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.

Phasing Out Single-Use Plastics

In order to protect our environment from global warming and our county from increasing health and air pollution threats, we must confront the pollution caused by plastic waste head-on. International recycling markets have been seriously disrupted over the past few years, so it is imperative to take some important steps to substantially reduce the use of single-use plastics.

This week, the Board passed my motion with Supervisor Solis to institute policies to reduce single-use plastic waste by our departments and in the County’s unincorporated areas. We will begin to phase out the purchase and use of single-use plastics at County facilities and in contracts and establish guidelines for County-sponsored events to be as waste-free as possible. This latest motion joins the work we are doing to comport with state law on collecting and recycling organic waste and renews the Board’s commitment to creating a more sustainable future.

Elimination of Discrimination Against Women

A number of important actions over the past few years have made it clear that this Board is committed to equity across all levels. This week we passed a motion that I co-authored with Supervisor Mitchell to officially align LA County with the guiding principles of the UN Convention’s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Many of these principles are already in line with the County’s own, thanks in large part to the great work by our Commission for Women, created in 1975, and to the Women and Girls Initiative — launched in 2016.

The CEDAW principles have worked across the world to develop the rights of women and advance gender equity. These principles have fostered immense growth in the opportunities available to women around the world. Codifying them in our County Code will further promote gender equity and address discrimination against women and girls in economic development, education, housing and homelessness, gender-based violence and harassment, health care, and more.

Protecting Bikers and Walkers

LA County’s infrastructure was designed primarily as a car-centric environment, which has made it more and more difficult for cyclists and walkers to travel safely without being forced to commit minor traffic violations.

A recent LA Times article highlighted a troubling and persistent pattern in the Sheriff’s Department of stopping, ticketing, and searching bicyclists and walkers — particularly, and disproportionately, people of color.

This week the Board passed an important motion by Supervisors Solis and Hahn to explore the creation of a diversion program for these minor violations and to work to change outdated codes on the books –like the one that prohibits bike riding on some sidewalks — that will make car-free travel safer and more just.

We want to enable all the residents of LA County to safely walk and bike everywhere and we will work to make that happen.

Increasing Mental Health Beds

Since I joined the Board, I’ve heard from department directors, community advocates, and dozens of other experts that we desperately need more treatment beds of all types in our mental health system.

A 2019 study found we have to add an additional 1500 mental health beds in order to meet the current demand. While our Dept of Mental Health has been aggressive in closing that gap, we have to continue to add more.

This is why I’m happy to report that the Board passed my motion to explore the feasibility of using an old 150-bed treatment center located in Lakeview Terrace to meet this demand bed-by-bed.

I look forward to hearing back soon on whether or not this site and facility is appropriate to help us address this long-standing need for more treatment beds.

Eliminating the Digital Divide

The COVID pandemic has taught us a lot of things, and one of the biggest takeaways is how essential it is for everyone to have access to affordable high-speed internet.

Since early last year, the Board has taken a number of steps to help close the digital divide in LA, and we’re looking at every possible avenue to get our residents connected right away and into the future.

On Tuesday, we passed a motion by Supervisors Solis and Mitchell to leverage millions of dollars in state and federal funds to see how we can partner with existing internet service providers to meet immediate needs, or implement a public/private Community Wireless Network, as well as conduct a feasibility study for a County-administered municipal broadband service for the future.

We’re committed to ensuring that every LA County resident has the digital tools they need to succeed and thrive, and to making high-speed internet accessible for all.