Council Meeting Recap: Nov. 17, 2020
All council members were present for the Tuesday, November 17 City Council meeting. Open session started at 6:37 p.m. and ended at 10:53 p.m. Here are the highlights:
Newly Elect District 2 Supervisor Holly Mitchell pledges to “step up”. Supervisor-elect Holly Mitchell reached out to introduce herself and ensured that she will “step up and swing hard” for the residents of 2nd supervisorial district. Mitchell, who already has served California residents for 10 years on both the Senate and Assembly, defeated Herb Wesson Jr and will soon be sworn in, creating an all-female board of Supervisors. She discussed concerns regarding what the community will have to experience in the imminent future with the ongoing health and fiscal crises. Additionally, Mitchell promises that in her first 100 days in office she will convene a meeting of the Mayors of all the Cities to explain problems each city faces and collaborate amongst each other. In her final statement, Mitchell ensured the well-being of the city, “As we talk about the needs of our community, a community that’s been disproportionally impacted by COVID, we are going to fight to make sure that we get a disproportionate investment back on our community.”
Michael George hired as new Assistant to the City Manager. The city of Carson hired Michael George as the new Assistant to the City Manager marking the third major hire since the Oct. 6 meeting. Previously, Michael George worked for the City Manager’s office for the city of Beverly Hills and started his career as a policy consultant working for the city of Los Angeles Mayor’s office of Sustainability. The new Assistant to the City Manager greeted the council, “I am so honored and excited to have this opportunity to serve this city council and of course the residents of Carson by helping to manifest your vision for the community. I am a passionate public servant and I look forward to working with this community as we all strive to carry out the motto of ‘a Carson future unlimited’.”
Second Round of CBDG funds to be distributed between COVID assistance programs. The council voted 4-0, with Mayor Robles abstaining, to allocate a 2nd round of Supplemental Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) Funds given under the Cares Act to fund four COVID-19 assistance programs and directed staff to come back with a report on the effectiveness of each program. Community Development Director, Saeed Naaseh, explained that the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded the City $679,191 for a total of $1,956,946 in CDBG funds since March. He suggested the following allocations:
1. Business Assistance Program: $171,113
2. Emergency Rental Assistance: $171,113
3. Carson Essentials To Go 2.0: $171,113
4. Homelessness Prevention Services: $30,000
5. Planning and Administration: $135,822
First Quarter Budget Report for Fiscal Year 2020-2021. The city provided its first quarter report on the FY 20-21 budget resulting in the council unanimously approving a staff requested $530,000 budget amendment. Finance Director, Tarik Rahmani, reported the estimated General Fund Reserve Balance for FY 19-20 at $39.4 million, resulting in a $16 million surplus over the council’s 20% reserve policy. He noted the city spent $12,121,548 (14% of the adopted FY 20-21 budget) on operating expenditures from July 1 to September 30, 2020 and estimated receiving $9,976,850 (11%) in revenues during the same time. Tyreke added that the revenue estimate did not provide a clear picture of actual cash flow as receipts for property tax does are not received until late December. While Rahmani assured the council that he does not anticipate over-spending from any of the departments by year end, he did propose a $530,000 addition to the budget. $330,000 would go to an enhanced sidewalk and asphalt repair program and the remaining $200,000 would be used to upgrade security cameras to help prevent crime.
Council establishes no limit campaign contributions. The council voted 4-0 approving a new resolution that would officially set no limit for money donated to a candidate’s election campaign from any person or organization. While the city currently has no established limit for campaign contributions, the passing of Assembly Bill 571 forces cities to formally set local limits or be subject to the new statewide limit. By passing this resolution, the city would avoid limits and any additional rules set by AB 571. While 4 members of the council voted for Mayor Pro Tem Jim Dear’s motion, Mayor Al Robles abstained from voting on the matter.
AFSME President Ana Meni placed on Administrative Leave. Mayor Al Robles noted that Ana Meni, the President of AFSCME Local 809, has been placed on administrative leave. He clarified that he had "no involvement whatsoever in the bizarre timing" of the decision and found out about it after it had been made. He noted that the timing was "tasteless," suggesting that whatever the issues, Meni should not have been placed on leave "until the dust of the election had settled."
City Clerk addresses Library Ballot Dropbox Confusion. City Clerk Donesia Gause-Aldana provided an update on the L.A County elections and clarified that the Carson City Clerk's office does not handle distribution or pick up of election ballots. The only ballots the Carson City Clerk's office handled were the ones directly sent to the City Clerk's office or the ones that were mistakenly put in the public box in front of Carson City Hall. Neither the Carson City Clerk's Office nor the public box were approved ballot dropboxes for the November 2020 election. All ballots in any vote-by-mail dropbox throughout the City of Carson and the County of Los Angeles are under the jurisdiction of the County. Any and all ballots picked up from the dropboxes are picked up by the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder's Office and their personnel. Not by the Carson City Clerk's Office. All current election results for L.A County can be viewed here.