‘Injustice Anywhere Is a Threat to Justice Everywhere’

By Charlie Plowman
The Outlook

Charlie Plowman
Charlie Plowman

It’s been a dark and emotionally draining week. It has been much longer than a week for people of color; a few centuries, perhaps.
It goes without saying that this is a brutal time for our nation. How often are we under two emergency orders simultaneously?
Last week’s death of George Floyd was horrifying. We’ve all seen the video multiple times: Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. As a TV reporter astutely pointed out, the video appears to show the officer shifting his weight after a few minutes to seemingly apply even more pressure while already in a dominating position. And as we saw, in the final three minutes the 46-year-old Floyd lay motionless.
Pastor Albert Tate from Fellowship Church used the terms “execution” and “evil” in describing the death during the streaming of his Sunday sermon. It was the first time that I’d heard those two words mentioned in this context.
And Tate is not alone in looking for words that fit the enormity and gravity of what we saw. People from all walks of life, regardless of their skin color, are outraged by the senseless death of George Floyd.
Many of the protests that I watched on television featured ethnic diversity. In fact, the news showed a protest march in Santa Ana on Sunday that seemed to be mostly Latino. This is obviously not simply a black issue; this is a human rights issue.
Continue reading “‘Injustice Anywhere Is a Threat to Justice Everywhere’”

Local Protesters Join Others Throughout Nation

Hindman Protesters march peacefully in Montrose on Wednesday in a rally against police brutality and institutional racism following the death of George Floyd, a black man, while he was being arrested in Minneapolis in May.
Photo courtesy Kate Hindman
Protesters march peacefully in Montrose on Wednesday in a rally against police brutality and institutional racism following the death of George Floyd, a black man, while he was being arrested in Minneapolis in May.

La Crescenta and Montrose residents made it known this week that they stand with countless others throughout the state, nation and world in calling out the police conduct linked to the deaths of George Floyd and other men and women believed to be targeted for being black.
Some marchers said that the sheer ubiquity of the current movements — which are ongoing in every state of the union and throughout the world — may represent a sea change in public opinion on law enforcement conduct, particularly toward minorities who are overrepresented in myriad criminal justice system statistics.
“This feels super different,” said La Crescenta resident Kate Hindman, who attended the Montrose protest on Wednesday. “I’ve gone to protests in the past, and I’d be so fired up that I basically just wanted to be seen. [The public responses now] are fueling the idea that if we keep going, we’re going to see actual, tangible changes instead of just the abstract ideas of ‘We’re protesting and this is why.’”
Protests erupted last week after video surfaced of Floyd’s arrest on May 25, in which one Minneapolis police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck and back for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while Floyd suffocated, according to an autopsy. Three other officers were shown simply looking on as a crowd of people pleaded for the officer to stop. Although mostly concentrated in major cities at first, they have especially in Los Angeles County trickled down to the various suburbs, including here.
“You think to yourself, ‘I should be there I should be in the thick of it. That’s where the change is happening,’” explained Love Lee, a 20-year-old La Crescenta resident who helped others plan Wednesday’s demonstration. “There’s so much change happening, so you think to yourself ‘What can a protest in La Crescenta do?’ We needed to have this so badly in our community. I would see comments online saying, ‘We don’t need this kind of thing in our community.’ I think those comments show precisely why we needed to bring this here. That in itself is privilege, when you can step back from politics and social activism and not suffer any systematic repercussions or consequences.”
The group, which had anywhere from 100 to 300 participants by various estimations, marched down Honolulu Avenue to Verdugo Boulevard, and down to Montrose Community Park. There, the protesters knelt for an 8-minute-46-second duration and listened to a handful of speakers.
A contingent of officers with the Glendale Police Department remained nearby, according to Sgt. Christian Hauptmann with GPD. Though officers were not escorting or guiding the demonstration, they did move in to pause traffic when people entered the roadways.
“One way or the other, we diverted traffic for them,” Hauptmann said.
However, some of the group felt the outsize presence was unnecessary.
Some of the protesters “were calling for some of the GPD in front of us to take a knee in solidarity,” explained 21-year-old Gwenyth Greco, a La Crescenta native attending Cal State Northridge. “After about 5 or 10 minutes, the protesters clustered closer together and some of the GPD began revving their motorcycles.”
Greco, who was among the organizers of the protest, said a couple of motorcycle officers rode close to the group, in a manner she felt was meant to intimidate.
“I hope it isn’t a reflection of GPD as a whole,” she added. “I don’t know if it was the same officers on the motorbikes, but two officers were sort of brandishing their batons, and members of the crowd were pleading with them to stop and put them away. There were still children in the crowd, and older adults. There were families, parents, not just teenagers.”
Hindman said she agreed.
“It just really clashed with what we were trying to do,” she said. “It just felt a little intense and a little aggressive and a bit of a reminder of where so many of our resources are being spent.”
Hauptmann acknowledged that videos were circulating on social media regarding this instance.
“We’re aware of it and it’s being investigated,” he added.
Lee and other explained that they first met through social media posts about wanting to organize a protest and eventually formed a Discord chat group to plan the event. Planners privately invited friends and family, Lee explained, to avoid attracting the attention of outsiders who might want to escalate the demonstration.
“These are people who are trying to fulfill some fantasy they have about destroying property,” Lee said, referring to rioters and looters from L.A.’s protests, “but the movement itself is trying to push an agenda that is peaceful.”
Being part of a worldwide moment is proving to be surreal, particularly as it seems to be crystallizing into possible policy change, the demonstrators said.
“It’s cool to see that we’re all taking a stand together,” Greco said. “When was the last time all 50 states did something together? This is all across the world. I never thought we’d see something like it.”
Hindman noted that this week, the FBI opened an investigation into the March killing of Breonna Taylor, a black EMT, when Louisville police officers were engaged in a no-knock search warrant on her apartment regarding a drug investigation which had two suspects already in custody.
“I feel like the focus is kind of shifting to her now, so I find myself wondering what’s the next thing after that,” she said.
Nick Zamora, a 19-year-old Crescenta Valley High School graduate, said he, too, is hopeful for continuing progress.
“I was very proud of it, considering that we were able to keep it so peaceful,” he said, speaking on the protest. “I feel like we need to bring our support even though we don’t specifically face the same problem others do. We need to show our support in the community.”

