The Carson Observer

A Project of Carson Accountability & Transparency
Promoting effective, honest, accountable local government practices in the City of Carson

BREAKING NEWS: City of Carson Formally Sued Over Voting Rights Act

SEP. 12, 2019

Key Public Forums this Month to Determine the Future of Carson Elections

Papers were filed yesterday in Los Angeles County Superior Court suing the City of Carson over alleged violations of the California Voting Rights Act.

The City has been under legal threat for over a year by the Southwest Voter Education Project and an attorney who has sued dozens of other cities in California.

CAT will be hosting a FREE Community Workshop on Saturday, Sept. 14 to review the currently proposed maps for Carson and update on the process. Please RSVP to attend.

In Memoriam: Dr. Rita Boggs

SEP. 10, 2019

Dr. Rita Boggs passed away on August 10, 2019 to complications of dementia. A 30-year Carson resident and Staten Island native, Dr. Boggs received her bachelor�s degree and master�s degree in chemistry; and her doctorate from University of Pennsylvania.

An educator, chemist, entrepreneur, and a citizen-activist, Dr. Rita Boggs will be sorely missed by any and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her. In lieu of flowers, her family has asked for donations to ACS Scholars, a program designed to support disadvantaged college chemistry students.

Water Treatment Facility Renamed in Honor of Mayor Albert Robles

SEP. 10, 2019

The Grand Opening for the Albert Robles Center for Water Recycling & Environmental Learning was held in August by the Water Replenishment District (WRD) of Southern California. This facility in Pico Rivera is a major part of WRD�s Water Independence Now initiative, established to aide its efforts to replenish groundwater in the L.A. Basin.

Meet Sharon Landers: Carson�s First Female City Manager

SEP. 10, 2019

In May, the Carson City Council appointed Sharon Landers to serve as the new city manager. She is the first woman to hold the position in the city�s history. She replaces Ken Farfsing, who retired from the city late last year after a 23-year career in city government.

Previously, Landers served as assistant city manager for the City of Irvine for more than a decade, where she modernized city services and oversaw several complex large-scale capital projects.

City of Carson to Build Playground for Children with all Abilities

SEP. 10, 2019

In July, the Carson City Council unanimously approved the construction of an �all abilities playground� at Dolphin Park. The design provides various stimulating structures that appeal to a wider range of users of differing ages with varying physical, cognitive, and social-emotional abilities, encouraging assimilation.

LA Galaxy, Kimmelman Foundation to Build World-Class Athletic Complex in Carson

SEP. 10, 2019

A new athletic and academic facility for underserved youth in the south bay is slated to be built in Carson. The complex, which is planned to include 52 tennis courts, five soccer and multi-purpose fields, and a 25,000 sq. ft. learning center will be located on 80 acres which is currently home to the Victoria Golf Course.

The campus will be providing services to �underserved local youth and families� at little to no cost according to their official website and house �the largest public tennis court venue on the West Coast.�

The City of Carson is Hiring

SEP. 10, 2019

The City of Carson currently has 28 open vacancies for positions with the city. Of those, more than 20 have been listed for more than 30 days. Some of these positions are central to the city�s operation such as Senior Human Resources Analyst in the Risk Management Department.

Retail Outlets Begin Construction and New Housing Being Built in Carson

SEP. 10, 2019

There is a significant amount of new development happening in Carson, which in addition to new jobs will bring new shopping opportunities and housing in the city.

The full status of development in Carson can be viewed on an interactive map on the city website.

What is Going on with the Wilmington Exit off the 405?

SEP. 10, 2019

In 2006 the city council and then-mayor Jim Dear approved a contract with Parsons Contractor to prepare plans to improve the Wilmington Avenue Interchange off the 405 Freeway. Thirteen years later the project is still not complete, and local businesses continue to face disruptions, while costs to the city rise. Multiple changes to the original contract have added more than $700,000 to the original $1.8 million contract.

Carson Passes Budget on Time, But Dips Into Reserves

SEP. 10, 2019

At 3:30 a.m. on June 19 after a marathon 10-hour meeting, the Carson City Council passed a nearly $92 million budget for the new fiscal year. Although passed on time for the first time in years, the $91,627,456 budget, will create a $2.9 million deficit for the city�s general fund.

