By Lyn Jensen, Carson Reporter
Despite being recalled in 2016, former Mayor and City Clerk Jim Dear wants back on the Carson City Council come the Nov. 6 election. With Carson now electing its city officials in November of even years, two city council seats, along with the offices of city clerk and treasurer, will be on the ballot.
Dear says he’s attempting a comeback because “I’ve been asked by literally hundreds of Carson residents” who he says consider him “a voice of reason.”
Eight prospective council candidates, including Dear and incumbents Elito Santarina and Lula Davis-Holmes, have pulled papers to run as this issue goes to press. None of the potential council candidates have yet qualified. Aug. 9 marks the last day for candidates to file.
Dear served 14 stormy years on the council, most of them as mayor, before becoming city clerk for about a year starting in mid-2015. During his civic career he survived multiple recall attempts before one stuck in 2016.
Both incumbents played a role in Dear’s downfall, as both voted to censure Dear prior to the 2016 recall. At times Santarina has been Dear’s ally, other times, his foe. Dear and Davis-Holmes have long been bitter rivals.
Besides the council offices, Donesia Gause, the incumbent city clerk, is running for re-election. So is Monica Cooper, the incumbent treasurer. Both have completed the qualification process, and neither has any challengers as of press time.
In addition, Carson residents may or may not be voting on a proposed city charter. The city council was expected, at their July 31 meeting, to place it on the ballot. Instead there were still so many additions proposed that the council continued the item until Aug. 7. During previous votes on the proposal — dating back to May — Santarina, Jawane Hilton and Albert Robles have formed a pro-charter majority.
Considering the incumbents, Santarina has been on the council since 2003 and Davis-Holmes, since 2007. Santarina is a staunch ally of Robles. Davis-Holmes is usually not. Santarina is heavily supported by the Filipino-American community. Davis-Holmes is heavily supported by the African-American community.
Of the remaining five prospective council candidates, at least two have planning commission experience. Ramona “Mona” Pimentel is the chairwoman. Louie Diaz is a former chairman.
When Pimentel ran for council in 2016, she sent out a mailer that charged, “All of the candidates running for the City Council live in the same part of the City of Carson—except one!” A map showed her picture in south Carson and six candidates’ pictures in north Carson.
Recently she sent out another mailer, “Should Carson Switch to District Elections Like Everybody Else?” It coincided with a threat from lawyer Kevin Shenkman to sue Carson for alleged voting rights violations, but the threat has yet to be acted on.
The field of prospective council candidates also includes Nafis Muhammad, Osmond “Oz” Buendia and Lori Noflin, a blogger who posts irregularly on the website for an organization called Carson Connected Inc. Her posts often criticize Carson council actions.
Carson Connected, according to its website, is “an organization of community volunteers from Carson, California, and surrounding areas dedicated to nurturing our communities. Established in September 2010 … We collaborate with government, non-profit and private enterprise sectors to facilitate programs that will apply” Christian ethics.
One of Noflin’s posts critical of Carson resulted in legal action. In a Feb. 25 post, Noflin raised legal questions about two appointments involving council member Hilton. One was the post of mayor pro tem on Jan. 23, 2018 and the other was when he first joined the council on June 16, 2015 at a heated, controversial meeting. The Los Angeles district attorney sent Carson a letter regarding that meeting but took no further action.
On April 30 Noflin posted a cease-and-desist letter signed by City Attorney Sunny Soltani, dated March 30, 2018, which Noflin stated she received via e-mail. The letter alleged the Feb. 25 post was “libelous” and demanded its removal. Noflin refused to comply.
For up-to-date information on candidates for city offices, visit the ci.carson.ca.us site. Pull down the “Electorate” tab, and click on “Nov. 6, 2018 General Municipal Election.” That will take you to a page with a blue button for “Potential Candidates.” Clicking on that opens a pop-up that includes “Proposed Candidate Lists.”