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board of supervisors

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is the five member non-partisan governing board of Los Angeles County, California. Members of the board of supervisors are elected by district, the current members as of May 2008 are:

Governance

Until recently, the Chief Executive Officer (currently William T Fujioka) was the appointed individual heading the county but had little power as supervisors retained the right to fire and hire department heads and often directly admonished department heads in public. Based on an ordinance authored by Supervisors Knabe and Yaroslavsky that took effect in April 2007, Fujioka directly oversees departments on behalf of the supervisors, although the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Assessor, District Attorney, Auditor/Controller, and Executive Office of the Board of Supervisors continue to be under the direct purview of the Board of Supervisors. The change was made in response to several candidates either dropping out or declining to accept the position to replace former Chief Executive Officer David Janssen.

The strong CEO powers expire unless a charter amendment is approved by voters in the June 2008 primary election. Antonovich was the lone supervisor to oppose the change, stating that such a move would lead to a more autocratic form of government and disenfranchise the 1.3 million who live in unincorporated area.

Board meetings

The Board meets every Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. in the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in downtown Los Angeles. Its weekly meetings are televised on local public television (KLCS Channel 58) and transcripts are published online. Most items are approved on a "consent calendar" without discussion. However, because of the huge implications of some Board decisions, the meetings are regularly attended by speakers and protesters on behalf of many causes. The county is sued frequently by various public interest law firms and organizations on behalf of people who disagree with the Board's decisions.

Meetings can last for hours at a time. At the start of a meeting, after an invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance, all items that do not have "holds" placed on them by a supervisor or a member of the general public, or are mandatory public hearings, are approved. Following that, presentations of various dignitaries such as directors of local consulates, awards to County employees and the general public, and a pet for adoption are made. The presentations can take over an hour. Then, items that were not approved are called in numerical order unless a supervisor wishes to take items out of order. Because of this, department heads with controversial items stay for the entire meeting to wait until their item is called, which may not be the order on the agenda. Some items are "special orders", where at a set time the item will be called in order to invite guests to make presentations that they could not otherwise wait for.

During the meeting, adjournments are sprinkled throughout as well, and can include anyone the supervisor finds worthy of note. Public comment is very limited, with an individual being able to comment for a total of three minutes for all items one wishes to address during a meeting, and an additional three minutes every 90 days on any topic within the board's jurisdiction. Individuals must submit comment cards before the start of the meeting and wait until their item is called. On popular topics with multiple speakers, comments may be restricted to as little as one minute each, and the board has the discretion to figuratively muzzle anyone who is addressing the board in a disruptive manner, such as holding multiple unrelated items.

Background

Los Angeles County follows usual California practice (which is similar to that of almost all other states) in that it did not subdivide into separate counties or increase the number of supervisors as its population soared after 1920. The only county with more than five supervisors is San Francisco, unique in California as it is legally both a city and a county, and no new counties have been formed since 1907 in the state. As a result, the concentration of local administrative power in each county supervisor is high; each one represents more than 2 million people. Moreover, because of the equal representation provisions of the Voting Rights Act, the supervisoral districts often make little geographical sense; in particular, Supervisor District 1 was specifically gerrymandered to be a majority-Latino area, while Supervisor District 2 was designed to have a plurality of African Americans.

A local nickname some use for the Board is "the five little kings. Unseating an incumbent supervisor is extraordinarily difficult, due largely to the prohibitive difficulty of mounting a successful challenge in districts of such enormous geographical and population size. Indeed, no new members have been elected to the Board since Don Knabe took office in 1996. Like other elected officials, supervisors enjoy built-in advantages of incumbency. Supervisors routinely waive parking and rental fees for various organizations, provide bus trips and give free tickets to county facilities to constituents, and build projects for the community with the supervisor's name clearly marked. Each supervisor has a budget of $3,000,000 for staff and office expenses, with the remainder going into a "discretionary fund" that can be used for grants to non-profit agencies, without a vote by the other supervisors. "Good-government" advocates have long supported the idea of expanding Board membership to reduce the size of each district, and establishing an elected County Executive as a check and balance on the Board's power, but voters have rejected such proposals every time they have appeared on the ballot. However, Supervisor Molina has supported expansion of the Board (to potentially increase Hispanic representation), and Supervisor Yaroslavsky has supported both Board expansion and the creation of an elected County Executive, much like King County, Washington, who directly supervises county departments.

