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.
This week at the Board Meeting the last of the four County budget phases, called the Supplemental Changes Budget was approved. This is the last budget meeting I will have the privilege of presiding over as Chair of the Board.
While challenges remain, There were lots and lots of significant actions and I want to highlight some that contribute to the County’s ability to provide social, health, and other services to our more than 10 million residents. I am especially pleased that we are finalizing our Year 3 commitment to the Affordable Housing Plan by transferring $45 million to the Community Development Commission that will help preserve existing and create new affordable housing across the County. We have added six new RAMP (Risk Assessment & Management Programs) Teams, which are Sheriff Deputy and Clinician partnership that help individuals who have been subject to short term mental health holds connect to critical services. Finally, we are adding $14 million in Mental Health Services Act funding to expand the existing Nurse-Family Partnerships program, through which public health nurses help high-risk, low-income pregnant women learn to take good care of themselves and their babies.
A huge thank you to Chief Executive Officer Sachi Hamai and her dedicated team, and the Supervisors’ Budget Deputies — most especially our own Kieu-Anh King — for working collaboratively throughout the year to make this happen!
County Focuses on Housing
Lots of movement (or rather, motions) on the housing front at this week’s Board Meeting! We approved a preservation deal on an affordable housing building in West Hollywood and approved a partnership with the VA and the City of LA to provide bridge housing for homeless veterans.
First, the Board approved the Palm View Apartments Loan Agreement, which extends the affordability covenants on 40 units at Palm View Apartments in exchange for reduced interest rates, keeping those units affordable for an additional 55 years! Then, Supervisor Kathryn Barger and I authored a motion to execute a Memorandum of Understanding with the VA and the City of LA, joining forces to provide 100 units of bridge housing for homeless veterans on the West LA VA campus.
There is work to be done, but I am glad the County continues to push for progress in building and preserving affordable housing!
Preventing Opiate Deaths
On Tuesday, the Board passed a motion authored by Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis that implements a Prescriber Notification Process, notifying doctors when a patient of theirs has died from an opioid overdose.
Sadly, prescription drug abuse and opioid abuse, in particular, has become a deadly epidemic in the United States. In the past, synthetic opioids were aggressively and misleadingly marketed by pharmaceutical representatives, causing doctors to prescribe the addictive medications frequently, which played a role in the epidemic the country experiences today. The proposed Prescriber Notification Process would inform doctors when an opioid overdose causes or contributes to their patient’s death. Studies have shown that these letters lead to a statistically significant change in prescribing practices.
To combat this public health crisis, we have to use all the tools at our disposal. I commend my colleagues for suggesting this innovative notification protocol!
Opposing the Proposed Public Charge Rule
I am pleased that this week the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis formalizing the County’s opposition to the Trump Administration’s proposed “Public Charge Rule,” which would have a devastating impact on the well-being of children and families in Los Angeles County who lawfully receive public benefits.
A “public charge” is someone who is likely to be dependent on the government for support, and such a designation can make it difficult for an immigrant to attain citizenship. Current guidelines do not allow federal officials to consider the use of non-cash benefits, such as nutrition assistance, housing subsidies, or health care programs such as Medicaid, in public charge assessments. However, the proposed rule expands the definition of “public benefits” to include non-cash benefits, which could prevent an individual from adjusting their immigration status.
This proposed rule could force families in Los Angeles County to make the difficult choice between obtaining a green card and taking care of their families by putting food on the table, bringing their sick child to the doctor, or applying for a housing subsidy. I am proud that the Board is standing up for the 3.5 million immigrants who call Los Angeles home!
Gates Canyon Stormwater Improvements
This week the LA County Department of Public Works entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Calabasas related to the Gates Canyon Stormwater Improvements Project.
The proposed project will be located at Gates Canyon Park, in an unincorporated part of the County near Calabasas. The construction will help capture runoff and stormwater from approximately 105 acres to irrigate the park and surrounding landscape. This will be a multi-benefit project that will improve water quality, increase water conservation, and provide an alternative water source for the area.
I am delighted that the County continues to look for opportunities to be water-wise, exploring smarter ways to capture, clean and store stormwater!