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Shakespeare by the Sea Tours L.A. County with Free Summer Shows

Grab your beach chair, blanket, a basketful of snacks, and a few friends and family members. There’s still time to immerse your senses in the world of Shakespeare this summer.

Now in its 19th season of touring, Shakespeare by the Sea, will hit 20-plus venues by the end of August, sharing popular evening performances in park and beach locations stretching from Los Angeles County to Orange County.

The mobile production company is featuring two shows in 2016.

“We’re doing one that’s rarely produced called Cymbeline, as well as the well-known Othello,” said Lisa Coffi, SBTS’ producing artistic director. “Both have themes that stem from perceived infidelity. In Cymbeline, however, there’s a happy ending where all gets resolved, while in Othello there’s death and destruction.”

In 2015, the small crew of actors and producers performed for more than 20,000 people, and the team expects to exceed that number in 2016.

Each production is estimated to cost $7,210, but the San Pedro-based organization offers the shows to the community admission-free.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to enjoy a classic production under the stars,” said LA County Supervisor Don Knabe. “I love seeing the diverse crowds come out to experience Shakespeare – young families, older couples and teens all relaxing and taking in a little culture from the past.”

To access the complete performing schedule, visit here.
To learn more about Shakespeare by the Sea, or to make a donation to keep the traveling arts program moving, visit


Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe is proud to announce that the County’s Safe Surrender Program celebrated success for the third time this year with the report of a safely surrendered newborn baby boy. This most recent Safe Surrender occurred on Sunday, April 10 at a hospital in Santa Monica. A baby girl was also safely surrendered in Santa Monica on March 14. 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 thrilled to hear that a mother made the better choice and gave her son a second chance at life by safely surrendering him at the hospital,” said Supervisor Knabe. “Thanks to the courage of this mother, a baby boy now has the opportunity to grow up in a loving family. Though we’ve been able to save the lives of 145 babies so far, we need to continue spreading the word that there is a safe, secure and anonymous way for mothers to get their baby into safe hands—at any fire station or hospital, any time—and protect them from abandonment—No Shame. No Blame. No Names.”

This is the third Safe Surrender in Los Angeles County in 2016, and the 145th 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

Second Newborn Safely Surrendered in March

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe is proud to announce that the County’s Safe Surrender Program celebrated success for the second time this month with the report of a safely surrendered newborn baby girl. This most recent Safe Surrender occurred on Monday, March 14 at a hospital in Santa Monica. A baby girl was also safely surrendered at a hospital in Los Angeles on March 7. 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 thrilled that in the span of a week, two mothers made the better choice and gave their daughters a second chance at life by safely surrendering them at the hospital,” said Supervisor Knabe. “Thanks to the courage of these mothers, both girls now have the opportunity to grow up in a loving family.”

Despite the recent successes of the Safe Surrender program, some mothers who find themselves alone and in a desperate situation, feel like they have no options. This week, a mother who abandoned her baby near a Compton riverbed last November, was sentenced to 14 years in state prison after pleading guilty to attempted murder.

“The abandonment in Compton was a near tragedy that could have been completely avoided had the mother known she could safely surrender her baby,” said Supervisor Knabe. “It’s unconscionable to think that this mother had no one to turn to for help or guidance. These mothers often get pregnant in secret, hide their secret, and try to throw their secret away. Though we’ve been able to save the lives of 144 babies so far, we need to continue spreading the word that there is a safe, secure and anonymous way for mothers to get their baby into safe hands—at any fire station or hospital, any time—and protect them from abandonment—No Shame. No Blame. No Names.”

This is the second Safe Surrender in Los Angeles County in 2016, and the 144th 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

Sales Tax for Transit Projects Fails to Benefit the Entire Region

Last Thursday, the Metro Board voted 11-2 to place a sales tax measure to pay for transit projects on the November ballot. I voted against it for a number of reasons.

While I absolutely support improving transportation across Los Angeles County, the sequencing of major projects and the funding levels in this ballot measure will fail to make improvements that benefit the entire region.

There are 88 cities in Los Angeles County–not just one–and taxpayers from each city voted in favor of Measure R in 2008 because they were promised projects that would improve mobility and decrease congestion in their communities.  Now, eight years later, many of our cities are still waiting for their major projects and if this ballot measure is approved, they will be waiting even longer.

