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.
Foreclosure Prevention, Affordable Housing, and Project Roomkey
As the COVID-19 crisis has further exacerbated an already troubled housing climate, the Board remains committed to getting people off the streets, building new affordable housing, and keeping residents in their homes.
To help struggling homeowners stay in their homes, we passed a motion authored by Supervisors Hahn and Solis providing funding to DCBA to expand their Foreclosure Prevention Program and establish a Mortgage Financial Relief Program. The Foreclosure Prevention Program helps homeowners with foreclosure prevention counseling and mortgage assistance. The Mortgage Financial Relief Program will provide deferred/forgivable loans to homeowners to stabilize their mortgage with their servicer. This motion compliments the rental assistance and eviction moratorium motions already adopted.
During this unprecedented pandemic, Project Roomkey is helping high-risk people experiencing homelessness stay sheltered. Now that many Disaster Service Workers are returning to their regular duties, we have passed a motion authored by Supervisor Barger that will enable these sites to stay staffed through February 2021.
On the affordable housing front, we approved funding for Corazon Del Valle, a wonderful affordable housing development in Panorama City.
Services for CSEC, Props 17 & 20
This week, the Board took several actions aimed at affirming our commitment that those who come in contact with the justice system should have a chance at rehabilitation and reintegration.
First, we passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Kathryn Barger to expand services for commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC.) The motion directs the Office of Child Protection, in collaboration with the Departments of Children and Family Services and Probation, to find a vendor with expertise in CSEC rehabilitation. The vendor will help the County increase the number of home-based placement options available for these children in order to create an environment for them to address their significant trauma and prevent a cycle of incarceration.
We also passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Solis that formalizes our opposition to Prop 20, a proposal that, if passed, would ultimately result in more people being incarcerated for longer periods. Supervisor Barger voted No, but all other supervisors approved. The evidence is clear- our communities need less incarceration, not more.
Finally, the Board passed a my motion, co-authored by Supervisor Solis, and a similar motion, authored by Supervisor Ridley Thomas and co-authored by Supervisor Hahn, to formalize our support for Prop 17, which would amend the State Constitution to grant individuals on parole for felony convictions the right to vote in California.
Depriving people with criminal convictions of the right to vote is part of a broader history of disenfranchisement that has disproportionately impacted people of color. Men and women who are released from prison deserve the opportunity for full participation in our democratic society. They have served their time, and it was never right to add on this punishment. Prop 17 will correct this by restoring voting rights to people on parole. Again, Supervisor Barger voted against but the rest of my colleagues supported.
Supplemental Coronavirus Relief Fund Spending Plan
I am very happy that the Board voted to dedicate a significant amount of federal CARES Act funding to make it possible for public school students to get online and continue their education.
COVID-19 has posed an extreme threat to public education, as the digital divide has prevented low-income students from fully adapting to remote learning. $12.8 million in CARES Act funding will be used to purchase computer devices and provide internet connectivity for students who don’t have the technology or access to participate in distance or hybrid learning.
LACOE has already secured 15,000 computer devices through the county’s Internal Services Department and will distribute devices and hotspots to each district based on the student need that individual school districts have not been able to meet. Tens of thousands of students will be able to get online, so they don’t fall behind in their schoolwork.
The debate is over. This crisis has made it clear: All American families need access to the internet.
Protecting Food Delivery Workers and Consumers
When COVID-19 hit, food delivery became an essential service. But while restaurant workers usually have mandatory food safety training, third-party delivery drivers often do not. This week, we passed a motion I co-authored with Hilda Solis, calling for safer food handling training for gig delivery service employees.
The motion directs relevant county departments to collaborate with UC Berkeley Food Labor Research Center and report back in 60 days on options to develop a standard Food Safety Training Program or other training options that food delivery platforms would be required to have their drivers take.
Oppose Proposed Changes to Immigration Proceedings
It is very important for LA County, especially as a region considered home by many immigrant residents, to stand up against federal attacks on immigration.
We passed a motion authored by Supervisor Solis that authorizes the County to submit a public comment and file or join in litigation, opposing a new rule issued by the DOJ that severely restricts people’s appeals rights in immigration proceedings. The DOJ’s proposed changes would make it more difficult for people to legalize their status, and in many cases, prioritize speed over fairness.