Local Protesters Join Others Throughout Nation

Hindman Protesters march peacefully in Montrose on Wednesday in a rally against police brutality and institutional racism following the death of George Floyd, a black man, while he was being arrested in Minneapolis in May.
Photo courtesy Kate Hindman
Protesters march peacefully in Montrose on Wednesday in a rally against police brutality and institutional racism following the death of George Floyd, a black man, while he was being arrested in Minneapolis in May.

La Crescenta and Montrose residents made it known this week that they stand with countless others throughout the state, nation and world in calling out the police conduct linked to the deaths of George Floyd and other men and women believed to be targeted for being black.
Some marchers said that the sheer ubiquity of the current movements — which are ongoing in every state of the union and throughout the world — may represent a sea change in public opinion on law enforcement conduct, particularly toward minorities who are overrepresented in myriad criminal justice system statistics.
“This feels super different,” said La Crescenta resident Kate Hindman, who attended the Montrose protest on Wednesday. “I’ve gone to protests in the past, and I’d be so fired up that I basically just wanted to be seen. [The public responses now] are fueling the idea that if we keep going, we’re going to see actual, tangible changes instead of just the abstract ideas of ‘We’re protesting and this is why.’”
Continue reading “Local Protesters Join Others Throughout Nation”

After 50-Plus Years, Dry Cleaners Stop the Presses

Photo by Zane Hill / Glendale News-Press
Carol Cianfrini, Dee Bertelsen and John Cianfrini — the faces behind the counter at Crysti Cleaners in Adams Square since it opened in 1966 — have elected to retire earlier than planned and close shop in light of the pandemic.

For the first time in 54 years, the storefront at 1124 S. Adams St. is devoid of seasoned-but-reliable dry cleaning presses, a winding motorized rack along the ceiling and what seemed like an endless collection of silk dresses, business suits and cashmere sweaters.
The longtime proprietors of Crysti Cleaners, John and Carol Cianfrini — along with Carol’s cousin, Dee Bertelsen — are hanging it up after more than half a century there. Or, rather, they are asking their last dozen or so customers to come and pick up their orders, so that they may hang those up on their own. After five decades plus at the same location in Adams Square, the Cianfrinis are expediting their retirement by more than a year, a decision accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue reading “After 50-Plus Years, Dry Cleaners Stop the Presses”

College Success Fund ‘Planting Seeds of Hope’

This Glendale 1st-grader hopes to use the $50 from the Student Success Fund to attend college and become a veterinarian, saying, “When I make animals feel better, I feel happy.”

Amid the requisite challenging financial news that accompanies every meeting in the COVID-19 era, the Glendale Unified School District launched a truly uplifting program on Thursday evening that pierced through the typical report of budget deficits and dwindling reserves.
It’s called the College Success Fund, a long-awaited new initiative that will provide each 1st-grader within GUSD with a $50 savings account to begin the long financial road toward post-secondary education.
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Caution Urged as New COVID-19 Cases Trend Downward

Cases of COVID-19 continue to grow in Glendale, although the rate of new infections has decidedly fallen since peaking in late April and early May.
As Los Angeles County officials dictate reopening plans for municipalities, locals are urged to continue social distancing and hygienic practices to keep flattening the curve of the disease. Glendale has continued to follow county guidelines as it has recently begun allowing the reopening of certain businesses, with restrictions.
Continue reading “Caution Urged as New COVID-19 Cases Trend Downward”

County Receives Go-Ahead for More Reopenings

Photo by Zane Hill / Glendale News-Press
The Americana at Brand plans to reopen its stores for normal business — at half capacity — starting on Monday. Los Angeles County officials decided this week that retailers could reopen with the restrictions.

