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.
We welcomed Rev. Janet Gollery McKeithen of the Church in Ocean Park (pictured), to deliver the opening invocation for this week’s Board Meeting. The Church in Ocean Park is an interfaith community and house of worship dedicated to social justice where all people are welcome. The Church is involved in Racial Justice, Climate Change, LGBTQ issues, Immigration issues, Ability issues, and many others.
West LA Courthouse
I am delighted that this week, the Board passed my motion to allow the County to lease the now-abandoned West LA Courthouse and to work toward long-term plans to purchase the property.
The West Los Angeles Courthouse, located at 1633 Purdue Avenue, was used for decades by the State of California but has remained vacant since 2013. As per a tentative timeline, the two-year lease approved today will go towards a final purchase price, and next year the County will release a Request for Proposal for developers with specific terms aimed at addressing community housing needs. In addition to market-rate units, the final development will include at least 180 affordable units.
Today’s action is the culmination of extensive work, collaboration, and community engagement over the past few years. I am grateful to my staff, CEO staff, LACDA, and all those who participated in this team effort!
No Place Like Home Grants
More exciting news on the affordable housing front! This week the Board approved $44.77 million in No Place Like Home state funds for the second round of approved projects.
On July 1, 2016, Governor Brown signed SB 1206, the No Place Like Home (NPLH) Act of 2018, which dedicated up to $2 billion in bond proceeds to invest in the development of permanent supportive housing. The Department of Mental Health will provide supportive services to the tenants in the NPLH-funded units, monitor the provision of services, and approve eligible tenants. The gap between renter households who would qualify for affordable housing and available units numbers in the hundreds of thousands. The eight approved projects will add 510 units for low-income or homeless veterans, seniors, families, and chronically homeless individuals.
Ballona Creek Cleanup
During storm events, Ballona Creek receives an influx of trash from the urban watershed through a network of storm drains. Despite significant efforts by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District and environmentally-conscious policies advanced by this Board, the buildup of trash in our waterways, beaches, and the ocean remains a big issue.
This week, the Board passed a motion authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn, enabling Public Works to enter into a public-private partnership with the Dutch non-profit The Ocean Cleanup, an organization that develops advanced technologies to clean plastic debris in oceans and waterways. The motion allows for a 24-month pilot program, in which The Ocean Cleanup can test one of its devices, called “The Interceptor,” in the Ballona Creek area. “The Interceptor” is a feat of engineering, a 100% solar-powered catamaran featuring a conveyor belt that extracts plastic waste from rivers.
This partnership benefits both parties, allowing Public Works to more efficiently clear trash from our waterways while providing The Ocean Cleanup with valuable research to improve their product and expand its practical applications.
Combatting Prison Rape
This week, the Board authorized the Probation Department to accept $232,000 in federal grant funding as part of the Prison Rape Elimination Act Education Program.
The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 is the first United States federal law intended to deter the sexual assault of prisoners. The legislation was passed after a book-length Human Rights Watch report revealed the depths and prevalence of the issue and the lack of accountability or record-keeping in lock-up institutions. Sexual violence is unacceptable anywhere in society, and that is especially true where people are incarcerated and vulnerable.
The funding is issued by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, which is a part of the U.S. Department of Justice, and will go toward training and education on how to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse.