunity tomorrow to honor their lives.”

Supervisor Knabe will request a moment of silence in honor of these individuals at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

Service Details:

  • Wednesday, November 30; 10:30am
  • LA County Crematory and Cemetery
  • 3301 East 1st Street (corner of 1st and Lorena, adjacent to Evergreen Cemetery)

Los Angeles County, Long Beach Officials Launch Safe Youth Zone

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Los Angeles County and City of Long Beach officials gathered in Long Beach today to launch the Safe Youth Zone program, which creates a network of safe places for child sex trafficking victims and children in desperate situations to seek help and services at designated facilities. The program will be piloted at Compton and Century Sheriff’s Stations, Lynwood and Willowbrook County Fire Stations, and the Long Beach Police Department’s downtown station.

“As the ultimate safety net, Los Angeles County has a responsibility to protect its most vulnerable children,” said Supervisor Don Knabe. “The Safe Youth Zone program creates a safe place for our youngest child sex trafficking victims to seek out help when they find themselves in a desperate situation. While we are starting with public safety stations, my hope is that all County facilities will one day serve as Safe Youth Zones for our most at-risk children to find a place for help and hope.”

“Keeping kids safe is a top priority for the City of Long Beach, and we greatly appreciate Supervisor Knabe collaborating with us to create Safe Youth Zones,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “Our public safety departments will continue working with the County of Los Angeles and our community partners to combat human trafficking and protect our young people.”

Said Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell: “My goal for creating the Sheriff’s Department Human Trafficking Bureau has been to identify and rescue victims of trafficking and exploitation. It is both appropriate and necessary that we make available to the public our Sheriff’s Stations as a safe place for those who need them the most.”

Said Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby: “Our 173 County fire stations have always been — and will always remain — a safe and welcome zone for youth, especially those seeking help and protection during times of need and desperation. Through Supervisor Knabe’s Safe Youth Zone Program expansion, County fire stations and sheriff’s stations are able to immediately request services for a child, so he or she can be placed in a more healthy, secure environment than what they left.”

“We are pleased to participate in a program that offers a safe place where our youth can seek help and resources,” stated Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna. “I would like to thank Supervisor Knabe for his efforts in coordinating this outstanding example of the collective efforts being carried out by our local government to help those who are most vulnerable.”  

L.A. County, Long Beach Officials to Launch Safe Youth Zone

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What:

Los Angeles County and City of Long Beach officials will gather in Long Beach to launch the Safe Youth Zone program, which creates a network of safe places for child sex trafficking victims and children in desperate situations to seek help and services at designated facilities. The program will be piloted at Compton and Century Sheriff’s Stations, Lynwood and Willowbrook County Fire Stations, and the Long Beach Police Department’s downtown station.

Who:

*         Don Knabe, Los Angeles County Supervisor

*         Dr. Robert Garcia, Mayor, City of Long Beach

*         Daryl Osby, Chief, Los Angeles County Fire Department

*         Robert Luna, Chief, Long Beach Police Department

*         Chris Marks, Captain, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Human Trafficking Bureau

*         Michelle Guymon, Los Angeles County Probation Department

*         Jessica Midkiff, Survivor-Advocate

When:

Wednesday, November 2, 2016
10:30am

Where:

Long Beach Police Department Headquarters
Community Room – 1st Floor
400 West Broadway, Long Beach, 90802
(Located at west end of the building, near Magnolia Ave.)

Background:

Earlier this year, Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe called for the expansion and rebranding of the County’s Safe House Program, which offers safety to children who are running from a bully or away from home. Supervisor Knabe’s goal was to expand the program to create a network of safe places for victims of child sex trafficking to seek out when they were put on the street by their pimp or trafficker. In doing so, the program was renamed the Safe Youth Zone program and the County’s First Responder Protocol for Law Enforcement was implemented to ensure victims who come in seeking help are directed to life changing services and programs. The Safe Youth Zone program will initially encompass all County Fire Stations and Sheriff Stations, before rolling out to facilities countywide. Designated Safe Youth Zones will be identified by a bright yellow placard placed near the entrance to facilities.

Baby Boy Safely Surrendered in Palmdale

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe is proud to announce that the County’s Safe Surrender Program celebrated success for the sixth time this year with the report of a safely surrendered newborn baby boy. This most recent Safe Surrender occurred on Wednesday, October 26 at a hospital in Palmdale. As is standard practice, the newborn is in protective custody and will be placed with a family approved for adoption by the Department of Children and Family Services.

“I am grateful to hear that a mother, who found herself in a desperate situation, made the better choice for herself and her baby boy by safely surrendering him at a hospital,” said Supervisor Don Knabe. “Thanks to her courage and bravery, her baby now has a second chance at life and the opportunity to grow up with a loving family. Though we have been able to save the lives of 148 babies so far, we need to continue working to enlighten others that there is a safe, secure and anonymous way for mothers to get their baby into safe hands and protect them from abandonment.”