Multi-modal projects that would benefit our Gateway cities and South Bay cities are being leapfrogged by higher profile projects like the Sepulveda Pass Tunnel and Westside Subway, which are also being given priority access to federal funding. That is simply not geographically equitable, nor is it fair to our residents who will be funding these projects for decades before they truly benefit.

Unlike Measure R which sunsets after 30 years, this new funding measure is a ‘forever tax’ that will be placed on generations to come. I want to ensure that taxpayer money is spent wisely and fairly, and that we are not issuing a blank check.  Promises that we make today won’t even be guaranteed years down the line because all it will take is a two-thirds vote by a future Metro Board to change the funding and delivery of projects.

It is easy to support this measure and congratulate ourselves on building the transit future of our region; the fact is that it doesn’t–not in a fair and equitable way. Our residents across Los Angeles County deserve better.

Centro C.H.A. Delivering Programs to Keep Long Beach Safe and Thriving

As the summer months approach, kids with too much time on their hands often find ways to get into trouble.

“Teens will experiment with drugs, sex and gangs, while younger kids wear on their parents’ nerves in close quarters,” said Jessica Quintana, executive director of Centro C.H.A. in Long Beach. “We need to offer a positive alternative and surround our youth with activities and strong mentors.”

Thankfully, the Centro C.H.A. team will once again be hosting Long Beach Summer Nights, also known as the Be SAFE initiative, from June to August. During this time, youth and parents can enjoy the local parks until 9 p.m., participating in sports, various outdoor activities and crafts in a safe environment monitored by community volunteers and law enforcement.

“Since 2010, we’ve been filling up parks with mentors and positive things to do,” said Quintana. “As a result, we’ve reduced crime and given kids a safe place to enjoy their summers.”

And Be SAFE is just one of a number of programs Centro C.H.A. sponsors in the city. Since 1992, the nonprofit has worked to create a record of service that advances, and advocates extensively for the well-being of underrepresented, low-income Hispanic youth and families in the City of Long Beach.

“In short, we’ve tried to become a center for working families with a goal of empowering them through economic development and higher education,” said Quintana, who became executive director in 2002. “We want to help individuals provide for their families, become homeowners and achieve their dreams.”

But as Quintana has seen through the years, there are certainly peaks and valleys.

“When I joined the organization, there was lots of homicide, racial and gang violence, people dropping out of high school,” said Quintana. “We’ve made progress, but we’ve also experienced setbacks.”

In 2010, as the nation struggled with the Great Recession, grant funding ceased and cities across the state were asked to pay back redevelopment dollars, forcing Centro C.H.A. to find a new home base.

“It was challenging to find a building where we could operate, pay reasonable rent, and still be in a place safe accessible to the individuals we were serving,” said Quintana. “Thankfully, Molina Healthcare offered us a new space, but every year is a fight for grant dollars.”

Like so many nonprofits, the demand for resources exceeds what Centro C.H.A. is able to deliver.

Still, over the course of its 21-year history, the Long Beach-based organization has guided more than 1,000 locals through the citizenship process, provided mentorship programs to at-risk youth and guided families through healthcare applications and directed them to valuable city and state resources.

Today, they continue to seek ways to make the community safer, most recently introducing a program offering safe passages. In the 2015-16 school year, Centro C.H.A. organized a system enabling middle school and high school students to get to school safely by strategically placing parents along the Cabrillo corridor. With feedback that kids would often face trouble while walking to school, or encounter danger from gangs, the idea surfaced to get adults along the mile-stretch to look out for students and report any troubles to law enforcement and the schools.

They are now looking to formalize the program during the summer months, as well as expand it to other areas throughout the city.

“It takes a lot of perseverance and grit to run nonprofits like Centro,” said LA County Supervisor Don Knabe. “But without the commitment of people like Jessica and her team, our cities would suffer. No one better understands what is going on in our communities than these nonprofit groups who truly dig in and get to the root causes of our challenges.”

