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Carson spends money on signs to change order of officials' names

August 11, 2011 |  2:33 pm

Photo: Carson Mayor Jim Dear. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times The cash-strapped city of Carson has spent $1,200 for new signs so that the names of City Council members could be listed by seniority rather than in alphabetical order, the city confirmed Thursday.

The signs are placed on mostly vacant, city-owned lots.

“It’s to tell developers that these properties are available” through the city’s redevelopment agency, said Carson public information manager Zarah Cruz. Elected council members also serve on the city’s redevelopment agency.

The issue became more widely known with the publication of an article in the Daily Breeze, which set the cost for the new signs at $9,000. Cruz said she would supply the paper with billing documenting the lower cost.

The signs are about three feet by four feet, standing on poles that rise about seven feet off the ground, Cruz said. They have a blue background. Within that, there’s a yellow square with council members' names in black lettering.

For the record, the proper order from top to bottom is Mayor Jim Dear and Mayor Pro Tem Julie Ruiz-Raber. Those names had already been correctly listed because those offices go first under city rules. The other council members in seniority order are Elito M. Santarina, Mike A. Gipson and Lula Davis-Holmes.

Cruz said she did not know who requested the new signs, but the interim city manager authorized the fix; City Council approval was not required. The signs had already been replaced once this year; that's done because the mayor pro tem office is a rotating position.

Tight economic times have forced Carson to cut millions from its budget; employees are taking unpaid furlough days as one budget-reduction measure.

The Daily Breeze reported that the council has been picky about relatively small issues in the past. Last year, it passed an ordinance requiring all council members to use the same blue background in their official city photos, Cruz confirmed. One council member had insisted on being photographed in front of a flag.

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-- Howard Blume

Photo: Carson Mayor Jim Dear. Credit: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times

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