To curb the powers of the five supervisors, voters passed in March 2002 Measure B by more than 63%, to limit the terms of the supervisors to three consecutive four year terms. If a supervisor fills a vacancy, the unexpired term counts towards the term limit if there are more than two years (half the term) left to serve. The provisions are not retroactive, meaning that Michael Antonovich, currently the longest serving supervisor, could serve until 2016.

Currently, the chair of the Board of Supervisors has the option of calling himself or herself mayor. The title has drawn criticism as it can lead to confusion with the mayor of the city of Los Angeles. However, those who support the use of the title say that the Board of Supervisors acts as "mayors" or chief executives for the millions of people who live in unincorporated areas. Currently, only Antonovich uses the "mayor" title when he is the chair. All other chairs use the title chair, chairman, or chairwoman, depending on their preference.

Members of the Board of Supervisors also sit on the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, although that organization is not a County agency.

Former supervisors (before 1850 & 1850-1851)

The State of California was founded in 1850. On Feb. 18, 1850, the County of Los Angeles was established as one of the 27 original counties, several months before California was admitted to the Union. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors was created in 1852. The Court of Sessions was used under Mexican custom until 1852. The Court was composed of a County Judge and two County Associate Justices. Julian A. Chavez served in the Court of Sessions as a "Judge of Waters" and later as a "Judge of the Plains" prior to the formation of the Board of Supervisors.

Year Representation
Before 1850 Court of Sessions. Before Board creation.
1850 Court of Sessions
1851 Court of Sessions

Former supervisors (1852-1861)

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors was created in 1852. Terms of office through the first decade were for one year. A piece of the County's territory was given towards the creation of San Bernardino County in 1853. [Note: Names in black have an article under that name, but not the person concerned in this table].
Year 1st District 2nd District 3rd District 4th District 5th District
1852 Jefferson Hunt Julian A. Chavez Francisco P. Temple Manuel Requena Samuel Arbuckle
1853 David W. Alexander Leonardo Cota G. A. Sturgis Daniel M. Thomas Benjamin D. Wilson
1854 David W. Alexander Stephen C. Foster Juan Sepulveda Cristobal Aguilar Samuel S. Thompson
1855 Thomas Burdick/ John G. Downey David Lewis Cristobal Aguilar Agustin Olvera James R. Barton
1856 David Lewis Cristobal Aguilar Stephen C. Foster Thomas Burdick Agustin Olvera/ James B. Winston
1857 Jonathan R. Scott/ Stephen C. Foster William M. Stockton Tomas Avila Sanchez Richard C. Fryer Manuel Dominguez/ Felix Bachman
1858 Julian A. Chavez Francisco O'Campo Tomas Avila Sanchez Stephen C. Foster Francis Mellus/ Ralph Emerson
1859 Stephen C. Foster Ralph Emerson Tomas Avila Sanchez George C. Alexander/ ? Haywood Bernardino Guirado
1860 Abel Stearns Cristobal Aguilar R.B. Moore Gabriel Allen Antonio Franco Coronel
1861 Benjamin D. Wilson Morris S. Goodman/ Thomas George Barker Fielding W. Gibson Julian A. Chavez Julius Morris

Former supervisors (1862-1871)

