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.

Invocation by Reverend Fumiaki Usuki

We began this week’s Board Meeting with an enlightening Invocation by Rev. Fumiaki Usuki (above), the Resident Minister of the West Los Angeles Buddhist Temple.

Before choosing the path of a Jodo Shinshu minister, Rev. Usuki began his working career in the 1970s at National Semiconductor and Fairchild systems in Silicon Valley.

The West Lis Angeles Buddhist Temple gathers in the Sawtelle Area, bringing together many unique international cultures and traditions of past and present for Sunday services and Thursday study classes, which are open to anyone.

Aside from his role as resident minister, Rev. Fumiaki loves golf, traveling, and restoring old cars. He is married to Rev. Patricia Kanaya Usuki who is the resident minister of San Fernando Buddhist Temple.

Veteran’s Day “Bells of Peace”

On Wednesday, the Board of Supervisors formally recognized the celebration of Veterans Day on November 11th and encouraged all citizens to participate in the “Bells of Peace” initiative to commemorate the Centennial of the end of WWI.

On Veterans Day, we solemnly pay tribute to all American veterans, living or deceased, including the 80,800 veterans laid to rest at the Los Angeles National Cemetery. This year, Veterans Day coincides with the Centennial Commemoration of the end of WWI, marking 100 years since the end of the war.

The “Bells of Peace” initiative calls for organizations across the nation to join the bell toll at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 2018, to recognize and celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the end of WWI, and to express our sincere gratitude and support of our nation’s veterans and current service members.

Regulation of Nuisance Tobacco Shops

This week the Board passed a motion authored by Supervisor Mark-Ridley Thomas to regulate nuisance tobacco shops and mitigate their impact on community health and safety.

The motion directs the Department of Regional Planning to draft an ordinance restricting the presence of tobacco shops in places like residential zones or within a certain distance from locations whose primary purpose is to serve children, such as elementary and middle and high schools, parks, and youth centers. The action this week also requests an ordinance to require these businesses to obtain a County Business license and to place stricter regulations on electronic tobacco products and flavored tobacco products.

A report from the Department of Public Health showed there could be adverse effects for communities with a high concentration of tobacco shops. The ordinances proposed this week all share one common goal: to promote public health and safety.

Energy Efficiency Research

The Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding this week with the University of California Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, formalizing their future collaboration with the County in energy efficiency research.

One of the County’s strategic goals is to “Make Environmental Sustainability Our Daily Reality,” and we have taken several steps in the past few years towards that goal, including the creation of the Chief Sustainability Office in 2016. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s vision is to lead the nation in solving complex environment and energy challenges, and Los Angeles County aims to become a nationwide model for what sustainability and energy efficiency can look like for metropolitan regions.

Women’s Wellbeing Center

I was very pleased this week when the Board took the first steps to expand the Women’s Reentry Program and establish a new Women’s Wellbeing Center in the second district.

The Women’s Reentry Program, which operates with one team in the second district, helps to support women who have recently been released from prison by providing mental health services and ancillary services such as housing and substance abuse treatment. The purpose of these types of reentry programs is to help formerly incarcerated women get the help they need to reintegrate into society and avoid the pitfalls of recidivism. This week’s motion expands the program beyond the second district, making it countywide.

The Women’s Wellbeing Center will play an integral role in the continuum of care by providing a center where women can participate in peer groups, learn vocational and other life skills, and work with a mentor, all while continuing the progress they have made with their team from the reentry program.