Graffiti removal services

For graffiti removal in the unincorporated areas of the Los Angeles County, you may contact the Department of Public Works Graffiti Hotline at (800) 675-4357. The hotline is available with live operators 24 hours a day seven days a week. Expect a 48-hour response when calls are received. In order for to respond in a timely manner, please answer the brief questions you may be asked.

Often questions may be related to graffiti on property that is not the responsibility of the Los Angeles County. For example, we offer information for the agency providing graffiti removal services to the following: Parks and Recreation, Caltrans, Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), Metrolink, United States Post Office, Southern California Edison, and the 88 Cities within the Los Angeles County.

MLK Mental Health Urgent Care Center Celebration

Jo Helen Graham’s son Mark was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when he was 15 years old. Despite his parents’ efforts to find him ongoing treatment, little has been available to address his mental illness and he has suffered. A barroom brawl years ago landed him in prison when he was 19 – a tragic turn for a young man who desperately needed mental health intervention.

MLK Mental Health Urgent Care Center

“Mark was never able to receive the proper mental health treatment that would have helped him,” Graham said speaking at the ribbon-cutting celebration for the new Mental Health Urgent Care Center on the Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Campus in Willowbrook. She noted that her son is now out of prison but still suffers from mental health issues. “Jailing and warehousing our mentally ill is a human tragedy. But I am optimistic about the road ahead because of centers like this one.” The newly refurbished two-story, 8,000-square-foot facility, which opens September 4,  is the latest milestone towards the completion of a wellness community on the MLK Medical Campus that brings preventive and emergency care services to the region.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas celebrates the new center.

“The opening of this center is part of a broader countywide drive to expand access to mental health services and substance abuse treatment for all those in need, particularly those at risk of incarceration,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who spearheaded the effort to bring the urgent care center to the MLK campus. “Facilities like this will be most effective in promoting rehabilitation and reducing recidivism.” The center is a one-stop shop for families, individuals and law enforcement to bring a person suffering acute distress or an episode related to mental illness. Patients will receive a variety of services including psychiatric evaluation and assessment, crisis intervention, substance abuse counseling and medication support from an on-site team of experts from the county’s departments of mental health, social services, health services and public health. Adults will have a separate wing, divided by gender. Twelve to 17-year-olds will be admitted into a separate wing of the center. While there is an emphasis on serving the indigent and Medi-Cal patients, no one will be turned away. Data has shown that nearly 50 percent of the patients in the former King/Drew Emergency Room had primary or secondary mental health issues. The Urgent Care Center provides a more cost effective and humane way to treat people with mental illness. Although there are 15 medical professionals on staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it is not a sterile, cold and clinical setting. In fact, with its wood laminate floors, soothing yellow walls, cozy sleeping chairs and clean bathrooms, in the recovery area,it is more like a nice family living room where patients can stay for up to 24 hours.

Community leaders and elected officials celebrate.

“Twenty-four hours a day, you can bring in your loved one in,” said Luana Murphy, President/CEO of Exodus Recovery and Exodus Foundation for Recovery, which will operate the center. “Services here will be integrated. After they are discharged, no one will be sent to the street. We will have a plan.” The Urgent Care Center will play an important role in the county’s efforts to redirect mentally ill offenders away from jails, where people with untreated illnesses currently constitute a substantial portion of the population.

Terri McDonald, Assistant Sheriff, Los Angeles County Sheriff Department

Terri McDonald, Assistant Sheriff, Los Angeles County Sheriff Department

“It takes a village and mentally ill citizens are some of our most vulnerable,” said Terri McDonald, assistant sheriff of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “We can be proud of this step forward in reducing our reliance on jails to deal with our mentally ill.” The center will be run by Exodus Foundation for Recovery, which has been providing psychiatric services in Southern California since 1989. The urgent care center brings additional medical services to the Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center Campus, which already include the MLK Outpatient Center and Center for Public Health. The hospital is scheduled to open next year. “Today, we move one step closer to the MLK Medical Campus we’ve been waiting for,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, Director of Community and Integrated Programs for the Department of Health Services, noting that the center is a model of recovery and urgent care for mental health centers throughout the region.“It is this image that makes me excited to be here today as we look forward to the services Exodus will provide with its many campus partners for years to come.”