Terms of office changed to two years. A piece of the County's territory was given towards the creation of Kern County in 1866.
Year 1st District 2nd District 3rd District 4th District 5th District
1862 Julius Morris Benjamin D. Wilson Fielding W. Gibson Cristobal Aguilar Vicente Lugo
1864 Asa Ellis Benjamin D. Wilson Cristobal Aguilar Julius Morris Philip Sichel/ Maurice Kremer
1866 John G. Downey Maurice Kremer Edmund H. Boyd Felix Signoret Eduardo Poyoreno
1868 Wallace Woodworth James B. Winston Robert Henry Mayes A. Langenberger/ Hugh Forsman Henrique Avila
Hugh Forsman [G.D. Cankton]] E. Sanford]] Henrique Avila R. Yorba

Former supervisors (1872-1882)

Los Angeles County is divided into 4 districts with two persons on behalf of the First District. [Note: Names in black have an article under that name, but not the person concerned in this table].
Year 1st District (Person 1) 1st District (Person 2) 2nd District 3rd District 4th District
1872 Francisco Machado Samuel Bradford Caswell Hugh Forsman Francisco Palomares A.L. Bush
1874 Francisco Machado John M. Griffith/ Gabriel Allen George Hinds Francisco Palomares Edward Evey
1876 John D. Young Gabriel Allen/ Charles Prager George Hinds/ John J. Morton J.C. Hannon Edward Evey/ W.H. Spurgeon
1878 John D. Young/ A.H. Rogers Charles Prager John J. Morton J.C. Hannon W.H. Spurgeon/ James D. Ott
1880 A.H. Rogers Charles Prager W.F. Cooper J.C. Hannon James D. Ott/ Richard Egan
1882 A.H. Rogers Charles Prager W.F. Cooper J.C. Hannon Richard Egan

Former Supervisors (1883-1884)

Los Angeles County is divided into 7 districts.
Year 1st District 2nd District 3rd District 4th District 5th District 6th District 7th District
1883 L.G. Giroux Charles Prager William M. Osborn Dave V. Waldron S. Levy Dan Reichard J.H. Moesser

Former supervisors (1885-present)

