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.
Reorganization of the Board of Supervisors
Each year, on the first Tuesday in December, the Board bids farewell to its current Chair and welcomes a new Chair. Since 2016, the Board has been rotating the Chairs in numerical order by district, so, this past Tuesday, Supervisor Kathryn Barger (Fifth District) assumed the gavel for 2020 from Supervisor Hahn (Fourth District). Supervisor Solis (First District) was elected Chair Pro Tem and will Chair in 2021.
Supervisor Barger, who represents 22 cities and 87 unincorporated communities, including all of the Santa Clarita, Crescenta and Antelope Valleys, as well as portions of the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys, began her tenure as Chair with a thematic speech, stating that her term as Chair will focus on our youth, and asked that the Board unify our efforts to serve the children of Los Angeles County.
I am excited about the opportunity to work with our new Chair and the rest of the Board to build on our progress and to implement policies that will help the next generation thrive!
Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing
This week the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas directing the County Legislative Unit to support legislation that would incentivize affordable housing developments through property tax exemptions.
The County and State need to constantly seek opportunities to fight displacement and support the development of more affordable housing. One way to accomplish this is to expand the property tax welfare exemption. Current property tax welfare exemptions are set at a maximum of 80% AMI (Area Median Income). This motion calls for the promotion of policies that could extend that limit to 120% of AMI.
The public transit system was built to serve all residents of Los Angeles, including low-income residents who are increasingly finding themselves priced out of transit-adjacent communities. This action can encourage private sector partners that are utilizing low-income housing tax credits to construct more affordable housing.
Creating the WHAM Committee
I am extremely pleased that the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis to convene a committee of leaders in the implementation of measures W, H, A, and M, henceforth known as the WHAM committee!
In the past few years, voters have approved significant investments totaling over $1.5 billion to overhaul water infrastructure, fight the homelessness crisis, support local parks and beaches, and facilitate transit projects through measures W, H, A, and M, respectively. With this funding comes significant responsibility on the part of government to manage that money prudently. Responsible stewardship includes coordination and efficient use of those funds. This week’s motion will bring together the departments and agencies tasked with implementing projects related to these measures so that they may effectively coordinate and utilize funds for multi-benefit projects.
This committee will also include the Chief Sustainability Officer, ensuring that projects fulfill the goals of the OurCounty Sustainability Plan.
Telework at LA County
It is no secret that LA County is home to long commutes and some pretty severe traffic congestion. All of these car trips cause high greenhouse gas emissions and create long workdays for the employees that commute. As one of the largest employers in the region, LA County is doing its part to reduce our carbon footprint and improve employee quality of life, without sacrificing productivity, by seeking out alternative work locations and strategies to mitigate needless commutes.
The Board passed a motion authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn that directs the Department of Human Resources to work with our Department Heads to create and implement Alternative Work Programs at each County Department. These plans would identify positions within that department where Telework, Hoteling, or using a Coworking Space might make sense. Telework is a supervised work from home option, hoteling is providing a dynamic office space closer to the employee’s home, and coworking spaces offer a cost-saving and convenient alternative to a traditional assigned office.
Adoption Promotion and Support Services
There is a dire need for resource families for the thousands of children available for adoption in the foster care system, all of whom deserve supportive and loving home environments. Adoptive parents and families armed with information and access to services like counseling and a network of support groups are more likely to provide a permanent, stable home for the children they adopt. In an effort to encourage and aid these families, the Board approved eight contracts with organizations in each Service Planning Area for the provision of Adoption Promotion and Support Services.
The organizations that work with the Department of Children and Family Services to provide services include Penny Lane Centers, Olive Crest, Five Acres, Children’s Bureau, The Regents of the University of California, Wayfinder Family Services and the Children’s Institute. These adoption-focused services include therapy, parenting education, mentors, support groups, and case management. Services are primarily funded through the Federal Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program.