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Yaroslavsky on Worrisome Survey of L.A. County Residents

Worrisome findings from this year’s UCLA Quality of Life Index drew coverage from several print, online, television and radio news outlets. The index, a project of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, found that L.A. County residents’ satisfaction with the overall quality of their lives is at its lowest level since the survey was launched in 2016. “What the pandemic couldn’t do over the last two years, inflation and increases in violent and property crime succeeded in doing,” said Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative. Still, nearly 70% of respondents said that COVID-19 has fundamentally changed their lives. “This finding — that life has been permanently altered — may be the most profound,” Yaroslavsky said. News outlets covering the 2022 Quality of Life Index include the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine and La Opinión; television stations ABC7, CBS2, FOX11, KNBC, KTLA and Telemundo 52; and radio stations KFI and KNX1070.


 

Luskin Summit 2021 Closes With a Call to Action

Zev Yaroslavsky

The UCLA Luskin Summit concluded its 2021 season with a session delving into the sixth annual UCLA Quality of Life Index, a comprehensive look at residents’ satisfaction with life in Los Angeles County. Zev Yaroslavsky, who oversees the index as director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, led summit attendees through the most striking findings of the countywide survey, which was conducted in March. This year’s index put a spotlight on the COVID-19 pandemic’s harsh impact on household income, children’s education and confidence about the future. “What this survey has once again exposed is the two Los Angeleses that we have, the disparities by income, by race, by ethnicity, by age,” Yaroslavsky said. “And it’s not sustainable.” He called on policymakers to “focus on the people who don’t have the capacity to weather a storm like this” but acknowledged that the complex issues do not lend themselves to simple solutions or talking points. During the session, ABC7 News reporter Adrienne Alpert presented questions from the virtual audience on topics including rising fears of violent crime, a notable increase in civic engagement and the effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom. The April 19 webinar was the last of nine Luskin Summit sessions exploring pressing public policy issues under the banner “Called to Action.” The series began in January with a keynote address by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon; other sessions focused on issues such as housing insecurity, access to parks, sexual health, public transit and the numerous effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


 

Luskin Summit Focuses on Seizing Opportunity to Address Homelessness

On April 1, a panel of experts gathered for a Luskin Summit webinar about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on unhoused populations in Los Angeles. The event was moderated by Miguel A. Santana, president and CEO of the Weingart Foundation and an emeritus member of the Luskin Board of Advisors. Santana is also chair of the Committee for Greater LA, which produced “No Going Back,” a report on how to build a more equitable Los Angeles. Almost 70,000 people are unhoused in the region, and up to 1.8 million residents lost jobs during the pandemic. Sarah Dusseault, former commission chair of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, said the pandemic “revealed the depth and breadth of the chronic and severe housing shortage, which has been amplified by failed safety nets, historic housing discrimination and mass incarceration.” She identified homelessness as “a man-made problem that we can address … by creating a system that is effective for everyone with equity at its center.” Jacqueline Waggoner, UCLA alumna and member of the UCLA Luskin Board of Advisors, called for “systems that are driven by data and informed by lived expertise.” Deeper collaboration and more resources, leadership and strategic planning are needed to create efficient systems to address homelessness, she said. Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State L.A., said addressing homelessness requires a shared vision across institutions. “Let’s seize this moment of maximum peril and maximum opportunity to make Los Angeles not a cautionary tale, but a true model,” Sonenshein said. — Zoe Day


‘All of This Is Going to Change Us’: Two Deans on the State of COVID-19 Leaders of UCLA's Public Affairs and Public Health schools launch Luskin Summit 2020

By Mary Braswell

The opening session of the 2020 UCLA Luskin Summit drew a far-flung virtual audience seeking authoritative, research-based information about the questions on everyone’s mind: What are the prospects of containing COVID-19? When and how should social distancing restrictions be relaxed? What have we learned from this shared global ordeal?

Two UCLA deans, Gary Segura of the Luskin School of Public Affairs and Ron Brookmeyer of the Fielding School of Public Health, drew on their expertise about the pandemic’s health and policy implications at the April 22 event, the first of at least a dozen online sessions that will be offered by the Luskin School in April, May and June.

