Mark Ridley-Thomas (born November 6, 1954) is a member of the Los
Angeles County Board of Supervisors for the 2nd District. He served as
a California State Senator, representing the 26th district from 2006
to 2008 and was a California State Assemblyman representing the 48th
district from 2002 until 2006. He was Chairman of the Assembly
Democratic Caucus. Before his six years in the Legislature, he was on
Los Angeles City Council
Los Angeles City Council from 1991 to 2002. As of 2016 he is the
sole male member of the board of supervisors.
1 Personal life and education
2 Political career
2.1 City Council
2.2 State Assembly
2.3 State Senate
2.4 2008 County Supervisor
2.5 2012 County Supervisor
2.6 2016 County Supervisor
3.1 Misuse of funds
3.1.1 Car Wash Controversy
3.1.2 $25k "Who's Who" listing
3.1.3 1992 Riots
3.1.4 $707k Office Remodel
5 External links
Personal life and education
Ridley-Thomas is a graduate of
Manual Arts High School
Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles
and earned a baccalaureate degree in Social Relations and a master's
degree in Religious Studies from Immaculate Heart College.
Ridley-Thomas went on to earn a Ph.D. in Social Ethics and Policy
Analysis from the
University of Southern California
University of Southern California (1989).
After a brief stint as a high-school teacher, Ridley-Thomas served for
a decade as executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference of Greater Los Angeles (1981–1991). During that period he
also hosted a public affairs program on
Pacifica Radio station KPFK-FM
in Los Angeles.
Ridley-Thomas is married to Avis Ridley-Thomas, who was the
administrator of the Dispute Resolution Center in the office of the
Los Angeles City Attorney. She recently retired from The City of Los
Angeles. They have twin sons, Sebastian and Sinclair, who are both
graduates of Morehouse College.
Ridley-Thomas was elected to the
Los Angeles City Council
Los Angeles City Council in 1991,
representing the city's 8th Council District. During his tenure on the
council, he empaneled the Eighth District Empowerment Congress, a
forerunner of the modern Neighborhood Council. He founded the African
American Voter Registration, Education, and Participation (AAVREP) in
2002, the largest organized effort to register African American and
urban voters in the state of California in more than a decade. He
was also the president pro tem of the council, serving as the acting
Mayor of Los Angeles
Mayor of Los Angeles on several occasions, including when Mayor James
Hahn traveled to Asia on a trade mission.
Ridley-Thomas would have been forced to leave the council in 2003
because of city term limits that prevented him from running for
reelection, so he chose instead to run for a seat in the California
State Assembly representing California's 48th district. In his 2002
election, he defeated his Republican opponent, Gerard T. Robinson,
with more than 80% of the vote. In the Assembly, Ridley-Thomas
served as chair of the Democratic caucus and was a major proponent of
efforts to encourage an
NFL team to move to the Los Angeles Memorial
Coliseum, which is located in his district. He also sponsored a law
that aided redevelopment in Exposition Park as part of a failed effort
to attract a team. In the Assembly, Ridley-Thomas, as chairman of the
Select Committee on the Los Angeles County Health Care Crisis, was a
leader in addressing the problems facing the hospitals and health care
system of Los Angeles, sponsoring a bill that would create the Office
of Inspector General in an effort to detect and prevent fraud, waste
and abuse in government agencies.
In 2006, Ridley-Thomas announced that he was running for the
California State Senate, vying for the 26th Senate district seat being
vacated by term-limited Senator Kevin Murray. He defeated his opponent
in the Democratic primary, Marvin C McCoy, with more than 87% of the
vote and faced no Republican opposition in the general election. In
the Senate, Ridley-Thomas joined with a group of lawmakers who
introduced a package of legislation designed to crack down on gang
violence by allowing city and county prosecutors to employ tougher
sentencing measures and increase asset forfeitures against gang
members, authoring a bill which would make it easier for law
enforcement officials to deal with racially motivated gang
activity. He was also one of the lawmakers who called for tourists
to boycott the LAX Hilton because of its efforts to overturn a city
ordinance that would grant a living wage to airport-area hotel
workers. Ridley-Thomas chaired the Committee on Business,
Professions and Economic Development and its two subcommittees on
Professional Sports and Entertainment, and The Economy, Workforce
Preparation and Development. He also served on the Senate
Appropriations; Energy, Utilities and Communications; Health; and
Public Safety committees.
2008 County Supervisor
On October 25, 2007, Ridley-Thomas announced that he would be running
for the Second District seat on the Los Angeles County Board of
Supervisors being vacated by Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke. His
most formidable opponent was former LAPD police chief Bernard C.
Parks, the member of the
Los Angeles City Council
Los Angeles City Council who replaced
Ridley-Thomas when he was elected to the State Assembly.
Ridley-Thomas was endorsed by the Los Angeles County Democratic
Party, the area's labor unions (including the law enforcement
unions), numerous elected officials, and the national political
action committee Progressive Majority. Ridley-Thomas edged out Parks
in the June 3 primary by a margin of 45% to 40%, but since neither
candidate received a majority of the vote, the top two candidates
advanced to a runoff election in November. Ridley-Thomas had a much
larger margin of victory one-on-one against Parks, scoring a 62% to
38% victory. Ridley-Thomas became the first black man ever elected to
the Los Angeles County Board.
2012 County Supervisor
In 2012 Ridley-Thomas ran for his second term as Supervisor.
