Council Meeting Recap: Jan. 26, 2021
All council members were present for the Tuesday, January 26 City Council meeting. Open session started at 6:20 p.m. and ended at 10:18 p.m. Here are the highlights:
Statewide Stay-At-Home Order Lifted. LA County to allow Outdoor Dining beginning Friday. California annulled the regional stay-at-home orders on Jan 25 and will return to the color-tier system easing some restrictions. Emergency Services Management Director Raymond Cheung explained that Los Angeles County remains on the purple-tier because the 4-week ICU capacity in Southern California is projected to rise to 33.3%. According to Cheung, Los Angeles County will release a new health order on Friday, Jan. 29 addressing opening outdoor dining. Mayor Pro Tem Jim Dear requested that an exception also be made for Go Kart World from the county’s department of Public Health, pointing out that the Porsche Driving Center (a similar outdoor driving experience) is allowed to open and operate. Currently this is what is allowed under the new orders:
Outdoor Private Gatherings up to 15 people.
Personal Care Services (Barbershops, Nail Salons, Massage Therapy) can open at 25% capacity.
Museums, Zoos, and Aquariums can operate outdoors.
Gyms and Fitness Facilities can operate outdoors.
New Public Works Director, Senior Planner, and Senior Network Administrator Introduced. City Manager Sharon Landers and Human Resources Director Fay Mosely introduced three major hires during the meeting. Eliza Jane Whitman was obtained as the new Director of Public Works; Stefanie Edmondson as the new Senior Planner; and Mitchell Morones as the new Senior Network Administrator. Eliza Jane Whitman has more than 29 years of experience in engineering construction of major water transportation environmental, energy and infrastructure projects for international federal state and local agencies as well as private utilities and developers in the United States, Europe and Asia. She most recently was the owner and president of EW Consulting Inc. Stefanie Edmondson started her new job in November 2020 and previously worked for Municipalities of Malibu, Ventura, Goleta, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. Prior to working for the city of Carson, Mitchell Morones worked as a Network Administrator for Compton Unified School District for 13 years.
Apply to Become a Member of Commissions, Committees, and Boards. The city of Carson is seeking participants to serve on Commissions, Committees, and Boards following Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes motion to vacate and remove all members during the Jan. 14 special city council meeting. She continued cleaning the slate on the Jan 26 meeting by additionally vacating all subcommittees and established an Ad-Hoc committee consisting of herself and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Dear to review and consolidate all commissions, committees, and boards. With these decisions by Mayor Davis-Holmes, members of the community now have an opportunity to apply to one of these boards that provide guidance in the city’s decision making. Applications and information can be found on the city’s website or by calling the city clerk’s office.
New Layout chosen for Carriage Crest Park Expansion. The city council decided on a concept layout that could give Carriage Crest Park an $11.4 million makeover. In October 2020, the city approved a lease agreement with the LA Sanitation District adding 10 acres to the park for 30 years. The renovation would be used to improve all existing facilities as well as incorporate new amenities like a dog park, multiple baseball diamonds of various sizes, basketball courts, a playground, and new walkways. However according to Community Services Director Robert Lennox, the plan is contingent on the city receiving an $8.5 million grant made available through Proposition 68 which was passed in 2018. Prop 68 created a program that issues up to $8.5 million grants to municipalities for new and improved park projects. During the Nov. 4, 2020 council meeting, the city council approved a resolution authorizing the grant application submission for Carriage Crest and Foisia Parks and according to the staff report, grants will be awarded in the summer of 2021. Councilmember Cedric Hicks and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Dear suggested adding prefabricated restrooms by the dog park and an additional 3rd smaller grass-field for baseball rookies. If the city is awarded the grant money, the item will come back to the council to decide how to allocate the remaining $2.9 million.
COVID-19 report Indicates Steady Decline of New Cases. Virtual Vaccine Educational Session To Be Announced. The usual COVID-19 presentation came with some much-needed good news indicating a downward trend for cases, deaths, and hospitalizations in L.A. county as well as the purchase of an additional 200 million Pfizer and Moderna vaccines from the Biden administration. According to Emergency Services Management Director Raymond Cheung, the influx of new vaccines brings the total to 600 million vaccines, enough to vaccinate 300 million Americans. The increased supply of the vaccine on a federal level is a possible good sign for the city of Carson. Previously, the city noted that the biggest obstacle to obtaining a vaccination site was a lack of vaccines. Cheung also added that for the last 4 weeks an average of 150,000 vaccines were shipped to L.A. County per week, a rate which would take over a year to cover the entire population of the county. As of Jan 26, the city of Carson has a total of 7,903 COVID-19 Cases and 140 deaths, 40 of which occurred in the last two weeks according to Cheung. Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes announced that the council will plan on holding a Virtual Vaccine Education Sessions with UCLA Medical Center in February to inform residents on the safety of all available COVID-19 vaccinations.