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LA County to consider basic income of $1K to 1,000 County residents

“We must explore guaranteed income and other measures of
poverty alleviation as permanent County policy”

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LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl (Blade file photo)

LOS ANGELES – A proposal for a guaranteed income pilot program to provide monthly payments for approximately 1,000 of the County’s poorest residents for three years is under consideration by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The motion put forward by Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Sheila Kuehl would provide this basic monthly income for a three year period.

According to the motion, the county chief executive’s office would have 60 days to establish a plan for the guaranteed income pilot program. The Los Angeles Times reported that the County would need at least $36 million to finance its program as proposed in the motion.

“We must fundamentally shift the idea that people who face financial insecurity have somehow failed, and instead recognize that it is the inequity and lack of access built into our economy and government assistance programs that have failed us,” Mitchell and Kuehl said.

The details on participant qualifications and other details have not been worked out. The Board is set to vote on the motion next Tuesday.

“A guaranteed income program provides households with financial stability during sharp economic swings, alleviates stress and broadens recipients’ horizons,” Mitchell and Kuehl said. “Importantly, these programs come without the scrutiny and work requirements of programs such as welfare and food stamps.”

This motion comes following the new citywide, anti-poverty proposal by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti that would give cash — without any obligations — to thousands of city residents in the coming months which was reported in April by the Los Angeles Times.

Garcetti’s $24-million Basic Income Guaranteed program would provide $1,000 a month to 2,000 Los Angeles families for a year. There will be no obligation on how to spend the money, according to the mayor’s office.

The motion reads in part:

“Long before the dual pandemic – both public health and economic – caused by COVID-19,
the United States’ (U.S.) and Los Angeles’ economies have been plagued by instability, much of it caused by staggering levels of inequality. As we endeavor to create a more resilient economy and Los Angeles County (County), we must explore guaranteed income and other measures of poverty alleviation as permanent County policy, not just as an emergency measure to help with this crisis.

The coronavirus crisis has heightened and made more vivid what was already clear to
many: the inequities in our economy have been a matter of life and death for many of our most vulnerable County residents. Prior to the COVID-19 epidemic, the safety net failed to address the structural issues that have been keeping many children and their families trapped in poverty.”

Directly relating to the motion put forward by Mitchell and Kuehl, in the Fall of 2019, the Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law published a study that disclosed that LGBTQ people collectively have a poverty rate of 21.6%, which is much higher than the rate for cisgender straight people of 15.7%. There are those who are head of single-person households and have children reflected in that grouping.

Addressing the negative economic impact specifically in terms of housing costs that the coronavirus impact has had with the County’s LGBTQ community, speaking last Fall with journalist Karen Ocamb, Supervisor Kuehl noted;

“I think LGBTQ people have suffered greatly in the pandemic because we always were more vulnerable as a group, in terms of our revenue income, our ability to thrive,” Kuehl said. “I think we should be very concerned about each other as a community and making certain that people can stay in their housing in these very difficult and dangerous times.”

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Los Angeles

Los Angeles City Council bans homeless camps in 54 locations

Sitting, sleeping & storing property near fire hydrants, building entrances, driveways, libraries, parks, elementary schools banned

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LA Homeless Service Authority workers Giovanna Miranda, (L) & Tania Trigueros (Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles)

LOS ANGELES – Setting up or creating encampments by homeless persons in 54 select locations across the city is now banned after the LA City Council voted 12-2 Wednesday to outlaw sitting, sleeping and lying in those places.

Utilizing new laws passed over the summer after contentious and at times acrimonious debate, the council enacted new rules regulating sitting, sleeping and storing property near fire hydrants, building entrances, driveways, libraries, parks, elementary schools and several other locations.

The council also directed city staff to ensure that the homeless were given proper notifications prior to action and that all departments expand staff and make available resources to help those affected by the new ban.

On Wednesday, U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough announced that the VA is going to place more than 500 unhoused veterans living in Los Angeles into permanent housing.

According to McDonough, the efforts will be in two steps, the first to assist approximately 40 veterans living on the street in what is colloquially referred to as the ‘Veteran’s Row’ encampment, located adjacent to the VA campus in Brentwood on San Vincente Boulevard.

That encampment has been highlighted by mayoral candidates visiting it frequently including last week by U.S. Representative Karen Bass, (D) who was accompanied by the VA Secretary.

The next step is move another 500 veterans into permanent or transitional housing by December 31, the VA Secretary said.

In the last census count of homeless people conducted by the County of Los Angeles, of the nearly 66,000 people experiencing homelessness, roughly 3,900 are homeless veterans.

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Los Angeles

LA City Council votes to suspend Ridley-Thomas over corruption charges

The 11-to-3 vote to suspend vote came two days after Ridley-Thomas announced that he would “step back” from his duties

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Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas speaking at a press conference (Blade file screenshot photo)

LOS ANGELES – The city council voted Wednesday to suspend Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, 66, who was was indicted a week ago by a federal grand jury on 20 federal counts of conspiracy, bribery, mail and wire fraud.

The 11-to-3 vote to suspend vote came two days after Ridley-Thomas announced that he would “step back” from participation in City Council meetings and committees. Ridley-Thomas, who has denied any wrongdoing, has said he will not resign and will fight the federal charges against him, KTLA and the Los Angeles Times reported.

The federal grand jury’s indictment alleged that Ridley-Thomas took bribes from a former dean at the University of Southern California, (USC) when he was a member of the County Board of Supervisors.

In a letter sent to fellow councilmembers Monday, he indicated that he would step back from his duties but he declined to resign from his seat. He said that he planned to fight the “outrageous allegations” and would resume participation on the legislative body “at the earliest appropriate time.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that in exchange for the payoffs, Ridley-Thomas allegedly supported awarding county contracts worth millions of dollars to USC. 

In the indictment Ridley-Thomas is charged with conspiring with Marilyn Louise Flynn, 83, then dean of USC’s School of Social Work, to steer county money to the university in return for admitting his son Sebastian into graduate school with a full-tuition scholarship and a paid professorship, the Times reported.

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Los Angeles

LA City Councilman Ridley-Thomas will ‘step back’ from duties, not resign

He will fight the “outrageous allegations” and plans to resume participation on the legislative body “at the earliest appropriate time”

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City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas (Screenshot via KABC 7 News Los Angeles)

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas in a letter sent to fellow councilmembers Monday said that he would step back from his duties but he declined to resign from his seat.

In the letter he said that he will fight the “outrageous allegations” and plans to resume participation on the legislative body “at the earliest appropriate time,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

“I fully appreciate the importance of the council being able to conduct its business with minimal distractions,” Ridley-Thomas said in the letter, adding that he was stepping back with that in mind.

Ridley-Thomas, 66, was indicted earlier this month by a federal grand jury with 20 federal counts of conspiracy, bribery, mail and wire fraud alleging he took bribes from a former dean at the University of Southern California, (USC) when he was a member of the County Board of Supervisors.

The Los Angeles Times reported that in exchange for the payoffs, Ridley-Thomas allegedly supported awarding county contracts worth millions of dollars to USC. 

In the indictment Ridley-Thomas is charged with conspiring with Marilyn Louise Flynn, 83, then dean of USC’s School of Social Work, to steer county money to the university in return for admitting his son Sebastian into graduate school with a full-tuition scholarship and a paid professorship, the Times reported.

Both Ridley-Thomas and Flynn deny the charges.

Mark Ridley-Thomas will ‘step back’ from LA City Council meetings, won’t resign- KABC 7 News Los Angeles:

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