Council Meeting Recap: Jan 4, 2022
All council members were present for the Tuesday, Jan. 4 City Council meeting. Open session started at 5:01 p.m. and ended at 8:31 p.m. Here's what you missed:
Councilmember Jawane Hilton selected as Mayor Pro Tempore and Dr. Bradshaw welcomed as City Clerk. The next two years will feature a new Mayor Pro Tem in District 1’s Councilmember Jawane Hilton. Mayor Pro Tem Hilton, who was first elected to the city council in 2015 and recently was reelected in 2020, had previously served as the 2nd in command in 2018. He is the founder and senior pastor at City on the Hill Church in Carson and also founded a school that focuses on helping at-risk youth get the education and job training. Hilton thanked his colleagues for his appointment, “We are better together. As we go through 2022, even though it's some unparalleled times, we still have work to do in Carson and we're going to get it done with this great team. So, thank you and I'm honored. Thank you to my colleagues for appointing me Mayor Pro Tem tonight, I'm grateful and appreciative.”
Also in attendance was the newly appointed City Clerk, Dr. Khaleah Bradshaw. The Associate Director of External and Community Relations for California State University Dominguez Hills was appointed to the city clerk position under a motion made by Mayor Pro Tem Jawane Hilton during the Dec. 13 special council meeting after the winner of the 2021 City Clerk special election resigned a day after she was sworn in. She will fill the vacancy until the term ends on November 2022.
LA County Fire Chief approves emergency transport as COVID ravages emergency services staff. As COVID infections ravage emergency worker staff, the Los Angeles County Fire Department will start transporting critical patients to hospitals in their fire trucks. The ‘unprecedented’ emergency transport policy was announced by Assistant Chief Brian Bennett adding that many local emergency room workers, 450 firefighters, and 50% of ambulance company staff tested positive for COVID. “Things are slower moving through the emergency department. There's less ambulances out there and our response times for the ambulance companies have increased greatly,” explained Bennett, “So what our Fire Chief did is put into place and approved an emergency transport policy for the fire department. Kind of unheard of, we're actually transporting patients […] in the fire truck to the hospital.” Bennett did urge that the service is for critical patients only and encouraged residents to find their own form of transportation to the hospital. Additionally, Bennett warned the council that the situation would not get better until after January, “We're definitely not through the peak of our COVID infections that we're seeing in the community […] According to our medical director from this morning, we think maybe a peak in middle to late January. So, it's going to get worse before it gets better.”
Councilmember Arleen Rojas asked Bennett if he knew how many of the COVID infected staff were vaccinated and received a booster to which the Assistant Fire Chief did not know the specifics but did share that employees that received vaccinations and or boosters were feeling a lot less sick.
2021 gives Carson residents one final nightmare in form of a sewage spill. After having to suffer through the putrid Hydrogen Sulfide smell from the Dominguez Channel for multiple months, residents were eager to bid the dreadful year of 2021 adieu. However, 2021 had one final nightmare in store for the City of Carson in the form of a sewage spill. The City Council invited Chief Engineer and General Manager Robert Ferrante to discuss the event and clean-up efforts in detail. According to his presentation, on Dec. 30th a 60-year-old pipe failed causing a sewage blockage near the 110-freeway ramp by 220th St. which lead to a manhole overflowing at the intersection of 212th St. and Moneta St. The 8.5 million gallons of untreated spilled sewage flooded nearby streets and lead LA County Department of Public Health at the time to close local beaches around the Port of Los Angeles. While the spill ultimately poured into the Dominguez Channel, Ferrante quelled concerns that the incident would retrigger an anaerobic digestion, “The critical parameter we've been looking at is the dissolved oxygen concentration in the Dominguez channel, and it has been staying steady between 4.5 and 7.6 milligrams per liter […] That means that it's not in a position to go “anaerobic” and generate hydrogen sulfide and generate odors.” As of Jan. 5, flow has been restored to the damaged sewer and the beaches have been reopened. LA County Sanitation District will work on installing a new, and larger sewer line in the next few weeks. Ferrante’s hopes are that the freeway ramp will re-open by Jan. 16.
Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes wanted to ensure that the City of Carson had a seat at the table for any available impact funding. “My biggest concern is this: All the news media is talking about the beaches, ’The beaches were closed, the beaches were this.’ “said the Mayor, “The impact was right here in the City of Carson, and I don't want us to be lost in the shuffle if there's going to be some funding and it ends up in the beach […] The beaches were going to close anyway because of the storm.” The City is providing a Sewer Spill Residents Claim Form for residents wishing to claim any damages. According to the Sanitation District’s website on the Carson Sewage Spill, the District will provide cleaning of driveways (subject to owner’s permission) and reimburse residents for car washes.
COVID Omicron variant raises infectious rate to 2. Updated COVID guidelines. After only a handful of live city council meetings, residents watching the Jan. 4 meeting over zoom meant only one thing: the COVID surge is back. During the COVID update, Acting City Manager David Roberts informed the residents and council on the Omicron variant, the updated COVID guidelines, and the number of infected city staff members. According to Roberts, more than 20% of tested individuals (1 out of every 5) in Los Angeles County were positive with the Omicron variant. As a result, Los Angeles County’s transmission rate is the highest now than at any point during the pandemic with one infected individual transmitting the disease on average to two other individuals. Roberts also warned that at City Hall, 11 employees have been tested positive which by LA county standards is deemed a cluster. LA County Department of Public Health issued a Travel Advisory that urges travelers to get tested 1-3 days prior to leaving California and 3-5 days after returning to the state. The same advisory suggests that unvaccinated travelers should quarantine for 7 days. The statewide mask mandate remains in effect through Jan 15 or until otherwise notified and higher-grade masks are now recommended.
Mayor Pro Tem Jawane Hilton requested that the Disaster council discuss partnering with some organizations to increase testing in the City and alleviate long wait times.
2022 Redistricting Workshops set for Jan 10 and 11.
The City will need to redraw its Council districts with data provided by the 2020 Census as required by state law. The demographer needs your help identifying communities of interest so that local neighborhoods do not get split up by council boundaries. These workshops will focus on helping residents of Carson submit maps for the council to deliberate on later in the year. The first workshop of the year will take place on Monday, Jan. 10, 6 p.m. at Hemingway Park, 700 E. Gardena Blvd; and the second workshop will be a day later, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 6 p.m. at Dolphin park, 12105 Water St.
New Carson Bus Circuit officially in Service. Please direct questions to the Transportation Services Division at (310)952-1757.
The council made the following Proclamations:
Recognizing January 17 as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
Recognizing the month of January as Human Rights Education Month
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Virtual Tribute: Monday, Jan. 17, 7 p.m. www.ci.carson.ca.us/LiveBroadcast.aspx