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Reducing Incarceration in LA County

This week, the Board passed two motions to continue decarceration of both young people and adults in county detention facilities and jails.

The first motion, authored by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Janice Hahn, follows recommendations from the Alternatives to Incarceration workgroup regarding jails. The County has already reduced the jail population by releasing certain inmates deemed not a threat to the community among COVID-19 concerns. This motion seeks to maintain these reduced jail populations. The CEO and Auditor-Controller will provide a report back to the Board, outlining alternative placements in the County’s system of care that can support rehabilitation.

The second motion, authored by Supervisor Hilda Solis, requires maintenance of the reduced numbers of youth detained in county halls and camps under sentence by the court. The motion highlights both local and statewide efforts to shift from a punitive juvenile system to a rehabilitative one that prioritizes community-based services. In addition to producing a more effective and restorative youth justice system, the strategy of keeping populations low and reallocating resources to communities will help LA County save money in the long-term.

Capping Fees for Third-Party Delivery Service Platforms

Restaurants, especially small, family-owned restaurants, are currently struggling to survive, so I am very pleased that the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis to ease a price-gouging burden placed on these small businesses by third party delivery services.

Third-party delivery platforms have been charging restaurants up to 30% of the purchase price of an order and smaller, independent restaurants have been especially impacted because they lack the bargaining power to negotiate better rates. Restaurant profit margins are often so low that non-chain restaurants barely turn a profit because these fees are so high. This motion calls on CEO, County Counsel, the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, and Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services to draft an ordinance by the July 7th Board meeting that would cap fees charged by third-party delivery platforms to food establishments.

The motion also suggests prohibiting platforms from reducing drivers’ compensation (i.e., garnishing tips) so that companies cannot pass this expense onto already underpaid gig workers.

Response to Disparities Illuminated by COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and exacerbated racial, ethnic, and income disparities and the deadly consequences that ensue. Throughout this health crisis, there have been disproportionate rates of COVID-19 infections and death in low-income communities of color.

In response to these health inequities, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis to pay special and closer attention to these communities especially with regard to resources and information. The motion directs the CEO to collaborate with Advancement Project California to establish a culturally competent campaign about COVID-19, including information on testing sites and health services, targeted at communities of color. CEO will also partner with community-based organizations and clinics to set up adequate testing and PPE supplies.

Preserving Data on LGBTQ Foster Children

Almost 30% of foster youth identify as LGBTQ, and they report mistreatment in the foster care system at nearly twice the rate of their non-LGBTQ peers. We know this, and can do something about it, because of data collection.

Recently, the Trump Administration removed an Obama-era requirement that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services collect data on the sexual orientation of children or parents in the Child Welfare System as part of a demographic profile. The elimination of this data will negatively impact individuals in the system who identify as LGBTQ by perpetuating structural patterns of intentional discrimination and neglect, further marginalizing both foster youth themselves and caregivers who already face barriers to adoption based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis formalizing our opposition to this change.

Bridge Housing Project in Los Feliz

I am very pleased that the Board passed my motion laying the groundwork for a Family Bridge Housing development in Los Feliz.

The 2019 Homeless Count found that more than 8,790 members of families with underaged children were experiencing homelessness. Many families shuffle from one motel room to the next or live in vehicles, which doesn’t offer them the stability and security needed to get them back on their feet. Bridge Housing is an essential resource that, in addition to providing a safe place to call home, is less expensive than motel vouchers and other forms of temporary housing.

This motion allows us to put money from our Interim Housing Capital Funding Pool towards the construction of the Riverside Drive Family Bridge Housing project, which will help house 26 families experiencing homelessness.

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