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.
Picture: Rosalind “Roz” Wiener Wyman
Board Approves Supplemental Budget
The big item at this week’s Board Meeting was approving the $44.6B supplemental budget.
I was very pleased to see the new Department of Justice Care and Opportunities Department (JCOD) launched with an initial budget of $60.8 million and 31 positions as well as additional investments in the Department of Youth Development to bring the total funding up to $53 million and 39 positions. I have championed these two departments as critical tools in truly pivoting to a Care First, Jails Last system, and these investments are a great foundation, one I hope the Board will continue to build on in the coming years.
I was also happy to see an ongoing commitment of $3.1 million for our 29 county Domestic Violence shelters, with an additional $8 million to support an array of Intimate Partner Violence programming.
That’s just some of the highlights. Read on for more here!
LA River Headwaters Pavilion
This week the Board cleared the way for the Department of Public Works to execute a construction contract for an exciting project: the LA River Headwaters Pavilion.
Helmed by the Frank Gehry Group, the LA River Headwaters Pavilion in Canoga Park will serve as an entryway access point to the River trail. It will also provide amenities, including seating, educational signage, drinking fountains, restrooms, trash receptacles, and stormwater treatment infrastructure. It’s one of many ways LA County is looking to revitalize the LA River as laid out in the LA River Master Plan.
Thank you to my Public Works Deputy Maria Chong-Castillo, West Valley District Director Tessa Charnofsky, and Associate Environment & Arts Deputy Sophie Freeman, who have put in a lot of hard work to get this project moving along. Construction on the LA River Headwaters Pavilion will begin in early 2023, and I’m so excited to see this project beautify the area and serve the public!
Services for Commercially Sexually Exploited Children
When they come in contact with the County, children who have been exploited deserve the utmost compassion, care, and protection. This week, the Board received an update on the Expansion of the First Responder Protocol and Advocacy Services for Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC).
Tuesday’s quarterly report touched on several accomplishments of the CSEC Integrated Leadership Team, composed of Probation, Sherriff, and the Department of Children and Family Services. The team has made strides in implementing improved protocols for ways in which trafficked youth interact with law enforcement, give witness testimony in criminal cases, receive enhanced foster care services, and access housing and treatment.
Michelle Guymon, Director of the Child Trafficking Unit in our Probation Department, delivered the presentation ahead of her retirement after 33 years of outstanding public service at the County. Michelle is credited with forming a first-in-the-nation specialized probation unit solely dedicated to addressing the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of justice-involved youth who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation. We took a moment at the Board meeting to commend her work, which has set our County up to be a leader in prevention and intervention service for youth survivors of sexual exploitation.
Honoring a Visionary: Rosalind “Roz” Wiener Wyman
I’m so pleased that the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Solis honoring Roz Wyman by naming the Fountain Overlook at Grand Park the “Roz Wyman Court.”
Ever since Rosalind “Roz” Wiener Wyman was elected to the Los Angeles City Council at the age of 22, then the youngest elected legislator in a major U.S. city, she has been a steady, creative and pioneering force in shaping Los Angeles into the city it is today.
Roz had a hand in bringing so much of what we consider quintessential LA to the city, like our local teams, the Dodgers and Lakers, the construction of Walt Disney Music Hall, and Grand Park itself! Her vision amplified our cultural landscape and brought priceless recreational opportunities to our region. We passed this motion on her birthday, but it’s nothing compared to the gifts she has given us! Thank you, Roz!
Support for the White House Talent Pipeline Challenge and the Equity in Infrastructure Pledge
I was happy to support a motion authored by Supervisor Mitchell this week, signing LA County up for the White House Talent Pipeline Challenge and committing to the Equity in Infrastructure Pledge.
The Talent Pipeline Challenge is a nationwide call to action to make tangible commitments that support equitable workforce development in three critical infrastructure sectors: Broadband, Construction, and Electrification. The Equity in Infrastructure Pledge promotes the inclusion of Historically Underutilized Businesses in completing essential infrastructure projects, ultimately lessening the racial wealth gap and providing opportunities to underserved communities.
With a slate of transportation projects in the works ahead of the 2028 Olympics, there are many high-quality construction jobs that we want going, equitably, to our local residents. LA County has also been trying to advance broadband access and build up our EV infrastructure to support the OurCounty Sustainability Plan. These commitments and the partnerships we gain from them will help us achieve all of those goals.