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.
Establishment of the Office of Labor Equity
In response to the tide of Americans (including our own County residents) leaving their jobs, Supervisor Mitchell and I teamed up for a motion to create an Office of Labor Equity to improve working conditions, beginning with three specific low-wage industries.
According to recent analyses, “The Great Attrition ” is caused by employers inadequately valuing their employees and failing to provide the wages, benefits, protections, flexibility, and respect that employees want. As a result, in August, 400,000 Californians, and 4.3 million Americans nationwide, left their jobs.
Our motion calls for the creation of an Office of Labor Equity to centralize worker protection and enforcement efforts, beginning in three sectors: workers in private households, including domestic work; personal and laundry services including hairdressers, manicures and massage therapists; and food service including fast-food workers, cooks and food preparers.
How can employees feel valued if their employers put employee health at risk by failing to enforce vaccination or mask mandates, don’t pay a minimum wage, or failing to pay overtime?
Employers need to understand the root causes of The Great Attrition, and step up to provide a high level of workplace safety, wage compliance, and flexibility to their workers. LA County’s recovery will not go well if workers continue to leave our local economy.
Streamlining County Contract Process
Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, LA County has been receiving extra funding for various purposes from the Federal government. Unfortunately, LA County businesses have suffered during this pandemic, and we’ve been working to ensure that LA benefits as much as possible from funding coming from the Feds. This week the Board passed a motion focused on the equitable and expeditious distribution of American Rescue Plan funding dollars.
Our aim is to make procurement and contracting opportunities with the County more accessible to community-based organizations while also providing relief to residents in need. This motion allows for streamlining the contracting process and gives more room for the County to expeditiously contract with providers in 2 to 3 months instead of the typical 6 to 12 months. This will allow for more equity within the distribution of these funds within the County and enable more businesses to receive a contract.
Appointment of Sam Lewis
I am happy to announce that I have appointed Sam Lewis to the Los Angeles Probation Oversight Commission. Since first coming to the Board I have wanted to bring changes to how the Probation department operates and how it affects the lives of those that go through it. The Commission advises Probation and the Board, and monitors the progress on systemic reform. Created last year, the Commission is the first body of its kind in the nation.
Sam is the Executive Director of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, a support and advocacy network for and run by formerly incarcerated men and women. He comes to the Commission as a former prisoner who made an incredible transformation while inside. While in prison, Sam earned a Certification as an AVP Team Coordinator/Facilitator, which he used to counsel and rehabilitate his fellow inmates. He then received an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies and his BSBA once he was granted parole.
With Sam joining the Commission, the critical work that is done for those coming out of incarceration will be steered toward healing. Sam is always improving not just himself but also others. He is a fantastic addition to the Commission and will help it continue toward its purpose to ensure we transform the County’s Probation system.
Rental Property Registration Deadline Extended
An element of the County’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance requires every landlord and mobile home park owner in Unincorporated County to register their units and pay an annual registration fee. COVID has made this requirement burdensome on many landlords, so I have authored multiple motions to push the fee collection as long as landlords register by specific dates.
Many landlords are still feeling significant impacts from the pandemic. In July, I authored a motion that pushed the fees until June 30, 2022, as long as landlords registered their units by January 1. This week we extended the deadline by which landlords in unincorporated LA have to register their units. Landlords now have until April to register their units to qualify for the fee waiver this fiscal year.
If you are a landlord or mobile park owner you can register your units here!
In Memory of Bernie Weintraub
This week the Board adjourned in memory of a great LA County resident that we recently lost, Bernard (Bernie) Weintraub. Bernie retired from the Los Angeles Department of Health Services as Special Assistant to the Department Director. He was active in a wide variety of health services programs, including public health practice, environmental research, and management, hospital administration, health facility licensure, and certification.
Bernie was initially appointed to the LA County Commission for the Aging by then-Supervisor Zev Yaroslavksy, where he served for many years, often in the role of President. In addition, he served on the LA County Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council. An icon in public health and activism for older adults, Bernie was the only LACCOA Commissioner with Emeritus status.
He fought tirelessly for older adults in LA County and helped us create some of the protections that we have in place now in the County for older adults. This week we can fondly look back at the work that one resident can do to change the County.