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.
Photo: We kicked off this week’s Board meeting by celebrating our partnership with the Super Bowl-contending LA Rams, who were the inspiration behind our charitable giving competition Game Plan for Giving!
Health and Safety Standards for Interim Housing
This week, the Board amended the County Code to add an ordinance establishing a new public health permit reflecting health and safety standards for interim housing facilities.
In Los Angeles County, there are 327 interim housing facilities (and hopefully, more soon!) that serve homeless and transitory populations. Although the County encourages the creation and maintenance of these types of facilities to meet the housing crisis, it is equally important that these spaces have basic amenities and adequate health and safety standards.
The ordinance passed this week creates a new interim housing inspection program, to be carried out by Environmental Health, that will provide permits for interim housing buildings, conduct regular inspections, and provide training and education to operators on how to achieve compliance.
Properties For Child Care and Early Education
I am delighted that the Board passed a motion directing the CEO, Office of the Advancement of Early Care and Education, and other relevant departments to report back on LA County owned properties that could be used to build new early care and education or child care facilities.
Current research has shown that the early years (ages 0-5) are the most sensitive for brain development and that children who receive quality child care and early education enter school with better math, language, and social skills. They are also more likely to graduate from high school and attend college. Unfortunately, while the demand for early care and education is tremendous, there remains a shortage of childcare centers, especially for working-class communities. This challenge creates an opportunity for the County to fill that gap and make a worthy investment in our children’s future.
Not only would children and their families benefit, but employers, communities, and the County as a whole would gain from an increased stock of high-quality child care and early education centers. Thank you to Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn for introducing this important motion!
Fleet Insourcing and Workforce Reinvestment
Since 2016 the Board of Supervisors has stated a preference for providing general governmental functions using County employees, as opposed to outsourcing the work. In this spirit, this week the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Janice Hahn that will assess the viability of transitioning the Internal Services Department’s five Fleet Maintenance and Repair Shops to an insourced model.
Maintenance for the County’s vehicle fleet has been performed primarily by outside vendors in recent years, but this week’s motion examines the possibility of switching to a fully insourced model, meaning County employees would provide maintenance and repair services for ISD’s fleet of approximately 5,000 vehicles. In a time when private, and even some public employers, are applying increasing economic pressure on their employees, the County stands out as a reasonable employer, providing good wages and benefits. Transitioning this work to County employees would allow new fleet maintenance workers to be trained, earn a living wage and enjoy employment protections, a pension and benefits.
Reducing the Use of Plastic Straws
On Tuesday the Board conducted the first reading of an ordinance I co-authored with Supervisor Janice Hahn back in October. The regulation would require all businesses who serve food to ask their customers if they want plastic straws or sip-stirrers in their drinks instead of automatically providing them. This policy change intends to stem the flow of plastic waste going into our landfills and waterways.
In 2017, the most common trash found on California beaches during Coastal Cleanup Day was discarded plastic pieces. A research study conducted by UC Davis found that around ¼ of all fish sampled in Half Moon Bay contained traces of plastic. In light of the significant waste generated by single-use plastics, the Board thought it appropriate to require all business establishments serving food and/or beverages, not just full-service restaurants, which are now covered under state law, to ask customers if they would like to use plastic straws and plastic sip stirrers, thereby decreasing their use. This effort will help protect the environment, our waterways, and wildlife.
Fee Suspension for Records Lost in Woolsey Fire
As an additional piece to helping those affected by the Woolsey Fire, the Board passed my motion to suspend all fees for copies of real property records for any individuals who lost records as a result of the fire.
The State’s Emergency Proclamation included an order suspending fees associated with individuals who are requesting copies of certain vital records, such as certificates of birth and death. However, the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk is receiving requests by fire victims for copies of real property records recorded with the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, which are not covered under the State Proclamation.
In addition to this step, the County has set up Disaster Assistance Centers, which provide a central location where those affected by the fire can apply for temporary housing, consult with building officials regarding reconstruction, and replace government-issued documents such as birth certificates and driver’s licenses.
The County of Los Angeles is here to help all those affected by the devastating Woolsey Fire every step of the way on the road to recovery. For more information on our Disaster Assistance Centers, visit lacounty.gov/woolseyfire-disaster-assistance-centers.