Assemblymember Miguel Santiago Honors Woman of the Year

Monday, March 12, 2018

Sacramento, CA) –Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), announced today that he is honoring Blair Besten, Executive Director of the Historic Core Business Improvement District as Woman of the Year for the 53rd Assembly District. 


“I am excited to be able to honor Blair as our Woman of the Year for 2017,” said Assemblymember Santiago. “In the 53rd Assembly District, Blair has shown her dedication to a dynamic community that is experiencing struggle and revitalization simultaneously. Blair’s heart is huge and she uses that empathy to humanize DTLA while advocating for real change and progress.”


As Executive Director of the Historic Core Business Improvement District (BID), Ms. Besten’s work has been vital to the Downtown Los Angeles renaissance.  Between her work with the BID and living within the boundaries of Skid Row, Blair has become motivated to address the issue of homelessness cycling around her. In 2014, she crafted the “Plan for Hope,” an outline of eight possible solutions for addressing Los Angeles’ homeless crisis, based on the most common suggestions she heard in a series of interviews.  Many of those suggestions have already been implemented including: doubling the number of SMART teams (System-wide Mental Assessment Response Teams), streamlining communications between the City and the County, hiring of a Citywide Homeless Coordinator, and increased Skid Row restroom facility cleanings.


Blair began working in real estate development and property management in Downtown Los Angeles in the late 1990s.  In January 2017, the Los Angeles City Council appointed her to serve on the Proposition HHH Citizen Oversight Committee, which oversees the disbursement of $1.2 billion to fund permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless.  She is active in numerous Downtown Los Angeles organizations including the LA Streetcar Board of Directors, Central City Police Boosters Board of Directors, the Civic Center Redesign Council, and the Pershing Square Renew Board. 


The California Legislative Women’s Caucus sponsors the annual “Woman of the Year” celebration. The event includes a special ceremony on the Assembly Floor in which most of the Assemblymembers honor a woman who resides in his or her district or who has significantly contributed to the district.


Assemblymember Santiago noted that, “The 53rd Assembly district is undoubtedly better off because of Blair’s contributions; quite simply, she exemplifies the best of Los Angeles.”


Assemblymember Miguel Santiago is the Chair of the Assembly’s Communications and Conveyance Committee and a member of the California Latino Legislative Caucus. He represents the 53rd District composed of the

cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Park, and Vernon.





Jackie Koenig

Chief of Staff

Assembly Member Miguel Santiago

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