All council members were present for the Tuesday, June 6, City Council meeting. Open session started at 6:19 p.m. and ended at 10:53 p.m. Here's what you missed:
New Anti-Bullying Policy Passes with Unanimous Vote. The council unanimously passed a new anti-bullying ordinance ‘strongly condemning any acts of bullying and abusive conduct against anyone in the City’ with the goal of creating a safe and inclusive environment for all. Under the new law, any ‘City Official’ including City Council, Mayor, City Treasurer, City Clerk, or any appointed official serving on any City of Carson board or commission, is prohibited in engaging in abusive conduct. Additionally, the law also forbids City Officials from engaging in retaliation. The new ordinance does make exceptions when commenting on work-related activities or taking an action against a City official for breaking laws or any confidentiality clause. The new law also states that ‘a single act shall not constitute abusive conduct, unless especially severe or egregious.”
While the law’s language explicitly focuses on the behavior of City officials, during the meeting all of the councilmembers pointed to the increase in bullying at Carson schools as the prime need for the new ordinance. “I know that all of us have been tagged on social media in regard to the bullying that has been going on at certain schools in our community,” said Mayor Pro Tem. Jawane Hilton, “So I applaud you [Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes] for coming forward and putting this this bold statement on our agenda tonight.”
Councilmember Jim Dear echoed his colleague’s statement, “As a school teacher, I do see this as a continuing problem in our schools. And I want to thank you [Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes] for adding this to the agenda tonight.”
After the ordinance was approved, Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes requested to bring an anti-bullying town hall meeting to the community center similar to the one Councilmember Cedric Hicks recently attended and invite LAUSD and “all the top levels and some of the principals in Carson.”
City Council amend the 2022-2023 Annual Action Plan to reallocate $220,000 to the Neighborhood Pride Program. The budget of the residential housing preservation project also known as the Neighborhood Pride Program (NPP) received a $220,000 boost, increasing its total Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) allocation to $1,316,357. While the funds were moved from the Anderson Park Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Improvement project, lowering its CBDG allocation to $0, Assistant City Manager, Robert Lennox, guaranteed that the park’s $1.3 million project is listed under the Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) for the upcoming year and will move forward with different funding sources. The funds had to be reallocated as expenditures for Anderson Park would not happen before the City’s deadline to utilize all CBDG funds by June 30th.
NPP is designed to assist low- and moderate-income owners of single-family detached dwellings and mobilehomes with the preservation of decent, safe and sanitary housing. NPP corrects hazardous structural conditions, makes improvements considered necessary to eliminate blight, promotes the construction of healthy, sustainable and resource-efficient housing, improves disabled access, and corrects building, and health and safety code violations. The program offers grants to single-family households up to $20,000 and up to $15,000 for mobile homes. It also offers single-family homes deferred loans up to $25,000. The $20,000 CBDG allocation would allow the program to meet current demand and accept 20 more households. According to the staff report, currently 29 dwellings have successfully completed the program, 10 other households are in progress, and 100 residents are currently waiting on the NPP interest list.
Second graduating class of the CSUDH Carson Small Business Growth Academy features 22 companies. The City celebrated the Carson Small Business Growth Academy's second graduating class, with 22 companies completing the course - a major jump from the eight companies in the first graduating class. Several of the graduating class came to the meeting to thank the council and present information on how the class helped their small business grow.
The CSUDH Carson Small Business Growth Academy (CCSBGA) primarily focuses on growth-oriented topics, business tactics, and skills to help small businesses succeed. The program is available to any small business in the City of Carson with up to 100 employees and/or makes a revenue up to $20 million per year. The course is separated to 9 weekly workshops, culminating in a business showcase at week 10. The cost of the course is free to all selected participants and is worth two CEU credits upon completion. Applications can be found here. The third CCSBGA begins September 8th.
CCSBHA is a direct result of the Town and Gown relationship between the City of Carson and California State University of Dominguez Hills. "We're very honored that the innovation incubator at CSUDH, as well as the College of Continuing and Professional Education, are able to put this program on." said the Executive Director of CSUDH's Innovation Incubator, David Ochi.
"We had eight companies in our first cohort. They did phenomenally well and we we got to bring them to you several months ago, before we started the second cohort. " Ochi added. "This time we had 22 companies that made it through the whole program."
Ochi mentioned that the program is so well received that graduates of the program requested a monthly meeting of the program's allumni to have coffee and discuss business needs. "We had our first one last Friday," explained Ochi, "And so this is the beginning of, I think, a real organic growing of the local businesses."
Several graduating companies gave quick testamonies on how the CCSBGA helped them:
Plants of Hope: Succulent Gifts: "The Small Business Growth Academy has helped boost my confidence and opened my eyes to limited possibilities."
Expressions To Wear Custom Screen Printing: "I've been in business for 38 years and I took the course to update my marketing skills because when I started the business there was no internet, there's no computer, there is no any of that stuff that they do today. So I took the course to basically bring myself and my company into the 21st century."
