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.
Ongoing Funding for LA vs. Hate
Hate crimes can cause a cascading wave of trauma that reaches even beyond the individual who has been victimized, and reverberates throughout the entire community. The County is putting a priority on empowering people to report hate crimes, to stand firmly against the destructive belief systems behind them, and to access the resources they need to heal.
LA vs. Hate is a program that not only brings attention to incidents of hate in our County but also invests in resources to prevent and address them. This week, we passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis to further the work of LA vs. Hate and explore avenues for ongoing funding to ensure its success.
Monkeypox in LA County
On Tuesday morning, the Board declared the monkeypox outbreak to be a local emergency, which allows us greater freedom and flexibility is eliminating red tape and expediting the administration of vaccines as they become available. The proclamation comes on the heels of Governor Gavin Newsom’s declaration of a state of emergency for the State.
As of Tuesday, there were approximately 400 cases of monkeypox in the County. The Board is committed to a swift and comprehensive response to this growing crisis, and we are exploring all avenues to attract state and federal aid. For up-to-date info on monkeypox, visit publichealth.lacounty.gov/monkeypox.
Dr. Ferrer also updated the Board on COVID-19, the pausing of masking requirements, and some welcome news on vaccine boosters.
Throughout the pandemic, metrics and data have guided our public health decisions, and that continues to be the case. Since LA County very narrowly avoided two consecutive weeks with “high community transmission,” the indoor mask mandate is on pause and is not being implemented at this time.
Since the introduction of vaccines and boosters, the severity of COVID-19 and, consequentially, the intensity of public health restrictions like lockdowns, has dramatically decreased. Vaccines and boosters have helped prevent severe illness and death in large numbers of people. However, the transmissible Omicron variant and BA.5 subvariant have caused hospitalization and case rates to rise again. Now, the FDA has announced new boosters targeting these variants, which could be available as soon as September. Stay tuned for more on these updated vaccines at the Public Health Website.
Improving Immigrant Access to Public Benefits
From the start, one of the Trump Administration’s top objectives was deterring immigration and sowing fear and confusion in our immigrant communities. Unfortunately, many of that administration’s cruel actions have had lasting consequences, and it will take concerted effort to untangle a web of misinformation and to build up trust in the public services now available to our immigrants.
To undo this extensive damage, the Board passed a motion authored by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn that calls for a comprehensive strategy to inform our immigrant populations of the anticipated change to a Trump-era Public Charge Rule and encourage them to utilize the social supports that are available to them (including Medi-Cal, California Food Assistance Program, CalWORKs, and more.)
The Board passed a pair of motions I authored utilizing our Prop A Excess funds, funding made possible by the Safe Neighborhood Parks Proposition of 1996 and used to acquire, improve or maintain parks, open space lands, and recreational, cultural and community facilities within the County of Los Angeles.
The first motion clears the way to allocate a portion of our Prop A Excess Funds, in the amount of $1 million, to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority to purchase 30 acres adjacent to Stone Canyon Park in LA City. This small, but critical, portion of open space is essential to maintaining an east-west habitat linkage in the Santa Monica Mountains between the 405 freeway and Griffith Park, preventing further fragmentation of this area and the wildlife living there.
The second motion allocates $1 million in funding to the Department of Parks and Recreation, allowing the department to make improvements to El Cariso Park in Sylmar, including an updated lighting system and pool renovations.