Last Minute Special Council Meeting Sees the Elimination of Two Staff Positions

SEP. 10, 2019

The vote to remove the passport services has sparked questions from the public regarding the purpose of such a move. It is especially worrisome to see a council eliminate two full time positions just months after approving a $50,000 annual increase for themselves.

Although holding special council meetings is completely legal, they�re traditionally only held when there�s an urgent issue the council must address immediately. But during the last 17 special council meetings, there doesn�t seem to be much urgency in the issues being addressed.

Carson, Facing Litigation, Considering �District Elections�

SEP. 10, 2019

Key Public Forums this Month to Determine the Future of Carson Elections

Prompted by legal threats from voting rights advocates, Carson is set to join dozens of other California cities in changing its council elections to a �by-district� system.

Carson Accountability and Transparency (CAT) will host a workshop Sept. 14 to review the maps being considered by the city. The last scheduled public hearing on district elections is Sept. 17, after which the council can decide on one or more draft maps or choose to go in a different direction.

Introducing James M. Foisia Park

MAR. 28, 2019

On Dec. 4, 2018, the City Council unanimously voted to approve the renaming of General Winfield Scott Park to James M. Foisia Park.

Foisia was a longtime community activist who passed away in 2005. A city employee of 30 years, Foisia started out as a recreation leader at Scott Park before becoming the Senior Recreation Center Supervisor of the park.

A respected member of the Carson community, Foisia supported athletic programs and was a mentor to numerous youths in the city.

Cal State Dominguez Hills Welcomes New President with Weeklong Celebration

MAR. 28, 2019

The first week of February was the official inauguration of California State University, Dominguez Hills� new and 11th president, Thomas A. Parham, Ph.D.

Dr. Parham previously served as vice chancellor for student affairs and an adjunct faculty member at the University of California, Irvine, where he had been since 1985.

Elito Santarina: A Community Pillar with Decades of Service

MAR. 28, 2019

Elito Santarina has been serving the City of Carson for more than two decades. Sixteen of those years have been spent as a council member for the City. However, on Nov. 6, 2018 the voters of the City of Carson alarmingly chose not to re-elect Elito for a fifth term.

First elected to the dais in March 2003, Elito previously served the city on the planning, parks and recreation, senior citizens advisory, citywide advisory and economic development commissions.

City Council Continues to Schedule �Special Meetings,� Straining Public Participation

MAR. 28, 2019

City Council Convened Five Last Minute Meetings in 60 Days � Even on a Friday Night!

In a distressing trend, a slim 3-2 majority of the city council has called a series of �Special Meetings� outside the normal meeting schedule. The scheduling of these last minute meetings at irregular hours makes it difficult for the public to participate in the decisions being made by the council.

The council typically meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month to make critical decisions on a range of issues facing the community. But between Jan. 8 and Feb. 8, the council voted to hold five additional special meetings.

Council Action Saves 200 Trucking Jobs

MAR. 28, 2019

At the Feb. 5 city council meeting, a lengthy debate ensued over whether to force a local truck yard to cease its operations. Shippers Transport Express is a truck yard of roughly 60 acres in the city--the largest truck parking and cargo container storage facility in Carson. It has operated for about 20 years on a lease from Marathon Petroleum, formerly Tesoro, and is estimated to employ up to 250 people.

Stroke Center Patients Win Fee Reduction

MAR. 28, 2019

Last November, the City of Carson imposed a $70 monthly fee to the Joseph B. Jr. and Mary Anne O�Neal Stroke Center for visitors from outside the city. Carson residents continue to participate free.

Carson�s stroke center, one of only two such facilities in Southern California, helps survivors of stroke regain physical abilities and build a community of support. The other center is in Palm Springs. Many of the stroke survivors in the Center�s database are considered low income or live on a fixed income. Some became permanently disabled, while others became full-time caregivers for their loved ones.

Council Moves to Audit Cultural Arts Foundation, Other Non-Profits

MAR. 28, 2019

At Issue: How Are Taxpayer Funds Being Used to Support City Events Run by Non Profits?

