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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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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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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No COVID-19 Spread at Learning Pods

So far, so good for the learning pods that serve many of the Glendale Unified School District’s elementary students.
District officials reported to the GUSD Board of Education this week that no evidence indicates any transmission of COVID-19 among students or staff members involved in the learning pods. Four weeks into the school year, the news came as a relief to officials of the district, which is among the local pioneers of the system.

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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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Two Motorists Booked in Pedestrian Death

Two Los Angeles men were arrested Thursday night after they collided while speeding through town and killed a man in his 60s.
According to Sgt. Christian Hauptmann with the Glendale Police Department, the collision happened just after 8 p.m. Thursday, near the intersection of Brand Boulevard and Maple Street. The two men appeared to have been speeding north on Brand when the collision occurred.
According to Hauptmann, one of the motorists, a 32-year-old L.A. man, was speeding alongside a 27-year-old L.A. man when he tried to pass around a slower-moving vehicle in front of him.

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Apparent Dumping of Mail Prompts Investigation

Photo by Zane Hill / Glendale News-Press
Security footage showed a man identified as a U.S. Postal Service contractor dumping bags of unopened packages and mail last week in the parking lot for 7Q Spa Laser & Aesthetics, a business on Glenoaks Boulevard.

The U.S. Postal Service continues to investigate two incidents of apparent mail dumping last week, including one instance in which a contractor appears to have discarded a large amount of bagged mail and packages in a parking lot.
Meanwhile, Congressmen Adam Schiff and Jimmy Gomez have formally asked for USPS investigators to conduct a broad inquiry alongside the local probe to identify whether the incidents were isolated occurrences or reflect a larger issue with the institution. The dumping of unopened mail, which was partially captured on surveillance footage, is likely to serve as a lightning rod to ongoing controversies regarding the handling of the USPS ahead of a national election expected to rely heavily on mail-in voting.

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Family Seeks Answers From YMCA After Teen’s Drowning

Photo by Christian Leonard / News-Press
Mairena and Phil Jacobs (right) organized a protest Monday in connection with the death of their son, Colin, at a YMCA of the Foothills branch, saying the tragedy was preventable.

A Glendale family spearheaded a protest outside the offices of the YMCA of the Foothills this week to demand information about their son’s drowning death at the organization’s La Crescenta facility.
Colin Jacobs, a 19-year-old USC student, died on July 1 while on duty as a summer camp counselor at the YMCA branch in La Crescenta. A longtime volunteer for the organization, he was less than two weeks away from his 20th birthday.
Now, two months later, his family and friends say the YMCA of the Foothills has yet to explain the circumstances surrounding Jacobs’ drowning, or provide any promise to change its policies, saying that better practices might have avoided the tragedy.
On Monday, about 50 people gathered with signs in front of the organization’s La Cañada Flintridge location, which was chosen because it hosts the YCMA’s administrative offices, though it is not the site where Jacobs drowned.
“It could have very easily been prevented,” Phil Jacobs said of the death of his son, adding that Colin Jacobs could have suffered a seizure in the pool. “It was a very, very senseless death to somebody who was so focused on what he wanted to do and helping others. … He was an all-around great kid. He didn’t deserve this fate.”
The tragedy was referenced in a newsletter from YMCA of the Foothills CEO Vince Iuculano that was posted on the organization’s website on July 6. The statement included few details, saying that “out of respect for the family and the ongoing investigative process with the authorities, we can only share a limited update.”
But the Glendale family, which includes Colin’s mother, Mairena, and sister, Amber, said that it did not request that the YMCA withhold information — and that in fact family members have sought more details.
Phil Jacobs explained that the family contracted an attorney to speak with the YCMA’s attorney, hoping to arrange a meeting between the family and the nonprofit organization. But then, he said, the YMCA’s representative stopped responding to emails.

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