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.
End of an era at the Jewish Journal
As a profession, journalism has taken some hard hits over the years, especially recently. News outlets, especially print newspapers, have had to rethink their content, branding, and financing to stay relevant. The Jewish Journal, a Los Angeles-based publication has not only managed to remain relevant and in circulation but has actually expanded to a global scale over its 23-year run.
At last Tuesday’s meeting, I was honored to recognize the leader whose vision and dedication have taken the Jewish Journal to such heights. We presented a scroll to Rob Eshman (above), who is retiring as the editor-in-chief of the Journal, a position he has held for over two decades. During his tenure, he took the Jewish Journal from a small, local paper to a company that has international reach. Today, it is one of the most popular Jewish-news sites in the world.
I wanted to praise and thank Rob for his years of leadership at the helm of the Journal. Now more than ever, we need visionary leaders to help preserve the integrity of the press. I am certain he has been an inspiration to many.
More Affordable Housing and Park Space for LA County
LA County will soon have a new opportunity to increase the number of affordable housing units and available open park space, thanks to a motion I submitted, co-authored by Supervisor Hahn, that proposes updates to the sale process for tax-defaulted properties.
The Chapter 8 Program allows nonprofits and public agencies to pull commercial and residential properties off the Tax Auction List and buy houses or lots for taxes owed plus minor administrative fees, which is significantly less than what the properties would sell for at auction. Qualified groups must use the properties for governmental purposes, or for the benefit of low-income residents.
However, despite new funding sources and the availability of around 2,000 Chapter 8 properties per year, only a dozen or so are usually purchased by eligible organizations. This is possibly due to limited information sharing, outdated technology, and lack of familiarity with the process.
Tuesday’s motion requires the development of a standard for information that is more complete and accessible than the current database. Expanding use of the Chapter 8 program could help to alleviate the shortage of available, affordable housing, open space, and parks across LA County. It could also provide single and multi-family housing for low-income individuals, families, and individuals experiencing homelessness.
Money-Saving Updates to Job Opportunity Contracts
Back in 2016, we requested an in-depth audit of the County’s use and administration of our many Job Order Contracts (JOCS). The result was a report released in April 2017 by the Auditor-Controller that outlined 33 recommendations for improvements in oversight, administration, and evaluation.
JOCs are as-needed construction contracts for contractual work orders in 12-month terms. This allows the County to quickly and efficiently source workers from private construction firms for a variety of improvement and maintenance projects. The intent is for the Departments that utilize JOCs to look at competing bids and choose the most cost-effective, capable and timely option. However, the 2017 report found significant discrepancies in the ways in which each Department reviews and approvescontracts over the past three years.
The Board approved a motion I introduced, co-authored by Supervisor Hahn, that will require quarterly reports for the next two years on the status of the 33 recommended items in the April 2017 report. Also, the first report will provide feedback on incorporating some or all of the 12 recommendations from the Director of Internal Service’s May 2017 report on JOC Best Practices.
The use of consistent practices and a streamlined regular reporting structure will reduce discrepancies in awarding contracts and help avoid unnecessary costs for projects, potentially saving thousands of dollars for taxpayers in the County.
It takes a Restorative Care Village
I was very happy to vote for a motion by Supervisors Solis and Barger moving forward a “Restorative Care Village” at LAC+USC Medical Center.
As outlined in this article by Supervisor Solis, “The Restorative Care Village will provide Los Angeles County residents with the full continuum of services (i.e., recuperative care, bridge housing, permanent supportive housing, respite and recovery center, full scope psychiatric facility and supportive services) as well as a range of opportunities (i.e., education, training, employment, environments for recreation, and amenities that promote socialization) that today’s patients need and deserve.”
Coloring the World Orange for Chronic Pain Awareness
For the fourth straight year, we are bringing attention to a devastating illness by designating November 6 as “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Awareness Day” in the County.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a rare disorder that causes chronic pain. It is a “silent” illness, meaning that an individual suffering from the condition does not display any visible symptoms associated with an ailment. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t impact their daily lives.
CRPS most often affects a single limb on the body – an arm, leg, hand, or foot – usually after a sustained injury, stroke or heart attack. The resulting pain is much more severe than the original injury and is ranked as being worse than an amputation. It is estimated that over 20,000 individuals are affected by CRPS in LA County alone.
Please join me in Coloring the World Orange on November 6 and recognize the brave individuals who must live with this disease every day. For more information, visit the CRPS Forum website.