This is the sixth Safe Surrender in Los Angeles County in 2016, and the 148th since the program began 15 years ago. The program was initiated by Supervisor Knabe and approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors in 2001. It allows someone to surrender an infant that is no more than three days old, as long as the infant shows no signs of abuse.

To learn more about the Safe Surrender Program, visit BabySafeLA.org.

Knabe Statement on Governor Brown Decriminalizing Prostitution for Minors

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe released the following statement regarding Governor Jerry Brown signing multiple bills which protect young child sex trafficking victims from further exploitation, including Senate Bill 1322, which decriminalizes prostitution for minors in the state of California:

“There is no such thing as a child prostitute in the state of California! I am thrilled to hear that Governor Jerry Brown declared enough is enough and decriminalized prostitution and loitering with intent to commit prostitution for minors. This is truly a momentous day for the victims and survivors of this horrific crime, who fall prey to manipulative monsters who sell them for sex night after night. Instead of arresting and stigmatizing young child sex trafficking victims, law enforcement will now play a critical role in helping these girls get the support and treatment they need to escape life on the streets.

“Children don’t need to be arrested in order for us to provide them with the services they need to heal. Our approach in Los Angeles County is working.  In the past two years, we have rescued 131 girls; most of whom have been placed in group homes, foster care or back with their families.

“Thanks to the efforts of Governor Brown, Senator Holly Mitchell, law enforcement, our advocacy groups and local community organizations, we can now offer compassion, help and support to our most vulnerable children, and refocus our efforts to bring justice to those who buy, sell and exploit them.”

The Cerritos Air Crash: 30 Years Later

A black path runs through the Cerritos, Calif., neighborhood in this August 31, 1986 file photo, after a midair collision between an AeroMexico DC-9 and a small twin-engine plane. The crash of Aeromexico Flight 498 killed 82 people: 64 jetliner passengers, 15 people on the ground and three in the small plane that collided with the jet as it approached Los Angeles International Airport. In terms of victims on the ground, it was the nation's worst air accident.(AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)

It’s hard to believe, but this Wednesday marks the 30th anniversary of the Cerritos Air Crash. On a cloudless Sunday afternoon in 1986, a small airplane collided with a Aero Mexico DC-9 in the skies above Cerritos. Death and destruction rained down on our city, devastating a community that is still feeling the effects to this day. I was Mayor of Cerritos at the time, and there is no manual you can turn to for advice on what to do when a passenger plane goes down in your city or how to help your community and neighbors begin to recover.

I went to the crash site the other day. It was my first visit to the neighborhood at Carmenita Road and 183rd street in a number of years. Some of the neighbors who survived the air crash on the ground still live there. Others decided the memories were too painful to stay. As I turned the corner onto Holmes Avenue, my heart skipped a beat, and it was suddenly hard to breathe as a rush of raw emotions came roaring back. I could smell the burning jet fuel again. I could see the rubble and remains of exploded houses again. I could feel the immense loss of our friends and neighbors and the feeling of hopelessness again.

Out of that darkness and despair, there ultimately was some good that came from that day. Air traffic monitoring over our skies changed forever with new transponders that allow aircraft of all sizes to talk to each other, ensuring a similar air disaster would not happen again. And now, in the event of a disaster, our mental health teams will rapidly deploy to begin immediate crisis counseling for victims, as well as first responders who may suffer post-traumatic stress from their experiences.

Thirty years later, I still remember the sense of unity and togetherness that came in the aftermath. In the days after the air crash, the shelters we set up for people who lost their homes sat virtually empty. The residents of Cerritos opened up their homes and made sure everyone had a place to go where they could sleep, eat and mourn. Friends helped friends, families helped complete strangers. I’ll never forget that overwhelming sense of community.

On Wednesday, we will once again come together as a community to reflect and remember. If you would like to join the in remembrance of the anniversary, a memorial will be held at the Cerritos Air Disaster Memorial in the Cerritos Sculpture Garden at 11:30am.

Knabe Calls for $20,000 Reward for Information Related to Double Murder in Long Beach

On Tuesday, August 16, Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe will put forth a motion requesting the authorization of a $20,000 reward for information related to the murders of Carina Mancera and her four-year-old daughter Jennabel in the city of Long Beach.

On August 6, 2016, Carina and her boyfriend Luis Anaya, along with their daughter Jennabel, were returning home to the 900 block of Locust Avenue after a shopping excursion. An unknown assailant appeared at the intersection of 9th Street and Locust and began firing at all three victims. Carina and Jennabel were fatally shot and Luis escaped with no injuries.No arrests have been made and detectives are asking the public to assist with their investigation.

“This horrific tragedy has shaken the Long Beach community and broken our hearts,” said Supervisor Knabe. “I encourage anyone who may have seen or heard something to please come forward and help bring Carina and Jennabel’s killer to justice.”

