All council members were present for the Tuesday, April 6 City Council meeting. Open session started at 6:17 p.m. and ended at 11:40 p.m. Here are the highlights:
City Clerk Donesia Gause-Aldana Resigns after 9 Years of Service. City Clerk Donesia Gause-Aldana took the stand for the last public comment to announce her resignation from her post. Gause-Aldana will leave her post which she has held since 2012 to work for the City of Riverside in a similar position. “The people of Carson had been good to me and it has been my great joy to provide them with the best and to receive from many of them their best in return,” she reminisced, “Although I am leaving my post here as the city clerk, Carson remains my home and I will remain committed in doing my part as a member of this amazing community to continue ensuring that Carson lives up to its potential and future unlimited.” Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes, the councilmembers, the City Attorney, and the City Treasurer all congratulated Gause-Aldana on her new position, showering her with praise and thanks for her professionalism and hard work she gave the city. “Thank you for the professionalism you brought to the City Clerk’s office… you modernized the office quickly and you put in a process that really was effective and worked well with the city,” said City Attorney Sunny Soltani, “I’m going to miss working with you.” Gause-Aldana’s last official day as city clerk is Sunday Apr 11. The council will have to come back to discuss process to fill the City Clerk vacant seat.
Ordinance Prohibiting Flavored Tobacco and Vape Sales not to be Suspended Again. Retailers in Carson will be prohibited from selling any flavored tobacco (including menthol) and electronic cigarettes as the City will not extend the grace period for its ordinance. This comes after Councilmember Jawane Hilton's motion to not enforce the ordinance died on the floor for lack of a 2nd from his colleagues. Hilton maintained that the City should wait until California residents had a chance to vote on the SB 793 referendum in November 2022. SB 793, a law prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products across the state, was supposed to go into effect Jan 2021 but enforcement has since been suspended. Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes opposed the motion mentioning that vendors had more than enough time to sell their remaining flavor tobacco product, "Sometimes for our kids it costs a little bit of money to make sure they are out of harms way. We told our kids that we were going to put this in place and I’m going to stand by it. If the state comes up and says our ordinance is null and void then we will deal with that. But that is not right now. This ordinance is intact, in-place, and I cannot support suspending it, postponing it, or anything like that. It’s been in place and we gave our vendors enough time to sell their product. We said unanimously. if you come back here, it’s going to be 'No'." The ordinance was adopted on Jan 14, 2020 and on Apr 7, 2020 the council suspended enforcement until Jan 1, 2021 to allow retailers time to liquidate their inventories.
Resolution Establishing Proper Budget Accounts for City Special Events Passes. The council unanimously passed a resolution that would set up proper accounting policies and procedures for city-run special events. This comes after a report from Gruber and Associates presented during the Feb 18, 2020 city council meeting recommended better accounting policies and procedures as city special event budgets lacked proper accounting practices to be accurately audited at the time. In addition to setting up a separate account for each special event, the resolution aims to establish a cash receipting process, transparent reporting of funding sources, create internal controls over cash disbursement, expenses, and contracts, and capture the true cost of events. The Gruber and Associates report also urged adoption of a policy that would use funds from contributions received and event fees to subsidize costs first before any transfer of General Fund monies. In response Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes clarified that special events belong to the city rather than a non-profit, "I want colleagues to consider one thing: all of these events are city events and you should budget accordingly. Anything you get extra is extra. Somewhere along the line when we ran into a budget deficit, certain councilmembers, myself included, started raising money. My goal is for them to be recreational city events and if there is some additional money is coming in, then they are to augment but these are all city events. It is not non-profits against the city. It is not that at all."
A detailed analysis of city-run special events budgets will be presented during the 3rd budget workshop on May 16.
Included in the Gruber and Associates report was a letter from CAT supporting a transparent audit of the city's Cultural Arts Foundation and all non-profit entities receiving public funds.
Council passes Anti-Discrimination Resolution. Sends letter to State Legislature urging Raise in Hate Crimes Fines.
The council unanimously passed a resolution condemning all forms of violence, discrimination, racism, harassment, and xenophobia against people of Asian descent and persons of all ethnicities, races, national origins, and backgrounds. This comes after eight individuals were killed in Atlanta, Georgia on Mar 16. Out of the eight victims, seven were women and six were of Asian descent. In addition, the council will send a letter to members of the state legislature asking for an increase in penalties against hate crimes. Attorney Jaime Monteclaro pointed out in a public comment that California Penal Code 422.6 PC fines hate crime charges up to $5,000 while California Penal Code 597 fines for animal cruelty crimes up to $20,000.
Council Emphasizes Urgency to Hire Demographer For District Revision Process. The council district boundaries may need to be redrawn based on new population data from the 2020 Census. In anticipation of that, city staff presented a rough timeline as to when district maps have to be revised and discussed the importance of hiring a demographer early. "The first two public hearings have to occur before any map is drawn or published. If we waited until September, you still would need to have those first 2 public hearings where there is no map." explained Assistant City Manager John Raymond recalling the first couple public hearings that took place in 2019, which did not feature a published map. He says he wants a demographer present at these initial meetings to publish a "community of interest" map around the summer time with public recommendations as to where district boundaries should be adjusted. Mayor Pro Tem Jim Dear and Councilmember Cedric Hicks further explained that there are only 3 main demographers in Los Angeles County thus it would behoove the council to get a demographer early to get ahead of the curve since every municipality and subdivision with districts in the state will be going through the same process. Public hearings are expected to start in June 2021 while Census data will be released late September 2021. Raymond added that the new map would not affect the District 4 Special Election to be held in November.
Continuation of Governance Policies related to District-Election Cities Workshop set for Tuesday Apr 13 at 10 a.m. First workshop was held on Mar 4 and discussed City Council Initiatives, the difference between Standing and Ad-Hoc Committees, and how to agendize city-wide issues and district issues. The second workshop should feature discussions on citywide events, district only events, and how to address constituent concerns.
Upcoming J&J COVID 19 Vaccination Pop-Up Clinics: Please register for an appointment online.
Saturday Apr 10: at Carson Community Center, 10:00 a.m - 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., Register: myturn.ca.gov
Wednesday Apr 14: at Veterans Sports Complex, 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Register: bhsvaccine.org/janssen14