California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and California Inspector General Laura Chick
Bass and Chick, share a moment during the ACLU of Southern California's 46th Annual Garden Party, held Sept. 20, 2009. Both women were honored for their achievements at the event.
Bass, left, was given the Legislator of the Year Award. Elected to the assembly in 2004, she made history four years later when she became the first African American woman in the nation to become speaker of a state assembly. Her many achievements working on behalf of California's people include legislation to help youth in foster care; working to stop predatory lending practices; expanding high school options to prepare students for college, career and civic responsibility; extending the charter for Soledad Enrichment Action, which serves at-risk youth in Los Angeles County; and securing funding for many civic and cultural projects in the area. She also created the 47th Assembly District People's Council, and has served as vice-chair of the Legislative Black Caucus.
Chick was given the Activist of the Year Award. She began her political career in 1993 by defeating a 16-year incumbent to represent the West San Fernando Valley on the Los Angeles City Council. In the aftermath of the Northridge earthquake, she helped rebuild the area into a thriving redevelopment zone. Her election to the post of city controller in 2001 made her the first woman to hold a citywide office in Los Angeles, and a fiscal force to the reckoned with. As controller she released over 170 audits and reports exposing problems, waste and fraud throughout city government. Her report exposing the thousands of untested rape kids at the Los Angeles Police Department brought the national spotlight and forced city government to finally take action. In 2009 she was named Inspector General of California, a brand new post, where she will oversee the billions in economic stimulus funds the state is receiving.