“COVID has done us one favor,” Segura said. “It’s allowed us to see things more clearly than we did before the crisis,” including the searing depths of inequality in the United States, the importance of a competent government and the discovery that a simpler life can be rewarding.

In terms of slowing the spread of coronavirus, Brookmeyer said, “The current lockdown has bought ourselves some time. The question is, are we making the best use of this time?”

The insights shared by Segura and Brookmeyer came as UCLA Luskin launched the Summit’s second year, wrapping up the School’s 25th anniversary celebration.

Moving from an on-campus location to an online platform in response to the coronavirus’ spread widened the audience for the opening session. More than 400 people watched via Zoom and Facebook Live, from Southern California to New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Houston and Myanmar.

Viewers were invited to pose questions to the deans, whose conversation was moderated by Adrienne Alpert, host of ABC7’s public affairs program Eyewitness Newsmakers. Some asked about prospects for lifting orders to limit social contact.

Brookmeyer called for caution. “If we don’t have the necessary public health infrastructure in place, this thing will just explode again,” said the dean, who has conducted extensive research into the arc of illness and epidemic around the world.

He explained that different models make starkly different predictions about the virus’ march and described the protracted process of testing, manufacturing and administering an effective vaccine — a process he said is bound to take longer than the 12 to 18 months some are estimating.

“Without a vaccine, we may need intermittent periods of physical distancing to avoid overloading the health care facilities,” he said. “If we suppress this first wave, do we have the public health infrastructure in place to contain future waves?”

The eventual relaxation of social distancing restrictions should be gradual, strategic and nuanced, he said, predicting that wearing masks, sanitizing surfaces and closely monitoring the most vulnerable populations will be necessary for some time.

“All of this is going to change us, and it’s not completely clear how,” Brookmeyer said.

“The challenges, and particularly the inequities, are going to be profound,” Segura concurred.

Latino households are particularly hard hit by the coronavirus’ economic impact, he said, citing a nationwide survey. While proposals to institute relief for those unable to pay their rent or mortgage are promising, the number of homeless is bound to rise by the end of the crisis. And the need for computers and broadband access in homes — where K-12 students are now learning remotely — has turned public education into a “luxury good,” Segura said.

Still, both deans found cause for optimism.

Brookmeyer cited the public’s new appreciation for the people and institutions that guard the nation’s health. “The public health infrastructure had been really underfunded, and I think calling attention to this will help us in preparing for future public health emergencies,” he said.

Segura pointed out that “COVID is changing our lives in a million ways,” and not all of them are bad.

One example: “Has anyone noticed the air in Los Angeles? It’s crystal clear,” he said. “Do we want to go back to sitting on the 405 [freeway] for an hour?”

By necessity, telecommuting has been tested across sectors in the past few months, Segura noted. Some employers have found new ways to measure productivity, and some workers have found valuable uses for time once spent commuting.

“These are things that we’ve become used to and that we’ve internalized into our COVID quarantine lives. And I’m not so sure we’re going to be all that happy to give them up,” he said.

“COVID has actually revealed some things that we can do better to improve our quality of life.”

Visit the UCLA Luskin Summit page for a lineup of upcoming sessions, as well as recordings of past sessions as they become available.

Events

Luskin Summit 2022: Safeguarding Our Democracy

LUSKIN SUMMIT 2022: Research in Action

TUESDAY, FEB. 15

Safeguarding Our Democracy

This online session led by professor Matt Barreto of the UCLA Voting Rights Project will take a close look at restrictive voting efforts in 47 states, particularly legislative attempts to stifle the voting rights of communities of color in Arizona, Georgia and Texas.

February-April: Additional online webinars on various topics, many with a global perspective.

End of April: Presentation by Zev Yaroslavsky of the Luskin School about the results of the seventh annual Quality of Life Index.

Notes:

  • Details about participants in the various panel discussions are being released as sessions draw near and will also be posted on the Summit registration page.
  • All events will allow for remote access. Any in-person presentations that occur will be planned in full accordance with the latest UCLA and Los Angeles County COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
  • Visit the LUSKIN SUMMIT LANDING PAGE for more information on future Summit sessions.

