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.
Honoring Public Defenders
We kicked off this week’s Board meeting by honoring three special teams from the Public Defenders’ office: Project RESTORE, the Legislative Team, and the Mental Health Unit.
Project RESTORE was established to improve services provided to Public Defender clients whose criminal conduct is rooted in mental illness, substance use, or severe trauma. I was pleased to recognize Mitchell Bruckner, Nancy Richards-Chand, and Tracie Jones.
The Legislative Team’s work has culminated in groundbreaking legislation that will have a profound impact on both juveniles and adults and will result in the release of many inmates currently in custody serving sentences for non-violent offenses. On Tuesday we recognized Jane Newman, Graciela Martinez, Nicholas Stewart-Oaten, and Rourke Stacy.
And last but certainly not least we recognized The Mental Health Unit, which in collaboration with DHS, the Office of Diversion and Reentry, and DMH, has developed and implemented strategies for diverting clients with mental illness and substance abuse disorders into community treatment and out of jail, reducing recidivism and empowering independent living. Verah Bradford, Karl Fenske, and Rosann Scoloveno accepted the scroll on behalf of the Mental Health Team.
Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program
This week, the Board also passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis to expand the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program. LEAD works to halt the revolving door of criminal justice involvement for residents who are chronically homeless, mentally ill, or experiencing a substance abuse disorder and instead provide alternatives that enhance public safety.
LEAD is a national model community diversion program that gives local law enforcement agencies training and tools to engage with people who have committed low-level criminal offenses. Law enforcement can offer these individuals access to housing, mental health care, substance abuse treatment, and supportive services in lieu of arrest.
The statistics related to a LEAD program in Seattle show promising results. Researchers found that LEAD participants are 60% less likely to be arrested in the six months after entering the LEAD program compared to a control group, 58% less likely to be arrested over the next two years, 89% more likely to find housing 6 months following enrollment, and 56% more likely to have employment or enroll in vocational training.
Parcel Q and Grand Avenue Project
In response to a motion authored by Supervisor Hilda Solis, the Board passed an amendment to the Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement for a Frank-Gehry designed Grand Avenue Project dubbed Parcel Q.
This week’s motion was one in a series of actions related to the development of Parcel Q, which is located across from the Walt Disney Concert Hall—another Gehry design. The developers in this project are working to revitalize downtown Los Angeles by introducing a variety of commercial, cultural, and residential units accompanied by attractive public spaces, and to revamp the parking structure. Parcel Q will include a 39-story multi-family tower, a 20-story Equinox hotel, and a public plaza that will sit atop a six-level parking garage. Parcel Q’s anticipated completion date is 2022.
Green Building Standards
This week the Board implemented an ordinance requiring the use of cool roofing materials for new building construction, building additions, and major roof replacements.
One UCLA study has predicted that, by 2050, parts of LA County will experience up to three or four times the current number of extreme heat days, which are characterized by temperatures of 95 degrees or more. In light of this, I authored a 2017 motion to collaborate with the County’s Planning, Sustainability, and Public Health offices to solicit feedback on an ordinance to mandate the use of cool roofing materials in the region’s unincorporated areas, and this week that ordinance was implemented. Cool roofs absorb up to 65% less heat than conventional materials such as asphalt and can be 50 degrees cooler on a hot day. They also lower utility bills for cooling costs.
Cool roofs are an innovative way to lower temperatures and reduce energy consumption, and a smart step we can take to protect our environment for future generations.
County’s Pet Adoption Program
I had the privilege of filling in for Supervisor Kathryn Barger this week introducing pets for the County’s Pet Adoption Program, which began presentations at Board meetings in 1995 under the direction of my former colleague and Supervisor Barger’s predecessor, Michael Antonovich.
Each Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Kathryn Barger highlights animals in need of a home from one of the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control seven animal care centers. Relevant information about the animal including the sex, breed, and age is provided along with a phone number to contact for anyone interested in adopting. To date, over 1,000 pets have been placed in wonderful new homes thanks to this special program including dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, rabbits, and even a guinea pig!
There are far too many homeless and abandoned animals in Los Angeles County, as our shelter workers and volunteers can attest. When you adopt an animal from one of the County’s shelters, you can save a life, open up a spot for a new animal to receive care, and do your part to help break the cycle of pet overpopulation. You’ll also increase your happiness factor!
For more information on how to adopt from County Shelters, and to see available animals, click here!