Improving Lives

County Funds Expansion Of Community Clinics

Supervisor Don Knabe was pleased to announce today that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a $15.57 million in funding to expand community clinic capacity throughout the County. Seven clinics in the Fourth District will receive almost $5 million for expansion.

The total allocation to Fourth District clinics is $4,795,653, of which $4,016,808 will go to expanding primary care services and $778,845 will go to new and improved infrastructure at the clinics. Included in the overall expansion are 12 new exam rooms. The following is a list of the Fourth District community clinics that will receive funding:

Harbor Community Clinic in San Pedro

Northeast Community Clinic in Wilmington

Norwalk Regional Health Center in Norwalk

Sacred Heart Family Health Clinic in Paramount

The Children’s Clinic in Long Beach

Westside Neighborhood Clinic in Long Beach

Wilmington Community Clinic in Wilmington

With all of the overcrowding issues we are facing throughout the County, community clinics are more important than ever, said Supervisor Knabe. By expanding clinic capacity, we are not only allowing more residents to access low-cost healthcare services, but we are alleviating strain on an emergency care system that is in a very fragile state.

County Waives Park Fees For Veterans, Military Personnel And Their Families

In honor of Veterans Day, admission fees and vehicle entrance fees have been waived to the regional park facilities on November 6-13, 2009, for Veterans and their families. The motion, introduced by Supervisor Don Knabe, was unanimously approved today by the Board of Supervisors.

As Veterans Day approaches, it is important that we recognize the many contributions that Veterans and their families have made for our great County over the years, said Supervisor Knabe. We owe them many freedoms that we have today, and they truly deserve the honor and respect of their fellow Americans.

All Veterans, military personnel and their immediate families are invited to visit the following Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation facilities from November 6 through November 13, 2009, free of charge with proper identification:

Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park

120 Via Verde Drive

San Dimas

(909) 599-8411

Castaic Lake Recreation Area

32132 Castaic Lake Drive


(661) 257-4050

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

4100 North La Cienega Boulevard

Los Angeles

(323) 298-3660

Santa Fe Dam Regional Park

15501 East Arrow Highway


(626) 334-1065

Schabarum Park

17250 East Colima Road

Rowland Heights

(626) 854-5560

Whittier Narrows Regional Recreation Area

750 South Santa Anita Avenue

South El Monte

(626) 575-5526

Arboretum of Los Angeles County

301 North Baldwin Avenue


(626) 821-3212

Descanso Gardens

1418 Descanso Drive

La Canada Flintridge

(818) 952-4400

South Coast Botanic Garden

26300 Crenshaw Boulevard

Palos Verdes Peninsula

(310) 544-6815

Virginia Robinson Gardens

(310) 276-5367

By appointment only

Knabe To Fund A New $10.3 Million Family Service Center In Whittier

On Wednesday, November 4, during his State of the County address, Supervisor Don Knabe, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, will announce that he will be funding $10.3 million towards the construction of a new family service center in Whittier. The project is part of a larger investment of that Knabe will be announcing at the event.

Supervisor Knabe will provide $10.32 million for the construction of the Whittier Area Recreation and Family Services Center at the Sheriff’s Training Center. The 11,000-square-foot project will include youth and adult job training programs, recreation programs, classrooms, and child care services. It will be operated by Helpline Youth Counseling, one of our local community-based organizations, which will also have office space inside.

Supervisor Knabe’s commitment of $12.9 million in capital project funds for the South Bay is part of a series of projects the Supervisor will be funding across the Fourth District this year, totaling nearly $42 million in construction projects that will lead to hundreds of jobs and many new community facilities for recreation, social services, and public safety. Supervisor Knabe will announce all the projects and the funding levels during his annual State of the County address at the Long Beach Convention Center on November 4.

For the first time, Supervisor Knabe’s speech will be broadcast live on the Internet at The event begins at 11:30 a.m., but the Internet broadcast will begin at approximately 12:30 p.m., once the Supervisor actually begins his speech. Viewers can log on to on on Wednesday, November 4, beginning at 12:30 p.m. to see the Supervisor’s speech.

Keeping The Pressure On County’s Most Wanted Delinquent Parents

Supervisor Don Knabe announced today that another one of LA County’s Most Wanted Delinquent Parents has been arrested and jailed. Fernando Zaldana was arrested last Wednesday by District Attorney Investigators. He appeared in custody last Thursday afternoon in Department 82, adjacent to the Twin Towers jail facility. Superior Court Commissioner John Green remanded Zaldana over to the Sheriff to serve his previously imposed sentence of 180 days in jail.

