Top 5 Things to Look For in LA County Administration in 2022 (and a couple of honorable mentions) – Daily News

It probably doesn’t take a fortune teller to know what’s coming for Los Angeles County in 2022 – unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past two years.

Yes – COVID-19 Redux.

But even in the context of an epic public health crisis and its ongoing tragic toll, there is much to consider.

Here are five things that are sure to hit the headlines and prop up, if not define, the LA County’s government in the New Year.

New year, same pandemic

With the number of new daily cases in LA County spike to over 20,000 as of Thursday, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer wouldn’t be acting as a forecaster for 2022.

“There is no such thing as a crystal ball,” she said. “It’s getting harder and harder to really predict the future with this pandemic. So I don’t want to go there and say where I think we will be in 2022. I know we have a difficult period ahead of us. But I know we have tools that we didn’t have last time to help us cope. “

In its third year, COVID-19 will continue to plague the 10 million-strong county, where many remain unvaccinated and the daily case numbers rise to some of the highest ever.

The New Year will no doubt include increased vaccination efforts as the Omicron variant cascades across the region. Increased mass testing efforts are also likely, both through the distribution of home test kits to more than a million students in the county and through local centers already scattered across the region.

Nursing manager Edgar Ramirez will check IV fluids on Monday, December 13, 2021 while speaking to a COVID-19 patient at the Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles. In the medical center, only 17 coronavirus patients were treated there on Friday, a small fraction of the worst stretch of the hospital. Nursing manager Edgar Ramirez said his colleagues were tired but better prepared when a wave hit. (AP photo / Jae C. Hong)

Meanwhile, public health officials and public health officials are preparing for a difficult January.

Of greatest concern is the strain on the health system and essential services in the region from the increasing number of cases. Will you be able to cope with the increased number of cases and for how long? Even if the Omicron variant is less severe, experts warn that its known fast transfer rates could negate any advantages of a lesser effect. And the number of people at risk remains close to millions, experts say.

Officials haven’t ruled out further mitigations, including health ordinance revisions, if things get really bad.

However, there is hope that 2022 could be the beginning of the end in the fight against the disease. There is evidence that the virus will enter an endemic phase where society can cope with the disease as we can handle the flu.

Chairwoman Holly Mitchell, chairwoman of the board of directors, signaled hope this week.

“Herd immunity. This is my vision and my wish and I wish for 2022. Herd immunity,” she said.

Don’t expect this to happen anytime soon, however, as omicrones are raging and the number of cases increases at the beginning of the new year.

Homeless Crisis

2022 will bring back the annual number of homeless people in LA County after the 2020 pandemic shutdown.

The annual census, administered by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, will set a new figure for the number of people without housing in the area.

The count – the results of which will be released around the middle of the year – comes in an important election year with the city of LA deeply involved in a mayoral campaign and district oversight campaigns in the works.

The results of the census will no doubt shape the debate on how to deal with the crisis for the next year and beyond. Concern about the crisis is already driving the debate in the race to succeed Mayor Eric Garcetti.

U.S. District Judge David Carter checks homeless camps along Freeway 170 as he visits the Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village construction site in North Hollywood on Thursday, February 11, 2021. This is the second location that uses pallet houses as temporary housing for the homeless in the district of City Councilor Paul Krekorian. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

With Garcetti on the cusp of an ambassador to India and former supervisor and current council member Mark Ridley-Thomas fighting against allegations of federal bribery, the question arises of who will appear as a contact person for a solution in 2022.

A newly established Blue Ribbon Commission on Homelessness is examining the region’s existing aid network. Does it have to be reformed? Do cities need more input for spending H dollars?

When submitting the application to the commission in 2021, Supervisor Kathryn Barger envisioned a system that would be “more accountable” across the county.

The question for the commission is whether the county should renegotiate or withdraw from the LAHSA Joint Powers Authority, the lead agency on the Los Angeles Continuum of Care. It administers funds for the programs that serve the homeless population of the region.

The Commission will present its report to the Board of Supervisors in the first half of the year and then at sunset.

