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Los Angeles County

Landmark LA County project spotlights the effects of violence 

LA County residents recount stories of violence, hope, & healing as project spotlights the effects of violence on a diverse group



Illustration courtesy of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture

LOS ANGELES – Starting in the Fall of 2020, the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture and the Los Angeles County Office of Violence Prevention housed in the Department of Public Health embarked on a landmark project to record the intensely personal stories of a diverse group of residents whose lives have been directly affected by violence.

For more than a year, Olga Koumoundouros, Department of Arts and Culture Creative Strategist-Artist in Residence with the Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) enlisted the help of community-based organizations and individuals to identify people willing to share their stories. A total of 100 people from all over Los Angeles County reflecting diverse perspectives spoke in blunt, unsparing language about the terrible physical and psychological toll that violence inflicts on individuals and families.

A selection of these intimate stories – along with photographic portraits of many of the contributors – have now been published in a book, Violence, Hope and Healing in Los Angeles County, which is now available at County libraries and other designated locations. A digital copy of the book along with the remaining stories will be published on the Department of Arts and Culture and the OVP websites.

“I truly hope that by sharing my story,” said Mildred Brown, a participant who experienced years of physical, sexual, and verbal assault, “it will help that fellow person gain confidence, and to know that you are not alone.”

“I am so proud of this cross-sector collaboration between our Department of Arts and Culture and the Office of Violence Prevention,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Holly J. Mitchell. “Thank you to everyone who courageously shared their stories with us. We do not take this brave offering lightly. This project provides policy makers and our communities with the opportunity to learn from the real lived experience behind every story shared, so that we can create stronger systems for prevention and care.”

“The intersection of violence prevention and arts equals healing for survivors and our communities,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, First District. “I thank Olga for developing a way to gather and uplift the stories of survivors from throughout the County who have experienced harm in a cathartic manner. And to the survivors that came forward to be a part of this project, you are incredibly brave. Sharing a time when you experienced vulnerability and fear and turning that into an inspiring message of justice, hope, and healing is a lesson from which we can all benefit and carry with us.”

“I am so grateful to the extraordinary residents who shared their heartache, bravery and hope with us and thank the Department of Arts and Culture for their partnership on this project,,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the LA County Department of Public Health. “These stories communicate the devastating impact of violence on residents  from across Los Angeles County, while providing us with  a blueprint for how our community can heal and stop the cycle of brutality.”          

“The Department of Arts and Culture’s Creative Strategist program places artists, arts administrators, and other creative workers in County departments to develop and implement artist-driven solutions to complex social challenges. We know that artists have an extraordinary power to humanize the data behind policymaking and help us step into another person’s story, as well as provide opportunities for creative healing and community building in meaningful ways. This courageous book is a result of that lens. It reflects the kind of inclusion and representation that comes when County departments enact a cross-sector approach to service,” said Kristin Sakoda, Director, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.

‘The strength of this project lies in how it has and is stretching institutional procedural practices so that they can center human voices as they are articulated and expressed,” said Koumoundouros, “so that the established avenue of communication is strengthened not just utilized once but finds a way into the fold of priorities that forms the backbone of community inclusive violence prevention work” “It creates a formality of listening further and a bit more deeply so the details within the high stakes work of violence prevention can be more effectively heard via ongoing connection and trust with our communities most effected.”

“We wanted to hear directly from violence survivors to understand the extent and effect of violence on the lives of our friends, our neighbors, and our communities,” said Andrea Welsing, director of the Los Angeles County Office of Violence Prevention.

Welsing noted that the stories offer compelling evidence of the ways in which racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, poverty, addiction, and systemic failures have helped to perpetuate a culture of violence across communities. In some of the stories recounted here, people caught up in a seemingly endless cycle of violence became violent themselves.

Still, the message is not all grim. “At the same time, these stories confirm that violence is often predictable and preventable, and highlight how we can support prevention and healing,” added Welsing. She said that the OVP will use these stories to guide practices and programs moving forward.

The Creative Strategist-Artist in Residence Program was a LA County Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative recommendation that the Board of Supervisors, in a motion authored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, funded in 2017. Since its inception, the program has explored how arts-based strategies can be used to solve complex civic challenges and make government more equitable.

