All council members were present for the Tuesday, Apr. 19 City Council meeting. Open session started at 5:03 p.m. and ended at 8:20 p.m. Here's what you missed:
City of Carson receives the 2021 Tree City USA designation reward. When it comes to rewards the City of Carson lately has internalized the same motto as made famous by American record executive DJ Khaled: “Another one.” Shortly after receiving first place in Engineering Achievement for the Carriage Crest Park Storm Water Capture Project, Public Works Director Eliza Jane Whitman announced that the City was awarded a 2021 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for commitment towards urban forestry. Councilmember Cedric Hicks gave a shout out to Carson Street Elementary School which successfully pledged and planted 100 trees for the school’s 100-year anniversary, “The Carson Elementary School celebrated 100th anniversary, and they had a pledge to […] plant 100 trees by Arbor Day. They exceeded that by doing 200 plus trees and planted all along within the city.” The rest of the council shared similar stories of the City’s green thumb background with Councilmember Jim Dear speaking on Carson’s history of agriculture, “You know, Carson Street Elementary, it was founded 100 years ago, 99% of the students were the children of farmers. And Carson is a traditionally a natural wetlands and farmland and lots of agriculture. So we have a rich history in trees and other plants, and it's really great that the city of Carson can continue to be healthier by having more trees.” Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes thanked Whitman for her good work saving Carson’s trees and summarized the City’s green stance with one final “We Love Trees!”
Former City Councilmember Julie Ruiz-Raber receives Plaque for establishing City’s first annual César Chávez Day. The council presented former Mayor Pro Tem. Julie Ruiz-Raber a plaque for organizing the City’s very first annual César Chávez Day at Dominguez Park almost 20 years ago. Ruiz-Raber was first elected to the City Council in 2003 and served for eight years, several times as the City’s Mayor Pro Tem. During the recognition ceremony, Ruiz-Raber recollected establishing the first César Chávez Day, “In 2003, when I was first elected to the Carson City Council, one of my first order of business was to place on the agenda support to establish a Cesar Chavez Day commemoration and event […] I'm proud to say that we were the first city in all of the South Bay area to celebrate this day.” She accepted the plaque quoting a lesson from Cesar Chavez. “I thank and I humbly accept this plaque on behalf of our Latino community and all other ethnicities who reside in Carson because Cesar Chavez said: ‘Preservation of one's culture does not require contempt or disrespect of other cultures.’ Cesar Chavez was all about inclusion of all ethnicities.”
$220,000 CDBG funds transferred from Anderson Park Improvements to Neighborhood Pride Program. After approving an injection of funds to the Neighborhood Pride Program at the last city council meeting earlier this month, the City will once again add $220,000 to the low-income home repair program. Community Development Director Saied Naaseh explained the decision to move the $220,000 CDBG allocation from Anderson’s Park American Disability Act improvement project as to it is not expected to be completed by Program Year 2021-2022. Including this influx of funding to the Neighborhood Pride Program, the total allocation budget as of now is $834,949.
The waiting list for NPP will re-open on May 2nd. The City will accept the first 75 eligible low to moderate income Carson homeowners and will offer either grants or loans in the form of repairs to improve single family residences up to $20,000 and mobile homes up to $15,000. According to the City’s website, “Applications will be mailed to the residents approximately two weeks upon closing of the list. Prior participants will not be allowed for participation due to funding availability. For further information, you may contact the Community Development Department at 310-952-1700 ext. 1334.”
Second Reading of Councilmember pay increase approved by $3,875. A 5% increase of councilmember salaries passed a second reading by a 3-2 vote with Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes and Councilmember Jim Dear voting against the increase. Similarly to when the ordinance was introduced at the previous council meeting, no discussions or explanations were made by any of the councilmembers as to why they were either in favor or opposed the raise. The staff report explains that the ordinance is a result of the city showing an “abundance of caution” as the $12,500 HERO pay which was approved during the Mar. 15 council meeting is not considered pensionable compensation under CalPERS rules and thus cannot be considered an increase of ongoing salary or compensation. “However, in an abundance of caution regarding the compensation limits, and in consideration that there has been no salary adjustment since the City Charter was adopted in 2018, the proposed ordinance adjusts the City Council member compensation in accordance with the requirements of Section 2301 of the Carson Municipal and Government Code Section 36516.” The staff report explains that any City Council salary adjustment is limited to only 5% per year.
Captain Jones of Carson Sheriff’s Station announces Guest Starring on Carson Observer Podcast. The list of guests attending the Carson Observer Podcast continues to grow. During his presentation, Captain Jones announced his plans to be interviewed on the next episode of the podcast, “Tomorrow, I will be participating in a podcast with the Carson Accountability and Transparency Group. They'll be asking some questions, we'll be going over some information in regards to the sheriff's department and how we provide law enforcement services to the local area.” Keep a lookout for our episode with Captain Jones of the Carson Sheriff’s Station coming in May.
The Carson Observer Podcast recently interviewed City Manager David Roberts, Jr. who discussed the importance of his role among other topics. Look out for episode 4 with David Roberts next week on Youtube or your favorite podcast streaming service.
The council made the following Proclamations:
Recognizing April 19 as Arbor Day.
Recognizing the month of April as DMV/Donate Life California Month.
Cinco De Mayo 5K Fun Run/Walk: Sunday May 1st, 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., @ Carson Park
Cinco De Mayo Celebration: Sunday, May 1st, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., @ Carson Park
Virtual Mental Health Resource Forum: Saturday, May 7th, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Faith, Family, and Friends Festival: Saturday, May 14th, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., @ Stevenson Park
Memorial Day Tribute 2022: Thursday, May 26th, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m., @ Veterans Sports Complex