CARSON — Six residents are competing for a City Council seat that became vacant after Lula Davis-Holmes was elected mayor in November 2020. The council voted to hold a special election as opposed to making an appointment to fill Davis-Holmes’ seat. The election will be held Nov. 2, along with a special election to select a new city clerk.
The candidates are Freddy Gomez, Sharma Henderson, Michael Mitoma, Christopher Palmer, Isaias Pulido and Arleen Rojas. Questionnaires were submitted to all candidates, with Henderson, Mitoma and Pulido the only three submitting responses.
Henderson has lived in the city for more than 15 years in the Avalon Gardens complex. She regularly attends City Council meetings, and has a clear vision for Carson.
“The most egregious issues facing our city is the absence of accountability, transparency and lack of decorum in City Hall,” Henderson said. “We are in dire need of increased public safety, crime prevention, and seeking additional funding to support a balanced budget.”
Henderson said she would address those issues by gaining support from her council colleagues using her leadership skills and gaining broad community support.
“I want to draw upon demonstrated municipal best practices to encourage my colleagues to authorize a citywide strategic planning, vision and mission-building process,” Henderson said. “This effort would include Carson stakeholders, which helps increase community engagement.”
Her overall vision is to elevate Carson to its rightful place as a regional leader.
“I intend to disrupt and challenge the status quo, and usher in a new day for Carson,” Henderson said.
Mitoma is longtime resident, having lived in the city for nearly five decades. He also finds public safety a concern. He also wants to address the closure of the mobile home parks, street repairs and aid small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was mayor, and a council member for 10 years, and did not make deals with other members,” Mitoma said. “My philosophy is the issues need to stand on their own merits without personal agendas. I will evaluate items submitted by council members on their merits and not for quid pro quo.”
Mitoma wants to either reduce or eliminate city fees to help businesses reopen, install security cameras to monitor activity throughout the city to assist law enforcement, apply for waivers to allow low-income construction subsidies that can be used for mobile park homeowners, increase the budget for street repair and trash pickups, and provide additional funding for the Sheriff’s Department’s gang unit.
“This council seat is a swing vote, with the current council deadlocked at 2-2,” Mitoma said. “I will be the only independent candidate and will focus on bringing the council together.”
“This election is costing the city $50,000, and was necessary because 40 residents applied for the appointment, including the former city manager,” Mitoma said. “This is symptomatic of the council’s inability to compromise for the best interest of the city and the importance of an independent voice.”
Pulido believes the toxic environment at City Hall is a top issue, and believes the city manager, human resources director and mayor are misguided and display unprofessional leadership. He is also interested in seeking an ordinance to address the zoning related to mobile park homes.
“I am a consensus builder and astute policy maker born and raised in the city of Carson,” Pulido said. “I want to bring unity to the city, as I am honest, transparent and have an extensive educational background, and have previously served as a council aide.”
Although Pulido is 26, he regularly attends City Council meetings, and says he educates himself on all issues coming before the council.
“Carson is the heart of the South Bay and I want to create more career (union) jobs for working families, and bridge the generational gap,” he said.
2 Urban Girls is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers the Compton and Inglewood areas. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.