LA County Supes to Meet for 1st Time; Horvath Debuting, Hahn to Get Gavel


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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The new-look Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will meet for the first time Tuesday -- with freshly sworn-in District 3 Supervisor Lindsey Horvath making her debut and 2nd District Supervisor Janice Hahn taking over chair duties for the year.

Horvath and Hilda Solis, from District 1, both took their oaths of office Monday. Solis, who is termed out, is beginning her third and final term on the county's governing board, which manages a budget of some $39 billion.

Horvath, a former member of the West Hollywood City Council and twice the mayor of that city, beat state Sen. Bob Hertzberg in a runoff election last month for the seat formerly held by Sheila Kuehl, who did not seek reelection. Solis easily defeated four challengers in the June primary to claim her third term.

Hahn, meanwhile, will take the gavel from outgoing chair Holly Mitchell for the 9:30 a.m. meeting at the Hall of  Administration. The chair's role is rotated every year.

Last week, Hahn said she will expand opportunities for the public to comment on items being discussed during board meetings.

During the pandemic, with the board shifting to remote meetings, the board changed its public participation procedures, holding one 90-minute public comment session at the beginning of its meetings.

The procedure led to some complaints, with callers forced to wait on hold for long periods of time, and some left unable to comment at all because of the sheer volume of callers trying to speak in the 90-minute period.

The board recently returned to in-person meetings with limited attendance, allowing people to again speak in-person, but the public-comment window was still 90 minutes at the beginning of the meeting.

Hahn said that, starting Tuesday, she will return to the pre-pandemic procedures that will allow for unlimited public comment taken as the board discusses each individual item. Those comments can be made either in person or telephonically.

"The changes that were made to the board meetings during the pandemic kept people safe but came at the expense of unlimited public access to our work," Hahn said in a statement. "As chair, my goal is to increase the public's ability to participate in our meetings and weigh in, in real time, on policies the board is considering."

Hahn on Monday also announced that, starting with her first meeting as chair, she will recite a land acknowledgement recognizing the First Peoples of Los Angeles County -- a historic first for the board.

The land acknowledgement will open all future meetings, she said. It follows a recent motion by Solis and Hahn, and was crafted in collaboration with the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission and local tribes.

"The people who first stewarded what is now Los Angeles County never ceded this land, and the process of losing it was a painful one," Hahn said in a statement.

"This acknowledgement is going to open every one of our meetings in recognition of that injustice and serve as a reminder that we still have work ahead of us in the fight for justice for the First Peoples of this land."

In other changes, Hahn said, she also plans to convene an extra board meeting each month specifically reserved for public hearing items. She also said she hopes to expand the number of people permitted to attend board meetings in person -- but not until the current surge of COVID-19 cases eases.

Hahn said the board will also invite a local veteran to lead the Pledge of Allegiance, and a resident to deliver an invocation, at the start of every meeting.

Tuesday's agenda includes a proposal to raise wages for In-Home Supportive Service personnel, who have been lobbying the board for pay hikes; a proposal for improving transport of psychiatric patients to the MLK Medical Campus; a proposed mentorship program for young Black girls; and a request for a report on climate change impacts on county stormwater infrastructure.

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