GUSD Takes Steps Toward Limited Return to Campuses

Local school officials have begun the process of preparing applications and obtaining the necessary letters of support to eventually begin applying to Los Angeles County for waivers to reopen limited facets of in-person elementary instruction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Glendale Unified School District continues to plan a return to outdoor conditioning for student-athletes and anticipate hopeful next steps for expanding in-person services to special education students and English language learners.
“A day doesn’t go by that I don’t get questions — ‘When are we opening up? When are we getting our students back to school?’” board President Armina Gharpetian said at Tuesday’s meeting. “The county, they’re moving very cautiously and very conservatively. We need to take those baby steps to get there.”

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Assembly Candidates Stick to Point at Forum

In contrast to some of the larger-scale debates voters have recently seen, this week’s forum featuring District 43 Assemblywoman Laura Friedman and challenger Mike Graves harked back to the wholesome, issue-focused sessions of yore.
The forum, among many hosted recently by the League of Women Voters of Glendale/ Burbank, provided a virtual window to the district’s voters. They will decide in November on all levels of leadership to continue moving the nation through the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic, cultural upheavals with regard to enforcement and emergency services and the gloomy reality of environmental damage. Candidates at the forum spoke from the comfort of their homes, using Zoom to “meet” with their moderator and be broadcast throughout the area.

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Glendale Armenians “Inspired by Other People’s Sacrifices”

When local members of the Armenian diaspora woke up on Thursday and began to scour the internet and social media for on-the-ground updates — any news, really — from the front lines of the reignited war between Azerbaijan and the Armenia-backed breakaway state Artsakh, they found pictures of the Holy Savior Cathedral.
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YWCA Director Engages Community for Nonprofit of the Year

Photo courtesy YWCA Glendale Tara Peterson, chief executive of the YWCA Glendale, said she aims to preserve the legacy of the institution while guiding it further into the 21st century.

Since joining the local YWCA four years ago, CEO Tara Peterson has emphasized the “community” in community organization.
The institution’s bread and butter has long been its domestic violence emergency shelter and services, but Peterson said she knew upon joining that there were other areas to target in that unsavory but too-real issue. In asking herself “What else?” Peterson said she was motivated to bridge the relationships with faith leaders, civic groups and educational institutions, relationships that helped propel the YWCA Glendale to the forefront of the city’s varied looks-in-the-mirror this year with regard to racism.
When she left a Sacramento-based domestic violence organization to journey south and take over this YWCA, Peterson said she strove to “keep the legacy but also move us forward into the 21st century.” The sum of those efforts since then recently arrived at the landmark of being named Assemblywoman Laura Friedman’s Nonprofit of the Year for the Assembly district.

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Council Endorses Proposition 15 on Split Vote

The City Council splintered on a largely symbolic vote to weigh in on Proposition 15, a statewide ballot initiative asking voters to decide whether the state should bump up property tax collections from certain commercial entities.
The proposition would require commercial and industrial properties to be taxed based on market values, as opposed to the value of the most recent sale price. (This excludes properties zoned as commercial agriculture.) Advocates of the proposition see it as a way of circumventing Proposition 13, which made all property taxes based on sale price when it was approved by voters in 1978.

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Local Officials Voice Support for Artsakh Amid Conflict

Local officials this week, bolstered by overwhelming public support, joined the cacophony of the world’s Armenian diaspora in excoriating Azerbaijan and Turkey for their amplified military action in the Republic of Artsakh.
The City Council on Tuesday adopted a resolution harshly condemning the violence, and the Glendale Unified School District also issued a statement of solidarity with the diaspora and offering support for students with direct ties to Armenia and Artsakh. After some skirmishes between the Azerbaijani military and Armenian-bolstered defense units in Artsakh in July, the former began directing heavy artillery fire into the breakaway republic last weekend, reportedly including civilian targets.

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Glendale Moves to End Sale of Mylar Balloons

Photo courtesy Glendale Water and Power
Local crews worked to remove several metallic Mylar balloons entangled in Glendale power lines in September. The City Council this week introduced an ordinance banning the sale of the balloons in Glendale in an effort to stymie the havoc they can wreak on electrical systems.

Retailers within city limits are soon expected to have to cut off their sales of Mylar balloons, assuming that a second reading of an ordinance goes without a hitch before the City Council.
The proposal to ban their commercial sale gained unanimous approval this week by the council, which hopes to curb the frequency with which the decorative pieces float into power lines and transformers and send portions of the city into darkness. The ordinance permits latex balloons to continue to be made available to Glendale shoppers.
“There are so many negative impacts from Mylar balloons that I really think it’s time for us to take the first step in a proactive leadership role,” Councilwoman Paula Devine said Tuesday.

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Last Call for City Manager Beers

Photo courtesy city of Glendale
Mayor Vrej Agajanian on Tuesday presented outgoing City Manager Yasmin Beers with a certificate and plaque signifying her retirement after 33 total years working for the city in various capacities.

In reflecting on an entire professional career for the city of Glendale, which culminates in October and is capped by nearly three years as the city’s chief executive, Yasmin Beers recalled telling the City Council when it hired her that this wasn’t the sort of thing that happens by chance.
For starters, she said she had her parents — who “immigrated to the United States for a better life for their daughters” — to thank, alongside her sister, who often took care of Beers’ children while she or her husband were working. Beers also, of course, had to thank her husband, not least because being a city manager means you’re always on call and routinely being contacted by council members or administrators.
And speaking of those administrators, plus Beers’ “partner in crime,” City Attorney Michael Garcia:

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Glendale’s Recent Fiscal Year Seems Better Than Expected

Financial contraction for the city’s government does not appear to have been as severe as anticipated, based on updated numbers on the close of the 2019-20 fiscal year that the City Council reviewed on Tuesday.
To be sure, the city did experience revenue loss late in the period as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which planners and the council adjusted for in the spring. However, the final numbers seem poised to land somewhere between those in the original budget and the revised projections that officials made after the pandemic shut down large parts of the economy.

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Council Discussing Shared Mobility Program in Future

In future months, the city may pilot a shared mobility program, bringing those rentable bicycles or scooters to the downtown area for residents and workers to use.
The City Council voted unanimously to open a bidding period for shared mobility companies to offer proposals for bicycles — manual or electric — as well as electric scooters to be placed downtown. Per Councilwoman Paula Devine’s suggestion, bids for each vehicle will be separate in the event the council wants to commit strictly to one or the other.
If Devine has her druthers, it would certainly be bicycles.

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