Los Angeles News
Lawsuit Filed Against Health Initiative
By Alex Nochez
Oct 7, 2013 - 12:06:32 AM

LOS ANGELES — City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a lawsuit on Monday, September 30, against a proposed initiative called the “City of Los Angeles Public Health Protection Act.” The initiative, intended for the June 2014 ballot, seeks to terminate the long standing contract between the City of Los Angeles and the County of Los Angeles that has the latter delivering and performing public health services for the city.


It also seeks to create a public health department that would be run by the city. It would prohibit the city from ever entering another contract between the city and county for health services. Funding for the creation and maintenance of the city’s public health department would come from existing avenues of revenue intended for the county health department.

City Attorney Mike Feuer.


The complaint states that such an effort is not just unlawful, but it would also pose a serious risk to the health of citizens throughout the county. “The residents of the City of Los Angeles not only would face a disruption in health and safety services, but would suffer a significant decline in the quality of these services as well,” the complaint says.


In addition, the complaint states that the state legislature allows the local governing bodies, including the Los Angeles City Council, to designate how they choose to implement public health services. The contract which has been intact since 1964, is not only allowed by state law, but falls under the same “delegation of authority” given to local bodies by the state (local bodies are also the only ones that can terminate their own contract).


The complaint notes that implementation of a city health department using the funds meant for county health would not be sufficient. The time required to establish city health would cause lapses in public health services, at the expense of the 9.4 million people who are covered by the county.


The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the organization behind the proposed ballot measure, believes that the county's public health department is far too large and inefficient to practically deliver important health services. A press release from the health foundation cites shortcomings involving recent Tuberculosis and Syphilis outbreaks as examples.


The measure, according to the AHF, earned over 70,000 signatures from Los Angeles city voters to place the measure on the ballot, above the 45,252 signatures needed.

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