Arts and Culture pairs a creative strategist with a County department to bring arts-based thinking, methodologies, projects, and approaches to address an issue of equity in partnership with staff. As it advances the cross-sector role of the arts; inter-departmental collaboration; and diversity, equity, and inclusion, the program supports the goals of the Countywide Cultural Policy, which calls for LA County and all its departments to ensure every resident has meaningful access to arts and culture.

The mission of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture is to advance arts, culture, and creativity throughout Los Angeles County. It provides leadership, services, and support in areas including grants and technical assistance for nonprofit organizations, countywide arts education initiatives, commissioning and care for civic art collections, research and evaluation, access to creative career pathways, professional development, free community programs, and cross-sector creative strategies that address civic issues.

Visit, and learn more about the Creative Strategist Program at

Los Angeles County

Robert Luna sworn in as the 34th Sheriff of LA County

Although Luna is being sworn in on Saturday, he officially replaces outgoing Sheriff Villanueva at noon on Monday



Incoming LA County Sheriff Robert Luna and outgoing Sheriff Alex Villanueva (Photo Credit: Twitter/Alex Villanueva)

LOS ANGELES – In a simple ceremony Saturday, former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna was sworn in as the 34th Sheriff of Los Angeles County since the Sheriff’s Department was formed in April, 1850. Luna, 56, replaces outgoing Sheriff Alex Villanueva, whom he defeated in the November election.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff serves a four-year term. There are no term limits for the position. Luna served as chief of the Long Beach Police Department for seven years, having first been appointed to the position in 2014.

Villanueva leaves office in the wake of a single term marred by upheaval, fighting with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the discord he sowed amidst allegations of corruption.

The Los Angeles Times reported six days ago that Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has launched a criminal investigation into allegations that Sheriff Alex Villanueva may have broken state law when he solicited campaign donations from deputies.

Luna has publicly stated that he will focus his efforts on modernizing the department and addressing multiple issues, which have plagued the largest sheriff’s department in the nation which is currently staffed by over 10,000 sworn deputies, vowing to bring new leadership and accountability.

Although Luna is being sworn in on Saturday at the Hall of Administration in downtown LA, he officially replaces outgoing Sheriff Villanueva at noon on Monday.

Luna and Villanueva met earlier this week, and Villanueva tweeted a photo of the “peaceful transfer of power,” adding, “I truly wish him the best in leading the greatest law enforcement agency on the planet.”

The outgoing sheriff also tweeted: “Its been an honor to serve as your Sheriff. I am incredibly proud of what we accomplished over the last four years.”

KTLA reported the new sheriff’s leadership team has come into focus in the past few days, with 28-year veteran April Tardy announced as the new interim undersheriff — the first woman to hold the position — and Deputy Jason Skeen, another 28-year veteran, serving as interim chief of staff.

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Los Angeles County

LA Mayor Garcetti volunteers at Project Angel Food’s Thanksgiving

For many of the celebrities joining Project Angel Food’s Thanksgiving Day volunteers the day was about sharing the experience with family



(L-R) Ava Maybee, Trisha Cardoso and Mayor Eric Garcetti attend Lisa Rinna Joins Celebs Volunteering In Project Angel Food Kitchen on Thanksgiving at Project Angel Food on November 24, 2022 (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Project Angel Food)"

LOS ANGELES – In the early morning hours of Thanksgiving Day, Mayor Eric Garcetti joined Project Angel Food CEO Richard Ayoub, celebrity supporters and 225 volunteers and staff to prepare and deliver 7,400 meals on Thanksgiving Day to seriously ill and housing insecure people throughout 4,700 square miles of L.A. County.

“Mayor Eric Garcetti epitomizes what it is to be part of a community and lift one another through compassion and service. As he rolled up his sleeves and helped plate meals, he brought attention that while this is a day most of us are surrounded by people we love, we need to remember that some people don’t have that,” Project Angel Food CEO Richard Ayoub said. “He reminded us that no Angeleno should be alone and with a warm smile, a conversation and a meal, our volunteers can change the entire day for our clients, become angels in the City of Angels,” Ayoub added.

For many of the celebrities joining Project Angel Food’s Thanksgiving Day volunteer pool, the day was about sharing the experience with family. Volunteers included Lisa Rinna and husband Harry Hamlin; “Weird Al” Yankovic with his wife Suzanne and daughter Nina.

