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: Rendering of the County-sponsored, multimodal North Atwater Bridge Project. The bridge will span 430 feet between the L.A. River bike path and Glendale Blvd. providing access to pedestrians, bikes, and equestrians.)
County Acts To Keep People In Their Homes
Skyrocketing rents in LA are causing more and more people to be pushed into homelessness. It is important for the County to use every tool at our disposal to keep people in their homes. Recognizing this, the Board approved two groundbreaking homelessness prevention motions that I authored, one co-authored by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas and one by Supervisor Hahn.
One motion requires a thorough analysis of local eviction data as well as a review of eviction defense programs across the Country to assess how we might design a local eviction defense program.
The other moves to strengthen homelessness prevention efforts by requiring key County departments to track, coordinate, and target services for people at risk of, or experiencing homelessness.
Homelessness is a multifaceted problem. Combating it requires comprehensive governmental action that reflects the complexity of the issue. LA County is dedicated to seeing that happen.
Read more about both motions here.
Center for Financial Empowerment
Financial literacy is the foundation of financial solvency. Families from a range of economic demographics can benefit from improving these skills.
One figure I always find staggering is that nearly $600 million is left unclaimed in Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) — mostly due to simple lack of awareness.
It is critically essential that financial literacy resources are made available to everyone. The Board voted for a motion I wrote with Supervisor Solis, to make the Center for Financial Empowerment (CFE) a permanent county program inside the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA). This move establishes CFE as a permanent and ongoing champion for low-to-moderate income residents throughout the County. The Center just completed a successful two-year pilot program that developed initiatives and services like Cash for Grads and Bank On, expanded the County’s EITC, and created better lending products to replace predatory loans.
This motion strengthens our efforts to help families build economic stability by using the knowledge and credibility of financial and community experts in developing best practices to extend financial literacy and stability to County residents.
Equity for Families and Children in Foster Care
We know that specific youth populations face significantly disproportionate representation in our foster care system. African American, Latino, and LGBTQ youth are the faces of this inequity.
To mitigate this problem, the Board voted for a motion written by Supervisor Solis that I co-authored, which instructs the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to prepare a report proposing an infrastructure for an internal Office of Equity (OOE). Additionally, the motion directs DCFS to develop a funding plan and scope for OOE, as well as a data review of patterns of child protection involvement by race/ethnicity and LGBTQ status.
LA County is a beacon of progressive values and inclusion. Given the realities that so many at-risk youth face, formally creating the space within our systems to advance equity not only reflects County values, it helps protect some of our most vulnerable residents.
Alternatives to Glyphosate (Roundup)
The Board voted for a motion I wrote with Supervisor Barger to direct all County Departments to permanently cease the use of glyphosate-based products (like Roundup) while we work with experts and stakeholders to find alternatives to this dangerous herbicide.
Glyphosate is a highly toxic chemical that has been linked to cancer and can poison waterways. This motion takes a significant step toward protecting County employees and public health.
Additionally, the County continues to seek public comment on alternatives to glyphosate. To offer your input, click here.
Abortion is Healthcare
Given the actions of the State of Alabama in creating new and draconian abortion restrictions, the County approved a motion by Supervisor Solis, that I co-authored, to implement a one-year restriction on travel to Alabama for the conduct of official County business.
Abortion is a constitutionally protected civil right, upheld by the Supreme Court. It is settled law that has far-reaching implications that go beyond legal textbooks. Women’s bodies are not canvases for experiments on ways to undermine our constitutional protections and prohibit our right to choose.
LA County is taking a stand against this kind of legislative harassment. Additionally, the County is sending a letter to the governors and legislators of Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Utah, communicating our opposition to their similar legislation.