On October 28, 2008, Zaldana entered a plea of no contest for failing to support his 16 year old son. He was placed on probation for 36 months and was required to make monthly child support payments. Zaldana failed to make the payments required under the terms of his probation. At a hearing, he admitted to violating his probation. The court sentenced him to serve 180 days in jail. He was ordered to surrender on September 29 to begin his sentence, but he failed to do so and a $100,000 warrant was issued for his arrest.

The warrant was turned over to the Child Support Arrest Warrant Project, a joint effort of the Los Angeles County Child Support Services Department and the District Attorney’s Office. On the morning of October 7, two Senior Investigators assigned to the Project set up surveillance outside a location believed to be Zaldana’s residence. After approximately one hour a woman arrived at the location. She identified herself to the investigators as Zaldana’s sister. She told investigators she hadn’t seen Zaldana for about six months. She gave her consent to search the residence, indicating that Zaldana was not there. When the investigators conducted a search of the home, they found Zaldana in the bathroom taking a shower. He was arrested without incident and booked at the downtown Inmate Reception Center of the County Jail.

Steven J. Golightly, Director of the Los Angeles County Child Support Services Department, praised the work of the Child Support Arrest Warrant Project team. The arrest of this defendant demonstrates once again the professionalism and excellence of everyone associated with the Project, Golightly said. It was for successes just like this that the Project was honored by the Board of Supervisors in September with the prestigious LA County STARS award.

The Los Angeles County Child Support Services Department maintains the Most Wanted Delinquent Parent List. It was developed as an initiative of Supervisor Don Knabe.

Reforming Welfare: Better Services And Taxpayer Savings

When I am asked what our mission and purpose is in Los Angeles County, I have often described it as being the "ultimate safety net." Our welfare offices, emergency rooms and community clinics serve the most vulnerable in our communities: those suffering from mental illness, medical problems, homelessness, unemployment or just plain hard times. In fact, if you were to call our 211 hotline or check the County’s website, you would be amazed at the scope and breadth of the services we make available to the 10 million people that call Los Angeles County home. But of all the health and human service programs the County oversees, our role as the provider of last resort is most prevalent – and most costly I might add – in the General Relief program.

Since 1901, Los Angeles County has administered this program – commonly known as "GR" – to provide temporary cash aid to indigent adults. All 58 counties across California are legally mandated by the State to provide assistance of this kind, but with no funding from the State of course. In Los Angeles County, over 85,000 individuals receive cash assistance through this program each month: up from 71,000 last year. I don’t exaggerate when I say that the price tag is staggering.

Direct costs currently are looming near the $200 million mark in local taxpayer dollars: up from $161 million last year. Over half of the caseload is homeless, and a number of them have been on this program for over 20 years. In addition, we estimate that the County spends almost 4 times the cost above and beyond providing GR cash assistance or other services to this population, mostly related to repeated incarcerations in County Jail and recurring visits to our emergency rooms and clinics. Technically, that would push our costs closer to $1 billion per year!

There has to be a better way to meet the needs of these individuals that are both humane and cost-effective, and not result in the endless cycle of indigence many of them face. That’s why I directed the County to develop a plan to restructure the GR program in such a way that looks beyond just doling out a monthly stipend, but instead is more focused on reducing overall long term costs and also on improving outcomes for those on the caseload. Basically, we are making the "ultimate safety net" stronger, more relevant and more responsive to the urgent needs of this population, and reducing the costs to the County in tandem.

We are confident we can achieve both of these goals, here’s how: it starts with first providing housing. In the past two years, the County’s Homeless Prevention Initiative has successfully supported housing for tens of thousands of people, through rental subsidies, eviction prevention assistance and other services. Expansion of such strategies combined with strong up-front screenings, employment and supportive services would enable many on our GR caseload to transition off the streets into housing and stabilize their lives. This in turn reduces incarceration and repeated visits to the hospital.

We also believe that the significant percentage of the GR caseload suffering from mental or physical illness would be better served by Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Conservative estimates put that number at approximately one-third of the overall caseload. If we can assist them in qualifying for SSI, that alone would represent a significant and entirely appropriate cost shift from the County to the federal government. But this doesn’t mean we would be walking away from our mandated responsibilities to serve the population. A portion of the resulting savings we achieve could be redirected into enhancing our services and providing additional housing subsidies.

These concepts for restructuring GR will be coming before the Board of Supervisors this month. It would require an initial one-time investment of $7 million dollars. This is money well spent, because doing so would enable us to restructure the program in such as way as to generate savings across the County system and reduce that $1 billion price tag. We would also draw down far more federal funding then we do now, to help pay for housing subsidies and additional employment services, as well as increased reimbursement for GR participants eligible for SSI. Studies indicate that currently the County spends $4.34 for services for GR participants for every one dollar spent on GR grants. Restructuring the program as proposed would enable us to actually save $3.67 for every one dollar spent.

