The City of Carson has been charged with fraud and breach of contract due to its failure to significantly revise the city’s sex offender ordinance despite a settlement agreement in which the City promised to do so no later than August 24, 2014. A lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on October 1, 2014, requesting that the court require the City revise its ordinance in accordance with the settlement agreement. In addition, a government claim was filed with the City Clerk on the same day requesting monetary damages.
The settlement agreement at issue was signed by both the City Manager and the City Attorney and a provision in that agreement stated the individuals who signed the agreement had authority to bind the party they represent. After the City Council failed to revise the ordinance, the City Attorney stated that the City Manager lacked authority to bind the City of Carson.
“The City of Carson continues to act in bad faith,” stated CA RSOL President Janice Bellucci. “First, they adopted an ordinance that violates the state and federal constitutions. Second, they refused to honor a settlement agreement signed by the City Manager and instead “declared war” upon registered citizens. Third, they are choosing to ignore court decisions which determined that the city’s ordinance is preempted by state law.”
A lawsuit was filed in federal district court on April 11, 2014, challenging Carson’s ordinance which prohibits all registered citizens from being present in or within 300 feet of many public and private locations, including the public library. The parties entered into a settlement agreement on July 25, 2014. which stated that the City of Carson would revise its ordinance to be consistent with existing state law which prohibits only registered citizens while on parole whose offense involved a child 13 years or younger from entering a public park.
The City Council failed to revise the city’s ordinance during a meeting on August 5, 2014, despite recommendations by staff to do so. During that meeting, the City Council members acknowledged both the court decisions and the settlement agreement, however, they chose to ignore both. Instead, City Councilwoman, Lula Davis-Holmes, declared war upon registered citizens and the City Council voted unanimously to “push for state legislation” that would allow the City to retain its ordinance. A similar effort was tried and defeated in the state legislature in 2013.