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, the Board passed a motion granting the Natural History Museum of LA County 15 million dollars for a much-needed renovation. This exciting project will renovate 53,000 square feet of existing areas, some of which are more than a century old, while simultaneously constructing 22,000 square feet of additional space. The museum will remain open during construction.

Alternatives to Incarceration

It’s been a long time coming, but this week’s Board Meeting featured an exciting and unprecedented report and series of recommendations that will begin to move this County from a long-time dependence on incarceration to a Care First-Jails Last commitment.

In a thorough and collaborative presentation, following an unprecedented year-long partnership between County agencies and the community, the Alternatives to Incarceration Working Group came together to create a roadmap that will create and/or scale up a broad array of prevention and diversion efforts at the County, set out in 114 recommendations to the Board organized under five overarching strategies.

This kind of paradigm shift in how we approach criminal justice has the potential to positively affect tens of thousands of system-impacted families across LA County. I am so excited to see the newly established ATI Initiative unit move this vision forward.

To learn more, click here.

Affordable Housing in Marina Del Ray

I’m grateful that the Board adopted a measure I co-authored with Supervisor Hahn to expand affordable housing in Marina del Rey.

Lack of affordable housing has grown to crisis proportions in LA County. Our motion will significantly increase the percentage of required affordable units on County-owned land, authorize the construction of a critical 100% affordable housing structure, and help ensure the preservation of current units. The measure will also centralize and streamline the waitlist for affordable homes.

The Board also passed a series of motions that will improve existing affordable housing in the County. These enhancements will include roof replacements at affordable housing for families and seniors. They will also provide for renovations of Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant housing.

Because the County owns the land under considerable affordable housing, the Board has the responsibility to both improve existing units and expand the scope of affordable housing. While we still have a long way to go, I’m pleased with this crucial step in the right direction.

Election Day Voting Issues

On Super Tuesday, voters across the County experienced unacceptable delays in casting their ballots. It is now abundantly clear that major improvements will need to be made before November to remedy these shortfalls and ensure that all voters can more easily cast their ballots in a timely manner.

In response to the issues that arose this election cycle, the Board passed a motion authored by Supervisors Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger requesting a report back from the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk that examines what went wrong, and how we can fix it. The report must address long wait times associated with the check-in process, technical challenges, and staffing of Vote Centers.

Youth Climate Commission

Young people are the ones who will have to live with the consequences of our action, or inaction, as it relates to climate change. They deserve a voice as we shape sustainability and climate resiliency policy.

To grant them that voice, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis that establishes the LA County Youth Climate Commission. The commission will consist of 25 members, five from each supervisorial district, and will provide input to the Chief Sustainability Officer three times annually as the County carries out the OurCounty Sustainability Plan.

Mental Health Services through My Health LA

In 2018, we passed a motion asking LA County’s Department of Mental Health and the Department of Health Services to collaborate to figure out how to provide mental health services for residually uninsured individuals who cannot access Medi-Cal. This week, the Board approved new mental health benefits that will offer screenings and prevention services for all program members. My Health LA was already the most progressive program of its kind in terms of providing much-needed health services to our local residually uninsured population. With this measure, we will add new services and funding to expand the program.

Every LA County resident should have the right to access proper healthcare and mental health resources, as our communities are only as healthy as the most vulnerable among us. I’m pleased that we are now a big step closer to accomplishing that ideal.