News flash! Every week, following the Board meeting, Supervisor Kuehl picks five items you might find interesting, important, and/or fun. It’s your way to get a quick rundown of several highlights of the meeting in no more than 5 minutes! Looking for more? Click here to get the entire agenda.
Above: Promoting “National Nutrition Month,” going on now through the rest of the month throughout Los Angeles County!
Addressing the Gun Violence Epidemic in Our Communities
On average at least three people die every day in Los Angeles County as a result of gun violence and young people are vastly overrepresented in that number. But gun violence is not the only violent cause of death and injury in the county.
The best way to deal with these dismal facts is to take a comprehensive public health approach that addresses not only gun violence, but child and elder abuse, suicide, and domestic and intimate partner violence. The County must prepare a comprehensive plan to ensure that every man, woman, and child in our communities is free from violence.
I was immensely proud that the Board unanimously approved a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to explore legislative options at the County and state level that would further restrict access to firearms, as well as direct the Department of Public Health to develop a strategic and comprehensive violence prevention plan.
We’ve had enough moments of silence, of praying for slain co-workers, school children, and neighbors.
A Trailblazer for the Trans Community
We kicked off Tuesday’s meeting with a scroll presentation to Dr. Maurice Garcia, a surgeon who has spent years making it possible for transgender individuals to have access to gender-affirming surgeries.
For transgender persons, gender-affirming surgery can help decrease depression and social anxiety, and increase overall quality of life. But the procedure is expensive, and is often out of the reach of individuals living in a high-cost region like Los Angeles.
Recently, Dr. Garcia was recruited to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to start and direct the hospital’s new Transgender Surgery and Health Program. Since his appointment, Dr. Garcia has successfully performed gender affirming surgery for more than 150 persons, some of whom are Medicare or MediCal recipients.
Thank you, Dr. Garcia and Cedars Sinai Medical Center for being pioneers in supporting the health and wellbeing of our transgender community in the County!
More affordable housing is coming to the Third District!
We approved the development and funding of the Casa del Sol Project, which will create 44 new housing units in the Sun Valley community in LA County. Forty-three of those units will be reserved for formerly homeless and chronically homeless seniors with diagnosed mental health disabilities.
The project stems from the $43 million in funds that we approved on February 20 as part of a greater Countywide effort to combat homelessness. This is one of ten projects to get funding this year at the recommendation of the Community Development Commission’s Notice of Funding Availability. Ten more projects are already lined up for the coming months.
Two supportive housing developments have opened in the Third district this year, and nine more are in works!
To read more about this Board’s continued commitment to expand affordable housing throughout the County, click here.
Continuing the Fight Against Hep A
Last November, we passed a motion to install portable toilets and handwashing stations at four homeless encampments along the LA River, in an effort to limit the spread of Hepatitis A. Individuals experiencing homelessness are at a higher risk for contracting the disease due to lack of access to sanitation facilities.
Today, we passed a motion by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Mark Ridley-Thomas to increase safety and expand the use of these facilities. In collaboration with the LA County Sheriff, the Department of Public Works (DPW) has determined the feasibility of 24-hour security services at all locations. Security guards will maintain contact with the Sheriff as necessary, monitor security for the facilities and users, and report any incidents to DPW.
The services will be provided by a private security guard service, and will be available at all four locations with portable hygiene facilities.
Help for Some of Our Most Vulnerable Kids
The LA County Commercially Sexually Exploited (CSEC) Integrated Leadership Team was established in 2015 to engage in the prevention, intervention, and prosecution of individuals who are involved in commercial child sex trafficking. They developed a First Responder Protocol to guide the agencies that find and help these kids.
At today’s meeting, we received a quarterly report back from the CSEC Integrated Leadership Team highlighting their progress as well as additional program updates. Over the next few weeks, LAPD will begin to roll out the First Responder Protocol, which will outline key steps for agencies to take within the critical first 72 hours of encountering a victim of sexual exploitation.
Additionally, the report outlines a newly launched partnership with Demand Abolition, a company that has developed an electronic bot program that interacts with sex buyers via a text messaging app. The bot will finish conversations with users by alerting the individual that their activity is illegal, and that law enforcement is now aware of their actions.
This could be a cost-effective and fast way to stop perpetrators before they act and hurt any more kids.