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: Eco-friendly native plants will soon adorn County facilities thanks to one of this week’s motions.

Permanent Protections for Unincorporated LA County

To help keep people housed and further protect tenants’ rights, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis to update and strengthen our permanent tenant protections for Unincorporated LA County.

The motion directs the creation of an ordinance that would bar landlords from considering certain items in screening potential tenants including nonpayment during the COVID-19 crisis. It also updates the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, most notably capping rent increases at 3% per year for 2023 in unincorporated LA County.

My second renter protection motion was co-authored with Supervisor Holly Mitchell. It allows Stay Housed LA, the County’s comprehensive eviction defense program, to continue its essential work. Stay Housed LA provides outreach, education, legal services, and short-term rental assistance. As the name suggests, it enables our residents to stay in their homes, preventing undue suffering and also lessening the burden on County homelessness services.

Read more on these critical protections in our press release.

Commemorating 20 Years of Expanding Equity in Arts Education

The value of an arts education is immeasurable, which is why LA County is fully committed to furthering art equity and expanding access to the arts. Tuesday, we passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis commending the Arts Education Collective and Department of Arts and Culture on 20 years of advancing art equity and formalizing the Board’s support for Prop 28.

If approved by voters, Prop 28 would establish the Arts and Music in Schools Funding Guarantee and Accountability Act, guaranteeing annual funding for arts education in all K-12 public schools. This legislation would support LA County’s goals in our Art Education Blueprint and Countywide Cultural Policy and allow more LA County children to grow up with the arts and the benefits and opportunities they bring.

Enhancing Biodiversity and Saving Water with Native Plants

As California experiences increasing periods of drought and the threat of climate change looms, every little bit counts. So while the County has our eyes on the big picture with the OurCounty Sustainability Plan, we’re also taking smaller steps, like approving a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis to do some eco-friendly landscaping at County facilities.

The motion would kickstart a plan to replace non-native plants at all County facilities with at least 75 percent California native plants. This action will expand water savings and result in improved biodiversity, as native plants are foundational to a healthy ecosystem. The motion also calls on the County to eliminate the use of most poisons and provide training for landscape professionals to plant and maintain California native flora. It’s a change that visitors (especially the bees and butterflies!) will love!

Creating a Sexual Assault Council to Support Survivors and Prevent Sexual Violence

Although there has been a promising cultural shift in the ways in which society treats sexual assault survivors over the past few years, there is still much more work to be done to ensure no one in need falls through the cracks.

To better support survivors and proactively prevent sexual violence, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis to establish a Sexual Assault Council, a dedicated entity within the County to allocate resources, collect data, and spearhead awareness and prevention efforts. The motion proposes bringing together a multi-disciplinary team of law enforcement, health workers, forensic teams, rape crisis centers, service providers, prosecutors, child protective services, and more.

Care First, Jails Last

Finally, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Janice Hahn that makes necessary budget and logistical adjustments to set up our new Justice Care and Opportunities Department (JCOD)..

Our motion sets a launch date of November 15, 2022, for the JCOD Adult Programs Office by shifting the Office of Diversion and Reentry’s Reentry Division to the new department. It also asks for a report on implementing the Warm Landings Program, a transitional shelter and drop-in center for those being released from jail that provides resources and case management. Warm Landings is a critical piece of our diversion and reentry efforts, acting as a crucial stopgap between an abrupt release from jail and rehabilitative resources, like substance-abuse treatment and housing, that will help keep former inmates from returning to incarceration.

It’s all hands on deck to build our Care First, Jails Last infrastructure and to realize the vision of a justice system that is fair, equitable, and humane.