Proposal Aimed at Reining In Mylar Balloons

First published in the Oct. 16 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank City Council advanced a potential ordinance this week that would severely restrict the sale of metallic balloons, a policy that the local utility believes would reduce power outages.
The potential ordinance, which the council unanimously approved on Tuesday, would ban the local sale of balloons made of “electrically conductive materials” — commonly called by the brand name Mylar — unless the balloon is filled with air and attached to a post or other decorative structure.
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SAS on Course to Take Over Alex Theatre

First published in the Oct. 2 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

The Alex Theatre appeared poised for a leadership change after the Glendale City Council voted narrowly this week to give SAS Entertainment exclusive negotiation rights for the venue’s management.
Assuming the forthcoming negotiations are successful, SAS would dislodge Glendale Arts from a role it has held since 2008, when the nonprofit was tasked with bringing the historic theater into contemporary use. The decision Tuesday afternoon moves the city past a conversation that became contentious in June when some officials made it clear they may want to move on from partnership with Glendale Arts.
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City Amps Up Tree Planting

First published in the Sept. 25 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

Glendale’s public works department expects to ramp up tree-planting to help achieve the goal of 25% green canopy coverage across the city.
At the direction of the City Council this week, the Department of Public Works will seek out potential funding opportunities to fill in the gaps necessary to achieve the planting goal. The department expects that an additional $760,622 is needed annually to cover all of the additional planting, watering and pruning for the trees. Measure S funds currently pay for much of the tree-planting and maintenance activity throughout the Jewel City.
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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 Set to Create Panel on Tenant, Landlord Issues

The city appears poised to assemble a landlord/tenant ad hoc committee after the City Council and the Housing Authority outlined its framework and approved the model this week.
The committee, once formed, will have seven members — three tenants of rental housing, three rental property landlords and one ostensibly neutral party, such as a homeowner’s association representative — whose appointments will be vetted and recommended by the city. They’ll be scheduled to meet monthly for 12 months, with a $50 stipend per person per meeting. Early into the process, the city said it expects to deploy a facilitator to bridge the parties that, at times, can be adversarial.
The group will principally be tasked with assessing the efficacy of the city’s Rental Rights Program and recommending any potential changes to it or other housing policies in the Jewel City. Continue reading “City Set to Create Panel on Tenant, Landlord Issues”

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 Restricts Watering of Lawns

This article was originally published in the Glendale News-Press on Aug. 14

Glendale became the first city in Southern California this week to enhance mandatory water-use restrictions for residential customers, a decision made in anticipation of a substantial reduction in available water next year.
The City Council voted unanimously to make the policy change, which now limits outdoor watering of gardens and lawns to Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for no more than 10 minutes. By implementing what is called Phase II of the city’s Mandatory Water Conservation Ordinance, the city aims for a 20% reduction of potable water use.
Residents also will be assessed the Phase II drought charge of 30 cents per hundred cubic feet of water — translating to about 40 cents per 1,000 gallons — but residents with reduced water usage are unlikely to see their bills change, the city said; in fact, bills could go down in some cases.

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City Staff Peddles Ideas About Bike Lanes

As the city continues to improve alternative transportation methods in West Glendale, other large-scale projects are getting underway.

Glendale aims to collect public input on a pair of proposed protected bike lanes that would be installed along Glenoaks Boulevard, along with connecting paths on Western and Grandview avenues. Ideally, the city would like to complete the Glenoaks modification in conjunction with a dedicated bus rapid transit lane along the boulevard.

At present, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to use the Glenoaks lanes abutting the center grass median as a dedicated BRT route that will ultimately bridge a North Hollywood-Pasadena City College route.

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City’s Dilemma: Who Should Manage Landmark?

The Glendale City Council seems poised to move in a different direction on Tuesday regarding the management of the Alex Theatre, unless it does an about-face on the sole agenda item for a special meeting that afternoon.

For now, the action recommended by the municipal staff is for the council to terminate exclusive negotiations with Glendale Arts, which has managed and operated the venue since 2008, and engage a different operator in a contract. Although the city and Glendale Arts have been in negotiations since April, the council itself earlier this month decided that talks had stalled, hence the possible change.

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Hotel’s Vouchers for Homeless Would Continue Under Proposal

The City Council seems poised to enact an urgency ordinance on Tuesday to essentially enter into a contract with a local hotel developer that would involve committing the operation to temporary homeless housing vouchers.

Under the general terms of the proposed ordinance, which was discussed this past Tuesday, the Vagabond Inn on West Colorado Street would continue to accept vouchers for the homeless tenants through the remainder of the year and would consider six-month renewals after that until the site is demolished. In exchange, developer Vista Investments LLC, which owns the inn, will be granted a contractual development agreement with the city that allows Vista additional time to complete the approved project with its variances. The Glendale Youth Alliance would administer the voucher program, with assistance from the city, and hotel stays would be capped at 28 days per client.

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