Here’s What’s Happening
The Legislature is back in Session, and because of all of the COVID-19-related delays we’ve had to keep up with, I won’t mince words…it’s been a real roller coaster! But it’s exciting to see so much progress happening at the Capitol and in the Valley, and I want to make sure you know what’s going on.
I’m eager to share updates on some of the projects I have been working on. Some have taken a few months to put together in response to this global crisis (my Joint Economic Recovery Plan), while others (new electric busses on the G Line) are the result of decades of work. And as you’ll read in this newsletter, even in our seemingly darkest times, I think we still have quite a few things to learn, and to look forward to.
We’ve all had to make quite a few changes since this pandemic has become part of our lives, but one thing remains the same – my team is ready to help you when you need it. Now is the time to reach out, so connect with me on Facebook and Twitter, or send me an email, and let’s make sure your voice, and the needs of the Valley, remain on the forefront of this fight.
Stay safe and be well,
HEALTH AND SAFETY
NEW DEADLINE EXTENSION FROM COVERED CA CAN HELP YOU GET HEALTHCARE DURING COVID-19
Since the beginning of this pandemic, I think we’ve all come to learn about not only the growing need, but the major gaps in healthcare coverage that we’re living with here in California. The problem is undoubtedly worse now that people have been let go from their jobs, have had their hours cut or simply don’t qualify for the coverage they need.
It’s important to know that Covered CA is now extending their enrollment period to the end of August. This update also applies for those who have plans outside of Covered CA, but may still need extra help. All screening and testing for COVID-19 is free of charge, and the health plans available through Medi-Cal and Covered CA offer telehealth options too. Check out their website, and call my office if you need help getting started.
CURRENT CORONAVIRUS CASE NUMBERS CONTINUE TO CONCERN
The LA County Department of Public Health says there are over 27,000 cases of Coronavirus in the San Fernando Valley, which includes almost 4,000 new cases in the last week alone. We’ve known for a while that our region has one of the highest infection rates in the state, but it’s important to know that trusted health experts are reporting that if the numbers go down for seven days in a row, we can start taking encouraging steps towards re-opening the Valley. And I know that’s where we all want to be!
There are also two new "walk-up/drive-up" testing sites in Panorama City and Van Nuys, so make sure you get tested. Remember, it’s our personal responsibility to keep wearing masks, stay at home, wash our hands, and keep our physical distance. Once this is all over, you’ll be glad you did your part. If you want to know more, visit the Public Health website for the latest numbers and guidelines to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.
HELP FIGHT COVID-19 – BECOME A CONTACT TRACER
Governor Newsom has said many times that we haven’t done enough to stop the spread of COVID-19, especially in specific Latinx and LGBTQ communities throughout the Valley. That’s why it’s very important that for those with unique connections and critical skills within these neighborhoods to consider signing up to be a Contact Tracer for LA County.
By simply answering a few calls, you can help us find virus trends and connect resources to the spaces and people that need them. This confidential process has been used by health experts for years, and now you have the chance to join the team! As an extra incentive, volunteers that complete the interview calls can get gift cards for their time.
PREVENT WEST NILE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
Everybody knows that with summer comes some of our least favorite party-crashers – mosquitos! Experts say some recent tests on the pests have come up positive for West Nile Virus in parts of the San Fernando Valley, so the Vector Control District of Los Angeles County is now urging you to help get rid of mosquitos in your neighborhood.
Mosquitos do more damage than just being itchy and annoying - they can also transmit all kinds of diseases (fortunately, not coronavirus!). Using repellants and wearing long pants and sleeves helps protect individuals but residents can do more to reduce the number of mosquitos. Mosquito control is a shared responsibility, and here’s the good news: it’s easy to do your part!
PROTECTING YOUR HOUSE FROM WILDFIRES
It seems like there has been so much going on, it’s hard to believe we’re already well into Fire Season in the San Fernando Valley.
But it’s never too late to prepare. Fire officials say that you and your family can start making an escape plan now, collect needed supplies - like medicine, a first aid kit and water - and work to create defensible space around your home before disaster hits.
Check out a couple of nonprofits that can help. Ready for Wildfire has resources about quick fixes to be better protected. Sign up for fire and emergency alerts from CalALERTS, and make sure your home has the right insurance coverage by visiting the United Policyholder website.
