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.
Los Angeles County Abortion Access Safe Haven Pilot Program
As if we needed any more evidence, reports of a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v Wade have made it even more clear that access to abortion services across this country will soon be greatly eroded. This is an incredibly dark time for women’s rights, and, while we grieve the shameful circumstances that have led us to this point, we must also turn swiftly and decisively to action.
This week, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Holly Mitchell to support SB 1245 (Kamlager), a bill that would establish a reproductive healthcare pilot project in this County to safeguard patient access to abortions, regardless of residency, as we will likely see a surge in demand from women who live in neighboring states as those states expand their abortion bans.
As our departments and program partners continue to hone our best ideas, we need bills like SB 1254 and the financial support it would offer to prepare for a post-Roe world and provide a safe haven for women who need to access to safe, legal abortion services.
Implementing the Recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission
The Board passed a motion this week on a 3-2 vote, which I opposed, implementing the numerous recommendations of the Blue-Ribbon Commission on Homelessness.
I know my colleagues and I all agree that we want to help get our homeless neighbors into homes. However, I couldn’t support this motion for a number of reasons. The bulk of the recommendations amount to little more than moving positions around, transferring and reducing outreach efforts now being done by experienced groups, establishing more layers of responsibility and wasting more time. Sort of like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic and believing it will keep the ship from sinking.
The solution to homelessness is homes, permanent homes, with the support to help people stay housed. I look forward to a larger commitment to affordable housing and continuing outreach by those who do it best.
Implementing a New Homelessness Initiative Framework to End Homelessness in LA County
On the other hand, in order to address the ever-changing homelessness crisis, I strongly supported a motion by Supervisor Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger to implement a new framework based on the reassessment of the Homeless Initiative’s strategies to end homelessness.
The motion includes thoughtful, practical, and concrete guidance on how to prevent people from falling into homelessness and rehouse people quickly. It builds on the most successful aspects of LA County’s current work while streamlining our set of strategies to create a more efficient system overall. The new framework focuses on three key partners – Rehousing Systems, Mainstream County Government Systems, and Partnerships with Cities. For each partner, five categories of action are defined: Coordinate, Prevent, Connect, House, and Stabilize.
Supporting Incarcerated Youth
I’m pleased that the Board passed my motion, co-authored by Supervisor Solis, to support AB 2417, which sets forth and incorporates the Incarcerated Youth Bill of Rights.
We have a better chance of keeping youth from continuing to cycle in and out of jail into their adulthood if we model good behavior by treating them in a fair way that allows them to achieve rehabilitation, which benefits society as a whole. Examples of rights included in AB 2417 include:
• Right to live in a safe, healthy, and clean environment conducive to treatment and rehabilitation
• Right to contact attorneys, access ombudspersons and other advocates regarding conditions of confinement or violation of rights
• Right to receive a quality education, including postsecondary academic and career technical education
• Right to contact with family, siblings, children, and other individuals that have a positive influence and provide social connection
• Right to receive adequate and healthy nutrition and hygiene
• Right to receive information about their rights as parents
These rights can and should be the minimum standard in our LA County facilities, so, in addition, we won’t wait to find out if AB 2417 passes. In LA County, the Bill of Rights will immediately be posted and explained to youth at Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall and one camp chosen by the Probation Department.
Santa Susana Field Lab Clean Up
For more than two decades, elected officials and community leaders concerned about the impact on the health of hundreds of thousands of County residents have advocated for a full cleanup of the highly contaminated toxic chemical and radioactive waste site located at the former Santa Susana Field Lab near the western edge of the San Fernando Valley. In 2007 and 2010, legally binding agreements were signed requiring full cleanup by 2017, but cleanup has been delayed by repeated attempts to delay and weaken the cleanup standards at the site. Five years after the required soil cleanup was scheduled to have been completed, it hasn’t even begun.
At this week’s Board meeting, we said loudly and unequivocally: enough is enough. The Board took the unprecedented step of directing LA County Counsel to work with other affected jurisdictions and nonprofits to explore potential legal action to ensure that the 2007 and 2010 agreements are carried out, and a full cleanup is completed as soon as possible.