There is no question that the proposal is a bold one, however I would argue that maintaining the status quo would be far riskier and certainly more expensive. We can certainly continue doing the same thing we have been doing for the past 108 years, and for that we will only see more homelessness, increased caseloads and more resulting costs.

We have a unique, unprecedented opportunity to implement policies that accomplish two very important tasks at once: improving services we are mandated to perform and saving County dollars in tandem. Re-engineering the General Relief program is the right thing to do now.

County Supports Education Law Reforms In ‘Race To The Top’

The Board of Supervisors has unanimously passed a resolution made by Supervisor Don Knabe to state the Board’s strong support of the Governor and California’s Legislature in their efforts to make the necessary changes to state law that would enable California to apply for billions of dollars in new federal education funding.

"Race to the Top" is a $4.35 billion competitive grant program that is a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), designed to support education reform and innovation. A primary focus of this program is to improve education by linking teacher performance to student progress, supporting innovative educational models such as charter schools, and a targeted effort to address the lowest 5% of under-performing schools. Unfortunately, the state laws that govern education in California currently render the state ineligible to apply for this funding. A special legislative session called by the Governor to address this issue began this week.

"There is overwhelming need for reform and change in the approach to education," said Supervisor Knabe, "and no where more so than in the County’s camp schools and community day schools, which serve as the educational home to thousands of young people under jurisdiction of the juvenile court. These are precisely the type of students this federal funding is designed to reach."

Supervisor Knabe’s proposed overhaul of educational opportunities in Los Angeles County’s juvenile camps and halls was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors. The reforms were proposed by Supervisor Knabe after a study revealed students were seriously underserved by the schools designed to teach children incarcerated in the Los Angeles County juvenile justice system. Among the reforms will be the creation of charter schools in the probation system. The reforms will also customize educational opportunities based on the individual needs of the student, including a vocational education path, a college-bound path, and a GED completion path, among others.

"We cannot leave this funding on the table," Knabe continued, "it would be tragic if we let arcane state laws bar us from this significant opportunity to compete for these funds."

County Keeps The Pressure On Most Wanted Delinquent Parents

Supervisor Don Knabe announced today that another one of LA County’s Most Wanted Delinquent Parents has been arrested and jailed. Darrick Ellington was sentenced to 135 days in jail by Superior Court Commissioner John Green. Ellington’s arrest follows soon after the arrests of Osvaldo Fernandez and Sergio Diaz earlier this month. All three men were sought on warrants issued when they failed to surrender to serve jail sentences. Each had been in violation of court-ordered probation terms requiring them to make support payments.

Ellington, 46, was first convicted in September 2001 of failing to support his then-11 year old daughter. He pleaded no-contest to a charge of criminal contempt for failing to pay court-ordered child support. He was placed on 36 months probation on the condition that he would make ongoing payments. Ellington owes more than $75,000 in unpaid support.

Since first receiving probation in 2001, Ellington has been in and out of court on child support related charges on multiple occasions. On June 26 of this year, he was sentenced to 90 days in the County Jail. Ellington failed to surrender as ordered and a bench warrant with bail set at $100,000 was issued for his arrest. His photo and identifying information were added to the County’s Most Wanted Delinquent Parent website. His case was turned over to investigators assigned to the Child Support Arrest Warrant Project, a joint effort of the Child Support Services Department and the District Attorney’s office.

Steven J. Golightly, Director of the Los Angeles County Child Support Services Department, said, Our goal in criminally prosecuting parents is first and foremost to secure compliance with their financial obligations to their children. Sometimes, in cases like those of the three Most Wanted parents arrested this week, nothing short of jail time is enough to demonstrate how serious we are in ensuring that parents cannot avoid their responsibilities without paying a price.

The Los Angeles County Child Support Services Department maintains the Most Wanted Delinquent Parent List. It was developed as an initiative of Supervisor Don Knabe.

Local Child Support Evaders Sentenced To Jail Time

Sixteen parents have recently been sentenced to serve time in Los Angeles County jail after failing to meet their child support obligations, Supervisor Don Knabe announced today. The sentences are the result of a stepped up criminal prosecution effort by the Board of Supervisors, the County’s Child Support Services Department (CSSD) and the District Attorney’s office.

The recent arrests and subsequent jail sentences stem from the County’s Arrest Warrant Project and Most Wanted child support evaders list, unveiled in March 2008 by Supervisor Don Knabe, CSSD Director Steven Golightly and District Attorney Steve Cooley. The project is aimed at executing outstanding warrants for parents who have been charged with or convicted of not paying their child support obligations for their children.

