City Discusses Rockhaven Redo

First published in the Nov. 6 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

Glendale officials are once again mulling what to do with the Rockhaven Sanitarium property, more than a dozen years after the city acquired the historic site and tried thrice to develop it.
This time around, they have $8 million in state funding to help grease the wheel, a grant secured in June by state Sen. Anthony Portantino during Sacramento’s budgeting process. Though there is a catch that whatever happens on the property must include a museum, the city is otherwise free to explore other uses for the site’s buildings and park-like space.
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City’s Pet Project: Seeking Potential Dog Park Site

First published in the Oct. 30 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

More Glendale residents may get the treat of a dog park within city limits, now that the City Council this week has given the go-ahead for the Community Services and Parks Department to consider where to install such an amenity.
Officials will investigate a variety of possible locations, though council members’ preference for the moment seems to be South Glendale, which is the most densely populated part of the city and is far away from the county-managed Crescenta Valley Dog Park. That space is located within city limits in the Crescenta Highlands neighborhood.
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City to Align Purchases With Sustainability Goals

First published in the Oct. 23 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

The city plans to beef up its sustainability endeavors by crafting a new policy of environmentally preferable purchasing that will ostensibly set a course for more earth-friendly procurements that also are fiscally prudent.
Building upon policies adopted in the 1990s, the city will shape the enhanced EPP policy and take input from the Sustainability Commission before bringing the document back to the City Council. All five council members agreed to move forward with the update this week.
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City Limits Eateries’ Distribution of Plastic Cutlery

First published in the Sept. 18 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

The City Council this week agreed to bar food and drink vendors from automatically throwing plastic cutlery, straws or other such accessories into to-go orders unless the customer requests them.
In doing so, the council and other city officials aim to curb the local contribution of single-use plastics to landfills and stymie the litter that makes its way to oceans. Activists have urged the reduced use of these plastics, which do not degrade and harm a variety of wildlife that incidentally ingest them.
David Jones, the city’s sustainability officer, said in 2016 that Americans used 561 billion pieces of disposable food ware. Continue reading “City Limits Eateries’ Distribution of Plastic Cutlery”

City Council Discusses Electing Mayor, Creating Districts

Following a lively discussion on whether the city ought to develop dedicated City Council districts and potentially make the mayor’s seat an elected position, the council concluded the debate by filing an informational report and moved on.
The council indicated it may pick the discussion back up in the future, but it’s clear that some members will have to convince others to proceed forth with any changes.

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City Braces for Sales Tax Hit

A review of the city’s financial status at the five-month mark tracks only slightly off of expectations, which had already been tweaked during the fiscal year in anticipation of additional pandemic-related shortfalls.
These projections, as is typical, could be considered with a grain of salt, of course. Even in a normal year, revenues are more erratic than linear, and revenues through November would not be expected to offset expenditures yet. The first round of property taxes — among the city’s highest and most consistent revenue sources — don’t start rolling in until after November and weren’t reflected in the city’s report.

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City Council Looks to Take Sting Out of Beekeeping Restrictions

After the city’s new Sustainability Commission is assembled, one of its first tasks will be to dive into what it might take to expand beekeeping opportunities in Glendale.
If the city ultimately adds to those opportunities, they’re likely going to be at additional public spaces, and perhaps on properties large enough to accommodate the insects without creating a nuisance for neighbors. Because they would constitute a zoning amendment, the Planning Commission also will have to sign off on any changes that the council would consider.

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City to Rethink Mayoral Selection Process

Changes may be coming to the process through which the position of Glendale mayor is rotated among City Council members, in an effort to make it more predictable and less transactional.
The council directed at this week’s meeting that these changes be written out in ordinance form, for later consideration and approval. It also expects to consider an ordinance banning single-use plastics by municipal agencies in the future, after asking for that ordinance as well.
At Councilwoman Paula Devine’s suggestion, the council is likely to consider a policy that will organize mayoral hierarchy in a “zip line” fashion — that is, the council member who has waited the longest will serve as the next mayor for the year. Since two or three council members sometimes are elected at the same time, any ties that occur will be resolved on the basis of the number of votes they received in the election.

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Council Hires Recruiter to Find City Manager

After seven firms applied for the job and four were named finalists, the City Council decided this week to contract with CPS HR Consulting to identify candidates to become the municipal government’s next top executive.
This search for a new city manager will be led by Frank Rojas, the firm’s executive recruiter, through a $25,000 contract with Sacramento-based CPS HR. Council members picked Rojas, who is based in the Los Angeles area, in part because of his familiarity with Glendale and the region.

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City Looks Into Establishing Its Own Public Health Department

The City Council has asked administrative staff to look into what it might take for Glendale to establish its own public health department.
The curiosity follows the mandate from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to shutter all outdoor in-person dining at restaurants, one of many restrictions re-imposed after record-shattering spikes in coronavirus cases in recent weeks. The council has not committed to following through on the bureaucratic expansion, but there remains the chance it finds value in federalizing itself from the county.
“Local rule,” coined Councilman Ara Najarian, who advanced the idea.

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