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.
Productivity and Quality Awards
This week, the Board recognized several Eagle Award Winners during this year’s Productivity and Quality Awards celebration of leading-edge programs, initiatives, and pilots Originating in LA County Departments.
A County program that ensures families are receiving child abuse prevention support services, an academy that improves patient care through process improvements, and a project that discovered 43 new species living in Los Angeles County took home the prestigious Gold, Silver, and Bronze Eagle Awards at the 33rd Annual Productivity and Quality Awards (PQA) ceremony held last week at the Music Center. We presented scrolls to the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Health Services, and the Natural History Museum at this week’s Board meeting, though all winners deserve praise and acknowledgment for their contributions.
The innovations put into action by this year’s PQA winners are projected to generate more than $400 Million in savings and benefits to LA County, proving that bold ideas can lead to vast improvements in social services AND savings. For more information on this year’s winners, please click here!
We also honored Probation Officer Martha Corbett, whose quick thinking and deliberate actions saved the life of an 11-year old boy.
On Thursday, October 3rd, Martha Corbett, a Probation liaison with the City of Norwalk, was visiting a local middle school when she encountered an unsafe situation. A young boy had run away and was found near local train tracks, distraught and seemingly unaware of the danger he had placed himself in. PO Corbett recognized that this youth in crisis needed someone to help de-escalate the situation, so she engaged gently with him, and when an oncoming train posed an immediate threat, pulled him to safety just in the nick of time.
In addition to Martha’s heroism, I wanted to acknowledge and appreciate the training from the Probation Department that enabled her to recognize a critical situation and act accordingly. By approaching this child with a sense of caring and making his wellbeing her top priority, Martha represents the best of the Probation Department.
Lead Paint Settlement
I am also pleased that, this Tuesday, the Board passed a motion authored by Supervisors Hahn and Barger to accept a ground-breaking $134 million settlement, which will fund a crucial lead mitigation program.
Lead is toxic, and exposure of children to lead can cause severe and permanent damage to the developing brain, including learning disabilities, deficits in attention and concentration, memory, comprehension, and impulse control. For 20 years, paint companies such as The Sherwin-Williams Company, ConAgra Grocery Products Company, and NL Industries, Inc. fought to dodge responsibility for known health hazards in their paint. Despite the lead paint industry’s best attempts, the County and our co-plaintiffs were able to prove in court that the paint companies endangered the public by continuing to sell their products even after the industry knew that lead paint was dangerous. Ultimately, justice prevailed, and of the $300 million settlement, LA County will receive $134 million. The Department of Public Health and Los Angeles County Development Authority will use these funds to conduct abatement work, which will address lead paint hazards in houses across LA County. Outreach efforts will prioritize homes built before 1951 that house low-income families with children and/or pregnant women, so we can remove this environmental hazard from the homes of those most vulnerable to it.
Today’s action allows the County to take the next step in what has been a decade long fight to hold lead paint manufacturers responsible for the health hazards that they created. By creating our lead mitigation program we will be able to use the funds from this legal victory to ensure that the next generation of County residents do not have to live in lead polluted homes. I want to thank County Counsel for their leadership and persistence in fighting this legal battle, and the Department of Public Health for their insistence that we pursue litigation in order to protect our residents and now for leading the abatement efforts. By working together, we can make the best of this situation and get to work protecting the health of our residents.
Condemning Federal Actions
This week the Board passed a pair of motions authored by Supervisor Hilda Solis condemning federal actions and joining legal action or submitting public comment to oppose them.
The first motion addresses a rule change at the Department of Housing and Urban Development that would prohibit mixed-status families, households that have members with different citizenship and immigration statuses, from receiving housing assistance. This motion directs County Counsel to join as a plaintiff or as amicus in litigation opposing this change.
The second motion states our opposition to the Trump Administration’s proposed change to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (CALFresh in LA County,) their third attempt to slash food assistance benefits this year alone. Studies show that these benefits are already insufficient to provide families with adequate quantities of healthy, nutritious food. Cutting these benefits can cause a disastrous ripple effect, as hunger leads to health problems, poor school performance, and behavioral issues, particularly among children.
It is disheartening to see such blatant contempt for immigrants and those living in poverty coming from the Federal government. I am proud that LA County stands for inclusion and lifting up our most vulnerable residents.
Winter Shelter in San Gabriel Valley
As the winter months bring colder weather, we must provide our neighbors experiencing homelessness with reliable, safe shelter. This week the Board passed a motion authored by Supervisor Hilda Solis, establishing a Winter Shelter in the First District.
Winter shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis to single adults. If you need emergency shelter, you can get free transportation to and from the shelters by going to any of the pick-up locations. Winter Shelters are run through LAHSA and have locations in all five districts. However, beds are limited, and often shelters are filled to capacity, leaving people experiencing homelessness out in the cold. This motion directs the Department of Parks and Recreation to coordinate with LAHSA to establish a Winter Shelter at Bassett Park in LA Puente, and to identify other properties in the First District that might serve as shelters.
For more information on the Winter Shelter Program, or to download LAHSA’s bed availability app, click here