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.
One of the main reports in the Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 update at this week’s Board Meeting concerned pediatric COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11, which were approved last week in another step forward to ending the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even many parents who received the vaccine themselves have expressed hesitancy at getting their children vaccinated, so it’s important to know the facts. While COVID-19 is less deadly in children than adults, it has caused over 600 pediatric deaths, making it a top ten cause of death for children in the United States. The vaccine is extremely effective (90-100%) in protecting against COVID-19 and its variants, and side effects are generally mild, certainly considerably less threatening than the effects of catching COVID-19.
Advancing Gender Parity as a Legislative Priority in Policing Requirements
I’m very pleased to report on one of the ways the Board is advocating for changes in order to modernize the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD).
As Supervisor, and, earlier, in the California Legislature, I have taken steps to expand the participation of women in every part of the State and LA County. Last summer, the Board received a report detailing the obstacles faced in trying to increase gender parity within the LASD. One of the impediments identified were outdated POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) regulations that have long hindered women from joining the ranks of the LASD.
This week the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Solis asking for a report on the POST requirements, addressing any legislative and regulatory changes that might be pushed to better reflect standards that are actually necessary and relevant. This is a purposeful step in improving dangerous and outdated policing practices.
Bridge Housing at West LA Armory
At the last Board meeting, we also took another important step towards realizing the West LA Armory Bridge Housing project, the proposed interim housing for people experiencing homelessness on the westside of Los Angeles, where very little such housing now exists.
The Board passed my motion allowing us to submit a request for approval to the General Services Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services to use one section of the property for bridge housing. This step is one of a number needed to move this project forward. We have made progress but we have more work to do.
I am hopeful that, with patience and determination, this important West LA housing resource will come to fruition, and fewer and fewer people experiencing homelessness will be living on our streets.
Initiating the Hollywood 2.0 Pilot Project
The most recent LAHSA homeless count from 2020 found over 4300 people experiencing homelessness in the greater Hollywood area, with more than over 800 also experiencing serious mental illness. For far too long we have been unable to provide the full suite of services that this population needs to live safe, healthy, stable and fulfilling lives. The wonderful service providers that we have in the Hollywood area are unable to offer some of the resources that are offered elsewhere in the County because they simply don’t exist in Hollywood. Now, a large consortium of small businesses, landlords, community based organizations and non-profits have come together with us to build out an innovative, coordinated and widespread response.
This week, the Board passed my motion initiating the Hollywood 2.0 Pilot Project, which will build out these innovative and integrated services, with wide community support, including street outreach and engagement teams, crisis residential housing and treatment, a drop-in center, peer support services, employment services, and a mental health urgent care center in the area.
Remembering Ruthie Tompson
Each Board meeting, we adjourn in memory of outstanding Third District residents who have recently passed. Among those adjournments this week was the remarkable Ruthie Tompson, who died at age 111 and left behind a fascinating Hollywood legacy.
This legendary animator spent nearly 40 years with the Walt Disney Company, working on virtually every film from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to The Rescuers until her retirement in 1975. She even earned the title “Disney Legend” at the turn of the millennium, as the employee with the longest history with Walt and Roy O. Disney.
Ruthie began her career in the “ink and paint” department as a teenager and eventually worked her way up to animation and scene checking, becoming one of the first three women to be admitted into the Hollywood camera union in the process. Some of the biggest feature films Tompson worked on include Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Sleeping Beauty, Mary Poppins, The Aristocats and Robin Hood.