On International Women’s Day, our CEO, County Counsel, Executive Officer and all women staffers joined Supervisors Barger, Hahn, Solis and me in temporarily leaving the dais temporarily to visually demonstrate what a Day Without a Woman would look like in our Hall of Administration. It was fun but also recognized the fact that our government is made possible because women of all backgrounds are the underpinning of our socio-economic system — while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.

Did you know almost half of the people now incarcerated in our County jails have not been convicted and are awaiting trial, sometimes for weeks and even months, simply because they can’t afford to pay their bail?

We need serious reform to the County’s money bail system to make certain it balances the needs of the criminal justice system to make sure people show up for their trials, with fairness to individuals accused of crimes, and also addresses the serious racial and economic disparities in our current system.

On Tuesday, the Board unanimously approved my motion, co-authored by Supervisor Hilda Solis, to analyze the County’s current policies on bail and pretrial release with an eye to creating a more equitable system that also makes more efficient use of public funds.

Last year, the Board voted to hire the County’s first-ever Chief Sustainability Officer to work with the 37 department heads and other stakeholders to develop a Countywide Sustainability Plan and aggressively implement environmentally friendly standards and processes.

After a lengthy national search, we chose Gary Gero, a nationally-regarded environmental policy expert.

On Tuesday we completed the circle on this endeavor by giving Gary’s office the authority to coordinate with all our departments to ensure environmental sustainability becomes part of the ethos of each department going forward.

Each Board meeting, the Supes alternate picking someone to deliver the invocation to kick off the meeting, and this week was our turn.

Our pick was Rev. Eric Shafer, who has been the Senior Pastor at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Santa Monica since 2014 and has quickly established himself as a leading partner from the religious community in our efforts to end homelessness throughout Los Angeles County.

He is a graduate of Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio and Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA and has extensive international expertise including time teaching in South Africa and Madagascar and multiple trips to Jerusalem and the West Bank.

For over two decades, the residents of Torrance have lived in constant fear for their health and safety. This is because the Torrance Refinery located within the city has experienced fires, explosions, leaks, and releases of chemicals due to the use of hydrofluoric acid.

Hydrofluoric acid is used to produce gasoline in the oil refining process. According to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, the independent federal agency responsible for investigating chemical accidents, “Hydrofluoric acid can pose a severe hazard to the population and environment if a release occurs. After hydrofluoric acid vaporizes it condenses into small droplets that form a dense low-lying cloud that will travel along the ground for several miles and can cause severe damage to the respiratory system, skin, and bones of those who are exposed, potentially resulting in death.”

This dangerous reality is why I was quick to join Supervisor Janice Hahn for a motion to have the Board support the Torrance Refinery Safety Plan, a series of bills by Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi.

Also, we’ll send a five-signature letter to the South Coast Air Quality Management District expressing our support of the proposed rule banning the use of modified hydrofluoric acid and encouraging the SCAQMD to expedite their rulemaking process. As a new member of that body, I will also champion this important cause on the Air Quality Board.

I also teamed up with Supervisor Hahn for a fun initiative that will keep our beaches clean, promote environmental awareness and let some young artists show their creative side

We signed off on a new Trash Barrel Environmental Messaging Campaign from the Department of Beaches and Harbors.

Utilizing the trash barrel as the messaging platform, grade-school children will be encouraged to enter into a contest to design environmental messaging, with winners to be selected by each of our offices. These winners will have their environmental messages printed on wraps to be affixed on the beach trash barrels for display on beaches the Department operates and maintains.

We’ll keep you posted when this exciting artwork is ready to debut!