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.
County Extends Limited COVID Rent Protections
I am happy to report that the Board passed the motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis extending COVID-19 eviction protections for non-payment of rent for commercial renters and extending limited renter protections for residential tenants through January 31, 2022.
Unfortunately, under recent state law, the County no longer has the authority to extend eviction protection to local residential tenants for failure to pay rent. Still, with this week’s action, the Board has extended some essential protections, as permitted by law, which can be used as affirmative defenses to eviction and, will, hopefully, help mitigate some of the housing inequity exacerbated by the pandemic. I strongly urge LA County residents who fell behind on their rent during the pandemic to act quickly and apply for the state’s “Housing Is Key” rent relief program to secure protection from eviction while the state processes the applications.
You can read more here!
The Department of Public Health delivered an extensive update on the County’s efforts to get everyone vaccinated, as well as our updated Health Officer Orders, CDC guidance on booster shots, and several other COVID-related issues.
Currently, Los Angeles County residents who are eligible for a booster dose of Pfizer include those who received the second of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine series at least six months ago and are either:
• 65 years or older
• Residents of long-term care facilities
• 18 to 64 years with underlying medical conditions, or
• 18 to 64 years with high institutional or occupational risk, including healthcare workers, first responders, teachers and daycare staff, grocery workers, and workers in homeless shelters or prisons
LA County is committed to doing all we can to get people vaccinated. If you need a ride to get to your vaccination, you can reach out to the Public Health call center at 1-833-540-0473, and you will be connected to free transportation.
Investigation into Deputy-Involved Fatal Uses of Force
At this week’s Board meeting, we passed an important motion adding to our other efforts to support the families of those who were killed by law enforcement, such as the Family Assistance Program. The motion directs the Medical Examiner-Coroner to conduct inquests into the deaths of Dana Mitchell “Malik” Young Jr., Samuel Herrera Jr., and Dijon Kizzee, provide information discovered during the inquest to the families of the deceased, and finally, recommend a policy for conducting inquests into deaths caused by LASD.
I’m grateful to Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Hilda Solis for introducing this motion and accepting my amendment to identify available funding for these inquests that will not negatively impact the Medical Examiner-Coroner.
Deputy-involved shootings are extraordinarily traumatic and heartbreaking for the families of the deceased, and I hope that the County can contribute to their healing process through information sharing and accountability from these inquests.
Safe Clean Water Education Programs
Two years ago, the Board adopted an Implementation Ordinance for the Safe Clean Water Program, also known as Measure W, which generates money to fund projects and programs that capture, clean, and conserve stormwater — increasing local water supplies, improving water quality, and creating opportunities for new recreational green space and habitat.
Though the main focus of the Safe Clean Water Program is infrastructure, other key aspect include community education and outreach to increase water-wisdom across our varied communities. This week, the Board approved a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Janice Hahn that gets the ball rolling on those programs. An expert firm will be identified to craft a County Water Plan and assist in our efforts to fund educational programs in nonprofits, community-based organizations, and schools across LA County.
Understanding Troubling Subgroups in the Sheriff’s Department
We now have independent and impartial verification of what we unfortunately already knew: the Sheriff’s Department has a problem with internal subgroups (also known as Deputy gangs) that are eroding public trust and safety, fueling costly misconduct-related litigation and settlements, and creating a hostile work environment for many honest and hardworking officers.
A RAND report that the Board received and filed this week confirmed the existence of these subgroups and the harmful effects they have on the culture of a department and their ability to truly protect and serve. This conclusion is backed up by lawsuits from community members who have alleged civil rights violations, excessive force, and wrongful death, as well as fellow LASD members, who have reported intimidation, harassment, bullying, retaliation, workplace violence, and hostility in the work environment.
We now have a clearer understanding of this problem, laid out by an impartial entity in black and white. The question now shifts to what we can do to bar these groups and/or change the culture that allows them to thrive.