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.
Health Officer Order
We kicked off this week’s Board Meeting with a briefing from the Department of Public Health on the new Health Officer Order. LA County has moved swiftly to align its Health Officer Order with guidance issued by the state of CA. Key sectors were able to reopen immediately, and on Friday, the County anticipates the reopening of more key sectors, with additional safeguards, including outdoor dining.
After a steep surge in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths after the holidays, things are once again moving in the right direction. Of course, we’ve seen how quickly the tides can turn against us, and we have to remain vigilant. It’s on all of us to cooperate to keep our cases on that downward trend. Continue to wear your mask, stay home as much as possible, maintain physical distance, and get tested if you experience symptoms.
To learn more about the Health Officer Order, click here.
Board Supports Proposed State Legislation
At this week’s Board meeting, we passed a pair of motions putting the county on record supporting two proposed state bills that endeavor to provide progressive solutions for substance use disorder and homelessness, respectively.
The first motion, which I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis, supports SB 57, state legislation that, if passed, will allow for the creation of a pilot program in LA County and San Francisco County to implement overdose prevention programs, including safe consumption sites. The pilot program would operate under an umbrella of harm reduction, lessening fatal overdoses, and providing increased healthcare access for some of our most vulnerable constituents.
The second motion, authored by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Holly Mitchell, formalized our support for AB 71, the Bring CA Home Act. AB 71 would create a dedicated statewide funding stream to address homelessness by closing certain corporate tax loopholes and having large corporations pay their fair share of taxes.
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data Collection
I’m pleased that the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Holly Mitchell to improve and expand data collection on the LGBTQ+ population in order to shape more effective and inclusive public policy.
Last spring, our office led the conversation with local and state agencies about the importance of collecting and reporting SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) data during the pandemic and beyond. This data is critical for understanding the resources needed in the community and making visible a marginalized population that has been historically excluded and ignored by the government. Over the last few months, this work has been conducted with state LGBTQ+ advocates, including Equality California and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
The motion asks for a status report on the progress made on creating standardized questions to be asked in Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) data collection. It underscores the importance of collecting this data, not only during the COVID pandemic but into the future. It will also ensure that information is being collected consistently across departments so that the data is meaningful and can inform future policy.
Improving SCE’s Vegetation Management Program
Vegetation management is a critical mitigation measure to prevent wildfires in the urban-wildlife interface, where many of our communities reside. On Tuesday, we passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Kathryn Barger to bring some consistency and improved community outreach to Southern California Edison’s Vegetation Management Program. The motion directs the Department of Regional Planning to collaborate with SCE and the California Public Utility Commission to standardize this process and address resident complaints.
We all share the same goals: to protect life, property, and natural resources in the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains. I hope this motion will help us streamline protocols and carry out this preventative strategy in a coordinated and respectful manner, focusing on proper notification, permitting, and better customer service.
Family Finding Protocol
When DCFS must intervene in an unsafe or violent family situation, it is best for children if they can stay with a responsible relative to maintain some stability in a difficult and traumatic situation. In keeping with this premise, the Board passed a motion brought by Supervisors Solis and Mitchell to expand the Upfront Family Finding Protocol, which requires DCFS to search for relatives as soon as a child is detained.
I authored the motion in 2016 which began the successful Upfront Family Finding Pilot, and the program has proven itself to be very beneficial. This motion will expand the pilot, so that the protocol becomes standard practice across the county.