To learn more about Centro C.H.A. and to discover how to volunteer or donate, visit

Everything you need to know about ET-94’s trek through L.A. County

We are getting you ready for the arrival of ET-94, the 15-story tall space shuttle external tank that will navigate its way through the streets of Los Angeles County later this week. From its arrival in Marina del Rey early Wednesday morning to the start of its trek to the California Science Center late Friday night, we’ve got you covered every step of the way. We’ll keep you updated with photos, videos and more, so stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter!


The Flight Plan

Here’s the route ET-94 will take through the streets of Los Angeles and Inglewood to its new home at the California Science Center. The tank is expected to arrive in Marina del Rey around 6:00am on Wednesday, where it will remain until it’s loaded on to a custom transport vehicle, and starts its trek across town on Friday night at midnight. The tank will be accompanied along the route by astronauts who actually flew missions into space! We will be live streaming the tank’s arrival and departure on Facebook and Twitter. There are plenty of great spots along the route to take pictures and video to capture this incredible experience, so be sure to use the official hashtags #ETComesHome and #SpotTheTank.

Marina Del Rey parking lot to Fiji Way
Fiji Way to Lincoln (PCH)
Lincoln to Mindanao Way
Mindanao Way to CA-90
CA-90 to Culver Blvd.
Culver Blvd. to Lincoln via transition ramp
Lincoln to Loyola Blvd.
Loyola Blvd. to Westchester Pkwy.
Westchester Parkway turns into Arbor Vitae St. at Airport Blvd.
Arbor Vitae St. to La Brea Ave.
La Brea Ave. to Manchester Blvd.
Manchester Blvd. to Vermont Ave.
Vermont Ave. to MLK
MLK to Exposition Park

Visiting ET-94 in the Marina

Planning to visit ET-94 while it is in Marina del Rey from Wednesday to Friday? Plan ahead! Public parking lots are available throughout the Marina, with rates ranging from $5 to $15. On Friday, May 20 there will be limited parking in the lots located along Fiji Way.The best areas for parking are lots #4 and #5. Free public transportation will also be available via the water taxi and beach shuttle. Huge crowds are expected throughout the week, so please allow for extra time to park. The water bus and beach shuttle will be operating for free, so don’t be afraid to park farther away from ET-94.

Wednesday, May 18
Free water taxi service will be available at seven boarding locations throughout the Marina from 9:00am to 7:00pm.

Thursday, May 19
Free water taxi service will be available at seven boarding locations throughout the Marina from 9:00am to 7:00pm. Free beach shuttle will also provide roundtrip service from Playa Vista, Marina del Rey and the Venice Beach Pier from 10:00am to 8:00pm.

Friday, May 20
Free water taxi service will be available at seven boarding locations throughout the Marina from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Free beach shuttle will provide round trip service from Playa Vista, Marina del Rey and the Venice Beach Pier from 10:00am to 10:00pm. The shuttle will stop at all municipal bus stops that are along the route.

Street Closures
The External Tank is scheduled to leave the Marina late Friday night at midnight. Various street closures and detours will be in effect from 10:00pm to 1:00am.

Party in the Park with ET-94
Marina del Rey is thrilled to welcome ET-94 to Los Angeles County! To celebrate this historic event, the Department of Beaches and Harbors is organizing a “Party in the Park” on Friday, May 20 from 5:00pm to 9:00pm. The free event will feature a DJ, food trucks, science exhibits, space-themed activities and more!

Tale of the Tank
ET-94 is the last remaining NASA flight qualified external tank in the world. Though it never flew into space, similar tanks accompanied space shuttles on dozens of missions to outer space. According to the California Science Center, “Most of the ET-94 is covered with a 1-inch thick layer of spray-on foam to protect it from the extreme heat of launch. Though the liquid hydrogen tank is 2.5 times larger than the liquid oxygen tank, the filled hydrogen tank weighs only a fifth of what the filled oxygen tank does. Liquid oxygen is 16 times heavier than liquid hydrogen. On the first two shuttle missions, the external tank was coated with white paint. On later missions, tanks weren’t painted, which made them 600 pounds lighter.”

ET-94 Measurables
Empty weight:
 65,000 pounds

Propellant weight: 1,629,577 pounds

Total weight: 1,694,577 pounds

Diameter: 27.5 feet

Length: 154 feet














ICMYI: Endeavour Arrives in Los Angeles County

When it reaches the California Science Center, ET-94 will join the space shuttle Endeavour to create the only existing full stack in the world. In this video, flashback to 2012 when the Endeavour made its own dramatic arrival in Los Angeles County.