Also volunteering was Out actor and singer Cheyenne Jackson and husband Jason Landau with their twins Willow and Ethan. Jackson said the couple brought the children because, “I want to teach my kids to be grateful and thankful for everything that we have, and when you have the capability to give to other people, do it.”

He also talked about the death of friend Leslie Jordan, a Project Angel Food supporter who died exactly one month earlier. “He was one of my best friends and it hit me really, really hard like so many people,” he said.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 24: (L-R) Cheyenne Jackson, Jason Landau and family attend Lisa Rinna Joins Celebs Volunteering In Project Angel Food Kitchen on Thanksgiving at Project Angel Food on November 24, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Project Angel Food)

American Idol favorite Ava Maybee with her mother, and Melissa Rivers with son Cooper Endicott, continuing her mother Joan Rivers’ legacy of volunteering on Thanksgiving.

Avatar: The Way of Water star Trinity Bliss brought her parents just weeks before the December 16 release of the highly anticipated film. “I’m so honored to work alongside so many people to bring a warm, delicious, tasty meal to people in need.”

Of her much-anticipated film, Avatar: Way of Water, Trinity added, “Avatar was amazing, but I think Avatar: The Way of Water is going to be just so much more dramatic and be an experience people are going to need to experience in theaters.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 24: Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna attend Lisa Rinna Joins Celebs Volunteering In Project Angel Food Kitchen on Thanksgiving at Project Angel Food on November 24, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Project Angel Food)

Lisa Rinna reflected on the fact that Project Angel Food is the primary source of food for most of its clients. “It’s so important because that is going to be their only meal of the day.” her husband Hamlin added, “to have the opportunity to give back is amazing.”

Other celebrities included Eileen Davidson (RHOBH, Days of Our Lives), Peter Porte (Days of Our Lives), Juan Pablo Di Pace (DWTS, Fuller House), Olympian Tai Babilonia, Tim Bagley (Gracie & Frankie, Will & Grace), Michael Hitchcock (The Resort, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Lawrence Zarian (The Kelly Clarkson Show), Marc Malkin (Variety), James Wallington and Will Jardell (Amazing Race Season 32 winners), Romeo Escobar (Survivor 42 runner-up), and parenting author Donna Tetreault.

The 7,400 meals being delivered on Thanksgiving included 1,600 traditional turkey dinners to critically ill men, women, children and their caregivers, 5,600 Medically Tailored Meals and breakfasts regularly scheduled for Thursday delivery, and another 200 meals were provided to Project Angel Food community partner PATH for residents for two of PATH’s Interim Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing sites. 

Volunteers provided contactless “drive-by” pick-up of the meals which were then delivered to Project Angel Food clients. Traditional Thanksgiving dinners consisted of roasted turkey, root vegetables, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and a slice of pumpkin cheesecake. Vegetarian meals were also provided.

The meal was sponsored by the Stanley and Joyce Black Family foundation with Glamazon (Amazon’s affinity group for the LGBT+ community) sponsoring the volunteer event.

Project Angel Food CEO Richard Ayoub noted that Project Angel Food strives to end food insecurity and improve health outcomes of critically ill men, women and children in Los Angeles with Medically Tailored Meals, delivered with care and compassion.

Over 2,500 clients are fed daily. Project Angel Food delivers 1.3 million meals each year.

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Los Angeles County

Culver City Police are investigating anti-Semitic hate incident

The publication was produced by a known hate group who has distributed similar hate materials in surrounding cities




CULVER CITY – Police investigators are looking into anti-Semitic hate incident that involved the distribution of anti-Semitic hate publication in one Culver City neighborhood on Sunday. Multiple neighbors reported copies of this publication.

The publication was produced by a known hate group who has distributed similar hate materials in surrounding cities.

“The Culver City Police Department condemns all forms of hate, and we stand in solidarity with our Jewish Community.  We will utilize all resources available to us to fully investigate this matter and bring any criminal offenders that are identified to justice.  We are working diligently with our community partners, neighboring agencies, and other law enforcement partners on this incident.  Any criminal activity that is discovered as a result of this investigation will be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for criminal filing consideration,” the department spokesperson said in a statement.

