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: We kicked off this week’s meeting by honoring the outstanding work of the Homelessness Committee of the Atwater Village Neighborhood Council. 

Smoke-Free Zones

Last October, Supervisor Solis and I moved to update the County’s rules on smoking in public places and to expand them to include e-cigarettes and cannabis. This week, the Board unanimously adopted a new ordinance in response to that motion.

From now on, our museums, libraries, doctor’s offices, bus stops, outdoor dining areas, beaches, and parks in unincorporated areas, as well as all County buildings and parking lots, will be smoke-free. Additionally, we’ve expanded the buffer zone around doors and windows from 25 to 50 feet and, in response to the spread of e-cigarettes, made sure that our policies will be effective against any future smoking innovations.

Second-hand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States, so we’re proud to not only close the loopholes for e-cigarettes and cannabis but to expand smoke-free areas to protect everyone’s health. No one should have to face dirty and dangerous air where they work, eat, or learn. With this new ordinance, we can expect clean air in many more of the spaces we share.

Halting the use of Roundup

This week, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Kathryn Barger to place a moratorium on County departments’ use of glyphosate — a main ingredient in the herbicide brand Roundup.

In a 2015 study led by 17 experts from 11 countries, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that glyphosate should be classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” In response to the growing body of scientific study about the potential adverse effects of this weed-killer, this week’s motion recommends County departments halt the use of glyphosate until public health and environmental professionals can determine if it’s safe for further use in L.A. County. It also urges the County to explore alternative methods for vegetation management and requires a report back to the Board in 30 days.

For the sake of the health and safety of the residents of Los Angeles County, it is imperative that we carefully examine the long-term use of this controversial herbicide and its potential effects on human, animal and environmental health.

Shared Office Spaces for County Employees

Los Angeles County was ahead of the game way back in 1990 when we implemented a telecommuting program for our employees. On Tuesday I joined Supervisor Hahn to take another step to give our workers flexibility and convenience, and to reduce emissions from long automobile commutes.

We voted to develop a pilot program to allow County employees who do much of their work in the field, like our health inspectors and social workers, to use shared offices in coworking spaces. This will let us reduce long commutes and the stress that goes with them, as well as saving us money by reducing the number of desks that don’t see full-time use. This pilot program is also part of our efforts to reduce vehicle emissions and cut down on traffic on our freeways.

I’m excited about this opportunity to improve air quality, cut costs, and keep our employees happy, all with one program.

Micro Loans

Entrepreneurship is a powerful tool to build wealth and raise up communities, but it’s usually out of the reach of economically disadvantaged people. Besides not having the money to start a business, they’re often cut off from loans that on which virtually all first-time entrepreneurs rely.

The Board passed a motion this week that will help anyone turn their skills and ambitions into a business. Authored by Supervisors Solis and Ridley-Thomas, the motion will create a microloan program focused on people who have been underserved by banks and exploited by high-cost lenders.

The County will take the next six months to work out the specifics of the plan. The Community Development Commission, County Departments, and the Center for Strategic Partnerships will work with community and financial groups to find the right size for the loans and decide who will be able to access them.

Short-Term Rentals

I’m excited that the Board passed a motion by Supervisor Barger and myself that will regulate short term rentals in unincorporated LA County.

Short-term rentals have quickly become many people’s favorite way to stay in LA, thanks to companies like Airbnb and VRBO that let us rent a few days in a home anywhere in the world. But as convenient as they are for travelers, they’ve caused big headaches for neighbors. Noise and parking have been issues when renters use these homes as party venues, and many people are concerned that our precious few affordable housing units are at risk of being turned into short-term rentals.

Supervisor Barger’s motion, which I co-authored, is the first step toward putting laws on the books to regulate this industry while maintaining the tourism and economic benefit that it brings. The Short-Term Rental Ordinance will create a registration system, limits on the number of days in a year that a home can be rented, parking minimums, restrictions on the number of guests allowed in a home, and importantly, an effective enforcement mechanism. We’ll also make sure that short-term rentals don’t drive up rents or replace affordable units.