JOBS AND ECONOMY
NEW ECONOMIC PLAN OFFERS BOLD RECOVERY IDEAS FOR CA
Even before I ever took office, I’ve always been about problem-solving. 2020 has been a year of enormous problems that many haven’t seen in generations. People are tired, sick, out of work and ready for change.
But we can’t be afraid to try bold things if that’s what it takes to get back to business, and I think now is the time to take action. After months of (online) meetings, planning, connecting with experts and committing to the work, I'm excited to finally share some of the details behind the newly proposed $100B Economic Stimulus Plan.
In order to help beat the financial fallout from COVID-19, we have to get courageous, and that means working together, and creating real change to keep us moving forward. Learn what the Plan means, who supports it & more - and let me know what you think!
EXPECT MORE IMPROVEMENTS TO EDD PROCESS
Governor Newsom says he’s enlisting a new Strike Team to help process applications that are still caught in our complicated Unemployment Insurance system. My office has been helping hundreds of people in our Valley solve some of those problems, and now the Governor says there will be even more staff working in EDD to provide immediate assistance. You can read more about his plan HERE, and visit this link or click the box above to get to the EDD website.
KEEP YOUR DOORS OPEN WITH LOCAL/FEDERAL LOAN PROGRAMS
For our business owners in the Valley, there is a lot of uncertainty right now. But please know there are still a couple of programs you can apply for to help keep your doors open. The federal Small Business Administration has announced that the deadline to apply for a forgivable loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been extended to August 8, so be sure to get the details you need to fill out this application before the deadline.
On the local front, there’s still time to get help from the LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund, which offers $3 million over the course of four months. Visit this page to learn more about grant eligibility. Be sure to let me know how the process has been working for you, I want to make sure the Valley is getting our fair share throughout this ordeal.
ALL ELECTRIC BUS SERVICE NOW AVAILABLE IN THE VALLEY
One of my great passions is incorporating more approachable sources of renewable energy into our everyday lives. And in my view, one of the best ways to bring that that kind of technology to the SFV is through transportation. For years, I have encouraged the LA Metro to use greener options that provide more efficient, cleaner ways to help us to get around.
I’m proud to report that this week, those ideas have come to life with the introduction of a new fleet of electric buses for the G Line, which is on track to be fully electric by the end of the year. I know how much this improvement means to our community – we’re doing this the right way by actively protecting the health of our Valley residents, and the environment, and that’s something we can be proud of.
NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL APPOINTS NEW YOUTH LEADERS
One of my district staffers, Dr. Brandy, recently got some good news from the Neighborhood Council Valley Village (NCVV). Leaders there have helped develop a new NCVV Board of Directors Youth Committee that can help students get involved with what’s going on in their community. The four new representatives have already been selected; Justin Berkowitz, Gabriella Goldenberg, Aysha Iqbal and Luke Simon. I commend these kids for their interest in improving our neighborhoods, and congratulate them on receiving exciting achievement. I look forward to seeing what they can do!
THOUSAND OAKS COMPANY AWARDS $3 MILLION TO LOCAL SCHOOLS
Two Khan Academy schools in the Valley are getting an extra boost to help students get better connected to science. Thanks to local biotech company Amgen Foundation, Paramount United and Hueneme Elementary are sharing a $3 million grant to help develop exciting new programs to help kids learn, including virtual biology lessons, something called a LabXChange, and more. You can get more details from this story in the San Fernando Business Journal.
LA COUNTY SHARES FREE MENTAL HEALTH APP TO HELP WITH STRESS
With increased economic, social, and emotional pressures, it’s more important than ever to take care of your mental health. One tool that may help you is from the LA County Department of Mental Health, who has partnered with the makers of the app Headspace, to help provide free wellness resources for the rest of 2020.
If you sign up for the program, you can access meditations, sleep exercises, movement routines, and more. Be sure to check out a curated playlist of meditations made with local residents in mind. We all have to do what we can to get through this time, and think spending the time to take care of our personal health is an important part of our collective recovery.
REMEMBER, WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER
We have revised these updates to focus on issues important to the San Fernando Valley during the COVID-19 outbreak, but we also want to keep you informed on legislative news, and about the places and people that matter in the San Fernando Valley. We appreciate your feedback. If you have a specific question or concern, please click here to send an email or call my office at (818) 901-5588. You’re also invited to share your own stories and experiences, so please feel free to connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.