CARSON — On Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 5 p.m., Helen’s Dream Coalition members will stage a rally at the intersection of Carson and Avalon in Carson near City Hall.

The coalition was formed to demand that the City Council Chambers be named after former City Clerk Helen Kawagoe immediately. After serving more than 37 years, she had to retire due to a stroke.

There is a 3-2 split on the City Council with the majority — Mayor Pro Tem Julie Ruiz-Raber, Councilmember Lula Davis-Holmes and Councilmember Mike Gipson — insisting that the chambers be renamed after Kawagoe’s death, and the minority — Mayor Jim Dear and Councilmember Elito Santarina — supporting the coalition’s position.

Although this is not the first rally in this cause, Tuesday’s rally will also support two challengers in the City Council election on March 5.

Davis-Holmes is challenging Dear for the mayor’s seat, while Ruiz-Raber and Gipson are running for re-election against six challengers.

“Albert Robles and Charlotte Brimmer, who are the two strongest opposition candidates, believe Helen Kawagoe deserves to see her dream come true now, not after her death,” the coalition said in a statement. “Helen Kawagoe was a founding leader of Carson, which is why many called her ‘Mama Carson.’ There are no taxpayer dollars needed and no official policy that prevents naming the Carson Council Chambers after Helen now, not after she dies.”

Brimmer is a member of the Carson Planning Commission and Robles is a constitutional attorney/professor. The other council candidates are Rita Boggs, retired businesswoman/professor; Joseph Gordon, businessman; Timothy Muckey, educator; and Stephen Anyaka, who did not list an occupation on the ballot.

Those elected will serve until March 2017.

The coalition said about 50 to 75 members, possibly more, will march through the crosswalks at Carson and Avalon from 5 to 6 p.m., then attend the City Council meeting and speak during the oral communications period. Kawagoe, who lives at South Bay Keiro in Gardena and has difficulty speaking, attended a previous rally but is not expected to attend this one.

For more information on the coalition, visit

Former Carson City Clerk Helen Kawagoe (in wheelchair) attended a Helen’s Dream Coalition rally at Carson City Hall in September 2012. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

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  1. Hi,

    There is actually a written City of Carson written policy against honoring a street after a living person, however, a building or other physical thing is not mentioned. Citation upon request. She served honorably and everyone respects her.

    That then Mayor Jim Dear would support the initiative in Helen’s honor is not surprising in that he manipulated the naming of street after himself, now rescinded by the City Council in July 2015.

    Chris Rubacha