WeHo joins coalition seeking more COVID-19 funds

LOS ANGELES — Mayors and council members from cities throughout the county are demanding that the county and city of Los Angeles redistribute about $1.8 billion they received from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to other municipalities.

About 30 of the 88 cities within the county issued a joint statement on behalf of the Coalition of LA County Cities, which said they have received little to no federal funding to respond to the pandemic, as they don’t have the required 500,000 residents to meet the CARES Act threshold.

If we are all in this together and the pandemic impact and costs are shared, as Mayor [Eric] Garcetti and County Supervisor [Kathryn] Barger have previously stated, then the financial assistance received under the CARES Act must likewise be shared, just like the burden of the pandemic,” said Carson Mayor Albert Robles. “Although Congress and the Trump administration failed to acknowledge the uniqueness of the interwoven fabric that is the Los Angeles area, it does not mean that Los Angeles County and the city of Los Angeles should as well.”

As part of the CARES Act, Los Angeles County received more than $1 billion and the city of Los Angeles received a little less than $700 million, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

The other 87 cities and our respective residents are just as deserving of the same compassion and care,” Robles said. “Moreover, many of the other cities that make up Los Angeles County have infection rates much higher than the city of Los Angeles.

West Hollywood is one of the 30 cities in the coalition and Mayor Lindsey Horvath said she hopes that the next round of CARES Act funding will not include a 500,000-population requirement for cities to obtain funding.

She said West Hollywood has spent more than $1 million in COVID-19 related expenses.

Those are general fund dollars, tax dollars, public dollars that we have spent on the local emergency, and we have yet to receive help from our federal government in recouping those costs, and there’s no end in sight,” Horvath said.

The Coalition of LA County Cities said the money should be sent to the local governments of the county’s cities and unincorporated areas of the county.

The county Board of Supervisors July 21 approved a spending plan of $1.22 billion in federal and state coronavirus relief funds, primarily going toward health care needs.

Supervisor Hilda Solis said that $1.22 billion “is a lot of money, but it isn’t enough for a county as large as ours.”

We must maximize each precious dollar by investing resources in our communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 due to years of systemic inequities that have left them chronically under-invested and under-served,” Solis said. “I will continue advocating that CARES Act funding be directed to our most disadvantaged communities that have historically been denied access
to resources and services.

The county issued a statement July 24 saying all cities in the county are receiving CARES funding, with the state doling out $500 million to municipalities across the state, based on population.

It’s also important to note that the CARES Act funding allocations approved by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors this week support programs and services that help all county residents, regardless of where they live,” the statement said. “These include $656 million for public health measures including community-based testing and contact tracing; $200 million for financial support for residents in the form of assistance for rent relief, food and child care; $160 million in grants to support small businesses; and $150 million to support the county workforce’s response to the emergency, including disaster services workers and personal protective equipment for employees.”

The city of Los Angeles recently dedicated $100 million of its CARES Act funding to a small-business assistance program.

The coalition sent a letter to Garcetti and the Board of Supervisors in May asking for support from the larger governments, but they said they have not been assured their cities will receive funding.

“We have yet to receive help from our federal government in recouping those costs, and there’s no end in sight.”

— West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath

From City News Service

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