Tue, Jun

STDs & Road Dogs: A Critical Examination


ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - Madame Chair, Lindsey P. Horvath:   Today we'll begin with item 2, followed by item 6, which will be taken up with items 9 and 44. Then item 72, which will be taken up with item 98a followed by items 53, 12, 14, 24, 27, 45 and finishing with item 65 and its related item 103, followed by the remaining items not held by the board and general public comment.  

Smart Speaker:  So, that leaves about 90 items and general public comment for the end... about forty pages of testimony or ten percent of the meeting. 

After approximately 90 minutes of stuff, it was time for some old-fashioned, "locking of arms!"  Mayor Karen. Bass sent a familiar emissary in Eunisses Hernandez, who felt very at home in the public comment section at the county. 

Madame Chair, Lindsey P. Horvath:   Welcome Madame Council Member. I am so excited to be here with you in this capacity. 

Eunisses Hernandez, Council member, CD1: Thank you for having me. I am the council member that represents the first district here in the city of Los Angeles, and I am here today to speak in support of items 6, 9, and 44  It is truly exciting that the county is at a point of not only kick-starting the redevelopment of this hospital, to deliver much-needed housing and commercial services to this area, but it is complementing, and it is doing this with the creation of restorative villages.  We have been talking about this for years and I am getting goosebumps because this will make it happen. The facility mental health urgent care center and psychiatric facility will be an example of meeting our community needs. Together these projects will form a hub to provide services to support the health and well-being of our most vulnerable residents. I would like to thank all of you, the Supervisors, the leaders of our County, many of my heroes, and your guidance and leadership. And would especially like to thank Supervisor Solis for ensuring that these projects are meeting the needs of the local community by prioritizing deep engagement. 

Then it was time to clamp down once again on the Sexually Transmitted Diseases.  A recent investigation by the Los Angeles Times found in November, that many of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s more than 1,300 residents live in squalid conditions, with dozens under the threat of eviction.  One reason may be that they are presiding over an underfunded plan to combat STI! 

Smart Speaker:  For the grim details of the sexually transmitted disease space, see the Los Angeles Times coverage.  

Sup. Lindsey Horvath, Chair: We'll move on to item 53. Report on the sexually transmitted crisis. This was continued from previous meetings. If you're departing the chambers.. if you could do so quietly, so we could have this discussion I'd appreciate it. For members on the telephone press 1 and zero now. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health and Mario Perez ...

The Supervisors asked questions for the better part of an hour resulting in 32 pages of questions and repetition. 

Then it was finally time for public comment.  But only on that item. 

There were two telephonic speakers and seven in-person speakers.  All but one speaker delivered public comments of support and praise and gratitude for the county's effort to blunt the horrifying std crisis.  They were all from not-for-profit organizations seeking funding like Aids Healthcare Foundation, APLA Health, Los Angeles LGBTQ2+ center, Dignity and Power, and Essential Access to Health.

Each of the nine speakers was given one minute, which only took 10 pages of the 372 pages of the meeting transcript.  

Taken together with the Supervisors' exhaustive comments, the STI discussion took 10% of the meeting. 

There was only one critical speaker and Supervisor Horvath tried to sideline their comments by saying that they were only taking "comments on the STI crisis and what the department is doing."  

The speaker said that's what they were talking about. 

At the end of it, Supervisor Horvath announced that:  "presentations like this one, will now be on their own meeting, likely the fourth Tuesdays of the month, to be able to have these conversations, that are clearly important, but outside the context of our regular meeting so we can kind of keep things moving on these days. So I appreciate everyone's participation today."

Smart Speaker:  One can only imagine how many public speakers left the hall in anger... denied a chance to address the Board of Supervisors in general comment for six hours.  

A Lesson in Shared Responsibility: Pickles and Melanie.

In the quaint town of Malibu, a small Corgi named Pickles had a close encounter with a speeding bicyclist named Melanie. The picturesque hill, offering a thrilling descent along the coast, had a discreet "Do Not Enter" sign at its entrance, but it was often ignored due to the absence of one-way restrictions. On this fateful day, Pickles found himself in the path of Melanie's swift descent, resulting in an unfortunate collision.

Despite Pickles being off-leash, Melanie, a professional bicyclist, was moving downhill at a brisk pace. The clash between the two worlds led to an accident where Melanie's bicycle inadvertently collided with Pickles, causing damage to her belongings and leaving both parties with scratches and bruises.

Melanie, having sustained injuries and damages to her phone, bike, and clothing, submitted a bill amounting to $1,100. In a display of understanding and goodwill, Pickles' owner, hereafter referred to as Pickles' daddy, decided to cover half of Melanie's costs. The agreement was not only a gesture of compassion but also a proactive step toward mitigating potential future incidents by contributing to Melanie's insurance coverage, available for a reasonable $35 per month. Additionally, Pickles' daddy suggested the purchase of a bell for Melanie's bike, emphasizing the importance of warning pedestrians and fellow cyclists on shared roads.

Amidst the financial negotiations, Pickles' daddy advocated for a shared acknowledgment of responsibility. Both parties, the unleashed dog owner and the speeding bicyclist, were urged to reflect on their actions. The lesson drawn was a call for mindfulness and gratitude that the incident, while unfortunate, did not result in more severe consequences.

The narrative highlights the need for dog owners to leash their pets when near roadways. Unpredictable situations can arise, and keeping dogs on a leash ensures their safety as well as that of others. 

Simultaneously, bicyclists are reminded to exercise caution on roads that are shared with pedestrians. A mutual understanding of the shared spaces we navigate can prevent such incidents and foster a safer environment for everyone involved.

The conclusion of this tale revolves around a collective sense of gratitude. Despite the minor damages and injuries, the incident served as a reminder that accidents can happen, and it is in our best interest to approach shared spaces with caution and consideration. Pickles' daddy, Melanie, and Pickles himself emerged from the ordeal with valuable lessons, emphasizing the importance of shared responsibility and the potential consequences of neglecting it.

In the realm of bicyclists, stereotypes often label them as arrogant. Still, Melanie stood out as an exception, demonstrating a commendable level-headedness in the face of adversity. It is a testament to the fact that individuals can positively contribute to shared spaces by embodying awareness and responsibility.

Ultimately, the story of Pickles and Melanie is not just about an accident; it is a reflection on the need for empathy, understanding, and proactive measures to ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals sharing public spaces. The hope is that others can learn from this incident and adopt a mindset of gratitude for the fortunate outcome, appreciating that it could have been much worse.

(Eric Preven is a longtime community activist and is a contributor to CityWatch. The opinions of aMr. Preven are not necessarily those of CityWatchLA.com.)