Activist’s Effort Was Solitary, but Now There’s Solidarity

The one-man demonstration by local resident Spencer Carney, shown in the foreground, inspired others to join him in front of City Hall on Tuesday to show support for Black Lives Matter and Pride Month. The group plans to return on each remaining Tuesday this month.
Photo by Zane Hill / Glendale News-Press

As he took note of the massive protests forming in the Los Angeles area, Spencer Carney knew he had a decision to make.
The protests joined countless others throughout the nation and world, all to call out systemic racism and policy brutality after George Floyd was arrested in Minneapolis and died after one of the four arresting officers knelt on his back and neck for nearly nine minutes. But, Carney noted, they also ran contrary to social distancing widely adopted to help curb COVID-19, a disease of particular threat to senior citizens such as those who occupy most of the Glendale resident’s apartment building.
“The idea of going out to a protest and exposing myself to people not practicing social distancing or wearing a mask represented a conflict,” he said. “It was difficult for me to brainstorm these things, because in the past, I was always that guy who would go out and protest. I’ve been to the last two Women’s Marches. I went to USC and helped start One for All, which is a social justice theater troupe.”
Having attended various Pride events in years past, Carney also took note of the All Black Lives Matter march in Hollywood last weekend, which called attention to the adversity faced by black members of the LGBTQIA community and took place in lieu of the canceled Pride Parade. Continue reading “Activist’s Effort Was Solitary, but Now There’s Solidarity”

GUSD Passes Budget With $20 Million Deficit

The Glendale Unified School District Board of Education on Tuesday adopted its budget for the 2020-21 school year “begrudgingly,” in the words of board member Greg Krikorian, who nevertheless had no other options given the state’s bleak financial situation.
The general fund portion of the budget is used to educate the district’s 26,000 students and includes a little over $289 million in revenues and more than $309 million in expenditures. The $20.3 million deficit is caused by the 10% cut to public education funding in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent May Revise budget proposal due to the COVID-19 health and financial crisis. The GUSD had until June 30 to submit a budget to the Los Angeles County Office of Education, or LACOE, a tenet that was satisfied by the unanimous vote.
As bad as it may appear, things could have been even direr.
Worst-case scenarios explained by Steve Dickinson, the district’s chief business and financial officer, projected deficits as high as $53 million for the upcoming school year. This week, however, the state legislature passed a budget bill that does not include any reductions to public education funding, but instead relies heavily on assumptions of California receiving billions of dollars in federal relief funds. Until the final state budget act is approved, GUSD and all school districts in the state will be planning for large budget reductions in the coming years. Continue reading “GUSD Passes Budget With $20 Million Deficit”

COVID-19 Battle May Even Extend to Crosswalk Buttons

Glendale Public Works staff members will research and present options to the City Council to add precautionary implements to pedestrian crosswalk buttons in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
The council on Tuesday unanimously backed the idea advanced by Councilman Ara Najarian and Councilwoman Paula Devine after a lengthy discussion on modifying crosswalk signals in accordance with the present pandemic hygiene culture. Though the discussion initially considered placing crosswalks and traffic signals on a predetermined timer, officials seem poised to later consider that modification as part of a broader conversation on traffic calming and the city’s walkability.
“I think the motorists and residents are going to go bananas” if signals are automated, Najarian contended Tuesday. “We’ve got a difficult situation at best in our downtown area.” Continue reading “COVID-19 Battle May Even Extend to Crosswalk Buttons”

District Researching Options for Upcoming School Year

Hagop Eulmessekian, the GUSD’s director of student support services, offered a presentation on behalf of the district’s Return to School Task Force at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Local schools find themselves in the annual pause between graduation and the start of the next academic year, but Tuesday’s meeting of the Glendale Unified School District defied the typical tone of summer vacation that characterizes assemblies held this time of year.
The topic was pedestrian enough — a presentation by the district’s Return to School Task Force — but with less than two months remaining until the first day, the overwhelming sense of the unknown was palpable.
With a little time to plan, unlike the almost immediate shuttering of school facilities that took place in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset, board members nevertheless found themselves with at least as many questions as answers when it came to plotting a course for the upcoming 2021-21 school year.
“We will take the framework and the guidelines and vet them with board priorities to get a plan and bring it back to the board for approval,” said Hagop Eulmessekian, the GUSD’s director of student support services, who provided the task force’s report. Continue reading “District Researching Options for Upcoming School Year”

Obituary | Virgil H. Culler

Virgil H. Culler passed away peacefully on Sunday, June 14, at the Meadows in Prescott Valley, Arizona, at age 98.
The son of Forrest and Emma (Shilder) Culler, Virgil grew up in Alliance, Ohio, graduating from Alliance High School. He met and married Anna C. “Ann” (Schorsten) Culler, the love of his life for 59 years.
Moving to Southern California in 1956, Virgil went to work for the Caltech-Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the research of liquid propellant for the space industry.
Virgil enjoyed building and flying model airplanes in the Mojave Desert.
He and Ann loved traveling twice a year to the Navajo reservations in Arizona to deliver clothes they had collected during that year. Virgil always lovingly spoke of the Navajo people as his favorite. It was an honor for him to be invited along with Ann to the Navajos’ sacred Yei-be-chei dance, being the only white people in attendance.
He acquired a 10-man raft and took family and friends on many trips down the San Juan River before it completely flowed into Lake Powell.
For 32 years, another highlight of his life was camping out on the “blue line” along Colorado Boulevard for the annual New Year’s Day Pasadena Rose Parade, going there the night before and saving seating spots for his family and friends to view the parade.
His brother, Kenneth E. Culler of Henderson, Nevada; cousin, Betty Brunner of McCrea Manor; and numerous nieces and nephews survive Virgil. His parents and his wife Anna “Ann” preceded him in death.
A graveside service will be held at the Freeburg Church of the Brethren with Pastor Zellers officiating on Wednesday, June 24, at 11 a.m. The service will be livestreamed; please see the bottom of Virgil’s obituary located at ctcfuneral.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Navajo Water Project Dig Deep 501(c)(3), info@digdeep.org, or the Freeburg Church of the Brethren, 4470 Beachwood Ave. NE, Paris, Ohio 44669.
Arrangements are by Cassaday-Turkle Funeral Home, Alliance, Ohio. Friends may register online at ctcfuneral.com.

Glendale Officials Address Message of Protests

In the coming months, the City Council expects to consider a report from City Manager Yasmin Beers that would outline potential new policies for the city to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in its staffing and operations.
This discussion may also include a dive into how to address, if at all, nationwide calls to “defund the police,” in which protesters speaking out against institutional racism and police brutality are demanding that funding for police departments be redistributed in part to other social and public health programs.
Continue reading “Glendale Officials Address Message of Protests”

Protest March Is Significant, Hopeful

Photo by Zane Hill / Glendale News-Press
Protesters march down Brand Boulevard, past the iconic Alex Theatre, on Sunday in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. More than 1,500 joined in Sunday’s demonstration, one of countless numbers that continue nationwide to call for police reform after the death of George Floyd while being arrested in Minneapolis.

The occasion was one part solemnity and another part rage, but the energy that resonated from the throngs of protesters who marched on Sunday and paid respect to lives lost seemed, in some ways, hopeful.
Continue reading “Protest March Is Significant, Hopeful”

‘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’”