Over the past two months, sixteen parents have received jail sentences ranging from 30-180 days for failing to pay court-ordered child support. Collectively, the sixteen defendants owe $752,349.20 in unpaid child support.

On June 25, Scott Saulsberry of Perris was sentenced to 90 days in jail for failing to make payments on $103,000 in unpaid child support. On June 2, Bartolome Salazar of Reseda was sentenced to 180 days in jail, owing more than $82,000 in child support. Salazar failed to surrender to serve his sentence. A warrant, with bail set at $100,000, has been issued for his arrest. On June 19, Mark Sandoval of Pasadena, who owes over $28,000 in child support arrears, was sentenced to 90 days in jail. On June 22, Gardena resident Marco Smith was sentenced to 90 days in jail, owing over $90,000 in child support arrears.

On a motion of Supervisor Knabe, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors have approved an annual appropriation of $500,000, to be combined with $1 million in federal matching funds, to underwrite the costs of a team of District Attorney Investigators to aid a stepped up prosecution effort.

The County works with thousands of parents who are doing the right thing by paying their child support obligations. Unfortunately, there are a few people out there, like these sixteen individuals, who have left their children without financial support, going to great lengths to evade paying what they owe, said Supervisor Knabe. The message here is clear. If you evade your child support payments, the County will use every legal recourse we have available, including jail time.

Over the past six years in California, the child support system has entered a new era of working cooperatively with parents to address their child support obligations, said CSSD Director Steven Golightly. Our goal is always to secure regular payment of support in keeping with a parent’s ability to pay. However, some parents willfully ignore their obligations despite having the means to provide. They must be held accountable. I applaud the work of the DA, our Criminal Prosecution Division and the Courts for bringing these parents to justice.

To support the criminal prosecution effort, the County posts a Most Wanted list at

It provides pictures and case information on individuals who face warrants because of non-payment of their child support obligations. The public can call CSSD’s Criminal Prosecution Division at 213-351-8696 if they have information on Most Wanted individuals.

LA County Celebrates 25 Years Of Trauma Services

Los Angeles County is unveiling a new emergency mass notification system to alert residents and businesses by phone, text, and e-mail of emergencies in their area, Supervisor Don Knabe, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors announced today.

Called Alert LA County, the system will allow the Sheriff’s Emergency Communications Center to activate local and regional alerts by drawing the boundaries of the area to be notified on a computer map. Recorded and written alerts will provide information on the nature of the emergency and necessary actions, such as evacuations. The system is so precise it will allow the exclusion of a single home, useful in situations involving hostages or crimes in progress.

The County’s 7.1 million land-line phone numbers are programmed into the mass notification system, but the public must register Voice over IP lines, cell phones and e-mail addresses. The website may be used to register your cell phone number, Voice over IP phone number, and e-mail address with the Emergency Mass Notification System. Registration of this information can be done on the County’s Alert website. Each telephone number and e-mail can be associated with only one street address.

If a call is picked up by an answering machine when an alert is being issued, a recorded message will be left. If the number is busy or does not answer, the number will be redialed twice. The system has the ability to detect and communicate with telecommunication devices for the deaf (TTY/TDD).

The Alert LA County system project will cost $1.97 million cost over five years, which includes the purchase of the 911 data from the local telephone companies. Land-line numbers will be refreshed on a monthly basis to ensure accuracy and numbers registered on the website will be added to the database on a nightly basis.

Renovation And Expansion Of San Pedro Service Center Moves Forward

The renovation and expansion of the San Pedro Service Center moved a step closer to beginning construction today as the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved putting the project out for contracting bids.

The construction project will bring the San Pedro Service Center compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The renovation of existing restrooms includes the installation of additional stalls and other upgrades. The reconfiguration of the existing senior citizens room includes the installation of a kitchenette, storage area, and two additional single-unit restrooms. The addition to the northeast side of the building will include an 800-square-foot multipurpose room. A 1,350-square-foot addition to the southeast side of the building will provide two daycare classrooms with toilets, storage areas, and a corridor.

The total budget for the project is $2,480,000, which will be fully funded by Fourth Supervisorial District Capital Improvement funds. The costs for actual construction are expected to be $1,407,000, with the remainder going towards equipment, plus engineering and design costs. Construction bids are due back from potential contractors on July 14, 2009.

The San Pedro Community and Senior Services Center, which opened its doors in 1972, has continued to expand its services over the years, while receiving few upgrades. The center, located at 769 West Third Street in San Pedro, currently provides a wide array of services to the community, ranging from a senior meals program, child care services, computer and citizenship classes, food pantry, toy loan center, and more.