More than 300 people gathered last Thursday at the City Club in downtown Los Angeles to wish Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas a happy 60th birthday. Joining the party were Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, Councilmember Curren Price, Congressmembers Janice Hahn and Karen Bass, incoming Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, State Controller and Treasurer-elect John Chiang, former Los Angeles Urban League president John Mack, President of the Southern California Baptist Ministers Conference Pastor Xavier Thompson, labor leaders Maria Elena Durazo and Laphonza Butler, and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The party, aptly themed “Celebration and Rededication,” served as the launch of a new effort by the Supervisor aimed at exploring solutions to some of the most intractable policy issues facing Los Angeles County.

After a surprise appearance by the University of Southern California marching band and the presentation of a tiered cake, the Supervisor was joined on stage by his wife Avis, his twin sons Sebastian (who was resoundingly reelected to the State Assembly on Nov. 4) and Sinclair, as well as Sinclair’s new wife Shaunicie Ridley-Thomas.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, clearly moved by the outpouring of love from friends and family, thanked the crowd for their many years of support. “Many of you have been there with me since the beginning, stretching back to my days on the [Los Angeles] City Council and before that at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. I am honored to have you standing beside me for this next phase of my journey,” said the Supervisor. “We’re just getting started.”

Following his remarks, he and Mrs. Ridley-Thomas shared a special dance while being serenaded by local Jazz legend Barbara Morrison.