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Home / News / Politics / Roundup: LA Council votes this week

Roundup: LA Council votes this week

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LA City Council voted on funding for various transportation projects in the Westside, delivery robot regulation, rehousing strategy for people experiencing homelessness who are living in recreational vehicles, the Los Angeles Fair Work Week Ordinance, expanding USC street medicine services program, the creation of the Office of Procurement, and increasing pay for LADEWP workers.

LA Council Approves $5.1M for Westside Over Concerns from Traci Park

The Los Angeles City Council approved $5.1 million in funding for various transportation projects in the Westside Tuesday, despite a request from Councilwoman-elect Traci Park to delay the funding request — which was made by outgoing 11th District Councilman Mike Bonin — until she takes office.

About half of the funding will go toward the Lincoln Boulevard Multimodal Bridge Improvement Project. Another $1.6 million will be spent on funding the construction of the Rose Avenue Pathway and Protected Bike Lane Project.

Bonin, who departs in two weeks after serving two terms on the council, filed the motion last week. It states that several projects on the Westside “require more funding to achieve construction or project development milestones.”

“There is sufficient funding available in special accounts that are designated specifically for transportation projects on the Westside, from special fees collected on developments on the Westside,” according to the motion.

The council authorized the Department of Transportation to appropriate funding toward the projects.

In a letter to the council, Park — who defeated Bonin-backed candidate Erin Darling in a runoff — sought for her future colleagues to delay action on the item until after she takes office on Dec. 12. Park cited lack of community engagement regarding the Lincoln Boulevard project and said the item should be delayed until outreach and funding analysis are conducted.

Park, who was critical of Bonin during the campaign, called the funding proposals a “last-minute rush job” with a “massive price tag attached to them.”

LA City Council votes to regulate personal delivery devices

The Los Angeles City Council voted to implement a pilot program for personal delivery devices Tuesday, in an effort to regulate operators of such devices on city sidewalks.

The devices, also known as delivery robots, have been used by private companies to complete last-mile food and retail deliveries.

According to the original motion, filed in 2020 by Councilmen Bob Blumenfield and Mike Bonin, the city should be “proactive in regulating these devices in order to balance the health and environmental advantages” with potential impacts of jobs and the “private use and capitalization of the city’s public infrastructure.”

The council voted for an ordinance that would implement the program. The ordinance will come before the council next week for a second vote.

The motion praises the devices as allowing for “more contactless delivery options in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic,” along with providing for an alternative to delivery by gas-powered vehicles.

The program authorizes the Department of Transportation to issue permits to operators of the devices. If an operator fails to comply with the permit’s rules, the permit could be suspended or removed.

The city plans to study the data collected during the pilot program to ensure safe operation of the devices and to determine how many devices can be deployed in various locations.

LA Council to explore citywide rehousing strategy for RV dwellers

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to explore a citywide rehousing strategy for people experiencing homelessness who are living in recreational vehicles.

The council directed the city administrative officer, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and the Department of Transportation to report back in 60 days on a strategy that includes:

— identifying and securing appropriate interim shelter and housing for people living in RVs;

— incentives for voluntary relinquishment of RVs used as dwellings;

— expanding Safe Parking programs to include oversized RVs in 24-hour Safe Parking programming; and

— Demolishing RVs after the resident moves into interim or permanent housing, with consent of the owner.

Nearly 6,500 people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles are living in a total of about 4,000 RVs, a 40% increase since 2018, according to LAHSA’s point-in-time count. That represents 22% of the city’s total unsheltered population.

According to a motion by council members Nithya Raman, Curren Price and Marqueece Harris-Dawson, RVs are in “grave disrepair, meaning that people living in them face unsanitary and sometimes dangerous conditions.”

The motion claims that the city’s current approach of banning oversized vehicles on certain streets has “proven to be largely ineffective” because RV dwellers move to other streets.

“It is clear that the city needs to come up with a more effective and holistic response to vehicular homelessness,” the motion states.

“We don’t have a single RV safe parking lot that really functions here in the city of Los Angeles at this moment,” Raman said at Tuesday’s meeting. “We are not creating the kinds of responses that can actually get people who are experiencing homelessness indoors, that can actually provide the kind of mental health care that we need on the streets to get people from an encampment into a home.”

Earlier this month, Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez introduced a motion seeking to expand a pilot program in her district that offers people living in RVs voluntary transition into interim or permanent housing, and incentives to trade in their vehicles for disposal.

“The challenges that exist with RVs is multifaceted,” Rodriguez said. “There’s not a one-stop shop as it relates to RV encampments. It’s a very complicated issue.”

LA Council gives final approval to fair work week ordinance

The City Council gave final approval Tuesday to an ordinance that requires retail employers in Los Angeles to provide work schedules to employees at least 14 days in advance, and provide at least 10 hours rest between shifts.

