The city of Carson will receive a $5.1 million settlement resulting from its suit against the California Department of Finance.
Also, as the Los Angeles City Council did a few days before, Carson passed a resolution Tuesday evening encouraging the U.S. Justice Department to press federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted last month in the murder of unarmed teenager Travon Martin.
The settlement stems from two measures enacted by the state Legislature in 2011 intended to stabilize school funding by reducing or eliminating the diversion of property tax revenues from school districts to the state’s community redevelopment agencies. In turn, the California Redevelopment Association, the League of California Cities and other affected parties brought suit against state Director of Finance Ana Matosantos, contending that each measure was unconstitutional and violated Proposition 22, passed in 2010 to amend the state constitution to place a ban on the state from borrowing funds from cities.
In brief, the suit asked two pertinent questions: shall redevelopment agencies, once created and engaged in redevelopment plans, have a protected right to exist that immunizes them from statutory dissolution by the Legislature? Secondly, do redevelopment agencies and their sponsoring communities have a protected right not to make payments to various funds benefiting schools and special districts as a condition of continued operation? At press time, neither the state office of finance nor the Carson city attorney’s office could be reached for comment.
Carson has joined other municipalities in submitting an official letter of condemnation of Florida’s so-called “Stand Your Ground” law, with a copy of its resolution destined for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep. Janice Hahn (D-44), state senators Ted Lieu (D-28) and Rod Wright (D-35), Assemblyperson Isadore Hall (D-64), Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (Second District) and to Joseph Alford, president of the Carson-Torrance branch of the NAACP.
“There was obviously a set pattern to Zimmerman’s profiling behavior,” said Robert Lesley, a Carson comissioner, during public comment. “It is heartwarming to see the Council body stand with the people of the nation in condemning the Zimmerman verdict.”
In what many urban residents have labeled a spreading “food desert,” Ralphs market in the northern portion of Carson is set to close this year, and that brought out at least two dozen African American consumers to voice their complaints to the City Council. Councilman Mike Gipson requested City Attorney Bill Wynder to submit a letter to Ralphs Grocery Co., based in nearby Compton, rejecting the closure. A 99 Cents Only store is the proposed replacement. It was reported that just over 800 senior citizens live near the Ralphs outlet and closure would make it difficult for them to shop nearby for groceries–particularly at a full-service outlet.