Los Angeles County is divided into 5 districts. Districts 1 & 3 remain at a term of 2 years for one period, and then 4 years thereafter. Districts 2, 4, & 5 now have a term of 4 years. All Districts became 4 year terms in a phased in process by 1887. This allows for staggered elections every 2 years, which is still in effect to the present day. A piece of the County's territory was given towards the creation of Orange County in 1889. [Note: Names in black have an article under that name, but not the person concerned in this table].
Year 1st District 2nd District 3rd District 4th District 5th District
1885 James Foord Oscar Macy Milton Lindley George Hinds/ Joseph W. Venable Jacob Ross
1887 William T. Martin Oscar Macy Thomas Edward Rowan Joseph W. Venable Jacob Ross
1889 William T. Martin S.M. Perry Thomas Edward Rowan Alonzo Edward Davis Sheldon Littlefield/ Henry C. Hubbard
1891 John W. Cook S.M. Perry E.A. Forrester Alonzo Edward Davis Henry C. Hubbard
1893 John W. Cook Andrew W. Francisco E.A. Forrester James Hay James Hanley
1895 W.L. Woodward Andrew W. Francisco Edward S. Field James Hay James Hanley
1897 W. L. Woodward Robert E. Wirsching Edward S. Field Alonzo Edward Davis James Hanley
1899 Orray W. Longden Robert E. Wirsching Edward S. Field Alonzo Edward Davis James Hanley
1901 Orray W. Longden George Alexander Edward S. Field Peter James Wilson James Hanley
1902 Orray W. Longden George Alexander Edward S. Field Peter James Wilson James Hanley/Charles E. Patterson
1903 Orray W. Longden George Alexander A.J. Graham Peter James Wilson Charles E. Patterson
1905 Orray W. Longden/John T. Brady George Alexander A.J. Graham Peter James Wilson Vacant
1907 Charles Dewey Manning George Alexander S. Tuston Eldridge Peter James Wilson Charles E. Patterson
1909 Charles Dewey Manning Henry D. McCabe S. Tuston Eldridge Clarence J. Nellis Richard W. Pridham
1911 Charles Dewey Manning Henry D. McCabe Sidney Allcutt Butler Clarence J. Nellis Richard W. Pridham
1913 Charles Dewey Manning Richard H. Norton Sidney Allcutt Butler William E. Hinshaw Richard W. Pridham
1914 Charles Dewey Manning Richard H. Norton Sidney Allcutt Butler/Frank E. Woodley William E. Hinshaw Richard W. Pridham
1915 John J. Hamilton Richard H. Norton Frank E. Woodley William E. Hinshaw Richard W. Pridham
1917 John J. Hamilton Richard H. Norton/Edward James Delorey Frank E. Woodley William E. Hinshaw/ Reuban F. McClellan Richard W. Pridham /Jonathan S. Dodge
1918 John. J. Hamilton/Prescott F. Cogswell Edward James Delorey/ Jack H. Bean Frank E. Woodley Reuban F. McClellan Jonathan S. Dodge
1920 Prescott F. Cogswell Jack H. Bean Frank E. Woodley Reuban F. McClellan Jonathan S. Dodge
1921 Prescott F. Cogswell Jack H. Bean Frank E. Woodley Reuban F. McClellan Jonathan S. Dodge/Henry W. Wright
1922 Prescott F. Cogswell Jack H. Bean Frank E. Woodley Reuban F. McClellan Henry W. Wright
1924 Prescott F. Cogswell Jack H. Bean Frank E. Woodley Reuban F. McClellan Henry W. Wright
1926 Prescott F. Cogswell/Fred T. Beaty Jack H. Bean Frank E. Woodley/ Sidney T. Graves Reuban F. McClellan Henry W. Wright
1928 Fred T. Beaty Jack H. Bean/Frank L. Shaw Sidney T. Graves Reuban F. McClellan Henry W. Wright
1930 Hugh A. Thatcher Frank L. Shaw J. Don Mahaffey/Harry M. Baine John R. Quinn Henry W. Wright/Roger W. Jessup
1932 Hugh A. Thatcher Frank L. Shaw/Gordon L. McDonough J. Don Mahaffey/Harry M. Baine John R. Quinn Henry W. Wright/Roger W. Jessup
1934 Hugh A. Thatcher/Herbert C. Legg Gordon L. McDonough Harry M. Baine/John Anson Ford John R. Quinn Roger W. Jessup
1936 Herbert C. Legg Gordon L. McDonough John Anson Ford John R. Quinn/Leland M. Ford Roger W. Jessup
1938 Herbert C. Legg/William A. Smith Gordon L. McDonough John Anson Ford Leland M. Ford/Oscar L. Hauge Roger W. Jessup