L.A. County Quality of Life Index

In the final session of Luskin Summit 2021, longtime Los Angeles political figure Zev Yaroslavsky will unveil the sixth annual Quality of Life Index. The index reflects results from a survey of Los Angeles County residents on their satisfaction with topics such as cost of living, education, the environment, the economy, race relations and health care.

The Quality of Life Index is a joint project of the UCLA Luskin Los Angeles Initiative, directed by Yaroslavsky, and The California Endowment. Adrienne Alpert of ABC7 Eyewitness News in Los Angeles will moderate the event.

RSVP

 

Luskin Summit 2021: Called to Action

The 2021 Luskin Summit will be a series of webinars focusing on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and other important public policy issues. Here are the confirmed sessions for which registration is now available:

 

2 p.m., Jan. 28: Keynote Address — Kickoff session with Anthony Rendon, speaker of the California Assembly since 2016. He was first elected in 2012 to represent the 63rd Assembly District in southeast Los Angeles County.


Feb. 4: Preparing for Even Wilder Wildfires — Wildfires ravaged an unprecedented amount of California in the past 12 months. This session will explore the impacts of wildfires on health, low-income housing and small water systems, as well as highlight innovative tactics to increase resiliency, especially for populations that are most vulnerable to wildfire.


Feb. 10: The Threat of Mass Evictions and an Opportunity to Rethink Housing — The economic slump precipitated by COVID-19 has led to evictions in California and across the country, and the problem seems likely to get worse. This crisis calls for an immediate response, but it also offers an opportunity to rethink housing policies and our housing system, addressing longstanding failings.


Feb. 17: A Landmark Opportunity for Park Equity — The pandemic has proved the importance of public parks for our physical and mental well-being, as well as the environmental health of communities. During this watershed moment, new funding offers an opportunity to improve access to public spaces for all. This discussion will illuminate pathways to increase park equity in Los Angeles and beyond.


Feb. 22: Transit Impacts: Fewer Riders, More Homelessness — The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected public transit systems. Fewer people are riding, public health protocols and workforce reductions are complicating operations, more people experiencing homelessness are turning to transit for shelter, and financial shortfalls loom large. This panel will explore these challenges as agencies struggle to recover.


Feb. 24: Sexual Health: Hooking Up With Home-Based Testing and Telemedicine — Investment in home-based testing, telemedicine and partner-delivered therapy for sexually transmitted infections are among the options to deliver sexual health care remotely. Implementation of these strategies in L.A. County has traditionally been slow, but the uptick in remote delivery of medical services amid the pandemic presents an opportunity to integrate more remote practices for sexual health care.


REGISTER TODAY!

 

Planned but not yet open for registration: 

February or March: A micro-summit with at least three sessions in one day focusing on adaptive reuse of commercial properties and public buildings to benefit people experiencing homelessness or facing pandemic-related eviction from their homes.

April: Unveiling of the 2021 Los Angeles County Quality of Life Index

Luskin Summit 2020

This April, the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs will wrap up its 25th anniversary celebration with the second convening of a research-informed, cross-sector conversation about major issues facing the Los Angeles region. In light of the health crisis, this event will now be a virtual series of talks.

Additional details and registration links can be viewed on the Luskin Summit page of our website, which will be updated frequently as sessions are confirmed.

Luskin Summit 2019: Livable L.A.

This research-informed, cross-sector conversation about the major issues facing the Los Angeles region will focus not on problems but on solutions.

Featured Presenters

  • Elected officials, including the mayors of Burbank, Culver City, Inglewood and Pomona
  • Leaders from government and business
  • UCLA scholars
  • Civic leaders
  • Difference-makers in the nonprofit and ​philanthropic spheres

Additional Opportunity

The UCLA Luskin Summit will precede the 49th Conference of the Urban Affairs Association, which begins April 24 and continues until April 27 at the Luskin Conference Center. The conference will bring together more than 1,000 multidisciplinary and international scholars to discuss urban-focused research, with plenary and special sessions featuring local and global experts on urban issues. Click here for more information about the UAA conference.