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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Devine Assumes Role as Glendale’s Mayor

Paula Devine

In her second stint as the city’s mayor, Paula Devine said she plans to continue moving the city forward as it emerges from the restrictions and calamity of the coronavirus pandemic.
Devine, who joined the City Council in 2014 and was re-elected last year, took on the largely ceremonial role at this week’s meeting, within the framework of the city’s recently modified mayor selection policy. Before conducting the remainder of the meeting, Devine outlined an agenda of continuing work started this past year and charting new paths.
“Our shared goals to make our neighborhoods stronger, safer and healthier are still at the core of who we are and the reason for everything that we do and every decision that we make,” she said Tuesday. “We have much to do in the next year.”
Moving forward, the city will continue working toward a transition to being run on renewable energy, including through retrofitting the Grayson Power Plant, Devine said. She said she will also push the city to continue exploring Vision Zero policies, with a goal of reducing traffic and pedestrian fatalities and injuries.

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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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Glendale Library’s Art Recognizes COVID Victims

Photo courtesy Glendale Library, Arts and Culture Department
The art exhibit “15,000 & More: A Plethora of Light & Darkness” was unveiled at the Central Library last week. Artist Connie D.K. Lane uses gold and silver paper ingots to signify each casualty of the coronavirus in Los Angeles County.

The glinting reflection of thousands upon thousands of paper ingots will shine through the windows of Glendale’s Central Library for the next several months, each in memoriam of a Los Angeles County resident who succumbed to the coronavirus this past year.
The gold and silver decorations — each hand-folded into almost a tube shape from square pieces of joss paper — are ordered on long cuts of rope, each of which are now festooned from the ceiling in the library. The dreamy sight will remain through at least June, and whether doors open at the library in the meantime, they are quite viewable from outside. (In fact, officials suggest a night viewing might be ideal.)

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Assemblywoman Friedman Finds Her Dream Job in Politics

Photo courtesy Laura Friedman’s office
In September 2019, Assemblywoman Laura Friedman joins local leaders at a press conference announcing her securing of $20 million in funds to complete the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk Bridge.

In Laura Friedman’s eyes, the road to politics is paved with land use policy, especially here in Southern California where it is part and parcel of every major issue that troubles the region.
It’s how she got into politics to begin with, and it represents the starting point of much of her legislation, which tends to be focused on three key issues: environmental sustainability, protection of vulnerable populations and her own district. Friedman, who is kicking off her third term representing the 43rd Assembly District, said that the three issues for her merge to end in a singular goal very much in the same manner that they begin.
“Land use is the bread and butter of local government,” she explained in a recent interview. “Even going back to my days on the Design Review Board, it was very much about development, growth and balancing what people want in their communities — private property rights and all of those issues — and I find all of that very fascinating. Having had that background and that experience, I bring that interest into the Assembly.”

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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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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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Glendale Arts Celebrates Successful Telethon for Alex Theatre’s 95th Birthday

Photo by Keira Wight / Glendale News-Press
Participants (in alphabetical order) include: Jazzy Birdsong, Alexis Colett, Ashley Crowe, Nina Crowe, Elissa Glickman, Zach Hazelwood, Melynda Homes, Androuhi Keshishyan, Nick Massey, Chad Mata, Bob O’Neill, Bri Pattillo, Rafa Posada, Maria Sahakian and Hilary Sbei.

The heat was on at the Alex Theatre on Saturday, when the venue’s nonprofit management company Glendale Arts surpassed its $95,000 fundraising goal in honor of its 95th birthday milestone, which was celebrated with a 12-hour program presented in a telethon format and livestreamed and telecast on multiple platforms.
At the close of the Alex95 event, $98,339 had been raised for the preservation of the city-owned Alex Theatre and the programs and services offered by Glendale Arts, with donations continuing to come in from supporters. The performing arts and entertainment center has reduced its staff since the mandated lockdown took effect in March, but it remains committed to its mission of bringing the community together through the arts and entertainment while continuing to maintain the historic building.
Alex95 hosts journalist Palmira Perez-Najarian, former NBC4 weathercaster Fritz Coleman, and comedians Alonzo Bodden, Mary Basmadjian, Matt Kirshen and Michael Rayner entertained viewers throughout the program, sharing the wonder and promise of the Theatre with their own special connections and memories.
Program highlights included a guided tour of the Alex, video greetings from performers and artists, and familiar faces from the community, including honorary committee members and area elected officials, including Congressman Adam Schiff, state Sen. Anthony Portantino, Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, Glendale Mayor Vrej Agajanian and City Council members Ara Najarian, Paula Devine, Ardy Kassakhian and Daniel Brotman.
“We’re thrilled with the outpouring of support for Alex95, which reaffirms the community’s love for its iconic cultural and architectural landmark,” said Glendale Arts Managing Director Nina Crowe.

After 33 Years, Beers to Exit

City Manager Yasmin Beers, (center) pictured here at last year’s Work Boot Tuesday event with the fire department, will retire after 33 years working for the city.

Glendale officials will begin searching for a new City Manager Yasmin Beers, (center) pictured here at last year’s Work Boot Tuesday event with the fire department, will retire after 33 years working for the manager after Yasmin Beers announced her pending retirement this week.
Beers, who has spent 33 years working for the city of Glendale in a variety of capacities, said in a statement that she will retire in October. She has served as the city manager since 2018, after having the role on an interim basis starting in November 2017.
“This was not an easy decision for me, and I am grateful to Glendale for the opportunity to serve all these years,” Beers said. “I thank the City Council and community for entrusting me with the position of city manager.”
Beers joined the city in 1987, when she was hired as a part-time employee in the city’s library department while completing high school and enrolled in college. She moved to gradually higher-level positions over more than three decades with the city, reaching the role of deputy city manager in 2000 and assistant city manager in 2010.
The City Council expects to discuss parameters of the search for a new executive during closed session at its upcoming meeting scheduled for Tuesday.

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