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.

Supporting Women and Girls in Iran

After 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in police custody in Iran in September, the women and girls of Iran have been boldly and bravely fighting the good fight against an oppressively sexist patriarchal society. That’s why I was happy to co-author Supervisor Hilda Solis’s motion formalizing the County’s support for women’s rights in Iran and the brave Iranians protesting against human rights violations, now joined by so many more around the globe.

The motion further commends the Biden Administration’s actions, including sanctions on Iran’s morality police and senior security and government officials who have engaged in human rights violations responding to the protests. Finally, it expresses the County’s opposition to the state-imposed internet restrictions and calls for lifting the restrictions to restore and expand internet access in Iran.

Let it be known that LA County stands firmly against violence against women and gender inequity and supports the women and girls in Iran and across the world.

Purchase of the West LA Courthouse

I am so excited and grateful that the Board passed my motion initiating the County’s acquisition of the West LA Courthouse for housing, much of it designated as affordable housing!

The motion directs the Real Estate division of the Chief Executive Office to post a Notice of Intent to purchase the Courthouse and to identify $32.2M in funding for the acquisition. When completed, the project, West LA Commons, will yield 926 new units of housing, with 431 of them being income-restricted for low-income and formerly homeless families and individuals.

My office has been working for years to find a way to transform this underutilized property into a community asset, and I’m so glad to see this project moving ever closer to the finish line. My gratitude to the Judicial Council for their help. Learn more about the proposed redevelopment here!

Preventing Fentanyl poisoning in LA County

A trained individual armed with naloxone is a formidable foot soldier in the battle against the opioid crisis—they can save a life and offer a second chance, sparing families and communities from the all too common tragedy of a fatal dose of fentanyl laced into something else. That’s why the Board passed two motions aimed at increasing the presence of naloxone and those trained to administer it in public places and bolstering our prevention efforts.

If a person has opiates in their system, naloxone will block the opiate receptors and prevent someone from succumbing to fentanyl poisoning. As counterfeit drugs tainted with fentanyl continue to proliferate, the risk of opiate deaths to people who are not intentionally using opiates is rising. Since naloxone does not affect a person who does not have opiates in their system, the risk of inappropriately administering naloxone is almost non-existent.

The first motion the Board passed, authored by Supervisor Solis, directs the Department of Public Health and LA County Office of Education to report back to the Board on their partnerships with local schools and their joint efforts to curb drug use and prevent these deaths in schools. The second motion, authored by Supervisor Hahn, seeks to promote harm reduction training (including naloxone) at our public libraries.

American Rescue Plan Funding Report

The Board received an update on American Rescue Plan Funding this week, highlighting the Department of Arts and Culture with a presentation from Department Head Kristen Sakoda.

The Department of Arts and Culture received around $28.1 million in ARP funding, which will be used to provide grants to various organizations that support the County’s goals of fueling our creative economy and promoting equity in the arts and helping in recovery from pandemic losses. The department is focused on spreading the word among community organizations, especially those in geographic areas where arts access can grow. These grants will help further the work of organizations helping young people build careers in the arts, especially justice-involved and underserved youth, and help our region’s economic recovery by revitalizing the creative and cultural works that draw so many to our region.

Honoring Michael Castillo

Finally, the Board passed a motion authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn dedicating a room in the Hall of Administration in honor of a valued staff member of LA County’s Homeless Initiative, Michael Castillo, who passed away suddenly just a few weeks ago.

Michael served the County for over 30 years and was part of the original team at the Homeless Initiative. He was the Homeless Initiative liaison to the Homeless Outreach Services Teams (HOST). Michael was also very involved in the work to reduce the risk of fires in our high-risk zones throughout the County, including the Santa Monica Mountains. Our thoughts are with his family, and we hope this gesture shows them how much his County family deeply appreciated his public service.