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.
Picture: The Board proclaimed November 20th as “Corita Kent Day,” celebrating the spiritually-informed artwork and message of love and tolerance of artist, educator, and pop art icon Sister Mary Corita Kent. Learn more about her here!
Rent Control in La County
This was a huge week for tenant rights in LA County, as the Board took the next big step toward Permanent Rent Stabilization and Interim Rent Stabilization Ordinances, funding to enforce these changes and protection of consumer and tenants’ rights.
The Permanent Rent Stabilization Ordinance will go into effect on April 1st, 2020, and includes a broad range of protections including limiting annual rent increases based on the Consumer Price Index and capping them at certain percentages, requiring Just Cause protections and relocation payments for tenants in no-fault evictions and temporary relocations, tightening Ellis Act protections, and more. To ensure that tenants are protected until the permanent ordinance goes into effect, the Board also approved an extension of its Interim Rent Stabilization Ordinance until March 31st, 2020.
The Board also approved a Rental Housing Oversight Commission, which will include five appointees from the Board offices, and four Department of Consumer Affairs appointees including a rental housing tenant, rental housing owner, mobile home tenant, and mobile home park owner. The commission will hear cases where tenants or landlords appeal decisions regarding violations of the Rent Stabilization Ordinance and make decisions on what constitutes a fair and reasonable return on investment.
For a full breakdown of the ordinance, click here.
Building State of the Art Emergency Operations
After the historic devastation wrought by the Woolsey Fire, the Board of Supervisors commissioned a comprehensive review evaluating the fire’s causes and origins, the deployment of firefighting resources, the distribution and adequacy of firefighting resources including water, evacuation notifications and procedures, strategic communications during the fire and its aftermath, and community repopulation notifications and procedures. The findings of this report, compiled by the respected consulting firm, Citygate, were presented at a community meeting in Agoura Hills, and confirmed that, while LA County was prepared for a serious emergency, the Woolsey Fire was a disaster of unprecedented dynamics and scale.
This week, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Kathryn Barger to implement the recommendations outlined in the After Action Plan presented by Citygate. One of these directives includes assigning the Chief Executive Officer responsibilities for coordinating disaster preparedness, response and recovery, including the maintenance, management, activation and operation of the County Emergency Operations Center.
I believe delegating this authority to the CEO, along with the other recommendations in the After Action Plan, represent best practices in emergency management and will help LA County respond more quickly and efficiently to disasters.
Supporting Probation Officers Pursuing Social Work
I am delighted that this week, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas that gives current Probation staff the opportunity to earn their Masters of Social Work with financial support from the department.
This motion is a win-win; it incentivizes professional development for Probation staff, and probation clients will benefit from building relationships with staff with a social work skill set. This motion is in alignment with recent initiatives to move toward more therapeutic models of rehabilitation and treatment and mirrors education incentive programs at the Department of Public Social Services, Department of Children and Family Services, and the Department of Public Works.
Ultimately, this motion is about investing in the Probation Department and our employees, while signaling a significant change in the way that system-involved youth and young adults are engaged with and supported.
Protecting Domestic Violence Survivors Seeking Asylum
In Trump’s latest attack on asylum-seeking immigrants and women, the Department of Justice recently declared that asylum seekers presenting claims based on domestic violence will “generally” no longer qualify for relief. The Board passed a motion authored by Supervisor Hilda Solis asking them to rescind this decision and directing County Counsel to join or file an amicus brief in support of Grace v. Barr, a lawsuit opposing these changes.
Precluding Domestic Violence survivors from seeking asylum sends the dangerous message that their circumstances are either not that serious or not our problem, when in fact domestic violence is a dire and potentially deadly situation. This administration’s initial assertion that it would be targeting so-called “illegal immigration” is and always has been a deceitful sham, as evidenced by this attack on the legal asylum process.
Environment and Arts Deputy Katy Young Yaroslavsky was appointed this week to the LA County Economic Development Corporation.
LAEDC is a public-benefit nonprofit that works with business, education and government partners to collectively advance opportunity and prosperity for all the residents of greater LA — fostering the growth of well-paying jobs in our key industries, and preparing our residents for those opportunities.
Katy was a key architect of Measure W, the Safe Clean Water initiative, that is creating thousands of good-paying jobs to capture stormwater and building a national model for water infrastructure in Los Angeles.
I know she’ll do an equally great job at LAEDC!