Anyone with information related to this incident is encouraged to contact the Culver City Police Department’s Public Information Officer, Sergeant Edward Baskaron at 310.253.6316, or the Watch Commander at 310.253.6202.

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United Against Hate holds LGBTQ+ Zoom meeting town hall

The meeting was hosted by the LA District Attorney’s LGBTQ+ advisory board, LA County Human Relations Commission, & the US Attorney’s Office



Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – As part of United Against Hate Week, a free and open-to-the-public LGBTQ+ Town Hall was held on Wednesday, November 16th via zoom. 

The meeting’s objective was to provide public education on how to recognize hate crimes, hate incidents, and acts of discrimination and  to encourage the community to report and help prevent acts of hate against the LGBTQ+ community.

The meeting was hosted by members of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s LGBTQ+ advisory board, LA County Human Relations Commission, and the US Attorney’s Office Central District of California. Hosts included George Gascón, Los Angeles County District Attorney, Bamby Salcedo, President & CEO, [email protected] and Chair of LADA’s LGBTQ Advisory Board, and Matthew Barragan, Assistant United States Attorney, Civil Rights Section.

A poll sent out during the meeting confirmed that at least 84% of those attending the meeting had either personally been or knew someone who had been affected by a hate crime. This finding is congruent with the most recent FBI hate crime statistics, which indicate the highest number of hate crimes occurring in over twenty years. The overall number of hate crimes reported in California in 2021 was 1,763 – an increase of 32.6% from 2020. There was also a 30.2% increase in anti-gay male hate crimes, a 21% increase in anti-homosexual bias hate crimes, and an 18% increase in anti-lesbian bias hate crimes. 

Unfortunately, many hate crimes go unreported, leaving the community even more susceptible to the crimes and misconduct of prejudiced individuals. The two main reasons for this gross underreporting are victims and witnesses preferring to handle the situation in another way and fearing that the police would not or could not respond in a way that would help the situation. All meeting hosts sought to rectify this by calling for all community members and allies to report any hate crimes, incidents, and acts of discrimination. 

“This is really a process of bringing our community together,” said Gasćon in a closing statement. “Understand that while we are using this week to underline the issues surrounding hate crime and fear, this is an all-year effort.”

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Los Angeles County

LA vs. Hate & United Against Hate Week launched

“United against Hate Week provides opportunities for every resident to get involved, show our strength, and take a real stand against hate”



LA vs. Hate- United Against Hate Week (Photo by Simha Haddad)

LOS ANGELES – A panel of leaders from different cultural sectors of Los Angeles stood on the steps of Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration on Monday, November 14, to launch LA vs. Hate- United Against Hate Week.

Behind them, supporters stood with signs depicting the hands of two people of different races clasped together in unity under the words “TOGETHER,” and “JUNTOS.” Before the panel, a small crowd gathered in anticipation. 

The rally was led by Robin Toma, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, lead agency for LA vs Hate. Also present were Holly Mitchell, Chair, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, District Two, Esther Lim, Justice Deputy, Office of Supervisor Hilda Solis, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, District 1, George Gascon, LA County District Attorney.

Also in attendance were Maria S. Salinas, President and CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce & UAHW Honorary Co-Chair, Debra Duardo, Superintendent, Los Angeles County Office of Education UAHW Honorary Co-Chair, Martin Estrada, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Central District of California, Shawn Landres, Immediate Past President, Los Angeles Quality & Productivity Commission & UAHW Co-Chair, Dean Chalak Richards, Dean of Student Life, Diversity & Belonging, Pepperdine Caruso School of Law & UAHW Co-Chair and Hildy Sterns, South Bay Social Justice Work Group Founder.

Each took their turn expressing their dedication to the Stop the Hate Initiative, and detailing the steps they would take to realize the initiative’s mission. 

“The release of the commission’s annual hate crime report will confirm what we have been experiencing,” said Mitchell, addressing the crowd, “which is a historic rise in hate crime across one of the most diverse counties in the country. A county with the largest Native American population of any county in the nation, a county with the largest Armenian population outside of Armenia, a county with the largest Iranian population outside of Iran, a county in which two hundred and twenty-four identified languages are spoken on a daily basis. We can and must, my fellow Angelinos, be proactive. United against Hate Week provides opportunities for every resident to get involved, show our strength, and take a real stand against hate.” 

