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Supervisor to host public meetings about economy

January 30, 2009 |  5:28 pm

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas plans to host discussions with residents Saturday about ongoing budget negotiations and the state of the local economy.

“There is clear concern. That’s the reason for having the summit — to address people’s concerns, to clarify whatever misinformation they might have,” Ridley-Thomas said.

The 2009 Annual Budget Summit, co-sponsored by Ridley-Thomas at the nonprofit L.A.-based Empowerment Congress he helped found, is open to the public and will include discussions with the supervisor, state Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), county CEO William T Fujioka and a member of President Obama’s transition team, among others.

Representatives from 20 county departments will be available to answer questions, and residents can participate in workshops about home ownership and predatory lending; health and social services; small business; and local jobs creation.

Ridley-Thomas said he expects questions about how budget cuts will affect public safety, plans to reopen the former Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital, aid to small businesses and the mentally ill.

“Those who can answer your questions will be on site, beginning with the CEO,” Ridley-Thomas said, adding, “It’s what people elected me to do.”

Fujioka said he plans to give a broad overview of the current county budget, including the recent decrease in county fee revenue and “the impact that will have on programs and services.”

“We have some real challenges,” Fujioka said.

The summit is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to noon at Hawthorne Memorial Center, 3901 W. El Segundo Blvd. Organizers expect at least 800 people to attend.

--Molly Hennessy-Fiske

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