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.

Photo: This week our pledge was led by Petty Officer Lisa M. Foster, who served in the U.S. Navy from 2002-2007. Petty Officer Foster received numerous decorations during her service, including the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Regional Plan for Arts Education

By passing a motion I authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis, the Board affirmed its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the culture of the County. Since passing the LA County Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative of 2017, the Board has adopted a series of steps to ensure that everyone in LA County has equitable access to arts and culture, and to improve inclusion in the broader arts ecology.

After the Board unanimously adopted the Declaration of Students Rights to Equity in Arts Learning in April, the Arts Commission was directed to report back with the necessary steps and budgetary needs for updating the 2002 Arts for All: Los Angeles County Regional Blueprint for Arts Education.

The report, submitted on May 30, outlined a process that involves County-wide outreach, community forums, online feedback, working groups and community advisors. The process also includes youth, parents, teaching artists, arts organizations, classroom teachers, and school district administrators representing all five LA County Supervisorial Districts. The plan proposes to submit a completed LA County Regional Plan for Arts Education to the Board for consideration by Spring 2019.

Commission on Disabilities Scholarship Program

The Board on Tuesday recognized the importance of increasing opportunity for individuals with disabilities, including higher education and expanded career opportunities by honoring the recipients of the Commission on Disabilities Scholarship programs. These scholarship grants provide supplemental financial assistance to incoming community college, vocational (trade), or four-year college students.

The honorees for the Ernest T. Hamilton Jr. Veterans Educational Scholarship Award are Andy Jomarron, who is currently studying Business Administration at Rio Hondo College, and Mario Perez, who is currently studying Business Administration at the University of Phoenix. The honorees for the Bernard Siegel-Bill Tainter Educational Scholarship are Nenette Lizaso, studying Psychology at California State University, Northridge, Lorena Flores, entering Pierce College this Summer to begin her studies towards her goal of becoming a Clinical Psychologist, and Saida Hernandez, entering Santa Monica College this Fall with the hopes of earning a Doctorate in Anthropology. The honoree for the Ruben Anthony Rios Creative Arts & Design Memorial Educational Scholarship is Gaston Garcia, who is entering Los Angeles Valley College with hopes of transferring to California Institute of the Arts.

The Commission on Disabilities collaborates with several agencies including the Los Angeles County Children and Family Services Scholarship Division, local high schools, colleges, and universities, and the City of Los Angeles Department on Disability to distribute scholarship applications to those who meet guidelines for financial need and plan to pursue educational goals.

A big congratulations to the winners!

Supporting a Statewide Sharps Disposal Program

Supervisor Hilda Solis and I authored a motion this week that formalized the County’s support for Senate Bill 212, legislation that would create a Statewide drug and sharps take-back program.

Safely managing and disposing of household generated drugs and sharps reduces pollution to the environment and prevents injury and disease transmission from needlesticks. Many states have options available for safe sharps disposals such as drop boxes, hazardous waste sites, mail-back programs, and syringe exchange programs. While there are frequent drug and sharps take-back events provided at local law enforcement stations, these are only occasional events, and due to the inconvenience, people will often just throw out expired medications or used sharps along with their regular trash, creating health risks to garbage facility workers.

Senate Bill 212 provides a solution to the problem of sharps disposal by proposing that the State administer a drug and sharps take-back program, with the pharmaceutical industry providing the funding. Since it is illegal to dispose of needles in the trash in the State of California, it is important that the State implement a take-back program so that our residents can safely and legally dispose of their medical waste.

Cannabis Emblem Program

Now that retail cannabis sales are legal in certain cities across Los Angeles County, how can consumers easily discern whether a cannabis store is licensed and its products tested? A motion put forth this week seeks to make that question easy to answer: look for an Authorized Cannabis Store emblem.

The motion, authored by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Janice Hahn, instructs the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs to report back on discussions with the State of California regarding the implementation of a universal emblem for legitimate, licensed Cannabis stores. The Office of Cannabis Management has designed the emblem, and the State is interested in possibly adopting it as well. It is estimated that thousands of unlicensed cannabis stores are currently operating in Los Angeles County. These businesses operate without any public health or safety inspections, and often offer products that are not tracked, inspected or tested for contaminants, quality, and potency. These unlicensed stores can pose a health, safety, and community hazard.

Having a Cannabis Emblem displayed prominently on the storefront will signify that a cannabis store has received appropriate State and local licenses and permits, and is complying with regulations designed for your safety. Developing a universal emblem for licensed cannabis stores would allow consumers to make educated decisions about where they spend their money and the product they consume.

Exploring the Feasibility of Bridge Housing in Canoga Park

I am pleased that the Board moved this week to enter into an option agreement to purchase a property at 7621 Canoga Avenue in order to explore the feasibility of using this site to serve those in Canoga Park experiencing homelessness and in need of bridge housing.

The County of Los Angeles previously leased the property to the Department of Mental Health to provide services to clients in the surrounding vicinity. Now that the Department of Mental Health has moved that facility to a new location in Chatsworth, the building is free for a new use. Housing for Health, a division of the Department of Health Services, has identified the site as one possible location for temporary housing for people experiencing homelessness who are on a path to permanent housing and need a safe place to stay while they complete paperwork and other steps necessary to secure permanent housing. Bridge housing also includes wrap-around services. The property is near the Metro Orange Line in a primarily commercial area of Canoga Park Avenue. If the site is deemed feasible and the County is able to complete this important purchase, we will be able to provide approximately 80 beds of bridge housing for homeless individuals, which the West Valley desperately needs.

This proposal is in the very earliest stages. I welcome community input to help us determine if this is the right site for this proposal. Please click here to give us your thoughts, learn more about the project, find information on upcoming community events and more. We are also planning an open house about the proposal in late July and hope to be back in touch with a firm date for that event soon.