In a panel discussion major focus was on stopping hate in the workplace and in schools.

“The chamber is committed to supporting businesses to stay abreast of changing business practices to make strategic, employee-centered investments that promote business growth and advance employment opportunities,” said the Chamber’s Salinas.

Dean Richards proudly listed competing schools, such as Southwestern Law School, UCLA School of Law, USC School of Law, and Loyola,  stating that these institutions have come together with the shared goal of coming against hate. She stated that through the initiative, students and their families alike are being taught how to recognize hate and utilize resources such as the law to help them stop hate crimes in their tracks. 

Sterns spoke regarding the anti-hate coalition’s community-wide event last Sunday with activities to raise awareness and bring the community together. On Tuesday, Stearns invited everyone to watch a free screening of the new documentary, “Race to be Human,” which will be followed by a panel discussion.

Finally, on Friday, she added that she encouraged everyone to take part in a moment of silence at 9:31AM to think about how Angelenos can support others within the community. Lawn and window signs will also be distributed throughout Manhattan Beach with the slogan, “Manhattan Beach Stands United Against Hate.”

Estrada announced the start of The U.S. Department of Justice’s initiative called “United Against Hate.” The initiative will include local forums to connect community groups to federal, state, and local partners. The goal is to increase awareness about reporting hate crimes and incidents, and to create and strengthen alliances between law enforcement, government actors, and the community.

This past September, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced on September 15 during the White House United We Stand Summit, that over the next year, all 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices (USAOs) will host a new nationwide initiative to combat unlawful acts of hate. The United Against Hate program is convening local forums that connect community groups to federal, state, and local law enforcement to increase community understanding and reporting of hate crimes; build trust between law enforcement and communities; and create and strengthen alliances between law enforcement and other government partners and community groups to combat unlawful acts of hate.

“The Justice Department remains committed to enforcing federal hate crime laws,” said Attorney General Garland. “That is why the Justice Department has launched its new United Against Hate program. This initiative brings together community groups, community leaders, and law enforcement at every level to build trust and strengthen coordination to combat unlawful acts of hate.”

On Wednesday, Estrada’s office will partner with the LA County District Attorney’s office in an LGBTQ+ portion of the United Against Hate Initiative. 

The rally ended with the unveiling of a “Wishing Tree” art intervention inspired by county residents. All attendees were invited to contribute a wish to the art piece.

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Los Angeles County

Iconic Hollywood Bowl appoints new Superintendent, Mark Ladd

Prior to joining the Hollywood Bowl staff, Mark was Operations Coordinator at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Sports Arena



Hollywood Bowl (Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles)

LOS ANGELES – Mark Ladd was appointed by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation to serve as the Hollywood Bowl Superintendent. Mark will carry on the Hollywood Bowls 100 years of tradition in serving as a premiere destination for live music in Southern California.

With over 1,000,000 visitors and over 100 events annually, the Hollywood Bowl, managed on behalf of the County by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association (LA Phil), elevates the transformative power of live music.

Mark Ladd (Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association)

“It is a great honor to receive this appointment,” shared Mark Ladd, Hollywood Bowl Superintendent. “I look forward to serving in a stewardship role and continuing the tradition of constant improvement at this historic facility.”

Since 1994, Mark has served in the dual role of Assistant Superintendent for the Hollywood Bowl, representing the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation, as well as handling the duties of Associate Director of Hollywood Bowl Operations, where he was recently promoted to Director, on behalf of the LA Phil. During his time at the Hollywood Bowl, the venue has hosted over 2,700 events.

“I am excited about the appointment of Mark Ladd as the Director Superintendent of the Hollywood Bowl,” stated Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “This beloved performance venue is an asset in the Fifth District that requires thoughtful stewardship. Mark offers a long history of committed service to the Bowl and its visitors. I look forward to working with him so that we can continue our coordinated community engagement strategies. I am pleased we share a common vision, and both prioritize soliciting community feedback to address sound, traffic, and long-term mitigation projects.” 

