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: Thank you to Diane Keaton, Brad Pitt, and all those who came to our meeting to support the transformation of LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art.)
Bookmark Art Contest Winners
Since 1980, the LA County Library, with support from Pentel Arts, has sponsored a Bookmark Design Contest to encourage children to use artistic expression to share their love of books and the written word.
This year’s theme, “Shine Bright… READ! or ¡Brilla y reluce… Lee!” was designed to inspire students and encourage reading.
Over 7,200 children and teens from across the County entered the contest, and four winners from different grade levels were chosen from each Supervisorial district.
Congratulations to this year’s Third District winners: Carolyn Kim, Lily Folkerts, Willow Abramson, and Kate Berumen!
This week, the Board approved a motion I authored with Supervisor Solis to extend the County’s temporary rent stabilization ordinance through December 31, 2019. The ordinance was first approved last fall, and established a 3% annual cap on rent increases for eligible renters in the County’s unincorporated areas, with the base rent set as of September 11, 2018.
LA County is one of the most rent-burdened counties in the country. Our housing market has become increasingly unaffordable for many families who live here. More than 2/3 of County residents favor laws to protect renters, and we are seeing that momentum being made official all over the County.
Rent stabilization is the law in West Hollywood, Santa Monica, and the City of Los Angeles, and recently, other cities have adopted rent stabilization or other measures to protect renters, including Glendale and Inglewood. The County can only protect 10% of the local population, so I’m happy to see other cities taking up this critical issue to stabilize communities and curb the number of people falling into homelessness due to skyrocketing rents.
This week, the Board voted to certify the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) of the new Los Angeles County Museum of Modern Art (LACMA) building called the David Geffen Galleries. The building will replace four of the museum’s seven buildings, offering visitors new and innovative ways to experience LACMA’s vast encyclopedic collection, including sharing the collection across the county.
The building will complete a revitalized corridor of cultural institutions along Wilshire Boulevard. And, as LACMA director Michael Govan said in an LA Times piece this week, “only 10% of this new and improved public space will have been paid for by taxpayers.” The horizontal design of the David Geffen Galleries will place art from all areas of LACMA’s comprehensive collection on the same level signifying that no single culture, tradition, or era is elevated over another.
Though the overall exhibition space and attendance has doubled over the last decade, the design of the new building has also been refined in response to public comments received during the environmental impact review process and in close collaboration with neighboring institutions, residents, and community groups, resulting in a smaller footprint for that building and more park space.
Homeless Employment Innovation Fund
The Board unanimously approved a motion by Supervisor Barger and myself to create an Employment Innovation Fund that will improve access to vocational training and permanent employment for people exiting homelessness.
The motion calls on the Chief Executive Office to direct Measure H funds to establish a Homeless Employment Innovation Fund, administered by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, to fund job centers and vocational training programs that have shown success in placing homeless people in jobs and supporting them as they become independent.
These dollars will go towards stipends for homeless participants in intensive vocational training programs like the LA Hospitality Training Program, which gives low income and marginalized people in-demand skills from customer service to cooking in a commercial kitchen.
Vocational training reliably leads to long term employment, but severely disadvantaged people are often unable to give up wages for weeks or months while in these programs. By providing these stipends, we’re bridging that opportunity gap.
Santa Anita Park
The 23 horse deaths at Santa Anita Park since Christmas have been troubling and confusing to us all. We still don’t have an explanation or a solution, so I’m glad that the Board unanimously passed Supervisor Barger’s motion to urge the California Horse Racing Board to thoroughly look into the situation and update their rules to protect horses.
The California Horse Racing Board investigated soil conditions on the track but didn’t find any signs of what has been causing fatal injuries. The racetrack also banned prerace medications and whipping in response to this crisis. These measures are undoubtedly positive, but we can’t predict their efficacy without knowing what has caused the injuries, and more horses shouldn’t have to die while we wait to find out.
Santa Anita Park is one of the oldest and most beloved sports institutions in Los Angeles. We hope they can determine the cause of these deaths and make the reforms necessary for their persistence long into the future.