Unopposed, he won the primary in June with 100% of the vote.
2016 County Supervisor
Term limits limit the
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to three
terms each. In March 2015, Ridley-Thomas filed to run for his third
and last term.
In 2018, Ridley-Thomas supported the appointment of Nicole Tinkham as
interim public defender, despite a letter signed by 390 public
defenders who were concerned that Tinkham lacked criminal law
experience and the potential for a conflict of interest, given
Tinkham’s prior representation of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s
Misuse of funds
Car Wash Controversy
During the 2015 California drought, Ridley-Thomas ordered one of his
two county-provided black luxury cars (Chrysler 300 limited) to be
washed 2 times a week. After Governor Jerry Brown's April mandate
ordered a 25% reduction in urban water use, Ridley-Thomas increased
the frequency of his sedan washing to over 3 times a week, while
maintaining a wash schedule of 2.9 times per week for the second
Chrysler sedan he maintains, more than any other county
$25k "Who's Who" listing
In 2010 Ridley-Thomas spent $25,000 of taxpayers' money to place
himself in the black Who's Who of Los Angeles.
In the aftermath of the L.A. riots Ridley-Thomas sought to prevent
convenience stores in south central from serving alcohol. Many of
these stores were Korean owned. He said at the time "We are going to
use every means at our disposal to rid our community of these
god-awful places of business, the kind of business they do is not good
for the community.". Korean owners took issue with his stance,
claiming this was a case of the city punishing the victims.
$707k Office Remodel
Ridley-Thomas has been criticized, most notably by radio talk show
hosts John and Ken, for his proposal and personal defense of plans to
remodel his office through the spending of $707,000 in discretionary
funds. Amidst the state budget crisis in California, John and Ken
criticized MRT on December 21, 2009, saying that the discretionary
funds, "[are] our money and we say no." As of March 12, 2010
the Los Angeles Times reported that Ridley-Thomas' renovation plans
for his eighth-floor office were on hold.
^ Official Biography "Archived copy". Archived from the original on
2007-11-11. Retrieved 2008-09-27.
^ AAVREP website, http://africanamericanvoterrep.org/about-us/
^ Stockstill, Mason. "Council Says Goodbye, Good Luck to Councilman
Mark Ridley-Thomas." City News Service. November 26, 2002.
^ Garza, Mariel. "MEMBER SAYS ADIEU TO COUNCIL." The Daily News of Los
Angeles. November 27, 2002.
^ "Assembly Races." City News Service. November 6, 2002.
^ Witz, Billy. "BILL COULD HELP COLISEUM'S BID." The Daily News of Los
Angeles. September 30, 2004.
^ "Health Audits." City News Service. May 5, 2005.
^ City News Service. June 7, 2006.
^ City News Service. March 15, 2007.
^ Marroquin, Art. "Lawmakers Call for Tourists to Boycott LAX Hilton
in Dispute Over Living Wage." City News Service. April 13, 2007.
^ :"Ridley-Thomas Announces Run For County Supervisor Seat." City News
Service. October 25, 2007.
^ Renaud, Jean-Paul. "California in Brief LOS ANGELES; Party
endorses Ridley-Thomas." Los Angeles Times. April 10, 2008.
^ Endorsements. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on
2009-01-06. Retrieved 2008-07-28.
^ Perkins, Robert. "Ridley-Thomas, Parks Heading for Runoff in 2nd
District Supervisor Race." City News Service. June 4, 2008.
^ LA County Board of Supervisors Election Results
^ Merl, Jean. "Veteran L.A. politicians take formal step toward 2016
supervisor race" Los Angeles Times. March 10, 2015.
^ "Hundreds of deputy public defenders protest choice of new interim
leader". theavtimes.com. Retrieved 2018-02-10.
^ "What drought? Some L.A. County supervisors have their cars washed
2, 3 times a week". dailynews.com.
^ "Who's Who with whose funds?". latimes.
^ "4 Liquor Stores Destroyed in Riots Get OK to Rebuild".
^ "Mark Ridley Thomas Office Renovation On The Agenda"
^ "Ridley-Thomas defends $707K office renovations". ABC7 Los
^ "L.A. County supervisors spend millions on pet projects".
Official Los Angeles County Supervisor
Mark Ridley-Thomas website
Mark Ridley-Thomas campaign website
African American Voter Registration Education Participation Project
Robert C. Farrell
Los Angeles City Council8th District1992–2002
Yvonne Brathwaite Burke
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
December 1, 2008–present
California State Senate26th districtDecember 4, 2006–November 30,
Curren D. Price, Jr.
California State Assembly48th DistrictDecember 2, 2002–November 30,
County of Los Angeles
Board of supervisors
Hilda Solis, 1st Dist.
Mark Ridley-Thomas, 2nd Dist.
Sheila Kuehl, 3rd Dist.
Janice Hahn, 4th Dist.
Kathryn Barger, 5th Dist.
Chief Executive Office
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Military and Veterans Affairs
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El Monte Airport
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Harbor–UCLA Medical Center
High Desert Regional Health Center
Martin Luther King Jr. Outpatient Center
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Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center
Arboretum and Botanic Garden
Bob Hope Patriotic Hall
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
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La Brea Tar Pits
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Museum of Art
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South Coast Botanic Garden
Walt Disney Concert Hall
LAC Sheriff's Air Rescue 5
Sheriff's Department officers killed in the line of duty