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.
LA County’s Zero Waste Plan
In order to reach LA County’s adopted and strong sustainability goals, we must address a significant gap in our ability to process organic waste, which is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The most recent Countywide Organic Waste Management Plan Annual Report estimates that approximately 5.4 million tons of organic waste are disposed of Countywide per year. In comparison, there is less than 0.5 million tons per year of available organic waste processing capacity in the County.
To build up infrastructure and more closely align with the OurCounty Sustainability Plan, the Board passed my motion to adopt the Los Angeles County Zero Waste Plan. The Zero Waste Plan will build on the County’s established framework to maximize the recovery of products, materials, and energy from waste materials that would otherwise be disposed of at landfills, and seek technical and financial support from State agencies like CalRecycle.
Capital Projects: Pacoima Headgrounds and La Brea Tar Pits
This week, the Board passed two motions I authored, allocating Prop A Excess Funds to two projects, both of which will serve the public in different ways.
The first allocation, $1 million to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, will support the Pacoima Headworks Natural Park Project, the conversion of a 3-acre vacant parcel into a natural open space public park. This project will bring a much-needed oasis to the urban Northern San Fernando Valley community, providing recreation space in an environmentally-conscious design.
The second allocation of $5 million to the LA County National History Museum will help to realize an ambitious reimagining of the La Brea Tar Pits. The La Brea Tar Pits Master Plan Project includes a renovation of the Page Museum and will add more than 40,000 square feet to the existing structure, incorporating a lobby, exhibit space, two theatres, research and collections rooms, and many more additions and improvements to this iconic LA County landmark.
Establishing a Countywide RV Encampment Pilot Program
The County took an important step this week in addressing RV encampments by passing a motion from Supervisor Holly Mitchell and Kathryn Barger to establish a countywide pilot program designed to meet the unique needs of people experiencing homelessness who are living in RVs as well as helping the surrounding communities.
The motion works to strike a balance: we want to be responsive to the concerns of the communities where RV hot spots have proliferated while avoiding simply criminalizing homelessness. In order to do so, the motion includes several directives to identify hot spots, develop the necessary staffing to take on this work, connect PEH in RVs to housing options and supportive services (providing incentives where required), and establish guidelines to dismantle inoperative RVs and enforce proper waste disposal. Our highest hope is that this 36-month pilot will lead to more people being housed and restoring surrounding communities, resulting in a win-win all around.
Pilot Project for Abortion and Reproductive Services
LA County continues to make it very clear that ALL women have the right to make decisions regarding their reproductive health, including the ability to access abortion services if that is what they choose. Aware that other states are trying to roll back these critical rights, and anticipating a potential influx of out-of-state patients, the Board passed a motion by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Holly Mitchell establishing a pilot project on abortion access in LA County.
The motion clears the way for the Department of Health Services to establish a reduced-cost/no-cost plan pilot project for out-of-county residents seeking abortion/reproductive health services from LA County clinics or hospitals. This plan will make these services more affordable or, in some cases, free. The motion also directs DHS to seek funding for short-term and long-term solutions at all levels of government, ensuring that we can care for our residents and those whose bodily autonomy was stripped by their State governments.
The Maria Chong-Castillo Lobby
Finally, I am truly delighted that the Board passed my motion which will name the lobby within the San Fernando Child and Family Clinic the “Maria Chong-Castillo Lobby” and place dedicatory plaques recognizing her service to the residents of Los Angeles County.
Maria has served as my Deputy for Public Works for my entire tenure, and before that spent nearly four decades in public service working for my predecessor, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. Her title reflects only a portion of the massive portfolio she diligently takes on daily and all of the many beautiful county entities she has shepherded to completion, and she is well-regarded in the County for her tenacity and smarts. Simply put, Maria gets things done. I’m so privileged to have her on Team Kuehl, and I am thrilled to see her get this recognition.