L.A. County to Establish Safe Zones for Victims of Child Sex Trafficking

Los Angeles County will move forward with renaming and rebranding the County’s Safe House Program to create a network of safe harbors for victims of child sex trafficking to seek out when they are in danger, thanks to a motion by Supervisor Don Knabe that was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors earlier today.

The Safe House Program, originally launched in 1997 by Supervisor Knabe, provides a temporary haven for any child or adult facing a potentially threatening situation and needing a place to go. The program currently includes all Los Angeles County Fire Stations. This motion will expand the Safe House Program to include victims of child sex trafficking and establish more County facilities as safe places for youth to seek out for protection.

“When we launched the Safe House Program nearly 20 years ago, we had no idea our children would need protection from monsters looking to sexually exploit them for money,” said Supervisor Knabe. “These kids are threatened with brutal abuse and violence against themselves and their families if they attempt to escape or do not make their quota. Often times, these children have no place to go for help and end up going back to their pimp and trafficker where they are subjected to more abuse and exploitation. Instead of waiting to be rescued by law enforcement, victims of child sex trafficking will be able to proactively seek out a safe place to hide from their pimp or trafficker and be connected with life-saving wrap-around services that will empower them to escape life on the streets and seek a better and brighter future.”

Following today’s unanimous approval, the Los Angeles County Commercially Sexually Exploited Children Integrated Leadership Team will engage with various County departments and report back to the Board in 60 days on:

*Renaming and rebranding the Safe House Program as the Los Angeles County Safe Youth Zone Program.

*Developing a protocol for when victims of child sex trafficking seek help at a designated Safe Youth Zone.

*An implementation plan that includes strategies to engage County departments and other public safety agencies, train appropriate employees and outreach to the public to educate them about the program.

*A funding plan for implementation, training and other necessary resources.

Long Beach arts program for the disabled celebrates 35 years

Love before learning.

That simple philosophy fuels the multiple programs and services offered by Long Beach’s Arts & Services for Disabled, Inc. (ASD), a nonprofit dedicated to providing life-long learning, community service and vocational opportunities through the creative arts for people with disabilities of all ages.

Helen Dolas founded the organization in 1982, starting her journey with just three students in a parks and rec building in Long Beach.

“It took us two years to change the mindsets of people in the community and various regional centers,” said Dolas, a trained music therapist and music therapy professor at Cal State University Northridge. “Initially people viewed our work as an arts and crafts class, but soon we were able to show our programs are therapeutically based, helping individuals with disabilities grow emotionally, physically and mentally.”

Today her team of 60-plus staff members serve more than 2,000 individuals annually in the community, helping them unleash their creativity to find more confidence, self-identity and even work.

ASD’s team of instructors and therapists are visual artists, music therapists, performers and expressive arts therapists who are professionals in their discipline. Together, they inspire out-of-the box thinking and see first-hand how creativity improves the quality of life for all individuals.

“As a therapist, I’ve seen how music can activate the entire brain in ways that other forms of therapy do not,” said Dolas. “You can create new neuro pathways and then learning can be accessed.”

Dolas’ staff works with individuals with varying disabilities, ranging from autism to severe Down syndrome, but no matter the challenge, she has witnessed transformation when these students have the opportunity to engage in art and music.

In fact, some students have found such a passion they have partnered with the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach to feature their work in various shows, and they’ve also educated the art community about how best to represent those with disabilities in art in an inclusive, respectful way. Others are selling pieces via the Go! Store, an Etsy shop established by ASD in 2010.

In January, the nonprofit launched a new program called the Young Creative Society, designed to bring young professionals together to expose them to art, but also teach them about volunteer opportunities with ASD so they can be ambassadors for the organization.

“One of the things we’ve discovered through the years is that Long Beach is a very arts-driven, compassionate community,” said Megan Hanks, ASD director of development. “We know there are many who are seeking ways to give back, so we wanted to enable these people to network, get creative and also find ways to volunteer.”

Through her three-plus decades of work, Dolas said building partnerships within the community has been key. She has connected with local universities to foster internships and share her research; she has partnered with hospitals and regional centers to create visibility to ASD; and she has of course worked with the arts community and local government and schools.