When asked to recall his most memorable experiences at the Bowl, Mark notes that in addition to witnessing many outstanding events, serving a principal role in the construction of several buildings on the Bowl campus, most notably, the renovation and rehabilitation of the Bowl’s iconic performance shell/stage, which was completed in 2004. In addition, he served on the team that developed the Hollywood Bowl Design Guidelines.

“We are delighted that Mark Ladd has been promoted to serve as only the 3rd ever appointee to hold the position of Superintendent, Hollywood Bowl,” said Chad Smith, Chief Executive Officer, David C. Bohnett Chief Executive Officer Chair Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. “His incredible knowledge and passion for the iconic Hollywood Bowl will continue to serve audiences and artists alike as we move into the second century of this beloved Southern California venue’s tradition.”

Prior to joining the Hollywood Bowl staff, Mark was Operations Coordinator at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Sports Arena. His experience also includes several New Year’s Day Rose Bowl Games, multiple Super Bowls, as well as the 1984 Olympics.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

Under the leadership of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, the LA Phil offers live performances, media initiatives and learning programs that inspire and strengthen communities in Los Angeles and beyond.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra is the foundation of the LA Phil’s offerings, which also include a multi-genre, multidisciplinary presenting program and such youth development programs as YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles).

Performances are offered on three historic stages—Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and The Ford—as well as through a variety of media platforms. In all its endeavors, the LA Phil seeks to enrich the lives of individuals and communities through musical, artistic and learning experiences that resonate in our world today.   

The Hollywood Bowl

One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the Hollywood Bowl has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922 and plays host to the finest artists from all genres of music, offering something for everyone.

It remains one of the best deals anywhere in Los Angeles; to this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many classical and jazz performances. In June 2021, the Hollywood Bowl was awarded Amphitheater of the Decade at the 32nd Annual Pollstar Awards. It was also awarded the Outdoor Concert Venue of the Year award at the 31st Annual Pollstar Awards, an honor bestowed 14 previous times, as well as Top Amphitheater prize at the 2017 and 2018 Billboard Touring Awards. For millions of music lovers across Southern California, the Hollywood Bowl is synonymous with summer. 

“The County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation is proud of its co-stewardship with the Los Angeles Philharmonic of the Hollywood Bowl, one of the most iconic and world-renowned outdoor performance venue and park,” shared County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation Director Norma Edith García-González. “I am excited about Mark Ladd’s leadership, a career professional with extensive and invaluable experience in operating the Hollywood Bowl. I am confident he will lead the next centennial of the Hollywood Bowl legacy with a commitment to providing a welcoming and enriching experience.

As a fifth-generation Californian, Mark has a life-long interest in the state’s native flora and fauna. He has spent several years researching and digitizing an extensive family photograph collection that spans to the pre-Civil war era. He served on the Board of Trustees of Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena, where he resides with his wife Angie. They have two adult children.

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LA County Public Health: Student & parent trainings on Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a high potency synthetic opioid that is colorless and odorless and can cause rapid respiratory depression resulting in death



Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is hosting virtual Public Health Ambassador training sessions for students and parents to learn more about fentanyl, including the current overdose trends, risk factors associated with youth opioid use, how to recognize an opioid overdose, and how naloxone (Narcan) can reverse opioid overdose.

The trainings will also review effective communication strategies families can use to talk about opioids and fentanyl, and youth-specific resources for accessing ongoing support and treatment.

Participants who are first time Public Health Ambassador Program attendees will receive a $25 stipend and opportunity to earn an additional $25 for outreach.

Parent Training 

Monday, November 14, 2022: 5:00-6:00pm (English)   

Tuesday, November 15, 2022: 5:00-6:00pm (Spanish)     

Parents can sign up for a Parent Training by visiting or scanning the QR code below:

QR 1 Fent v2

Student Training   

Wednesday, November 16, 2022: 4:30-5:30pm

Students can sign up for a Student Training by visiting or scanning the QR code below:

QR 2 Fent v2

Background Information on Fentanyl:

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has issued multiple health alerts related to adolescents overdose involving the purchase of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, including one student found deceased on campus at Bernstein High School in Hollywood in September 2022. Since then, additional Los Angeles County youth have overdosed or died from consuming counterfeit pills.