1940 William A. Smith Gordon L. McDonough John Anson Ford Oscar L. Hauge Roger W. Jessup
1942 William A. Smith Gordon L. McDonough John Anson Ford Oscar L. Hauge Roger W. Jessup
1944 William A. Smith Gordon L. McDonough John Anson Ford Oscar L. Hauge/Raymond V. Darby Roger W. Jessup
1945 William A. Smith Gordon L. McDonough/Leonard J. Roach John Anson Ford Oscar L. Hauge/Raymond V. Darby Roger W. Jessup
1946 William A. Smith Leonard J. Roach John Anson Ford Raymond V. Darby Roger W. Jessup
1948 William A. Smith Leonard J. Roach John Anson Ford Raymond V. Darby Roger W. Jessup
1950 William A. Smith/Herbert C. Legg Leonard J. Roach John Anson Ford Raymond V. Darby Roger W. Jessup
1952 Herbert C. Legg Leonard J. Roach/Kenneth Hahn John Anson Ford Raymond V. Darby Roger W. Jessup
1953 Herbert C. Legg Leonard J. Roach/Kenneth Hahn John Anson Ford Raymond V. Darby/Burton W. Chace Roger W. Jessup
1954 Herbert C. Legg Kenneth Hahn John Anson Ford Burton W. Chace Roger W. Jessup
1956 Herbert C. Legg Kenneth Hahn John Anson Ford Burton W. Chace Roger W. Jessup/Warren M. Dorn
1958 Herbert C. Legg/Frank G. Bonelli Kenneth Hahn John Anson Ford/Ernest E. Debs Burton W. Chace Warren M. Dorn
1960 Frank G. Bonelli Kenneth Hahn Ernest E. Debs Burton W. Chace Warren M. Dorn
1962 Frank G. Bonelli Kenneth Hahn Ernest E. Debs Burton W. Chace Warren M. Dorn
1964 Frank G. Bonelli Kenneth Hahn Ernest E. Debs Burton W. Chace Warren M. Dorn
1966 Frank G. Bonelli Kenneth Hahn Ernest E. Debs Burton W. Chace Warren M. Dorn
1968 Frank G. Bonelli Kenneth Hahn Ernest E. Debs Burton W. Chace Warren M. Dorn
1970 Frank G. Bonelli Kenneth Hahn Ernest E. Debs Burton W. Chace Warren M. Dorn
1972 Frank G. Bonelli/Peter F. Schabarum Kenneth Hahn Ernest E. Debs Burton W. Chace/James A. Hayes Warren M. Dorn/Baxter Ward
1974 Peter F. Schabarum Kenneth Hahn Ernest E. Debs/Edmund D. Edelman James A. Hayes Baxter Ward
1976 Peter F. Schabarum Kenneth Hahn Edmund D. Edelman James A. Hayes Baxter Ward
1978 Peter F. Schabarum Kenneth Hahn Edmund D. Edelman James A. Hayes Baxter Ward
1979 Peter F. Schabarum Kenneth Hahn Edmund D. Edelman James A. Hayes/Yvonne Brathwaite Burke Baxter Ward
1980 Peter F. Schabarum Kenneth Hahn Edmund D. Edelman Yvonne Brathwaite Burke/Deane Dana Baxter Ward/Michael D. Antonovich
1982 Peter F. Schabarum Kenneth Hahn Edmund D. Edelman Deane Dana Michael D. Antonovich
1984 Peter F. Schabarum Kenneth Hahn Edmund D. Edelman Deane Dana Michael D. Antonovich
1986 Peter F. Schabarum Kenneth Hahn Edmund D. Edelman Deane Dana Michael D. Antonovich
1988 Peter F. Schabarum Kenneth Hahn Edmund D. Edelman Deane Dana Michael D. Antonovich
1990 Peter F. Schabarum Kenneth Hahn Edmund D. Edelman Deane Dana Michael D. Antonovich
1991 Peter F. Schabarum/ Gloria Molina Kenneth Hahn Edmund D. Edelman Deane Dana Michael D. Antonovich
1992 Gloria Molina Kenneth Hahn/Yvonne Brathwaite Burke Edmund D. Edelman Deane Dana Michael D. Antonovich
1994 Gloria Molina Yvonne Brathwaite Burke Edmund D. Edelman/ Zev Yaroslavsky Deane Dana Michael D. Antonovich
1996 Gloria Molina Yvonne Brathwaite Burke Zev Yaroslavsky Deane Dana/Don Knabe Michael D. Antonovich
1998 Gloria Molina Yvonne Brathwaite Burke Zev Yaroslavsky Don Knabe Michael D. Antonovich
2000 Gloria Molina Yvonne Brathwaite Burke Zev Yaroslavsky Don Knabe Michael D. Antonovich
2002 Gloria Molina Yvonne Brathwaite Burke Zev Yaroslavsky Don Knabe Michael D. Antonovich
2004 Gloria Molina Yvonne Brathwaite Burke Zev Yaroslavsky Don Knabe Michael D. Antonovich
2006 Gloria Molina Yvonne Brathwaite Burke Zev Yaroslavsky Don Knabe Michael D. Antonovich
2008 Election November 04, 2008

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