Protecting the County’s Children

Following the heartbreaking death of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez last month and revelations that the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services and other agencies failed to intervene despite multiple abuse allegations made by family and teachers, Los Angeles County Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Michael D. Antonovich have authored a motion to create an independent commission tasked with digging deeper into why child protection reforms have not been implemented. The Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection Review would be made up of two members appointed by each supervisor by July 1, 2013. The commission would investigate all previously delayed or failed efforts to implement reforms and provide recommendations for a feasible plan of action at DCFS. The commission would also analyze the current structure and scope of DCFS as well as ways to increase cooperation between the departments of Mental Health, Public Health, the Los Angeles County Sheriff, District Attorney, Dependency Court and commissions to better protect children.

“When the lives of children are at stake, we simply cannot stand by and hope that reforms take hold,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas. “The hope is that this commission will examine the actions, or inaction, that have led to the deaths of innocent children and develop a true action plan not a band-aid solution.”

Added Supervisor Antonovich: “This commission will examine the full scope of departments involved, including Mental Health, Public Health and law enforcement, as well as the current public policies in place to more effectively help prevent future tragedies and improve outcomes for children.”

Broken water main floods streets

A water main break near the historic canal district, threatened several residential blocks with severe water damage today, before fire and water officials were able to stabilize the incident. No one was injured. Just after 1:00 pm on Friday, May 11, 2012, the Los Angeles Fire Department was dispatched to the 200 block of Carroll Canal for a reported “Flooding”. They were met by representatives from the Department of Water and Power (DWP), who were already working diligently to shut-down a broken 6 inch water main. This particular water main was less than 20 years-old, having been installed in 1993.

With rising waters now running down the middle of the street, additional resources were called to assist with first, diverting the water and then, the de-watering operations that would ultimately ensue. 55 Firefighters, under the command of Battalion Chief Michael Bowman, worked together to prevent thousands of gallons of water from damaging the 200, 300 and 400 blocks between Carroll Canal and South Venice Boulevard.

For nearly two hours, the LAFD continued de-watering operations, utilizing various technical appliances. DWP successfully shut down the main, water levels stabilized and then finally began to retreat. As a precaution, electrical power to the immediate area was also temporarily shut.

While dozens of occupancies were spared, there were two structures that unfortunately did sustain “significant damage”. Dollar loss estimates were not yet available. No injuries were reported and no residents were displaced.

The cause of the break is being actively investigated by DWP. Additionally, clean-up work continues by DWP, as do their efforts to safely restore both utilities to the affected area.

Article courtesy of Los Angeles Fire Department.

Identity theft prevention: 12 tips

With over nine million victims each year nationally, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in Los Angeles County.  In the cyber age, where information is dispersed across the web, just being careful isn’t enough to protect your identity.  If you are serious about protecting yourself, the 12 tips below courtesy of of will get you started.

Identity theft starts with the misuse of your personal identifying information such as your name, Social Security number, credit card numbers, or other financial account information.

Check your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus every year.

Open your credit card bills and bank statements right away. Review your statements and close unused accounts. Be aware if bills don’t arrive on time.

Don’t carry your Social Security card or PIN numbers in your purse or wallet.

Avoid giving any personal information over the phone, mail, or Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.

Verify credentials when solicited for donations.

Keep a helpful eye for elderly family members and vulnerable neighbors.

Make sure that you disconnect your laptop from a broadband or a shared connection when you are not using it.

Avoid offers and pop-ups that sound too good to be true.

Remove your name from mailing lists for pre-approved credit offers. Call toll-free 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688).

Only enter personal information on secure web pages that encrypt your data in transit.

If you’re going to use a mail box, do so during or close to the posted pick up hours. Retrieve mail promptly and discontinue delivery while out of town.