Nationwide, there has been a growing trend of illicit drugs (particularly methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine) and counterfeit pills contaminated with fentanyl and other life-threatening substances. This has impacted both adults and youth. In 2021, fentanyl was identified in about 77% of adolescent overdose deaths nationally, and over 80% of drug overdose deaths among adolescents aged 15 – 19 in 2015 were unintentional. Fentanyl and methamphetamine-related overdose deaths have increased in Los Angeles County even prior to the pandemic and continue to rise at an alarming rate.

Fentanyl is a high potency synthetic opioid that is colorless and odorless and can cause rapid respiratory depression resulting in death. Awareness of the risk of fentanyl in counterfeit pills, stimulants, and other substances sold outside of pharmacies is essential for both the general public, including youth and adults, as well as healthcare providers.

From the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Public Affairs:

Box of candy open revealing small round pills. Instead of choclate candy that is depicted on the box.

On October 19, 2022, at approximately 0730 hours, LA County Sheriff’s Narcotics Bureau Detectives and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents assigned to a task force at the Los Angeles International Airport seized approximately 12,000 suspected fentanyl pills.

The suspect attempted to go through TSA screening with several bags of candy and miscellaneous snacks with the intent of boarding a plane.  However, it was discovered that inside the “Sweetarts”, “Skittles”, and “Whoppers” candy boxes were fentanyl pills and not  candy.  The suspect fled prior to being detained by law enforcement but has been identified and the investigation is on-going.

Bag of different types of candy.
Bag of skittles with round blue pill instead of candy.
Package of candy.
Package of sealed candy.
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Los Angeles County

LA County Aquatics is hiring! Become an LA County Lake Lifeguard

After completing the online form, qualifying candidates will schedule an appointment to participate in a Lake Lifeguard Swim Exam



Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – LA County Aquatics is hiring! This December, we will be holding swim exams for those interested in becoming an LA County Lake Lifeguard. This is a perfect job for those with a background in swimming, or those interested in careers related to emergency medical services, paramedics, or aquatics in general. 

Before applying for the swim exam, prospective candidates should take into consideration the following requirements. Candidates must:

  • Swim 1000 meters in 18 minutes or less
  • Be at least 16 years old by time of swim exam
  • Have at least 20/30 vision in each eye without correction (see job bulletin)
  • Have a valid California Class C Drivers License

After completing the online form, qualifying candidates will schedule an appointment to participate in a Lake Lifeguard Swim Exam at either of the following dates/locations:

Arcadia Park – Norman S. Johnson Aquatic Center
405 S. Santa Anita Ave. Arcadia, CA 91006
Saturday 12/3/2022 // 8:00 to 12:00pm

Castaic Aquatic Center
31350 Castaic Rd. Castaic, CA 91384
Sunday 12/11/2022 // 8:00am to 12:00pm

Upon completion of prerequisites and swim test, candidates must enroll and pass the Lake Lifeguard Academy ($16.51/hour).

After completing the Academy, Cadets will be eligible to become Lake Lifeguards ($22.52-$29.52/hour) or ($25.45 – $33.36/hour, with EMT certification)


For more information on LA County Aquatics, visit our Lifeguard Recruitment page.

And to apply for the position, APPLY HERE.

Lake LG Recruitment FLyer
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The L.A. Arboretum breaks ground on a new visitor plaza

The new plaza will be a gateway for visitors to enjoy the magnificent 127 acres plus updates & restores existing mid-20th century entrance



Los Angeles Blade/LA Parks & Rec graphic

LOS ANGELES – Officials of Los Angeles County and the Los Angeles Arboretum Foundation had shovels in hand Friday, November 4, to break ground for the construction of a new Visitor Plaza at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. The $10 million project is designed to set new standards in visitor hospitality, horticultural beauty, and improved garden access.

“The Arboretum is a partnership venture between the Arboretum Foundation and the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation. The new Visitor Plaza will be a gateway for visitors from across L.A. County to enjoy the magnificent 127 acres,” Norma García-González, Director of L.A. County Parks and Recreation, said at the ceremony. “This bright new face for the Arboretum reflects the vastly increased community we serve and new-found appreciation for time spent in the natural world,” shared Richard Schulhof, Arboretum CEO.