Los Angeles County officials have given the green light for restaurants to resume dine-in service, as well as for barbers and hair salons to reopen, provided they adhere to proper distancing and hygiene protocol.
The Friday update followed an announcement from Gov. Gavin Newsom that L.A. County was free to reopen those businesses according to state guidelines. Glendale, like most L.A. County cities, follows health direction from the county Department of Public Health.
Continue reading “County Receives Go-Ahead for More Reopenings”

Officials Re-Emphasize Caution as Virus Cases Rise

Heading into the weekend, Glendale neared 900 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among its residents as officials urged people to continue to practice social distancing and wear face coverings in public.
Parks and trails have reopened, and more businesses are allowed to resume operations under limitations, but the City Council also recently renewed its requirements that individuals wear face coverings when outside. Those shopping inside grocery stores and other essential businesses are required to keep their faces covered as well.
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, there have been 886 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Glendale residents as of Friday, with 72 deaths. This gives the city a per capita ratio of more than 429 cases per 100,000 residents. More than 43,000 cases have been identified across L.A. County, with 2,049 recorded deaths.
In La Crescenta-Montrose, there have been 26 confirmed cases among residents and one death.
The county also lists skilled nursing facilities and other institutional residential facilities in its daily caseload updates, including cases that have occurred among employees, cases that have occurred among residents and deaths overall.
In Glendale, these include Autumn Hills Heath Care Center (24 employees, 56 residents, 11 deaths); Chandler Convalescent Hospital (eight employees, 26 residents, five deaths); Glendale Adventist Medical Center’s skilled nursing facility (one employee, one resident, no deaths); Glendale Healthcare Center (10 employees, 10 residents, three deaths); Glendale Post Acute Center (23 employees, 48 residents, nine deaths); Glenhaven Healthcare (15 employees, 19 residents, five deaths); Glenoaks Convalescent Hospital (eight employees, 24 residents, eight deaths); Griffith Park Health Care Center (one employee, two residents, no deaths); Leisure Glen Post Acute Care Center (31 employees, 65 residents, four deaths); Leisure Vale Retirement Home (no employees, three residents, no deaths); and Park Paseo Independent Living (no employees, four residents, one death).
In Montrose, 21 employees and 34 residents at the Montrose Healthcare Center have been confirmed to have had the disease, with 11 deaths; and 14 employees and 15 residents at the Verdugo Valley Skilled Nursing and Wellness Centre also have been confirmed to have had it, with two deaths.

Council Affirms June as Official Pride Month

June is officially Pride Month for Glendale, and the city will formally promote the virtual event that takes the place of what would have been the city’s first pride festival.
The City Council officially made the proclamation this week after signaling its intent to do so earlier this month in time for the virtual event. Councilman Dan Brotman, who made the initial push for the proclamation, read the item aloud at Tuesday’s meeting. As part of the observance, City Hall will be lit in pride colors to show support to the city’s LGBTQIA-plus community.
“Though Glendale’s first-ever Pride Festival was forced to cancel due to COVID-19, we invite everyone to support the community by coming to see our light display in front of City Hall and by participating in their reimagined e-event, ‘Glendale Pride Because,’” Brotman said.
Participants in the virtual event are invited to use the hashtag #GlendalePrideBecause in their applicable Instagram posts on May 30-31, “whether it’s a performance, drag, music, comedy, spoken word or just a bit of shared thoughts,” according to the Glendale Pride organization. The group also is collecting content using Flipgrid, which can be accessed on its website at glendalepride.org.
The original event, which was to have been at Central Park on May 30, would have provided food, music and other entertainment for guests and would have included a kid-oriented space to complement the rest of the family-friendly celebration. City officials got the ball rolling under direction of then-Mayor Ara Najarian.
Other organizations involved in planning the event include GlendaleOUT, the Gay and Lesbian Armenian Society, Equality Armenia and Revry.
“We have a great group of friends and allies who are helping us out through all of this, including the entire Glendale City Council, and we’re very thankful for that,” Grey James, one of Glendale Pride’s organizers, told the council on Tuesday.
Council members voiced their support at this week’s meeting.
“I’m so sorry that we didn’t get to move forward with your huge festival,” Councilwoman Paula Devine said, “because I know it would have been great and a lot of fun and great education for our community, but we’ll do it for real next year.”
Councilman Ardy Kassakhian quoted Harvey Milk, the gay rights icon who was assassinated 11 months after his election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978: “It takes no compromise to give people rights and it takes no money to respect the individual.”
“Ultimately we need to strive for a society where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, regardless of who they are and who they love,” Kassakhian added Tuesday. “I know that this is a modest gesture by the council, but I hope it will go some ways to assuring our citizens that every single one of them adds value to our city.”