KNABE URGES SUPPORT OF CALIFORNIA SENATE BILL 1322 ADVOCATING FOR THE DECRIMINALIZATION OF PROSTITUTION FOR MINORS

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Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe called on the members of the California Assembly to vote in support of Senate Bill 1322, which comes before them tomorrow.  The Bill, sponsored by State Senator Holly Mitchell and approved by the State Senate, would decriminalize prostitution for minors.  In urging his support, Knabe said:

“There is no such thing as a child prostitute!  The most vulnerable children in our communities are coerced into selling themselves for sex, and are forced to do it through brutal violence and intimidation.  They are not the criminals here and we must treat them like the victims they are!  Our focus should be on bringing to justice those who buy and sell little girls.

“We don’t need to arrest children in order to provide them with the services they need to heal.  Los Angeles County has been at the forefront of developing a protocol with law enforcement, Probation, Children’s Services and community partners to protect the girls and provide them with wraparound services.  

“Our approach is working.  We have rescued 131 girls in the past two years; most of whom have been placed in group homes, foster care or back with their families.  Passing SB 1322 sends a strong message of support to the survivors and to the girls still out there, being raped and assaulted every day.  Make no mistake: when we charge young girls with prostitution, we are calling them prostitutes.  They need our help and our compassion and the tools to move on with their lives; not to be labeled and further traumatized.”

Major Redevelopment Project Coming to Rancho Los Amigos South Campus

A major redevelopment project, which will completely transform Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center’s south campus in Downey, moved closer to fruition today with the Board of Supervisors’ unanimous vote to approve initial funding. Plans for Rancho South Campus include new County facilities and a community sports complex with multiple playing fields, nighttime lighting, restrooms, a concession stand, an equipment storage room and parking for the community. A proposed Metro transit station would make the campus and new facilities regionally accessible to all County residents and employees

“Today we reached another milestone in the transformation of the Rancho Los Amigos campus,” said Supervisor Don Knabe. “I want to thank the City of Downey and the Downey City Council for their great partnership throughout this entire process. This project has been a longtime coming and I am thrilled that we are finally moving forward with redeveloping Rancho’s South Campus into a space that will better serve the County and enhance the quality-of-life of Downey residents and the entire region. As we heard from local AYSO players who testified at today’s Board meeting, playing fields are a sorely needed amenity in the southeast communities. I know these facilities will be used by kids and adults of all ages for years to come.”

Following today’s action, the Department of Public Works will work with Gensler to develop architectural scoping documents and prepare an environmental impact report.

Kheir Center to Celebrate 30 Years of Providing Multilingual Healthcare to L.A. County Residents

KHEIR

This September, Kheir Center – based in the heart of Koreatown – will celebrate its 30th anniversary of delivering care to residents across Los Angeles County.

What started as a one-room social service office in 1986, providing basic healthcare to non-English speaking Koreans, has since evolved to so much more. Today, the organization provides comprehensive health care for a diverse population through Community Clinic & Patient Resource services and Adult Day Health Care.

“While we have the unique capacity to serve the Korean community, we provide care for diverse patients all over the county,” said Erin Pak, Kheir’s Chief Executive Officer. “Whether it’s physicals, cancer screenings, mammograms, prenatal care, mental health or group exercise classes, our goal is to give our community the high-quality care they deserve.”

This past year, Kheir additionally opened up offices to provide dental and optometry services, filling another gap in the healthcare system by providing specialty care to their constituency.

To serve their growing county population, Kheir has a staff of about 75 members of varying levels, including physicians, physician assistants, nurses, medical assistants, licensed vocational nurses, front desk and call center support, and a Patient Resource Department. All direct staff is bilingual, enabling providers to make a connection with patients and clearly articulate healthcare needs and results in the patient’s first language.

“Healthcare is already confusing enough when you’re trying to communicate specialty care, prescription needs and lab tests,” said Kirby Van Amburgh, Kheir’s Director of Special Projects. “Having someone to communicate these things in your own language makes a world of difference, and prevents people from falling through the cracks.”

Kheir currently operates the nation’s only two full-time community clinics with the Korean, Spanish and English language capabilities. Care is free, or offered at a minimal fee (depending on capacity to pay), and with the expansion of Medicaid in 2014, the team is now serving more than 10,000 individuals a year.

“Initially, our focus was to bridge the gap for these individuals in need of healthcare, but ultimately our goal is to get people healthy,” said Van Amburgh. “We want to help them overcome their obstacles to get healthier and move beyond treating common ailments like hypertension, diabetes and obesity.”

To grow this mission, Kheir has instituted group sessions to talk about struggles and solutions to change habits and find healthier ways to eat, exercise and live.

“Los Angeles County is one of the most diverse places to live in the world,” said LA County Supervisor Don Knabe. “So to see Kheir continue to grow and evolve over the past few decades and find new, inventive ways to give our community something so fundamental like healthcare is essential. Their commitment to providing care is second to none.”

To learn more about Kheir, or to help celebrate their 30th anniversary activities, visit their website for details or contact info@lakheir.org for more information.