“We want to be a wonderful model for what inclusion can look like,” said Dolas. “Everybody learns when we bring groups together.”

ASD welcomes the community to join them on June 18 for their annual gala, to be held at the Museum of Latin American Art, and witness firsthand the various aspects of their programs.

The theme for the evening is “COUNT ME IN!”

“It is basically our message to the community – how can we count people in through inclusion – how we can better include our friends from all walks of life and how can we count on you to fuel our mission – to fuel this movement?” said Dolas. “It is an amazing night with lots of music, art and great food.”

Sponsorships are welcome, and the community is encouraged to purchase tickets for the evening to enjoy and also learn more about ASD.

“Of all of the organizations I’ve been able to work with in my years of service, Arts & Services for Disabled is one of the most inspirational and uplifting,” said LA County Supervisor Don Knabe. “The power art can have on the lives of some of our most challenged citizens is real, and I am thankful for the contributions ASD has made to our community. I have no doubt they will continue to grow and thrive.”

To learn more about ASD, visit You can also learn more about the gala and purchase tickets online.

Pepperdine School of Public Policy Commencement Address

Thank you President Benton, Dean Peterson, professors, parents and friends – my family. Most importantly, congratulations graduates! Thank you for inviting me to speak to you on this important day.  I am honored, actually shocked, to be here today.

While I appreciate the kind and generous introduction, I’m really just a guy who grew up in Rock Island, Illinois on the banks of the Mississippi.  I never thought I would be blessed with this honor and receive a doctorate degree.  Thank you for not checking my transcripts before inviting me here today.

But I do have a long history with Pepperdine. When I first met President Benton, he and I were the number two to our bosses, former President David Davenport and former Supervisor Dean Dana.  We met over the big issues facing the County and Pepperdine at the time – toilets.  Seriously.

There was a big fight over the land that Pepperdine is on.  The University wanted to remain part of the unincorporated County to keep the services they had.  The City wanted Pepperdine for the obvious prestige it brings.  But in the end, it all came down to septic tanks vs. sewers.  Yes graduates, welcome to politics!  Flush a toilet, go to jail!

It was ugly.  I was actually hung in effigy on Malibu Canyon Road … over toilets. Later, I gave the invocation at President Benton’s inauguration in 2000.  He gave the invocation at my swearing-in as County Supervisor in 1996.

My two sons graduated from Pepperdine – one played on the golf team, the other on the baseball team.  As I told them when they came here, everything in life comes down to choices and consequences.  You make good choices, good things happen.  You make bad choices, like skipping convocation boys,  and your GPA takes a hit.

Yes, my family and I have a long history with Pepperdine, which also just tells you that I’ve been around awhile.  But any time I think about wanting to go back to my youth…   I remember … Algebra…

I was just in DC earlier this week and I’ll tell you what.  Forget the Botox and the antioxidants.  If we really wanted to slow down old age, we should just have it work its way through Congress.

I give speeches nearly every day of my life and as you might have noticed, that means I’ve given about 10,950 of them – at that same number of chicken dinners.  But I’ve been a bit nervous about today’s speech.  It has felt like such a huge responsibility.

In looking for inspiration, I found what is widely considered to be the greatest commencement speech of all time.  Winston Churchill.  1941.  The Harrow School for Boys in London.  A man of great eloquence distilled his message down to three words: “Never. Give.  In.”

He repeated it a few times and that was it.  Can you imagine how psyched those graduates were?  Ok, while it is an urban legend and he did in fact speak for a few minutes, it is a speech I’m sure most attendees remembered for the rest of their lives. I am always inspired by Churchill.  So with that model, I hope you will indulge me and instead of three words, I would like to, instead, ask you three questions.  And these are three questions that I do hope you will remember and take with you for the rest of your life.

Today, on the day of your graduation – a day of great celebration – I’m going to ask you to have a  mid-life crisis.  Or for most of you, perhaps it should be called a quarter-life crisis.  But have one.  And then have another one in again in five years.  And keep having a mid-life crisis ’til the day you are my age. And then you can call that a mid-geezer crisis.

