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.
Photo above: The NFC West Division-leading LA Rams stopped by the meeting this week to help celebrate that County employees volunteered $800,000 in payroll deductions to raise money for local charities!
World AIDS Day 2017
We began this week’s meeting by joining with others around the globe in observing World AIDS Day. Each year, on December first, the international community unites to remember those we lost too soon, reflect on the progress we have made, and renew our commitment to a strong HIV response. We rededicated our support for all people with HIV by honoring World AIDS Day here in LA County. This year, we will focus on increasing our impact through transparency, accountability, and partnership as we work toward our goal of reducing the number of annual HIV infections and increasing access to care.
Increased Support & Services for our Most Vulnerable Children
Displacement from a home of any kind can be a traumatic experience for a child. In the case of commercial sexual exploited children (CSEC), the effects can be life-altering for the child and parents. On Tuesday, we passed a motion by Supervisors Solis and Hahn to increase assistance for families of children involved in CSEC.
In LA County, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is tasked with providing services to families affected by CSEC. Through participation in a dependency court system, the DREAM Court – or the STAR Court for the Probation Department – DCFS works to identify solutions that promote the safety and protection of the child. However, the County does not currently have a funding mechanism to support family participation in court-mandated programs and services, leaving many parents financially unable to comply. In some cases, parental rights are terminated due to lack of compliance.
In order to properly address the trauma and effects of CSEC, it is necessary for the County to take steps to develop specialized services tailored to these families’ needs. The motion requests a report back from the relevant agencies and stakeholders on methods currently used in other areas, in order to identify best practices we may be able to replicate in the County. It will also identify potential funding streams for these programs and services.
More Measures to Combat Hepatitis A
Back in September, the Department of Public Health (DPH) declared a Hepatitis A outbreak in LA County. Shortly after, we requested a thorough assessment of homeless encampments throughout the County to identify areas where personal hygiene and toilet facilities are needed.
At Tuesday’s meeting, we passed a motion by Supervisors Solis and Ridley-Thomas to install portable toilets with handwashing stations at homeless encampments in four specific locations throughout unincorporated areas. HEP A is transmitted through fecal-oral contamination, placing individuals experiencing homelessness at greater risk due to lack of access to sanitation amenities.
The motion requests that DPH send a letter to each incorporated city in the County with recommendations for improving public access to hygiene facilities. We are also asking for a report back on the feasibility of a pilot program that would provide mobile shower facilities at some of these encampments. Together, these projects are part of a comprehensive strategy to combat HEP A and keep the public safe.
58th Annual Holiday Celebration Coming to LA!
Put on your jingle bells and come celebrate the holiday season at the 58th annual LA County Holiday Celebration!
On December 24, join us for a three-hour event of great seasonal music and performances from some of LA’s most talented artists at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Stage at the Music Center. This cherished celebration has been a tradition in the County for over 40 years, so don’t miss it!
The event is free and open to the public. Free parking is also available in the Music Center garage. For event details, times, and more, please visit the event’s webpage here.
Saying Farewell to a Los Angeles Liberal Legend
Lastly, we close with an adjournment for Harry Pregerson, a United States 9th Circuit Federal Appeals Court Judge and a true champion for progressive causes.
Pregerson, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, served as a marine in World War II, attended UCLA, and later UC Berkeley for law school. Throughout his judicial career, he made critical decisions in support of women and military worker’s rights, more affordable housing, and stood against the death penalty. He also established several homeless shelters in the County and volunteered at each one over the holidays.
Friends and family say that Pregerson was relentless in his desire to help people, and he saw his career in the law as a significant and important way to do that. His daughter, Katie Rodan, remembers him as the “rescue machine,” who went out of his way to ensure that his decisions were based on conscience first, while honoring legal precedent.
Pregerson, 94, passed away in his Woodland Hills home surrounded by family. Read more about his life and judicial legacy here