After Wieder Showers Praise, Riley Reigns

Times Staff Writer

In her State of the County address Tuesday, Supervisor Harriett M. Wieder lauded each of her colleagues on the board, as well as county administrators, for “strong, sound leadership . . . when the winds of change were blowing at a furious pace.”

Wieder commended county government as a whole for recognizing the burgeoning issue of slow growth by listening “to the voice of the citizens and (showing) them . . . we were taking steps to manage it.”

She also mentioned opinion polls that indicate “a brightened outlook” among residents of the county.


Freeway Progress

“I believe that this improved public perception can be attributed to the visible signs of progress being made in freeway construction and other traffic management strategies,” Wieder said as a slide show projected on a screen above her head showed a traffic jam and several construction scenes.

She continued, “And, indeed, the county has made significant achievements in the area of transportation.”

After giving the annual address, Wieder turned over the chairmanship of the board to Supervisor Thomas F. Riley, who is the county’s senior supervisor and has served three previous terms as chairman. The board rotates the chairmanship among its five members at the beginning of each year.

“I am looking forward to a very strong and healthy year,” Riley said.

Supervisor Don R. Roth was named vice chairman, putting him in line to become chairman next year.

In her speech, Wieder also praised Sheriff Brad Gates for seizing more than 2,400 pounds of controlled substances in 1987; Dist. Atty. Cecil Hicks and Supervisor Roger R. Stanton for the formation of a special gang prosecution unit; Social Services Director Larry Leaman for opening two National Guard armories to the homeless on cold nights, and Supervisor Gaddi H. Vasquez for his dedication to child-care issues.

Wieder was criticized recently by some supervisors for violating unwritten protocol and surprising the board with the announcement of a citizens committee to look at the county’s financial future.

‘Change Often Resisted’

She had said she might outline the new committee in her State of the County address, but there was no overt mention of it Tuesday. Wieder was not available for comment after the address, but an aide said the idea of the committee still is being pursued, although “there is nothing new to report.”

Wieder did, however, make what seemed to be a veiled reference to the committee at the end of her speech.

“Change is often resisted and fraught with controversy,” she said. “I am confident that this board will not turn its back on change but instead will move forward in its style of governance with the support and involvement of the private sector of our community.”