All council members were present for the Tuesday, Sept. 15 City Council meeting. Open session started at 6:04 p.m. and ended at 8:53 p.m. Here are the highlights:
City Council Approve an additional $20,000 to push Census Participation.
The city council unanimously approved increasing the Carson Counts campaign budget by an additional $20,000 with the condition that the funds primarily be used for advertising to reach Carson’s various minority groups. “That investment is going to pay dividend, literally tenfold over the next 10 years,” urged Mayor Al Robles, “I think an aggressive effort is warranted in these last few weeks.” The Mayor originally motioned to transfer all $40,000 from the Sales Tax Educational Campaign budget to the Census Initiative but after hearing suggestions from Councilwoman Lula Davis-Holmes, changed his motion, ultimately not removing funds from the Ballot Measure Informational campaign. While a bigger budget is nice, City Manager Sharon Landers and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Dear informed the Mayor that the Carson Counts campaign has spent a very small amount of its original $40,000. “It might be that $0 of that $20,000 will be actually spent and the rest would stay in our general fund,“ explained Dear, “I’m not opposed to the motion, I just want to be realistic and let the public know for Transparency and Accountability purposes.” As of September 15, the City of Carson self-response rate is 72.5%. Help Carson get the federal funds we rightfully deserve by completing your Census at CaliforniaCensus.org.
City Toughens Up on Littering Violations.
The city will make a concentrated effort in addressing the growing concern of gloves, masks, and other PPE equipment being discarded in retail parking lots with a plan brought forward by Councilmember Cedric Hicks called Carson Cleanup. The plan would increase littering fines as well as send letters to commercial properties reminding them of their responsibility to maintain their properties free of litter and debris. Fines will increase to $250 for the first offense, $350 for the 2nd, and finally $500. “I don’t want to see a kid out there picking up any of these items that are potentially COVID-19 infected,” explained Hicks, “It behooves us to at least put an effort out there to let people know don’t throw your stuff on the ground. Throw it in a trashcan!” The council will discuss looking into stricter fines for individuals who refuse to wear masks at the next council meeting on October 6.
Letter from Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation prompts Mayor’s attempt to Transfer Funds from Sales Tax Educational Campaign.
A letter sent from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association spurred the council to ensure that public funds would not be used to advocate for the proposal of the Sales Tax Measure Ballot. The letter points to a recent court case where the County of Los Angeles had to pay a settlement of $1.3 million for using taxpayer’s dollars campaigning for Measure H on the March 2017 ballot. In an effort to reduce the city’s exposure to similar litigation, Mayor Al Robles motioned to transfer all allocated funds from the campaign toward Carson Counts. “We did do education campaigns on every single previous measure that the city has put forward, but this is different,” declared Mayor Robles, “When we did it in the past, L.A. county had not been fined over a million dollars.” Councilwoman Lula Davis-Holmes addressed inadvertently remarking that funds would be used to ‘pass’ the Sales Tax Measure during the August 18 meeting. “I want to make it perfectly clear. I was not speaking for or against the Sales Tax. I just think people need to be educated on the pros and cons and let the people decide. I’m neutral.” Mayor Robles’ motion never came to a vote as City Attorney, Sunny Soltani, clarified that the item could only be received and filed.
COVID-19 Update and Taskforce Totals.
City Manager Sharon Landers updated the council with COVID-19 totals and shared a video depicting the hard work of the Carson Task Force staff. Landers praised Carson residents for staying safe during her COVID-19 update which showed the 7-Day moving average for daily COVID-19 cases in both Carson and Los Angeles County has been steadily decreasing since late July. As of September 14, the City of Carson has 1,776 COVID-19 cases with 57 deaths. Staff report indicates Taskforce Programs totals as of September 2:
The Carson Health Resources Hotline has handled over 10,766 calls.
Grab & Go provided 67,723 meals.
Meals on Wheels delivered 11,146 meals.
Carson Essentials To Go sold 1,148 food packages.
COVID-19 Test Site has administered 15,889 tests.
Halloween Drive-Thru: Saturday October 31, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the Carson Community Center. Pre-registration is required. Two city parks will be decorated, and gift bags will be given out at the event.
Parking Lot Bingo: Wednesday October 7, Check-in starts 12:30 p.m. at the Carson Community Center, East Parking Lot. Mayor Robles: “This will be a big day event.”
Census 2020 Caravan: Saturday September 26, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Juanita Millender-McDonald Community Center (East Side Parking Lot). To target the Hard-To-Count (HTC) population, the Carson Caravan will travel through neighborhoods where counts have been low.