Measure J Implementation
In the wake of the successful passage of LA County’s “Reimagine LA” Charter Amendment (Measure J), the Board voted to adopt an inclusive process for guiding the allocation of the funding mandated by the measure, which will guarantee a 10% baseline threshold of locally generated, flexible revenue for housing, diversion, youth development, jobs and wellness.
The motion, which I co-authored with Supervisor Solis, calls for the establishment of a 17-member Re-Imagine LA Advisory Committee comprised of County department leadership, justice system impacted individuals, labor representatives and community-based organizations and advocates. Funding will be distributed over five areas of community investment, including youth development programs, job-training, minority-owned businesses, homelessness prevention and capital funding for housing.
For a more in-depth look at this framework, click here!
Public Health Councils
LA County continues to see significant outbreaks of COVID-19 in workplaces where health order compliance has been lax. Recognizing that adherence to public health protocols in the workplace is essential to reducing the spread of the virus, the Board approved a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Ridley-Thomas to create the nation’s first Public Health Councils program. The program, which will be implemented by the Department of Public Health, will train employees to help monitor the safety of their own workplace.
DPH will partner with certified worker organizations to support employees interested in forming workplace councils. Those councils will receive training on County health order protocols to help monitor compliance at their worksite. Participation in the program by employees is voluntary, and the motion also asks County Counsel to draft anti-retaliation measures so employees can voice concerns without the fear of losing their jobs.
Housing and Homelessness in LA County
Governor Newsom established the Homekey Program to collaborate with counties to purchase and rehabilitate various properties, including hotels and motels, and convert them into permanent, long-term housing for people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness. Continuing to seize the opportunity the Homekey Program is presenting our county, the Board passed a motion authored by Supervisors Barger and Hahn to acquire a property in Long Beach, the ninth acquisition under this program!
I am also extremely glad that the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Solis expanding resources for the County’s Community Land Trust pilot. The County has recently embraced this model to provide communities with an opportunity to preserve affordable housing in their neighborhoods.
Supervisor Solis and I also co-authored a motion to extend the County’s Eviction Moratorium Executive Order through January 31, enforcing anti-harassment and eviction protections for residential, commercial, and mobile home tenants in the unincorporated areas.
The Board also approved my motion to change the administrator of the Canoga Park Bridge Housing Project to LAHSA, in a next step that allows LA Family Housing to begin hiring and training staff and keeps us on track to open the site in early 2021!
Sheriff Oversight and Accountability
Sheriff Villanueva has repeatedly declined to commit to transparency, operate within a reasonable budget, address deputy misconduct, or work to restore the public’s trust in his department, to the detriment of the communities he is charged with protecting. Increasingly, the public is calling for accountability and reform in law enforcement, and it is clear that the Sheriff is unable or unwilling to meet the moment. The Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Ridley-Thomas to evaluate the Board’s options for removing or impeaching the Sheriff, making the office an appointed one, or forming our own County police force. This is not an action we take lightly, but one we are considering due to the Sheriff’s persistent evasion of accountability measures designed to keep the public safe.
The Board also passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Solis ratifying AB 1185, which allows counties to establish oversight boards and inspector general offices and grant these entities subpoena power. LA County already has a Civilian Oversight Commission and an Inspector General. Still, this motion is significant because ratifying the state legislation provides independent subpoena power for our Office of Inspector General, brings our local ordinance into complete alignment with state law, and strengthens the Board’s oversight over the Sheriff’s Department.
LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately represented in the foster youth population and can face challenges finding long-term resource families who accept and support them for who they are. This week, the Board passed a motion authored by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas directing DCFS to work with Raise A Child, a recruitment firm specializing in the recruitment and support of LGBTQ+ identifying or inclusive prospective parents.
As part of the Board’s ongoing efforts to dismantle systemic oppression, we have sought to include businesses owned by historically marginalized groups in the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs’ Community Business Enterprise Program. This week, we passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Solis that explores the possibility of creating an LGBTQ+ owned business designation within that program to continue to be inclusive in our subcontracting practices.