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Movement to Create a City Health Commission May Qualify for Ballot

The initiative needs 61,468 signatures from Los Angeles voters to qualify for the ballot. The measure's backers said they have submitted petitions with 103,093 signatures.

Patch file graphic.
Patch file graphic.

Backers of an initiative to establish a city health commission have submitted enough signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot, the Los Angeles City Clerk's Office announced today.

The initiative needs 61,468 signatures from Los Angeles voters to qualify for the ballot. The measure's backers said they have submitted petitions with 103,093 signatures.

However, the initiative won't officially qualify for the ballot until the City Clerk's Office examines the petitions and determines enough signatures are valid.

The City Clerk's Office has until May 6 to examine the signatures for the initiative whose proponents are Michael Weinstein -- president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation -- Peter Reis, Philip Reh, Rachel Young and Samantha Williamson.

If the initiative has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, it would then go to the City Council, which has the option of adopting it, calling a special election to put the proposal to voters or placing the measure on the November ballot.

The initiative would create a 15-person Los Angeles City Health Commission charged with studying the health needs of the city.

The initiative's proponents previously backed a proposal that would have forced the city to establish a health department to handle services now provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

After the city and county sued to remove that measure from the ballot, Weinstein and others last year submitted a compromise initiative that calls instead for the formation of the health commission.

If it qualifies for the ballot, this second initiative would ask voters whether the health commission should be created to regularly study the health needs of Angelenos and review the city's contract with the county health department.

The commission would also study the feasibility of forming a city health department to handle health services in Los Angeles.

City officials have said the creation of an independent health department would prove too costly for the city to handle and would also endanger public health. However, AIDS Healthcare Foundation representatives say the county department is stretched too thin to adequately serve Los Angeles residents.

The city disbanded its health department in 1964 and has since relied on the county to monitor infectious diseases, manage restaurant and retail food safety and operate public health clinics, among other health and safety services.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation supported a 2012 measure to require condoms be used in porn film shoots that was approved by voters.

--City News Service


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