Finally, expect more headlines around a high profile federal lawsuit urging local government to find shelter for thousands of people camping on sidewalks and near highways. The lawsuit before federal judge David O. Carter shed light for months as the judge himself traveled to homeless hotspots to see the situation for himself.

In November, the LA Alliance for Human Rights – plaintiffs in the lawsuit – filed an amended lawsuit after the U.S. Ninth District Court of Appeals overturned Carter’s court order requiring the city and county of LA to provide shelter and treatment to all uninhabited people who lived on 50 block downtown Skid Row within six months.

The city and county have moved to dismiss the case – which will be the subject of a hearing in Carter’s court earlier this year.

Voting season

It’s going to be a busy election year across all levels of government, from city councils to Congress.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who has hit the headlines endlessly for his epic battles with district officials, is standing for re-election. Are voters ready to live with Villanueva’s often conflicted relationship with the board, or will a contender show up to mend the partnership?

Among the supervisors is also supervisor Hilda Solis. Solis’ newly drawn District 1 remains very Latino, and the odds seem in their favor. But in the re-draw, she lost some support from communities in southeast LA that are no longer in her district.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who is not seeking a new term in her newly elected District 3, will leave the door open for new candidates for the seat newly elected by the county’s first independent reallocation committee.

Hilda L. Solis, chairwoman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (2021 Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

The county map makers have also reorganized District 3. Given its new boundaries, a candidate from the San Fernando Valley could emerge as a contender.

Senator Henry Stern, D-Woodland Hills, will join a field that includes West Hollywood Councilor Lindsey P. Horvath, Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin, and Rep. Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica . Senator Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, recently confirmed to political news website Politico that he is “seriously considering” running for the seat of the San Fernando Valley and Westside.

Much is at stake, say observers. Kuehl, a progressive overseer who has campaigned for criminal justice reform from the stands, feared that the reorganization could create a more moderate overseer, which is pushing back the movement in the county for such reform.

The redrawing of the district maps by the district supervisory authorities has an impact on all districts:

  • In 2022, Supervisors Janice Hahn will have an entirely new constituency in her District 4, which now includes heavily Latin American parishes in southeast LA.
  • Supervisor Holly Mitchell’s District 2 now extends to the coast.
  • Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s District 5 now includes areas such as the Hollywood Bowl and La Brea Tarpits.

They will spend 2022 meeting their new voters and assessing how this will affect their own election prospects for 2024.

Sheriff versus superiors

Tensions between Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the board of directors appear to spill over into 2022.

These tensions range from the board’s demands for transparency in gunfights involving proxy to conflict over cuts to the sheriff’s department $ 3.6 billion budget.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

Will Villanueva comply with requests from the Board of Directors and the District Inspector General for more access to investigations?

Villanueva says his department was transparent. The inspector general of the district and the board of directors say otherwise.

Villanueva claims the board of directors is imposing financial cuts on his department at a time when it can least afford them. However, supervisors claim that he must be more willing to share how his department works in order to earn this funding.

The Ridley Thomas case

In October 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Ridley-Thomas, now an LA councilman, along with former USC Dean Marilyn Louise Flynn. The Allegation: A relative of Ridley-Thomas received substantial benefits from the university in exchange for the politician’s support for multimillion-dollar contracts that were beneficial to the USC while serving on the district board of directors.

Both have vowed to fight the allegations and wash their names clean. A trial date is scheduled for August. Look for pre-litigation motions to be filed on the case by the summer.

Even if they clear their names, the case has damaged the district government’s confidence.

Shortly after the indictment, the board of directors unanimously agreed to an investigation – and a comprehensive review of the county’s possibly thousands of service contracts that were approved by the board of directors over several years.

Recognitions

Board meetings: Throughout 2021, the Board continued to hold its virtual meetings, raising public health concerns. There are no signs that anything will change in early 2022 as Los Angeles County remains in a highly communicable state. But stay tuned.

Board extension: The county’s first independent reallocation commission has shown how difficult this process can be in a county of 10 million people. It was a Herculean task to squeeze 2 million people into five districts in a region of so great diversity. This led to questions – and the commission’s own recommendation – for a more formal review of whether the board should be expanded.

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