All council members were present for the Tuesday, May 4 City Council meeting. Open session started at 5:36 p.m. and ended at 9:56 p.m. Here's what you missed:
City will forego Co-Sponsorship of various 2021 Relay for Life Events. Director of Community Services/Parks & Recreation, Robert Lennox, presented the council with five cancer research fundraising events which the city may consider financing and co-sponsoring, however the council motioned to co-sponsor and fund ‘Paint the Town Purple’ and ‘Walk-A-Thon.’ Originally, the item was agendized for the consent calendar, the portion of the city council agenda where items tend to be universally agreed on and are approved in one quick motion, however the item was pulled by councilmember Cedric Hicks as the council clearly had not agreed to co-sponsor all events. “This happens kind of regularly where staff needs direction but it is on the consent calendar. If we were to miss this and just approved it, then we would have been spending city dollars,” explained Councilmember Jawane Hilton, “I always thought that things that need direction should not be on the consent calendar.” City Manager admitted the item needed the council’s direction and thus placing it in the consent calendar was a mistake. The city will chip in $3,753 to cover the cost of the Walk-A-Thon which has a tentative date for July 24. Councilmember Cedric Hicks added Paint the Town Purple to the list as the event would not cost the city any money. Paint the Town Purple begins June 21 and ends on the 25th.
Council united alongside Assemblymember Mike Gipson by showing support for Anti-Asphyxia Restraints Bill. Once again, the city council backs Assemblymember Mike Gipson by unanimously passing a resolution supporting the passage of AB 490, the Angelo Quinto Act of 2021. AB 490 seeks to ban the use of positional asphyxia restraints by law enforcement after Angelo Quinto, a navy vet., ultimately perished after a police officer knelt on his neck for 5 minutes. This horrendous event mirrors the murder of George Floyd, which lead to the council supporting a similar law enforcement reform bill, AB 1196, back in Oct, 2020. The field representative for Mike Gipson, Jun Aglipay, earlier in the meeting introduced AB 490 as well as several other bills in-progress including AB 958, a separate law enforcement bill that seeks to require law enforcement agencies to prohibit cliques among police.
California State University Dominguez Hills is no longer the School your Grandparents Will Recognize. CSUDH President Dr. Thomas Parham gave a presentation to the council highlighting how far the university has come and emphasizing the need to maintain a strong relationship with the city of Carson. Dr. Parham explained his goal to make CSUDH "the Model Urban University of the nation", instead of a default school students apply to when they are not accepted elsewhere. Of the over 17,000 students currently enrolled, 57% are first generation students (first in the family to attend college), 86% are students of color, and 63% are female. “We don’t have to try to be diverse. We are diverse.” Dr. Parham proudly exclaimed, “Our job is to provide more access to students, not less.” The school has added three new state of the art structures, two new bachelor of arts majors (Asian Pacific Studies and Women Studies), two new masters programs (Systems Engineering and Cyber Security), and will finish its esports arena by the end of summer. He adds that Governor Newsom signed an order designating CSUDH as one of two public universities in the entire state to offer a doctorate degree in occupational therapy. The council thanked Dr. Parham for his presentation and agreed that a strong relationship with the university will go hand in hand in turning the city of Carson into a destination city. Councilmember Cedric Hicks asked for a CSUDH update to be given every quarter to city council meetings.
2nd Budget Workshop projects Structurally Balanced Budget. City staff presented the 2nd budget workshop for the fiscal year 2021-2022 projecting a structurally balanced budget for the first time in nearly a decade. That means the city's projected revenues will offset suggested operating expenses. Finance Director, Tarik Rahmani, explained with $92.9 million anticipated revenues and $53.6 million in expected operating expenditures, the general fund reserve should reach close to $48 million for fiscal year 21-22. The council approved multiple staff recommendation including, allocating money for 2 full time and 2 part time employees in the information technology department, increase the city clerk's department budget over $100,000 to cover the costs of the anticipated special elections, and adding necessary increases to operating expenditures of various departments by almost $2.5 million. The budget is expected to be adopted in June.
Los Angeles County Gathering Restrictions Eased as County Enters Yellow Tier.
Effective May 6, Los Angeles county will allow increased capacities for events and service industries as it reaches the yellow tier. Emergency Services Manager, Raymond Cheung, gave this well awaited news during the city's usual COVID-19 presentation. According to public health orders, public outdoor gatherings can contain up to 100 individuals, private events can reach up to 200 people, and private indoor events can have 400 tested/vaccinated members. Gyms, bars, and entertainment centers can now allow max 50% capacity.
The council made the following Proclamations:
Teacher Appreciation Week for the week of May 3-7.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month for the month of May.
Lupus Awareness Month for the month of May.
Mental Health Awareness Month for the month of May.
National Day of Prayer for May 6.
#DefendOurElders Self Defense Training Workshop - Sat. May 8, 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. In light of acts of violence against elderly Asian Americans, this event aims to teach self-defense tips to vulnerable community members. The workshop will be lead by The Mandalorian actress and stage fighter Diana Inosanto, and M.A.R.S. founder Ron Balicki. Guest speakers include Assemblymember Mike Gipson and Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes.