Carson's attempt to annex 788 acres near its northeast boundary has been stymied by a split on the commission that must approve it, and by conflicts of interest that prevent three of the panel's seven members from voting on the issue.
On Wednesday, the four members of the Local Agency Formation Commission who were eligible to vote split 2 to 2 on whether Carson's official "sphere of influence" should be extended beyond its current limits to include the area proposed for annexation. (Cities' spheres of influence are adjacent unincorporated areas in which annexation is permitted.)
Carson's proposed annexation would take in more than 100 acres north of Victoria Street that are in Compton's sphere of influence.
Not permitted to vote were Los Angeles City Councilman Hal Bernson and Los Angeles County Supervisors Pete Schabarum and Mike Antonovich, who had accepted political contributions of more than $250 from Watson Land Co., according to Michi Takahashi, LAFCO administrative assistant.
Watson Land, which has extensive holdings in the proposed annexation area, opposes the move on the grounds that Carson might insist on changing already established development plans and make Watson projects more expensive.
Takahashi said Michael Elliott, Watson's vice president for governmental affairs, announced the contributions when the commission considered the annexation July 30. Elliott could not be reached for comment.
On July 30, Carson's plans received tentative approval from LAFCO in a 3-2 vote, with Los Angeles City Councilman Robert C. Farrell, who favored the annexation, voting as an alternate for Bernson.
Despite the favorable vote, four votes--a majority of the seven-member commission--are required for official action, the administrative aide said.
The two commissioners opposing the extension of Carson's sphere of influence Wednesday were Whittier businessman Henri Pellissier and retired judge James DiGiuseppe, who also opposed the tentative approval of the annexation July 30.
Voting for it were West Covina Councilman Kenneth Chappell and Rolling Hills Estates Councilwoman Nell Mirels, who had favored the annexation July 30. Farrell did not attend the Wednesday meeting.
LAFCO will again consider the proposed annexation Aug. 27, but Patricia Nemeth, Carson's director of community development, said the city's lengthy efforts at annexation appear to have reached a dead end.
Annexation opponent Doris Krebs, a mobile home owner living in Del Amo Mobile Estates, was pleased by the vote.
"I don't want to go into Carson, so I think that is great," she said. "Those politicians over there are fighting all the time. Why should we want to get into a mess like that?"
But proponent Father Pat McPolin, curator of the Dominguez Rancho Museum, saying he was speaking as an individual, termed the LAFCO vote "a disappointment" but said he remained optimistic.
"Down the line," he said, annexation "eventually . . . will take place, I feel sure."
Compton officials could not be reached for comment.