It was a proud moment for former President and Honorary Arboretum Foundation trustee, Ken Hill, PhD, who was part of the community and fundraising effort to build the new entrance. “The best result from this endeavor was discovering thousands of friends of the Arboretum who love the gardens and are happy to support its improvement,” he said.

Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, a supporter of the new project, was at the groundbreaking. The new entrance will add an Arrival Plaza, Welcome Plaza and Ticketing Pavilion within the footprint and re-adaptation of the existing mid-20th century modern complex. The project, funded by the Arboretum’s first capital campaign in 40 years, is the Arboretum’s largest improvement to date.

The $10 million project updates and restores the existing mid-20th century modern entrance.

The Visitor Plaza is scheduled to be completed in 2023 during the Arboretum’s 75th Anniversary. More than 700,000 visitors a year enjoy the Arboretum, which is governed through a private-public partnership between the nonprofit Arboretum Foundation and the County Department of Parks and Recreation. Project design was completed by EPT Design, Dunbar Architecture and Hunt Design.

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Los Angeles County

It’s park time at LA County Parks with fun Winter activities 

Make LA County Parks your destination for winter fun! Join our Winter Programs: Sports, Recreation, Aquatics and much more!



Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – This winter, head over to your local LA County Park with your friends and family for some recreation and adventure! We’re excited to offer a variety of programming this holiday season ranging from youth sports activities to nature and wildlife exploration programs designed for the whole family. Make LA County Parks your destination for winter fun!

Join our Winter Programs: Sports, Recreation, Aquatics and much more!

Recreation For All is a FREE 35-week program that provides participants of all ages with access to caring and trained park staff who serve as mentors and lead an array of classes and activities. These classes range from cheer, dance, sports clinics, fitness, computer classes, parent and me, story time and so much more. A variety classes can be offered at the sites throughout the week. Find a class near you today! 
Registration is free but required. Sign up HERE.

Now through May 26, 2023 / Monday – Friday 2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. 
Every Body Plays Drop-In Afterschool Adventures program offers a safe space where youth ages 7-17 can come play, create friendships and partake in activities such as fitness, self-care, sports, arts, games, creative outlets like storytelling and ESTEAM (Environment, Science Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). Every Body Plays is a positive space with a curriculum that is youth centered and designed for fun! 
This program is FREE and no pre-registration is required. Find a participating park HERE.

Now through May 19, 2023 / Monday – Friday 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Children and youth ages 18 and under receive a “grab and go” nutritious snack that includes vegetables, fruits, seeds and healthy dairy products like milk, string cheese and yogurt, at 46 locations.  
This program is FREE and no pre-registration required. Find a participating park HERE

Dates and times vary 
Tiny Tots is a wonderful program that provides kids ages 3-5 an opportunity to gain knowledge and early life experiences through organized activities, such as music and movement, fine and gross motor skill activities and art and culture. With Tiny Tots, kids will learn to care for others, play fair and create, all while appreciating diversity. Tiny Tots is available in for both 2 Day, 4 Day sessions or Parent & Me.
Registration is required. Sign up HERE

Dates and times vary

Just because summer is over doesn’t mean we stop swimming! Children and adults alike are invited to come join our many aquatics programs at any of our six year-round pools (including the brand new Greater Whittier Regional Aquatic Center) for our Youth Learn to Swim Program or Adult Aqua Aerobics classes. Swim Lessons teach core swimming skills including water safety, floating and stroke technique while Aqua Aerobics participants get a great instructor-led workout without the impact on your body and joints. 
Registration is required. Sign up HERE.

Activities and times vary depending on location. There are seven Nature Centers conveniently located throughout LA County!
You and your family are invited to a Nature Center near you for fun and educational exploration programs like Family Nature Walks, Guided Hikes and meet-and-greets with animal ambassadors. There’s no time like the present to learn about the fascinating flora and fauna all around us, while connecting with knowledgeable and caring Nature Center Staff! 
Learn more HERE.

Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LA County Parks is Hiring and Recruiting! Apply and join our team today!
LA County Parks wants you to join our team! Our Youth @ Work program is excellent entry level position for youth ages 14-24

LA County Parks will also host festive holiday programming and seasonal celebrations for the whole family. Stay up-to-date on the latest events by following us on social media!  
Instagram/Twitter: @LACountyParks 

For more information, visit or call (626) 588-5364.

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