The Los Angeles Fair Work Week Ordinance, proposed by Councilman Curren Price in 2019, has been through various discussions and edits over the past three years. It was conceived as a way to soften the unpredictability of retail employee schedules.

Price said the ordinance will impact an estimated 70,000 workers at large retailers in Los Angeles.

“We must recognize the gaps and wide range of concerns faced by our workers, and we must put their needs over corporate profits,” Price said. “This is the least we can do to give them our sincere appreciation and thanks for the work that they do.”

According to a UCLA study cited in the ordinance, 80% of the 140,000 Los Angeles residents working in the retail sector have “unpredictable, last- minute and fluctuating work weeks over which they have no control,” and over three-quarters receive less than a week’s notice of their schedules.

The ordinance, which will take effect next April, only applies to retail businesses with 300 or more employees globally.

Council President Paul Krekorian described the ordinance as a “catalytic change in the way the retail industry is going to be operating in our city,” and Councilman Paul Koretz called its passage “one of the proudest moments of the L.A. City Council.”

“It makes a lot of things in life possible and functional without causing an undue harm to the employers,” Koretz said.

The ordinance also requires employers to provide employees with a “good faith estimate” of their work schedule upon hiring. If employees work a shift that begins less than 10 hours from the previous shift, employers would have to provide one-and-a-half times pay.

The council approved 11 new positions in the Bureau of Contract Administration to help implement and enforce the ordinance.

The ordinance “represents the strength and the value of the labor movement,” according to Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez.

“This monumental change and adoption of this new ordinance is going to help, I believe, be a catalytic force in helping to assist us in uplifting more families out of poverty,” Rodriguez said.

LA Council establishes Office of Procurement

The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday adopted an ordinance to establish an Office of Procurement in an effort to streamline purchasing services for the city.

The office, which will be under the City Administrator’s Office, will be tasked with making recommendations to the City Council and mayor regarding “standards, policies, processes and technology” related to procurement and contracting activities.

Procurement is the second-largest category of spending by the city behind staff salaries, according to the ordinance. The city spends about $4.5 billion a year on procuring goods, services and construction, according to a 2021 motion filed by Council members Nithya Raman, Paul Krekorian and Mitch O’Farrell.

“Treating procurement as a strategic function of government, rather than simply an administrative matter, is crucial to achieving the city*s social, economic and environmental goals,” the ordinance states

Mayor Eric Garcetti created a Chief Procurement Officer role in 2018, but the ordinance notes that the city “requires additional resources to ensure strategic procurement across city departments and offices.”

The council members’ motion claims that Los Angeles “has lagged behind other major cities when it comes to professionalizing, streamlining and developing a strategic approach to procurement.”

The office will serve as an intermediary between the private sector and city and identify opportunities for the city to leverage its purchasing power.

LA council votes to expand USC street medicine services program

The USC street medicine services program will be expanded following a Los Angeles City Council vote Tuesday.

The council voted to provide $1 million in funding for the program, which began in November 2021 as the first full-time, city-funded street medicine team in Los Angeles.

The program — which provides on-site services to people experiencing homelessness — will be expanded from one team to three teams, and from covering two council districts to six.

“USC is unique because it just doesn’t wait for people,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a briefing Tuesday. “It goes one-by-one to each patient that they serve.”

The program will be expanded to cover neighborhoods in South Los Angeles and Hollywood, and is expected to serve around 900 patients at full capacity, according to Garcetti.

Councilwoman Nithya Raman said the street medicine team can help fill the need for shelter beds in the city.

“This type of care can mean the difference between life and death,” Raman said. “Scaling up a system like this, programs like these that can embrace people who need shelter and who need care with a city that we know can offer it right to them.”

Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez claimed that Los Angeles County should be doing more to fund such programs.

“But here we are again, the city of Los Angeles, funding the very services and intervention that the county should be stepping up to the plate to provide,” Rodriguez said. “It’s why we need to continue to advance our work and our progress in building that collaborative response model with the county of Los Angeles.”

LA Council approves pay raise for hundreds of LADWP employees

The Los Angeles City Council approved a pay raise for hundreds of workers at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Tuesday.

Ten bargaining units under the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, or Local 18, will receive the new contract — a four-year agreement that lasts through 2026. Workers’ salary will increase by at least 2.5% each year and as much as 10% each year, depending on inflation.

The workers, dozens of whom showed up at Tuesday’s council meeting, will also receive a 3% bonus this year as a one-time inflation offset.

Gus Corona, business manager for Local 18, told the council that the contract keeps the utility competitive with the rest of the industry.

“We’re doing everything we can to retain the highly qualified and highly trained personnel that we have here at the DWP, and this contract will ensure for the next four years we’ll be able to do that,” Corona said.

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