On March 5 the city council discussed an item brought forth by Mayor Al Robles to audit the Citizens Cultural Arts Foundation, a non-profit organization that partners with the city on events including the Jazz Festival, the Women�s Health Conference and more.

The city�s staff report states that �events staged and organized by the Foundation are large and highly intertwined with the City�s resources.� Because of this statement, Carson Accountability & Transparency submitted a letter making the case for an accounting of public resources, cash and in-kind, expended to support these activities.

City Council Aides Subject to Possible Demotion

MAR. 28, 2019

Two City of Carson Council aides may be �reclassified� and effectively demoted by the City Council. The debate over this issue has raised questions about protection of whistleblowers in the city, as well as how the newly enacted City Charter deals with city personnel issues.

At the Jan. 28 Special Council Meeting, the council discussed reclassifying several positions including Community Liaisons and the Assistant to the City Manager. The item returned at the Feb. 19 meeting, where Mayor Al Robles called the reclassification an �action that will lead to litigation, directly.�

New Council Sworn In, 2020 Mayor�s Race Already Starting

MAR. 28, 2019

November�s city election prompted the return of Jim Dear to the city council.

Dear�s win meant the end of a 16-year city council career for Elito M. Santarina, spurring a heated argument regarding the city�s change to even year elections, and what that meant for previously voted on officials.

Voter-Approved Charter Grants Council $50,000 Pay Raise

MAR. 28, 2019

On Feb. 5 the City Council voted unanimously to increase its salaries as allowed by the recently enacted City Charter. The previous salaries for the council equaled, $1,722.38 per month, or just under $21,000 per year. Council salaries now total $77,500 a year�a $56,500 raise.

City Budget Process Asks for Resident Feedback

MAR. 28, 2019

Carson Has Run a Deficit for Most of Last Decade � What Does That Mean For You?

Carson has suffered from a budget deficit � spending more money than it takes in � for nine of the past 12 years. The current year�s budget totaled nearly $89 million, and had a forecasted deficit of $4.6 million.

The Carson City Council is preparing to pass a new budget, which it must do by June. This will involve several public meetings where Carson residents can discuss their priorities.

Upcoming City Events

OCT. 15, 2018

Breast Cancer 3-Mile Walk
Larry Itliong Day Celebration
Veterans Day Celebration

Cannabis Cultivation Permits Get Green Light

OCT. 15, 2018

The city received six permit applications, and at the Sept. 4 meeting the council approved two of those permits.

Cannabis tax revenue to the City from each commercial cannabis center is estimated to be up to $1 million in the first year of operation, $1.25 million in the second, and $1.75 million in the third.

In Memoriam: Anita Aves Santarina

OCT. 15, 2018

Anita Aves Santarina, wife of Carson Councilman Elito Santarina passed away Sept. 22, after a lingering illness. Anita, a retired chemical engineer, was an active community leader.

She was laid to rest on Oct. 4 at Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Premium Outlet Mall Coming to Carson

OCT. 15, 2018

Previous reports to the city suggest the center could be as large as 500,000 square feet with 150 stores. This same site, at the I-405 between Del Amo and Avalon, was once envisioned for an NFL stadium, and previous plans for retail and entertainment projects have not proceeded.

Council Candidates Finalized for November

SEP. 12, 2018

On Nov. 6 the City of Carson is holding its General Municipal Election for electing two city council members, with incumbents Lula Davis-Holmes and Elito Santarina running for re-election in a field of nine candidates.

In Memoriam: Mary Anne O�Neal

SEP. 12, 2018

�First Grandmother of Carson� Honored by Community

Mary Anne O�Neal, one of the City of Carson�s leading voices passed away in July, aged 92.

Carson Makes Guinness Book of World Records!

SEP. 12, 2018

Would you believe that the City of Carson is a world record holder for� making slime? As of July 1, 2018 the Guinness Book of World Records shows Carson as the title holder for �Most People Making Slime Simultaneously,� with 933 children and adults participating.

The event utilized the hashtag #CarsonGotSlimed across several social media outlets.