One of the highlights of the Oct. 16 City Council meeting in Carson was the passage of a motion to establish May 12 as Mervyn Dymally Day in the city. Introduced by City Manager David Biggs, the resolution honors the late 37th-District congressman for his “career and contributions to the public sector, and the communities he represented.”

In other matters, Rep. Laura Richardson (D-37th District), on hand to deliver her annual legislative update to the Council, was pressed by Mayor Jim Dear regarding funding for public works projects, particularly a new pedestrian bridge at 213th Street traversing the Dominguez Waterway. The elimination of congressional “earmarks,” however, may delay this funding request.

“We did not have earmarks available at the time of the request for construction of a new bridge,” Richardson explained, saying she may consider writing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to request the $5 million needed. Richardson suggested that Carson may want to band with other nearby cities to nominate a representative to the Southern California Association of Governments, or city officials could encourage local membership to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority board in order to secure more funding for transportation improvement in Carson.

Richardson spoke of her co-sponsorship of the 2012 Second Chance Act. She helped secure $1 million for the measure that promotes the safe/successful reintegration of criminal offenders into the community upon their release. The money will be split evenly between Carson and Inglewood. Briefly, the funds will help provide employment services, substance abuse treatment, housing and mentoring (for young adult and juvenile offenders) all designed to reduce the rate of recidivism.

Among Richardson’s affirmative votes during this congressional session have been the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Cash for Clunkers, the Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Act, the Affordable Care Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
“As a woman, I was particularly proud to vote for the Lillie Ledbetter Fair Pay Act,” Richardson said. “This law will provide for a brighter future for our moms, sisters and daughters. No longer will women face blatant wage discrimination; this helps close the wage gap.” It is reported that American women earn 78 cents for every $1 a man makes.

Albert Robles, president of the Water Replenishment Board of Southern California, provided an update on the lawsuit over Proposition 218, which will curtail the amount of money a city can receive from assessment fees. Local governments rely increasingly on other revenue tools to finance local services, notably assessments, property-related fees and a variety of general -purpose taxes.

The intent of Proposition 218 is to ensure all taxes/charges on property owners be subject to voter approval. Carson, like many local cities, has increased some assessment fees in order to restore a dwindling city budget. This money would be restricted if Proposition 218 is enacted. Also, local governments will be required to provide notice to affected property owners of any new rate hikes.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported that a $150,000 grant from the Carson has provided dividends in terms of crime reduction. Robberies and burglaries are down 17 percent and 55 percent, respectively. Though the city’s overall crime rate has remained at 2 percent over the past five years, there has been a 9 percent spike in arrests during the past 10 months.