Rafu Staff Report

CARSON — The City of Carson will hold a swearing-in ceremony and reception on Wednesday, March 27, at 6 p.m. at the Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald Community Center, 3 Civic Plaza Dr., Carson.

Helen Kawagoe and her supporters attended a Carson City Council meeting in September 2012. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

Mayor Jim Dear, who was re-elected on March 5, has called a special meeting of the City Council to take place concurrently with the ceremony “for purposes of certifying election results; City Council reorganization for mayor pro tem; and the naming of the Council Chambers.”

The third item represents a victory for the Helen’s Dream Coalition, which was formed to urge the council to name the chambers after former City Clerk Helen Kawagoe while she is alive. Kawagoe was serving her 10th term when she suffered a stroke in September 2011, and she now lives at South Bay Keiro in Gardena.

Three of the five council members —  Lula Davis-Holmes, Julie Ruiz-Raber and Mike Gipson — insisted that city policy prohibited naming the chambers after Kawagoe until after she dies. Dear and Councilmember Elito Santarina were in the minority seeking immediate action.

Davis-Holmes lost in her bid to unseat Dear in the election, but remains on the council. Gipson was re-elected, but Ruiz-Raber finished in third place behind challenger Albert Robles, a supporter of the coalition.

“This means that we have the three votes necessary to name the chambers for Helen immediately,” said coalition member Jan Schaefer, adding, “Usually there is no business on the agenda at the swearing-in meeting, but this time there will be this one item on the agenda.”

For more information on the coalition, visit www.helensdream.org. For more information on the City of Carson, including videos of past council meetings, visit http://carson.ca.us/.


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