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County Supervisor Under Fire For Planned, $707,000 Office Renovation

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Mon, Dec 21, 2009 at 12:06 PM

click to enlarge Mark Ridley-Thomas.
  • Mark Ridley-Thomas.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has been under fire for his planned, $707,000 renovation of his office, and at least one report questions whether the matter will come before a meeting of the powerful county Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

John North at ABC7 news has been all over the story, noting, for example, that while Ridley-Thomas plans to spend more than twice the median price of an L.A. County home, other supervisors with much more tenure have spent four and five figures of taxpayer funds on sprucing up their own offices.

All this is happening, of course, as the economy is in the tank, tax revenues are down and local governments are cutting programs and scrambling for cash. The cost of flooring materials alone in Ridley-Thomas renovation is listed at nearly $52,000 (see an itemized list for the project via PDF).

LAObserved over the weekend indicated it was possible the matter could be taken up during a meeting of the board meeting Tuesday, but after calling Ridley-Thomas' office and speaking to three other county officials, it seems no one at the county knows for sure whether or not the matter will come up.

The right-wing John & Ken Show on KFI AM 640 talk radio, always keen to attack a liberal person of color, apparently started the controversy, and the duo has been relentless in its campaign against Ridley-Thomas' office redux, even if the money is a comparative drop in the bucket. But the pair has a point, one that Ridley-Thomas doesn't seem able to defend.

"This investment is what, in part, creates opportunities for people to work," Ridley-Thomas told ABC7.

Ah, yes: Stimulus.

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