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.

Preparing for State Juvenile Justice Closure

Multiple studies have concluded that punitive justice measures imposed on young people involved in our juvenile justice system worsen outcomes for the youth without making our communities any safer. Reliance on punishment underpins a broken system that simply locks young people in a cycle of incarceration that becomes increasingly difficult to leave as time goes on. Accordingly, the County has opted to work to transform its youth justice system into a system centered on healing and growth.

In 2020, Governor Newsom announced the closure of the State Department of Juvenile Justice, and a plan to transfer responsibility for youth in state custody to the counties. Though it is a welcome step, such a transformation requires careful planning and cooperation to ensure that we can effectively integrate the transferred young people into our care-first system. The Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Holly Mitchell directing the Division of Juvenile Justice Subcommittee to submit a plan for transitioning our youth in state custody to the County. The plan will consider recommendations from the Youth Justice Work Group, creating a roadmap to help us successfully execute the transition.

Creating an Equitable and Just Food System

The pandemic has exacerbated the already long-standing problem of food insecurity into one of the most urgent issues facing the County. We have responded by immediately coordinating with charitable and community organizations, as well as local restaurants, in order to ensure that the most vulnerable among us, especially seniors and children, have access to proper nutrition.

This week we built on that progress by passing a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hahn that directs the Chief Executive Office to adopt and implement recommendations contained in a requested report on establishing a sustainable and just food system in LA County. One aspect of this plan includes establishing a “Food Equity Roundtable,” a cross-sector mix of public and private food stakeholders.

Equitable Access to the COVID 19 Vaccine

Providing equitable vaccine access means we have to recognize that not all of our residents have reliable transportation. In response, the Board passed a motion authored by Supervisor Hilda Solis requesting a swift report back on how our Emergency Operations Center can collaborate with municipal and regional transportation operators to make it easier for people to take public transportation to vaccination sites. The motion also asks for a report back on how we can offer mobile vaccination services, to bring the vaccine to homebound residents.

Supporting Temporary Protected Status Recipients

This week, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis that authorizes County Counsel to participate in litigation in support of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, who were granted this status as a result of fleeing disaster in their home countries.

The motion specifically mentions Sanchez v. Wolf, an upcoming Supreme Court case, in which an undocumented couple who were granted Temporary Protected Status were later denied legal permanent residence. This case will determine whether TPS qualifies as admission into the US for purposes of later changing immigration status or whether certain TPS recipients may be required to return to their home country, a place of war, or other disasters, to apply for a change of status.

The last White House administration was consistently cruel in its treatment of immigrants, and virtually all of its actions ran counter to our core historic American values. By filing an amicus brief to support immigrants who had been granted Temporary Protected Status, LA County makes it clear that this County, home to one of the country’s largest immigrant populations, does not believe that immigrants fleeing disaster should be used as pawns in hateful games of political scapegoating.

Food Accessories Opt-In

Has the following scenario ever happened to you? You’ve ordered takeout and get home, only to find a bunch of plastic cutlery and napkins that you don’t need since, well, you’re at home! Regrettably, you throw it out or push it into a drawer to “save it for later,” which rarely, or ever, comes.

It happens all the time, and all that waste ends up in landfills, polluting waterways, or thrown on the sides of highways. This week, the Board passed a motion I authored that will help to reduce that waste. The motion, which the California Restaurants Association supports, asks County Counsel to draft an ordinance requiring restaurants only to provide disposable foodservice accessories upon customer request and requiring third-party, app-based delivery services to have customers affirmatively request accessories on their platforms. It does not preclude restaurants from asking customers if they want these items or limit self-service.

In practice, this ordinance will reduce plastic waste and ultimately save restaurants money. It’s a win-win!