Council Meeting Recap: Oct. 6, 2020
All council members were present for the Tuesday, Oct. 6 City Council meeting. Open session started at 6:13 p.m. and ended at 11:20 p.m. Here are the highlights:
New Community Services Director receives warm Welcome. The council welcomed the city’s newest Director of Community Services - Parks and Recreation, Robert Lennox. Lennox brings with him around 20 years of local government experience and has worked for multiple municipalities including the City of Menifee, City of Yucaipa, City of San Bernardino, and the City of Riverside. “I am ecstatic to be joining the City of Carson,” said Robert thanking the council for the reception, “There is a great team here and a great community, and I know as we come out of the pandemic restrictions, we are going to continue look at programs that best serve the community and residents.” Lennox would later give his first presentation to the council regarding L.A. County Department of Public Health’s decision to allow municipalities to safely reopen outdoor playgrounds and ball fields. Afterwards, the council voted unanimously to direct staff to safely open playgrounds for kids and ball fields for practice only.
Additional $10,000 allocated to Census push. The council unanimously approved an allocation of an additional $10,000 to the Census outreach efforts, totaling $70,000. This comes after a preliminary injunction issued by a U.S. district judge which ultimately extended the deadline for the 2020 Census to October 31. The funds will be mainly utilized for phone banking, banners, and commercials targeted at specific hard to count neighborhoods. “I don’t know if anybody ever gets to 100% but I know we established a goal of 80% and now that we have until the end of October, I think we should try to make an effort to increase our numbers” said Mayor Al Robles who authored the motion. According to city staff, Carson’s Census Response rate is at 73.7% as of October 6, a little shy from the 74.6% that was obtained in 2010.
New Violation Fines set for not wearing a Mask, littering PPE, and not disposing Dog Waste. The council introduced and unanimously passed the first reading of 3 ordinances implementing fines for various Public Health hazards. During the Sep. 16 meeting, Councilmember Cedric Hicks instructed city staff to consider an increase in fees for violations against PPE littering, while Mayor Pro Tem Jim Dear asked to create fines for Individuals who neglect the mandate of wearing face masks and coverings in public, and Councilmember Lula Davis-Holmes made fines for failing to dispose dog feces. Davis-Holmes’ dog poop and Dear’s anti-mask wearing ordinances will charge $100 for a first violation, $200 for the second, and $500 for all subsequent violations in the same year. Hick’s littering fine starts at $250.
Mayor calls Measure K Flyer ‘Deceptive.’ Motions to make Educational Sales Tax Measure Campaign ‘Crystal Clear’. With an abundance of caution the council unanimously voted to make all educational materials be made “crystal clear” based off of the same font size that Measure K is a Sales Tax Measure. Mayor Robles made the motion pointing out that one of the flyers that was sent out did not clearly state that Measure K was a Sales Tax Measure, calling the flyer ‘deceptive’. In addition, the Mayor called attention to City Attorney, Sunny Soltani, inadvertently referring the educational push as an ‘advocacy campaign’. While trying to reassure the council that there would be no legal concern Sunny said, “We have taken a very conservative approach to the material to a point that I don’t think any of our clients have ever been this conservative with an advocacy campaign.” The City Attorney apologized that her words did not come out correctly. “This is clearly an education campaign,” she said, “Staff has been very careful to run everything by my office.”
Assemblyman Mike Gipson thanks council for supporting Assembly Bills. Assemblymember Mike Gipson (AD. 64) shared several Assembly Bills newly signed into law and thanked the council for passing a resolution to support A.B. 1196, also known as the ‘George Floyd’ Bill. Last month, Governor Gavin Newsom signed several legislations including Gipson’s A.B. 1196, which bans the use of carotid artery restraints and chokeholds by law enforcement. “I personally thank the city of Carson for passing and supporting a resolution supporting AB. 1196. To have my own home city stand with me in this effort, it sent a strong message throughout the entire state.” Gipson also informed the council on several other bills he authored which were also signed by the Governor. These new laws include a misdemeanor violation to any first responders who capture a photographic image of a deceased person (A.B. 2655, The Kobe Bryant bill), a restriction on a school district’s ability to assign truant students to probation officers (A.B. 901), and a number of police officer reform bills.
New Invasive 'Ankle-Biter' Mosquitoes make New Home in Los Angeles County. Director of Community Affairs for the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control, Mary-Joy Coburn, gave an insightful presentation on mosquito threats in the city including the newly notorious Aedes mosquitoes, commonly known as “Ankle-Biters.” According to the presentation, the Aedes mosquitoes are a non-native ‘invasive’ mosquito, which was first found in South El Monte in 2013 and has invaded throughout all of L.A. county over the years. There are 3 different breeds of Aedes mosquitos, all of which aggressively bit during the day-time, have black and white bands across their bodies and on average are only a quarter to an inch long. While the more common Southern House Mosquitoes (Culex mosquito) lay their eggs on non-moving bodies of water, the Aedes mosquitos lay their eggs on plant stems or the sides of containers allowing them to thrive in indoor urban environments. Their eggs look like tiny black rice-like pieces and can remain on a dry surface up to a couple of years waiting for the perfect temperature and moisture for them to hatch. These mosquitos can transmit debilitating diseases such as Zika virus, Dengue fever, Chikungunya fever, Yellow fever, and Dog Heartworm. While there has been no cases of local transmission so far, Coburn warns that may change once traveling restrictions are eased. You can find more information on the Greater Los Angeles Vector Control website.
Mayor Robles sends Letter urging Legislators to Stop Violence in Armenia. Councilmember Jawane Hilton and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Dear have agreed in joining Mayor Al Robles in sending a letter to CA congressional representative and U.S. Senators denouncing an unwarranted act of aggression against Armenia. The Mayor made a surprise announcement of the violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan which resulted in over 100 deaths. “A Turkish F-16 shot down an Armenian plane in Armenia. Many, many Armenians link this Turkish support for Azerbaijan to the 1915 genocide of the Armenians by the Ottoman Empire.” Said the Mayor “I am asking my colleagues to join with me in a letter to our congressional representative and 2 state senators asking them to take immediate action denouncing this unwarranted act of aggression and not make the mistake that was previously made in turning a blind eye where the United States waited a hundred years before recognizing the Armenian genocide.” This decision was likely to occur as the council agreed to begin a Friendship City Affiliation with the city of Alaverdi in Armenia on Feb. 4. Councilmembers Cedric Hicks and Lula Davis-Holmes did not indicate whether they would join the Mayor.
City Clerk shares Election Information. City Clerk, Donesia Gause-Aldana, presented to the public election information in a PowerPoint cleverly titled, “Election News, You Can Use.” Every Carson resident will vote for the Mayor and City Measure, while individuals residing in District 1 (Councilmember Hilton) and District 3 (Councilmember Hicks) will also vote for 1 candidate to represent their district on the council. The last day to register online and still receive a vote by mail ballot is October 19. Beginning October 24, Carson voters can vote at any 11-day vote center across Los Angeles county not just in the City. If you have an questions or have made a mistake voting please contact the city clerk via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (310) 952-1720. For more election information visit the city’s website or view CAT’s District Elections page.