Council OKs Scholl Biogas Facility

First published in the Dec. 4 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

To cap off a six-hour meeting, five of which were spent on the topic, the City Council voted narrowly this week to move forward with the biogas power generation facility proposed at the Scholl Canyon Landfill.
Mayor Paula Devine, along with councilmen Vrej Agajanian and Ara Najarian, voted Tuesday to accept the environmental impact report for the project and grant its conditional use permit. Councilmen Dan Brotman and Ardy Kassakhian opposed. The discussion and vote were borne from an appeal by the city against the permit’s denial by the Planning Commission.
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Glendale Realtors Celebrate at Centennial Gala

First published in the Oct. 23 print issue of the Glendale News Press. First Photos by Erin Rodick / Glendale News-Press.

The Glendale Association of Realtors (GAOR) hosted its Centennial Gala on Thursday evening, celebrating its 100th anniversary of service to the community, according to CEO David Kissinger.
Approximately 175 people attended the dinner at the Chevy Chase Country Club, which included a cocktail reception and DJ dancing. Among the attendees were Glendale Mayor Paula Devine and City Councilmen Vrej Agajanian, Dan Brotman and Ara Najarian. Also present were representatives of Congressman Adam Schiff, state Sen. Anthony Portantino, Assemblywoman Laura Friedman and Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.
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City Approves ‘Hero Pay’ For Local Grocery Workers

For the next four months, employees at the larger grocery and drug store outlets in Glendale will be paid an extra $5 per hour, under an urgency ordinance dictating “hero pay” to those workers.
The City Council approved the policy on Tuesday, after which it immediately went into effect. The discussion of the ordinance throughout March was borne of other cities throughout Southern California also implementing the hazard pay, which has politically been coined as “hero pay” because of the necessity of grocery stores and drug stores throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“They have been there since the very beginning of this pandemic,” Councilwoman Paula Devine said during last week’s initial debate, noting that grocery employees have had the highest uptick in workplace mortality. “That is extraordinary and scary. Imagine going to work and knowing that you could die. Very easily, you could become infected and be one of the workers that loses their life over this.”

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Stimulus Package Aids Airport as Traffic Still Low

Photo by Christian Leonard / Glendale News-Press
The number of passengers traveling through the Hollywood Burbank Airport fell from nearly 6 million in 2019 to about 2 million in 2020.

The recently passed stimulus package will likely present a boon for the Hollywood Burbank Airport, which has been facing steep revenue losses as passenger levels remain low.
In recent meetings, representatives of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority reported that the number of revenue passengers who traveled through the airport last year fell to about a third of the level in 2019. About 2 million passengers enplaned or deplaned at the Hollywood Burbank Airport in 2020, compared to nearly 6 million in 2019.
And in January 2021, officials told Airport Authority commissioners — who include City Council members Paula Devine, Ara Najarian and Vrej Agajanian — this week, the number of revenue passengers dropped by nearly 86% compared to January 2020.

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‘Slow Streets’ Program Options Discussed

Photo by Zane Hill / Glendale News-Press
Stocker Street west of Pacific Avenue was selected as a Slow Street last year by the city, where there was a sign placed reminding motorists that the residential neighborhood was often used by pedestrians and cyclists. The city is considering whether — and how — to make the program permanent.

The City Council plans to continue looking at options to potentially make permanent the Slow Streets program that it piloted last year at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The council had considered a number of options at its meeting Tuesday and ultimately sought more research on an additional batch of options that were brainstormed at the meeting. There was not a vote on Tuesday, but there likely will be eventually.
“People are, at this point, vested in the program,” Councilwoman Paula Devine said. “I’m for creating a permanent program.”

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‘Winegate’ Controversy Engrosses Council

More than two hours of discussing what one caller coined as “winegate” produced more headache than anything for the City Council this week.
Ultimately, four council members voted to formally codify a rule directly forbidding the consumption of alcohol during board, commission or council meetings. However, a separate motion to simply recognize the event in question — that a member of the Design Review Board was on two occasions seen sipping from a wine glass during a meeting — fizzled out on an unusual 2-1-2 vote.

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Conflict in Artsakh Spurs Growing Local Response

Hundreds marched through downtown Glendale last Saturday night, from the Armenian Consulate to Artsakh Avenue, in support of Armenians fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to repel Azerbaijani forces from the breakaway Artsakh republic

Artsakh Avenue was filled to the brim last Saturday night — a boisterous gathering that included countless flags waving about, repeated choruses of Armenian mantras and a man dragging around a Turkish flag tied to his ankle.
And yet when Vaché Thomassian — a well-known member of the many Armenian advocacy organizations in the Glendale area — roared into the microphone that night, his simultaneously angry and hopeful words hushed the rapt audience. Hundreds had marched from the Armenian Consulate to Artsakh Avenue in support of the Artsakh republic, which with assistance from Armenia has fought to repel an Azerbaijani military onslaught since Sept. 27.

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Though Airport’s Traffic Lags, Finances Relatively Steady

Photo by Christian Leonard / Glendale News-Press
The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority voted this week to purchase a new firefighting vehicle with federal grants. Hollywood Burbank Airport, which the authority oversees, continues to struggle with low passenger counts.

Hollywood Burbank Airport, like similar facilities across the nation that have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to see a drastic drop in passengers compared with last year’s traffic, airport officials said this week.
Staff from the airport told Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority commissioners on Monday that passenger numbers of about 110,500 for July 2020 — the most recent figures available — showed a 79.6% plummet from July 2019’s total of nearly 542,000.
About 1,875,000 fewer passengers have traveled through the airport from January to July this year compared with the same period last year, according to officials, a drop of more than 57%.

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Report Details City’s Prior Methodology of Prejudice

Image courtesy city of Glendale
This 1939 map indicates which neighborhoods in Glendale, among other areas, were subject to the “redlining” that was often used to keep minorities from property ownership.

Councilman Ara Najarian didn’t mince words when it came time for his input at this week’s City Council discussion on the local history of racism.
“Glendale was a cruel place, I have to tell you,” he said. “Looking back, there was incredible disrespect and abuse of certain citizens and people of color that, I’m afraid to say, continues to this day.”
The council had just been briefed on a compendium of research by city staff that took them as far back as 1920, when the U.S. Census reported that Black people represented a mere 0.16% of Glendale’s population — and virtually all were likely live-in domestic workers, the research indicated. Since then, the percentage of Black residents in the city has increased tenfold, rising to 1.6%, a stark contrast with the figure for all of Los Angeles County — 9%.
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