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.
Honoring LGBT Department Heads
Ten years before the Stonewall riots in New York, at Cooper’s Donut shop right here in downtown LA, our local oppressed LGBTQ denizens routed the LAPD who had been harassing them by throwing doughnuts and coffee cups and everything else at them. Ten years later and fifty years ago this month, that same “ain’t gonna take it anymore” spirit led to the Stonewall rebellion. Since that day, the LGBT movement for equality has grown and grown and a huge part of that movement has been visibility. In 1994, standing on many shoulders, I became the first openly gay or lesbian legislator ever elected to the California Legislature. Today, I am proud to serve as the first openly gay LA County supervisor.
This week, the Board celebrated the other openly LGBT leaders of our County government. These individuals not only serve the public with integrity and dignity—they live out and proud. We congratulated Chief Probation Officer Terri McDonald, Assessor Jeff Prang, County Librarian Skye Patrick, Treasurer/Tax Collector Joe Kelly, Director of Child Support Steven Golightly, Superior Court Judge Dean Hansell, and Director of Children and Family Services Bobby Cagle.
Their example is an inspiration for the next generation of government leaders, showing us that you can be yourself and succeed, no matter who you are or who you love. Our stories of self and individuality make us all distinct—and being open about our diversity is what makes LA County a real beacon of progressive values.
Alternatives to Incarceration
Using diversion to reduce incarceration rates not only means fewer people in jail, but it means also means that more people are changing the course of their lives for the better. Today, the Board heard an interim report from the Alternatives to Incarceration Work Group, started by a motion from me and Supervisor Ridley Thomas, presenting elements of an effective blueprint for building a more effective justice system that explores alternatives to incarceration.
Designing a countywide concept of treatment and care instead of jail time can better serve society by serving some of the most disenfranchised, ill, and neglected members of our society in ways that build healing and change. And while not everyone is suitable for diversion, bold thinking is required to expand the way we approach policies and practices around incarceration. The final report and recommendations are due in December.
Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Protections
The Boarded approved a motion I brought to join other local governments in support of a trio of plaintiffs before the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking protection under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Ultimately, these critical cases come down to interpreting the definition in Title VII of the word “sex” and whether or not it includes sexual orientation and gender identity. The high court’s ruling on the definition of “sex” in these contexts will have long-term implications. These cases will likely determine the future of protections against this type of discrimination and it is important that the County voices its support for the plaintiffs in these groundbreaking cases.
Protection for Renters
With skyrocketing rents and housing shortages, it is important that the County does everything it can to protect financially vulnerable residents in their need for housing. Today, the Board voted to approve the introduction of the Source of Income Protection ordinance that was part of my January Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing motion.
The move will protect residents from having their sources of income, like Section 8 vouchers, used as a basis to deny them housing. Simply because a resident receives housing assistance should not inhibit their ability to secure housing. Making sure those protections are in place is key to making sure residents who receive assistance can use it.
Support for Homelessness Assistance
The Board approved a motion I wrote with Supervisor Ridley-Thomas to support Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed funding for the Homeless Aid for Planning and Shelter Program. The $650 million in one-time funding would be allocated, proportionate to the 2019 Federal point-in-count, to the State’s most populous cities, counties, and Continuums of Care.
In alignment with Measure H, this new funding would help propel the County’s comprehensive action plan to prevent and combat homelessness.
The Governor’s proposal offers increased flexibility for the spending of program funds, expanding coverage to hotel/motel conversions, traditional and non-traditional permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing, jobs programs, and innovative housing projects.