You see, I think the mid-life crisis is wasted on the middle-aged.  Everybody should be having a mid-life crisis – all the time throughout their lives. If you aren’t, you’re probably not thinking about your life.  You’re just going through the motions.

Then you wake up one day and you wonder where your life went.  It’s easy for that to happen with how busy people get.  Suddenly you wake up and — ahh! – you’re 40! Boy, I wish I were still having that nightmare…

I’m not talking the mid-life crisis that is about getting a Corvette and some hair plugs.  But what a midlife crisis should be about is stepping back and asking yourself my first question: “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?”

If you are sitting in a chair wearing a robe right now, you’ve clearly got some idea.  Maybe you want to run for office.  Maybe you want to manage a city.  Perhaps you are thinking about starting a non-profit. Your options are virtually endless.

Hey, I’m a Republican and we’re still looking for a Presidential nominee!

But seriously, whatever it is, I want to pause for a moment and thank you.  Perhaps my biggest concern right now about all these political shenanigans isn’t about the short-term.

It’s about the generation of young people we will lose in the public sector because they threw their arms up in frustration and thought, this is nuts!  Why would I put myself through this? Why would I put my family through this?  What can I possibly accomplish in a time of finger-pointing and name-calling and endless gridlock.

So again, thank you.  For being able to look beyond some of the foolishness we are seeing today and deciding that you still want to serve.

There are many ways that you can serve and you may have some idea of what you want to do now.

I know a lot of people would stand up here and tell you to be focused on that goal.  Work hard, never take your eye off of it. I’m going to suggest something slightly different.  I say: “Be open.”  Having goals and working towards them is great – but don’t be so focused that you miss out on opportunities that you never expected.

Deane Dana, who was as I said, the Supervisor before me, asked me to come work for him for 90 days in 1982.  He said he needed some help with relationships with the cities in our district.  I was the Mayor of Cerritos then and knew a lot of the other mayors and city councilmembers across the district.

I also had a business at the time, but I liked him, so I thought I’d help him out for a few months.  Well, that three months turned into almost 35 years.  It evolved from a 90-day opportunity into my being elected County Supervisor for 20 years of the largest county in the nation, representing 2 million people and 27 cities.

That wasn’t at all my goal, not something I was focused on… trust me, there are days I still can’t believe it!  But once I landed there, I was open to the opportunities before me. I’m not saying you should be impulsive.  But don’t reject a possibility because your mind is already made up.  Do your homework and be smart about your decisions.  But it’s ok if your dreams change.  It’s ok if an opportunity presents itself and you end up on a different path.

It’s also OK not to reach it.  I know there are a thousand clichés about failure being good and learning from failure.  Come on.  Let’s be honest.  Failure sucks.  Losing hurts. I like winning a whole lot better than losing! It started for me in high school.  I ran for Class President.  The election was on a Monday.  On Friday, my opponent caught a touchdown pass with no time left on the clock to win the game.  I got two votes.  Mine and my girlfriend’s.  And to be honest, I’m not sure if she really voted for me. A few years down the road, in 1988, I ran for State Senate. I lost … by less than 2%. You wanna talk hurt? But as the Dalia Lama once said, “Not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.”

Wow, was that ever true in my life!  I have been blessed with the greatest political job in the nation.  A place where you can actually get things done.  It would not have been fun playing partisan games for the last 30 years.  I know I would not have been happy.

Which brings me to my second question.  It backs up the first.  When you ask yourself what you want to do with the rest of your life, start with asking yourself, “What makes me happy?”  That can sound so trite… even selfish. But what you want to do for the rest of your life should make YOU happy.  You shouldn’t choose that path because someone else wants you to, or because you should.  Or it’s the right thing to do.

What you choose to do for the rest of your life should be a journey, not a grind.

I have generally found that people enjoy doing what they are good at.  Be excited about going to work every day, or look for something else!  I love my job.  And I’m not saying that every day is a picnic.  It’s not very much fun being yelled at, cursed at by gadflies, criticized by the press and always second-guessed.

But that is just part of my job.

As you embark on your own journey there will be times where you won’t love what you are doing.  But if it is a step in the right direction of where you want to go, take it.  And seize every opportunity to learn.

