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.

Reducing the Use of Plastic Straws

On Tuesday, in order to stem the flow of plastic waste going into our landfills and waterways, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Janice Hahn requiring all businesses who serve food to ask their customers if they want plastic straws or sip-stirrers in their drinks instead of automatically providing them.

In 2017, the most common trash found on California beaches during Coastal Cleanup Day was discarded plastic pieces. A research study conducted by UC Davis found that around ¼ of all fish sampled in Half Moon Bay contained traces of plastic. In light of the significant waste generated by single-use plastics, the Board thought it appropriate to require all business establishments serving food and/or beverages, not just full-service restaurants, which are now covered under state law, to ask customers if they would like to use plastic straws and plastic sip stirrers, thereby decreasing their use. This effort will help protect the environment, our waterways, and wildlife.

Rolling Stock Manufacturing

On Tuesday, the Board also passed a motion I authored directing the Chief Executive Officer and Metro to create a package of incentives for the establishment of a rolling stock manufacturing facility in Los Angeles.

With the passage of Measure R and Measure M and the planned expansion of the rail network, Metro will be investing a lot of money in rolling stock, which refers to any vehicles that move on a railway. Having a local manufacturing facility will keep the dollars and jobs local to Los Angeles in addition to keeping shipping costs down. In short, creating a facility where rolling stock can be fully manufactured in Los Angeles County would ensure that our residents benefit from the high-quality jobs created by their support of local sales tax investments such as Measure M.

Not only does this plan support workforce development, it also reflects the fact that Los Angeles County is poised to be the nation’s transportation center of excellence!

School Stability for Foster Children

This week, the Board passed a motion authored by Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Mark Ridley-Thomas to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act by providing transportation for foster youth so they can remain in their schools even when their placement changes.

When foster youth are moved, they are also often forced to change schools, which adversely impacts their academic growth. School of Origin is a federally mandated requirement contained in the Every Student Succeeds Act, which calls on local child welfare agencies to evaluate if it is in the child’s best interest to stay in their school after a change in placement. The motion put forth this week provides funding for transportation via HopSkipDrive, which so far has provided more than 8,000 rides to 400 foster children.

Changes in placement and foster care in general can be a scary time for children. I think it is terrific that the County is working to provide a sense of stability by arranging for them to stay at their school.

Ending the Collection of Juvenile Detention Fees

A great motion authored by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn passed this week, effectively ending the collection of pre-2009 juvenile detention fees.

In 2009, the Los Angeles County Probation Department stopped collecting fees charged to parents or guardians for the incarceration of their children, referred to as “juvenile detention fees.” However, Probation continues to collect or accept payments on existing debt from obligations accrued before February 16, 2009. There is compelling evidence that the administrative fees related to detention undermine youth rehabilitation and public safety, increase the financial insecurity of vulnerable families, and is correlated to higher recidivism rates. This motion directs Probation to immediately cease the collection of pre-2009 fees and take other actions to discharge all financial burdens on these families related to their child’s detention.

The purpose of juvenile detention is to rehabilitate youth and set them on the right path, not put financial stress on their families. I am pleased that this motion reinforces that philosophy.

Supporting Families impacted by the Sheriff’s Department

I am pleased that this week, we passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas that begins the process of improving the County’s ability to address the needs of families impacted by the Sheriff department.

How a jurisdiction communicates with a family following the death of an individual as a result of a fatal use of force by law enforcement or while in custody impacts the family, community and relations with law enforcement. The County’s Civilian Oversight Commission has made several recommendations to improve the County’s practices related to this issue, including developing a multidisciplinary team that will provide ongoing support, resources and trauma-informed, transparent communication with families. The Board Motion calls for a report back in 60 days on an implementation plan for such a team.

I am hopeful that we can better support families impacted by the Sheriff department by putting together an effective and empathetic team that can address their concerns.