California Healthline Highlights Recent County News
The new chair of the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors on Tuesday at his swearing in detailed a plan to reduce street violence in the county, including using Proposition 63 funds for "early intervention and prevention" mental health programs, the Contra Costa Times reports (Rosen Lum, Contra Costa Times, 1/10). Proposition 63 was approved by voters in November 2004 to raise the state's personal income tax by 1% on annual incomes that exceed $1 million to fund mental health services (California Healthline, 12/22/05).
Supervisor John Gioia said the funds will be used to expand school-based mental health services for at-risk youth.
According to Gioia, the county will be able to "access additional federal and state mental health funds at a 19-to-one match," meaning "for every $1 million in Prop. 63 funds, we can draw down $19 million in additional funding for at-risk, low-income youth."
Gioia noted several grants some area school districts have received to identify and treat youths with emotional and behavioral problems. Grants also are being used to establish after-school programs, which are credited with reducing drug use, violence and teen pregnancy while improving emotional health among students (Contra Costa Times, 1/10).
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted 3-0 to approve regulations requiring commercial sex venues to pay an annual fee and follow new health rules, including providing on-site HIV counseling and testing, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The regulations require such venues to obtain a health permit from the county and pay an annual fee of $1,088, as well as submit to quarterly inspections. The regulations also require venue owners to post signs prohibiting unprotected sex and to deny entry to customers under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs (Lin, Los Angeles Times, 1/11).
Commercial sex venues are defined in the regulations as "any establishment that charges patrons or members a fee for admission or membership and which as one of its primary purposes allows, facilitates and/or provides facilities for its patrons or members to engage in any high-risk sexual contact while on the premises."
By establishing a fee under the new regulations, the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services will now conduct inspections and issue permits to the venues (AP/KESQ, 1/10).
John Schunhoff, the county chief of operations for public health, said venues that refuse to comply with the regulations could be shut down much like restaurants or tattoo parlors that do not comply with county health statutes. County health officials are expected to begin issuing permits in mid-February, and the venues are required to establish HIV testing and counseling for 20 hours per week by March 1 (Los Angeles Times, 1/11).
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a contract that would increase salaries and health benefits of the county's 4,800 union members, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Under the agreement, members of the Service Employee International Union Local 1997 would receive a minimum 10.5% raise during the span of the three-and-a-half-year contract. About 10% of county union workers who are considered difficult to recruit and retain, including registered nurses and hazardous materials workers, would receive 24% salary increases, according to Rebecca Miller, executive director of the union local.
The union is expected to ratify the contract on Friday, Miller said (Trone, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/10).
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday was expected to accept a $2.3 million grant from the Department of Health Services to improve the county's disaster preparedness plans, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
The aims of the grant include the development of a rapid response to public health emergencies, such as bioterrorism, and the launch of a public information line that can handle simultaneous calls from at least 1% of the county's population.
According to the Press-Enterprise, the grant will fund preparedness efforts through August (Gang, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/10).
San Diego County Counsel John Sansone on Tuesday said that a lawsuit challenging Proposition 215 likely will be filed next week, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Proposition 215, which state voters approved in 1996, allows state residents to use marijuana to treat some medical conditions with a doctor's recommendation.
The lawsuit will argue that federal law supersedes state law and therefore the county should not be required to comply.
Several dozen pro-marijuana activists on Tuesday held a rally and some spoke at the San Diego County Board of Supervisors meeting, asking supervisors to abandon the lawsuit. The board was unable to discuss the issue or take action because it was not on the agenda (Wolf Branscomb, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/11).