One skill I would highly suggest that you work on is communications.  It doesn’t matter what you do – lawyer, nurse, politician, public administrator, teacher –

Building bridges and forging friendships will have a huge impact on your life and may open doors you never expected.

I learned about communications early in life.  This may come as a surprise to some of you, but when I was young, my goal was to have my own rock ‘n roll band or be a disc jockey. True story. Unfortunately my Dad didn’t share my dream and thought I should go to college instead…That was around the time the Beatles invaded America and I looked terrible with a bowl cut.

While I was in college, I continued to play my saxophone at local events and bars.  I would never have realized how the lessons of that time in my life would apply today. Hey, I know how to deal with drunks at 2am.  That’s where I really learned about Choices and Consequences – trust me, nothing good happens after midnight!  Right boys?

But it also taught me how to bring people together, make friends, be up in front of a crowd.  And one day, those relationships that I had built over the years led me to being appointed by President Bush to the Homeland Security Commission.  I ended up taking Mitt Romney’s place on the national level. … Frankly, I was stunned I made it through the Secret Service interview!

The final question I suggest you ask yourselves during your on-going mid-life crises is: “Are the things I am doing making a difference in anyone’s life?”

As I go through my own mid-geezer crisis and look at life after the Board of Supervisors, I realize that the thing I will miss the most about this job – not the power or the prestige, but what I will truly miss is the ability to pick up the phone and make a difference in someone’s life.  There is simply no greater feeling.

The most rewarding programs I have worked on as Supervisor often don’t get the big headlines, but they help those who have nowhere else to go.

I started the Safe Surrender program in Los Angeles County in 2001. Through the program, a mother is able to surrender her baby within 72 hours at any Fire Station or hospital.  No Shame. No Blame.  No Names.

Since 2001, 145 lives have been saved.  That’s 145 brave mothers.  145 families created. The other issue that has had a profound impact on me is that of child sex trafficking. Girls as young as 10 being bought and sold in our streets.  It has been the most horrific issue I have worked on. But with both Safe Surrender and child sex trafficking I have met families, victims, survivors – incredibly brave people.  I have been taught that the job of a public servant is not to judge a desperate mother or a girl walking the streets.

It’s to provide them options, to give them resources, to wrap our arms around them and give those who need us most – those with no voice – the services they need to move on to a better life. I think Mark Twain summed up question three the best: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born …and the day you found out why.”

Graduates, congratulations on the incredible accomplishment you have achieved today.   As you embark on your own careers and move into this next phase of your life, be thoughtful about what you are doing and ask yourself why.

Embrace the mid-life crisis, no matter your age.

Ask yourself: “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?”

Ask yourself:  “What makes me happy?” – and allow for that to change and evolve.

Ask yourself: “Is what I am doing making a difference in anyone’s life?

If you aren’t liking your answer to any of those questions, be open and find a path to get where you want to be.  Take action, strive, move forward and remember:

If you can’t outsmart them:


Congratulations graduates!  Thank you for the honor of being with you today.


More Than A Survivor: More Than A Story Photo exhibition Celebration of nationally distinguished survivors of human trafficking

The More Than A Survivor: More Than A Story photo exhibition will premiere at the Museum of Latin American Art today.  This event is a fundraiser to support victims and survivors of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking served by the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Journey Out.  Nationally recognized survivor leaders Nola Brantley, Jessica Midkiff and Stacy Jewell Lewis, who are celebrated in the exhibit, will be present at the reception along with Los Angeles County anti-trafficking leaders.

This extraordinary photo exhibition celebrates the diversity, strength and leadership of human trafficking survivors and their triumph over the most extreme of human rights abuses.  The exhibit features 22 stunning portraits and highlights the accomplishments of prominent survivor leaders in various fields from the arts to politics, science, social services and more.

When:  TODAY, April 14, 2016; 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Where:  Museum of Latin American Art


  • Nola Brantley, Nola Brantley Speaks! (survivor leader)
  • Jessica Midkiff, Nola Brantley Speaks! (survivor leader)
  • Stacy Jewell Lewis, Who is Stolen & Jewell Productions (survivor leader)
  • Stephany Powell, Journey Out
  • Gina Loring, poet
  • Nick Ippolito, Office of Supervisor Don Knabe


Cheryl Burnett, Supervisor Don Knabe, 213-974-1095