Carson EZ Wash: "COVID was difficult for small businesses in particularly me. The reinvigoration that this class brought to just get energized again and enjoy, working the business. I can't thank you all enough for sponsoring this. It really has changed not only the business but my entire outlook."
Collab Dance Studio & Creative Space: "I am a two time alumni of Cal State Dominguez, and so I'm very thankful for this opportunity to return to my alma mater, thankful for the Council and also to Cal State Dominguez for providing a space for small businesses to come together and network and learn about each other and share experiences and trials and tribulations. To be able to build a network and a community to grow is very hard. To be a first generation small business owner and to be around like minded individuals that you can share that experience with has been a blessing.
Contented Nail Parlor: "The program, the cohort was absolutely phenomenal. Some days was intense, other days was easy, but we definitely did learn a lot. I can go on and on, so I'm just going to end this with a thank you."
Moonlight Bath Treats: "What the program has done for my business is that it has allowed us to participate in events here at Carson. So I was recently invited to the health fair a couple of weeks ago, and then I was also invited to Madame Holmes's Women's Health Expo in October. So those are opportunities that I didn't have before, and because of the program it has improved my marketing skills."
David Ochi finished the presentation noting the comradery between the graduates of the program, "The small businesses, the 30 that we've worked with, if they represent [all of] the small businesses of Carson, we have an amazingly unique city here. They are phenomenally well gelled together and connected. And we're really thankful on behalf of all of them in the university, thank you for your support in this effort and allowing us to really help grow those businesses and help them thrive in this community."
City approves agreement with new software company to streamline agenda accessibility. Staff ensures no lapse in service. Frequent users of the City's agenda/scheduling website will notice a substantial change over the next couple of months as the Council approved a contract agreement with eScribe Software LTD to take over agenda management. Currently the City utilizes Granicus/Legistar for agenda management, approval workflows, internet streaming, archiving, and broadcasting of City Council meetings. But according to the staff report, the current interface is difficult and cumbersome to use with Councilmember Jim Dear stating that, the council had problems with Granicus "from day one." The cost of the two-year contract may not exceed $75,683 but includes three one-year extension options.
Councilmember Jim Dear inquired as to when the new software would go live and whether there would be a smooth transition with no lapse in service. Assistant City Manager Robert Lennox suggested a minimum two-month period to transfer all the data from the previous software and to train city staff as well as the council on how to use the new fully integrated system. Lennox added, "We are going to ensure that there's no lapse in service and that the intention of the new platform is to improve accessibility by the public. So that when they go online to look at our agendas, it's a lot easier for them to access any item [and] submit comments for those. Again, a fully integrated system that really, really connects with each department and makes your experience as well as council members a lot simpler for every single item that comes before you.”
Multiple Carson High School Sports Teams recognized for recent Championship Titles. To be highlighted at the City’s 55th Anniversary Street Parade. “I just want to say to Carson High School, you made history” congratulated Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes to a packed chamber filled with student athletes and coaches of several sports teams from Carson High School. The Colts were handed certificates of recognition for their recent successful championship runs and a photo-op with the City Council. Afterwards, the Mayor invited the awardees to be highlighted and recognized once again for the City’s 55th anniversary street fair parade on July 29.
2023 was a fantastic year for Carson High School Sports as the following teams were recognized for their accomplishments:
The Boys Baseball Team for winning the Marine League championship back-to-back and the 2023 Open Division Championship Runner-Up.
Boys Volleyball team for winning the second consecutive victory as the L.A. City section Division one championship.
Girls Softball team for winning the Marine League Championship, CIF L.A. City section Open Division Championship and the CIF Southern California Regional Semifinalist finalist.
Boys and Girls Track and Field team for winning the Marine League first place and CIF L.A. City Selection Championship
Each Councilmember congratulated the student-athletes with some reminiscing on their past affiliations with Carson High. “You have a lot of individuals sitting up on this dais that's connected to the Carson Colt, to Carson High,” said Councilmember Cedric Hicks referring to his own daughter, as well as Mayor Pro Tem. Jawane Hilton, and Councilmember Arleen Rojas, all of whom graduated from Carson High, “you're part of that fabric. You're part of the tapestry that makes Carson the City that it is.”
The council made the following Proclamations:
Recognizing the month of June as Men's Health Month.
Recognizing June 12 as Philippine Independence Day.
Recognizing June 19 as Juneteenth Day.
125th Annual Philippine Independence Day Celebration: Saturday, June 10, 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Veterans Park 22400 Moneta Ave., Carson, CA, 90745
Juneteenth: Saturday, June 17, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Mills Park 1340 E. Dimondale Dr., Carson, CA, 90746
Samoan Heritage Day Celebration: Saturday, June 24m 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Foisia Park