All council members were present for the Tuesday, Feb. 15 City Council meeting. Open session started at 5:01 p.m. and ended at 10:01 p.m. Here's what you missed:
Council agree that police presence is good for school campuses. As Los Angeles Unified School District Board Members continue their tug of war over reimagining school safety policies, all five Councilmembers stood united loud and clear under one message best stated by Councilmember Arleen Rojas: "The city of Carson and schools here are pro-police. They do want public safety, so that's a good thing." The statement was a response to a presentation given by LAUSD District 7 board member Tanya Ortiz Franklin regarding the board's new multi-tier prevention system approach to student safety. "I know there's a movement of defunding the police. We don't want them defunded here in Carson," said Mayor Pro Tem Jawane Hilton, "We don't want them harassing our kids. That's true. But we do also believe that some element of them are definitely positive and important." According to Franklin, along with the police budget cut was also a decision to not station police on school campuses but rather have them patrol the surrounding area. Even though the budget still allows for three officers to patrol the city's 22 schools, with 64 vacancies out of the total 250 officer force, only one officer is currently tasked with that patrol. Franklin agrees that the school board members are faced with a tough decision trying to create a school safety policy for all 1000 schools across the district that would satisfy the perspectives of all communities and invited the council's partnership with helping to find a right balance. Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes placed Hilton and Rojas on a newly formed ad-hoc committee and tasked them to return to the City Council with an official statement summarizing the council's position.
Incoming special city council meeting on redistricting to occur after remaining Townhalls. Now that six draft maps have been presented to the council, Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes requested to set up a special council meeting (date: to be determined) following the remaining local townhalls on the City's redistricting process. In an effort to try and increase public participation each councilmember will hold an in-person townhall in each current council district over the next 2 weeks. While residents may attend in person, all workshops will be broadcasted live over zoom and on Cable Channel 33 (Spectrum) or Channel 99 (AT&T). The schedule and locations for the townhalls are as follows:
Feb. 19, 10 a.m.: Mills Park, 1340 E Dimondale Dr, Carson, CA 90746, hosted by District 3 Councilman Cedric Hicks.
Feb. 19, 1 p.m.: Foisia Park, 23410 Catskill Ave, Carson, CA 90745, hosted by District 4 Councilwoman Arleen Rojas.
Feb. 22, 6 p.m.: Virtual/Online workshop.
Feb. 26, 10 a.m.: Stevenson Park, 17400 Lysander Dr, Carson, CA 90746, hosted by District 1 Mayor Pro Tem Jawane Hilton.
Feb. 26, 12 p.m.: Carson Community Center, 801 E Carson St, Carson, CA 90745, hosted by Councilman Jim Dear
The location and time for a townhall in District 2 will be determined at a later date.
The demographer presented the council with draft maps #5 and #6:
Draft Map #5: 1.3% deviation
Draft Map #6: 2.2% deviation
Captain Jones shares advice on how to spot signs of teen dating violence. Captain Jones of the Carson sheriff station urged residents to have meaningful dialogue with their young adults on what a healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships look like. Jones revealed that his department has been responding to several teen dating violence calls recently and have found instances of physical, emotional, and psychological types of dating abuse among adolescents. "This teen dating violence is is kind of a gateway into other forms of violence or other negative behavior." according to Captain Jones. In an effort to get ahead of the issue, Jones suggests that parents talk to about the following topics:
What 'consent' means and the power and control you have over your own body and decisions.
Watch out for signs of intimidation, blackmail, threats, and/or isolation requests and how to deal with them.
To not be afraid, to tell someone if you feel uncomfortable.
To set boundaries and a safety plan in case those boundaries get broken.
David C. Roberts, Jr. officially named City Manager. After filling the role for three months, David C. Roberts, Jr. officially received the position of City Manager as the council approved his contract for the job during open session. He will be succeeding previous City Manager Sharon Landers who planned on stepping down from her post by March 1 according to recent press release. David Roberts took over the duties of Landers following her administrative leave back in December 2021. Roberts began his public administration career back in 2007 in Human Resources with the City of San Bernardino. His background combines over 22 years of federal, public, and private sector experience while having worked with elected officials and leaders in various communities. Mr. Roberts holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and is currently working on his Doctorate Degree in Ministry.
According to the staff report, his compensation amount will be the same as what is currently paid to the incumbent City Manager at $281,140 annually with a guaranteed 3% cost-of-living-adjustments on his first 3 anniversaries of his employment. His contract includes other amenities such as $600 monthly auto allowance, $75 monthly cell phone allowance, deferred compensation match, and more.
Mid-Year Financial Report indicates $32 million surplus. The city may want to find a larger purse as a brief mid-year financial report cites that the city began the 2021-2022 fiscal year with $59.4 million in the General Fund Reserve. Director of the Finance Department, Tarik Rahmani, summarized the City’s positive financial condition stating that the General Reserve “is significantly one of the highest, if not the highest in Carson's history, with a $32 million in surplus.” Rahmani contributes the city’s high assets mainly to the city-wide 13% vacancy rate with Public Works (14 positions) and Community Services (9) having the most vacancies.
The report indicated an underspending in expenditures at this halfway point with only 45% of its $97 million budget used. Rahmani suggests that spending will accelerate later as vacancies fill up and the City finishes major project expenditures. On the revenue side, the city has collected almost $48 million or 52% of its adopted revenue budget with sales tax contributing the most at almost $14 million. Measure K, the Sales tax measure which passed in Nov. 2020, generated $6.2 million in revenue. The council unanimously approved a budget request to reallocate $458,579 from several department to Public Works for vehicle maintenance, city-wide landscaping maintenance, park and playground improvements, and building maintenance for the Community Center and City Hall.
Newly formed Ad-Hoc Committee tasked with planning the City’s 55th anniversary. The council unanimously approved the formation of the City’s 55th anniversary planning Ad-Hoc committee and instructed the group to return with a budget recommendation. “I’m going to remove myself and ask that Cedric Hicks and our Councilwoman [Arleen Rojas] be on this Ad-Hoc committee,” requested Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes, “And then come back with a recommendation and a budget real soon because a lot of our events are going to be planned and we need to see how we're going to move forward.” The council unanimously approved the motion while also allowing the Mayor to ‘share the ball’ for planning recommendations. The City’s 55th anniversary will occur on Feb. 20, 2023.
The council made the following proclamations for February:
Recognizing February 4 as National Wear Red Day in recognition of Women's Heart Health
Recognizing the month of February as Black History Month
Carson Homeless Count: Wednesday, Feb. 23, 8 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Black History Month Celebration: Saturday, Feb. 26, 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.