How The Government Shutdown Is Affecting SoCal [UPDATED]
The federal government shutdown is affecting folks nationwide, but fear not, some services remain in effect. The Post Office should change its motto to "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor shutdown," as it will continue to deliver the mail. (Hallelujah.)
Also still on the job, according to ABC News, air traffic controllers, Border Patrol agents and most food inspectors. Active-duty military personnel will stay on duty and continue receiving paychecks, school lunches and breakfasts will continue to be served (although some programs might be affected), and food stamps will still be distributed. Social Security checks will also continue go out, KPCC reports.
Here are the services that are affected:
- The FAA announced that nearly 2,500 safety office personnel will be furloughed (sent on leave without pay), ABC reports.
- National parks, including the Santa Monica National Recreation Area and Angeles National Forest, will likely close.
- Federal Housing Administration loans could be delayed.
- Passports and citizenships applications will not be issued (Actually, passports were being given out, as usual, on Monday. See update, below.)
- WIC, a federally funded nutritional program for kids, could be shut down.
- The Board of Veterans Appeals will stop issuing rulings, meaning decisions about some disability claims by veterans will be put on hold.
- According to Rep. Adam Schiff of Burbank, FEMA employees might also be furloughed.
- Schiff also says that military personnel, including California Guardsmen and women won't be paid until the shutdown is resolved.
Rep. Henry A. Waxman, whose 33rd district includes West Los Angeles, as well as West Hollywood, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, issued a statement saying, "A shutdown is going to hurt people across the country. Disabled veterans won't get their benefits claims processed on time, small businesses won't be able to get loans, and important government research will stop. Already, national parks and monuments, including the Santa Monica National Recreation Area in my district, are closing and workers are being furloughed."
An email statement from Rep. Schiff sent before the shutdown became official, noted the effects of shutting down California's national parks, "In 2012, there were over 35 million visitors to California national parks generating $1.2 million n economic benefits. With visits by tourists disrupted, the economic impact of a shutdown could cost California millions of dollars in tourism."
The Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare"), which sparked the shutdown, is also in effect, as of today, October 1.
UPDATE, OCTOBER 2, 4:26 P.M.The situation about what is closed and what isn't is confusing: Although the Angeles National Forest's website announced that it is closed along with the rest of the U.S. Forest Service, that actually means just their offices, not the forest itself. Thanks to KCET for clarifying that.
"You can go for a hike, but all facilities are closed down," Captain Mike Mercado, the forest's law enforcement captain, told KCET. That means that restrooms, visitor centers, and parking lots that can be gated are all closed. Even campgrounds are closed.
Maddeningly, however, you'll still need to pay for an Adventure Pass if you're going to Angeles National Forest, according to Forest Supervisor Tom Contreras. And because visitor centers are closed, the only places to purchase them are local commercial outlets.
Essential state law enforcement and firefighters are still on duty. "CHP, Caltrans, and L.A. County and Department of Public Works are not affected by the shutdown so their duties within the forest for Angeles Crest Highway and Angeles Forest Highway, stay the same. I saw each agency working when I was up there yesterday," KCET's Zach Behrens tells LAist.
UPDATE, 12:38 P.M. City News Service is offering more details reports of what's open locally and what isn't:
- Federal courts in the Central District of California—which has responsibility for all federal litigation in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties—will remain open at this stage of the government shutdown, according to District Court Executive Terry Nafisi. While some scheduled courtroom proceedings in individual matters may be affected by the shutdown, attorneys and litigants in such cases will be notified directly by court staff, she said.
- Veterans Administration facilities remained open, and while the federal building in Westwood was emptier than usual, the passport office was operating normally.
- National Parks across the country were shut down, along with National Archive facilities, including the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda. Portions of the Ronald Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley were also closed, although the outdoor grounds and Air Force One Pavilion were open. The Angeles National Forest says on its website, "Due to the lapse in federal government funding, the U.S. Forest Service, as with other federal agencies, is closed with the exception of certain essential services." The Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area website redirects to a message that reads, "Because of the federal government shutdown, all national parks are closed and National Park Service webpages are not operating."
- Los Angeles County CEO Bill Fujioka said the county was operating normally, noting on his Twitter page that the "federal shutdown will not have significant fiscal or program impact on the county." He also said that no local parks were closed, which contradicts other reports.
According to the state Employment Development Department, Los Angeles County was home to about 48,100 federal workers in 2012.
"Congress needs to put the politics aside and focus on the people's business,'' Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. "Washington's dysfunction is hurting our economy.''