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.
Reaffirming and Expanding the LA Model
Just over four years ago, LA County opened the doors to a newly refurbished Campus Kilpatrick as part of our juvenile justice system. This Campus incorporated many of the reforms developed in a well-regarded Missouri Model and our further improvements were dubbed the LA Model, a model designed to offer a completely different rehabilitative experience. It had the potential to be a true turning point for LA County, a move away from institution-like settings to more home-like and community-centered care. However, unpredictable events like the Woolsey Fire and the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the County from realizing the full potential of this shift in juvenile rehabilitative care.
To meet this moment, and to deliver on the responsibility we have to young people in our juvenile justice system, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Holly Mitchell reaffirming the fundamental components of the LA Model.
The motion calls for training on the LA Model for staff at Campus Kilpatrick and ways in include new educational and vocational training services. It also incorporates a key component of the LA Model, harnessing the transformative power of empathy by implementing mentorship programs that feature individuals with lived experience who have been in these young people’s shoes and come out the other side.
Supporting Roe v. Wade
Women’s reproductive rights are under attack again with a forthcoming SCOTUS case in which the state of Mississippi has asked the court to overturn Roe v. Wade. LA County is taking a proactive stance to protect women’s rights to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions. This week, we passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Holly Mitchell directing County Counsel to submit an amicus brief opposing the Mississippi law and any law that calls for Roe v. Wade to be overturned.
Anti-choice rhetoric is generally based on a philosophy that emphasizes the control of women and strips them of their rights, which is why it never calls for comprehensive sex education, birth control, or expanded healthcare access for pregnant women and children. Allowing the proliferation of anti-choice laws will severely and inequitably impact poor women and women of color, denying them the opportunity to determine their future and locking them in a cycle of poverty.
It’s as true today as it was more than 50 years ago: you can’t ban abortions. You can only make them unsafe and inaccessible, particularly to less privileged women.
SOGIE Competency Training
I’m really pleased that the Board passed my motion, co-authored by Supervisor Holly Mitchell, that calls for improved Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Competency Training and Data Collection for LA County workplace relations and constituent services. The motion initiates the development of SOGIE training, particularly in Departments that provide services to this population, to better foster an inclusive environment, deliver services, and gather critical data.
LA County employs over 100,000 people and serves millions. Ensuring that our culture is inclusive and affirms all identities can have a ripple effect that ultimately improves the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals across our region.
Guaranteed Income Pilot
Throughout the pandemic, we saw the ways in which deeply entrenched inequities often affected the difference between life or death outcomes for low-income County residents. Guaranteed Income Pilots had been gaining steam across the nation, and overwhelmingly, the results show that people participating in these programs spent the money on basic needs, and, given help to tide them over life’s low points, experience better outcomes in employment and overall wellness. So LA County is implementing our own pilot, and this week, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Holly Mitchell to facilitate the next steps in that process.
Guaranteed income presents a huge opportunity to close an ever-widening income gap and end generational poverty. The contracts approved as a result of this motion will help us gain valuable data to inform poverty alleviation policies in LA County, and potentially, on a national level.
Ending Oil and Gas Drilling in Unincorporated LA County
Every year it becomes more and more apparent, climate change is here, and it requires our urgent attention and swift, sweeping changes to the way we approach energy.
The Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Holly Mitchell that prohibits new oil and gas extraction wells and explores phasing out existing oil and gas extraction facilities. Not only will this action contribute to our sustainability goals, but it will help address environmental and racial inequity. Today, tens of thousands of County residents live near an oil well, nearly 73 percent of whom are people of color, and they bear the brunt of the documented harmful health consequences caused by these operations.
We also passed a motion co-authored by Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Janice Hahn that initiates a comprehensive “Just Transition Strategy” to help those working in the fossil fuels industry to train for, and find, other work. This motion acknowledges how important it is to include a diverse set of voices in shaping our move away from reliance on fossil fuels and how we must break down the false dichotomy between jobs and the environment.