The City Council just virtually convened and together we passed some important legislation that will help folks struggling with the impacts of the COVID-19 emergency.
Protecting Jobs with ‘Right to Recall’
Today the City Council passed the amended ordinance authored by Council President Nury Martinez and myself that will protect the jobs of thousands of people who work at hotels, airports, commercial properties and entertainment venues. Known as ‘Right to Recall,’ this ordinance makes sure that people in these highly regulated industries who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 are given the opportunity to return when the emergency is over.
Over one million Angelenos have lost their jobs since the beginning of this pandemic and we must do everything in our power to make sure that their livelihood is waiting for them on the other side. I am proud that we worked with labor leaders like Ron Herrera, President of LA County Federation of Labor, to take this critical step toward protecting good jobs as we must continue to fight for those who have had their lives turned upside down.
Making Sure Tenants Know Their Rights With HCID Notice
Recently there have been many conversations among Councilmembers about how to legally protect tenants while making sure that property owners aren't left without income to pay their own bills such as property taxes and utilities. A few weeks ago, we passed an emergency ordinance that makes evictions of people impacted by COVID-19 illegal during the pandemic and offers tenants a year after the emergency order is lifted to pay back any deferred rent. Even with these new laws and the fact that the courts are not processing evictions during the pandemic, we have seen some property owners continue to try and evict Angelenos with misinformation and threats. Today the Council passed my motion to ensure that if property owners send any communication to their tenants regarding eviction, they must also include HCID’s detailed tenant protection form which outlines rights and resources.
Also, the rent was 'too darn high' prior to the pandemic and the thought that the 1 million Angelenos out of work due to COVID-19, let alone everyone impacted by the virus trying to keep a roof over their heads, could be subjected to a rent increase is horrifying. Costa Hawkins stands in the way of the City preventing rent increases during this time and therefore we have also called on the State to take action by temporarily suspending it.
Creating a 'Renters Relief Fund' to Help Protect Vulnerable Angelenos
Recently the City Council established a Renter Relief Fund to help vulnerable Angelenos and low-income families pay their rent during this difficult time. Today, I re-directed $150,000 from my office discretionary account to go to this critical program.
Calling on Federal Government to Expand SNAP benefits
Today I introduced a resolution calling upon Congress to make critical improvements to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as food stamps, for families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the several Federal aid programs rolled out to provide aid to struggling businesses and families, Congress has taken no action to expand SNAP for those who are food insecure.
SNAP has proven to be one of the most effective Federal programs to mitigate hardships for low-income families. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), SNAP expenditures not only benefit food insecure families—these expenditures are also one of the most efficient methods to support an economy during a recession. My resolution specifically calls for Congress to boost the maximum benefit by 15%, double the minimum benefit to $30 a month, and allow EBT use on grocery delivery platforms benefitting local businesses. Every SNAP dollar spent in the local economy contributes to the wages grocery workers and food producers depend upon to maintain operations.
I’ve been working on the local level to support food-insecure families and struggling Angelenos. Recently, I redirected more than $100,000 from my office discretionary account to help local nonprofits such as the West Valley Food Pantry, ONEgeneration, The Guadalupe Community Center and others that are providing food or direct critical services to vulnerable CD3 residents. While this helps in the short run, it is through programs like SNAP that can make the difference in the long run for struggling families trying to get by.
Establishing Penalties for People Throwing PPE on the Ground
Like most Angelenos, I do my best to abide by physical distancing guidelines and wear a mask and gloves when going to the grocery store, pharmacy or when making other essential trips. While out in our community or even while walking our family dog, I’ve seen many used gloves flung on sidewalks, in parking lots and even right next to public trash cans. Though I use doggie bags to pick it up when I see it on our streets and sidewalks, this trend is dangerous, abhorrent and selfish.
Today I introduced legislation asking our City Attorney to draft penalties for individuals dangerously discarding used PPE. We are in a public health crisis, please be responsible and think twice about throwing things on the ground that could cause someone to get sick or lose their life.
As always for the most up-to-date information, please check the L.A. County Department of Public Health website as well at the city’s COVID-19 portal at https://corona-virus.la/. Also, please go to my website to get local updates, tips, and critical announcements: http://blumenfield.lacity.org/.