Council to Consider Resolution Over City’s Past Racism

In what may be a significant step to promote healing from racist practices in the community’s past, the City Council plans to consider a resolution on Tuesday formally acknowledging and apologizing for what made Glendale a reputed “sundown town” decades ago.
The proposed resolution comes months after city officials faced a strong demand from residents to shine a light on those past practices, amid the broader national conversations about how racial discrimination has festered or persisted even after laws forbade its practice. The staff report on the resolution includes references to such phenomena as Black homebuyers being frozen out of various neighborhoods, the “sundown town” practice through which Black employees would face threats if they remained within city limits after work hours, and the general atmosphere of a city that was the home of some Ku Klux Klan leaders and an American Nazi Party branch.

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Glendale Arts Celebrates Successful Telethon for Alex Theatre’s 95th Birthday

Photo by Keira Wight / Glendale News-Press
Participants (in alphabetical order) include: Jazzy Birdsong, Alexis Colett, Ashley Crowe, Nina Crowe, Elissa Glickman, Zach Hazelwood, Melynda Homes, Androuhi Keshishyan, Nick Massey, Chad Mata, Bob O’Neill, Bri Pattillo, Rafa Posada, Maria Sahakian and Hilary Sbei.

The heat was on at the Alex Theatre on Saturday, when the venue’s nonprofit management company Glendale Arts surpassed its $95,000 fundraising goal in honor of its 95th birthday milestone, which was celebrated with a 12-hour program presented in a telethon format and livestreamed and telecast on multiple platforms.
At the close of the Alex95 event, $98,339 had been raised for the preservation of the city-owned Alex Theatre and the programs and services offered by Glendale Arts, with donations continuing to come in from supporters. The performing arts and entertainment center has reduced its staff since the mandated lockdown took effect in March, but it remains committed to its mission of bringing the community together through the arts and entertainment while continuing to maintain the historic building.
Alex95 hosts journalist Palmira Perez-Najarian, former NBC4 weathercaster Fritz Coleman, and comedians Alonzo Bodden, Mary Basmadjian, Matt Kirshen and Michael Rayner entertained viewers throughout the program, sharing the wonder and promise of the Theatre with their own special connections and memories.
Program highlights included a guided tour of the Alex, video greetings from performers and artists, and familiar faces from the community, including honorary committee members and area elected officials, including Congressman Adam Schiff, state Sen. Anthony Portantino, Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, Glendale Mayor Vrej Agajanian and City Council members Ara Najarian, Paula Devine, Ardy Kassakhian and Daniel Brotman.
“We’re thrilled with the outpouring of support for Alex95, which reaffirms the community’s love for its iconic cultural and architectural landmark,” said Glendale Arts Managing Director Nina Crowe.

City Sees Appeal in Possible Sustainability Commission

Glendale is a step closer to forming a sustainability commission, with municipal staff members working on an ordinance to craft the panel at the direction of the City Council, which voted Tuesday on the matter.
Though the potential commission’s goals aren’t yet set, David Jones, who was recently hired as Glendale’s first sustainability officer, suggested that it serve as an advisory board to the council on a variety of environmental subjects.
Jones told council members that the commission could advise on topics including transportation, biodiversity, responses to climate change, air quality and environmental justice. Similar commissions in nearby cities, including Burbank and Pasadena, commonly help guide their city councils on these subjects, he explained, and also tend to handle community education.

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Beirut Tragedy Keenly Felt by Local Expats

Photo courtesy city of Glendale
City Hall was emblazoned with the colors of the Lebanese flag last week, in tribute to the connections many Glendale residents have to Lebanon.

Mike and Rosalie Tcholakian were enjoying morning coffee on Aug. 4, but the notifications that kept their phones buzzing soon halted the couple’s daily routine.
Checking the devices’ screens, they saw the shaky cellphone footage of smoke rising from a warehouse near the port of a faraway metropolis — the images at first speckled by what looked like fireworks — and then a sudden, overwhelming blast whose soundwave was captured only as distortion. The scene was so jarring that it captured the attention of a world that had spent most of the year singularly captivated by a pandemic.
However, the Tcholakians did not have the privilege of simply waiting for news to trickle out. For hours, Mike Tcholakian fruitlessly used WhatsApp — a signature mobile app for any expatriate — to try to rouse anyone from his childhood home of Beirut. An uncle eventually accepted one of his calls, though he was unable to speak.
“At least he finally picked up,” Rosalie Tcholakian said, as if reliving the release of tension from that moment.

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Eviction Moratorium Extended for a Month — Then What?

When Glendale officials again extended the city’s residential eviction moratorium this week, it was clear that they also are looking with more urgency for guidance and relief from Sacramento.
When the latest extension goes into effect Tuesday, Sept. 1, it becomes Glendale residents’ only protection from eviction, as the state Judicial Council’s pause on taking up eviction proceedings in courts is ending. The extension to Sept. 30 itself coincides with the expiration of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order allowing cities to implement the eviction protection measures.

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City Takes Steps to Liven Up Artsakh Avenue

The city will continue exploring specifically how to revitalize the arts and entertainment district along Artsakh Avenue that includes Glendale-owned storefronts, and will likely identify locally based “destination” businesses to populate the pedestrian-friendly pathway.
In the meantime, economic development officials will put together a plan to bring in pop-up businesses to either take up a storefront for up to six months or set up an outdoor venue in which to operate. The experiences and successes of these short-term pop-ups would inform the city’s long-range decisions on the area once additions and updates to the plan for the avenue are completed as soon as 2022.
All that is the upshot of a special City Council meeting on Tuesday, when the panel engaged the services of consultants to help guide Artsakh’s evolution.

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Roadwork Will Smooth Way to Rail Depot

A construction bid for transportation infrastructure improvements easing residents’ path to Glendale’s train station was awarded by the City Council this week.
For $3,478,900, Long Beach-based Excel Paving Co. will begin to handle the project in October and is expected to wrap up work by February. The city received seven bids for the work, which will include road rehabilitation and, notably, the installation of bike lanes along numerous roadways.
These bike paths are intended to improve access to and from the city’s Larry Zarian Transportation Center, a link to the greater rail network in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is contributing more than $1.5 million toward the project.

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New Leaders Chosen for Airport Authority Commission

Paula Devine, Vrej Agajanian and Ara Najarian.

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, owner and operator of Hollywood Burbank Airport, has elected new officers to head the Authority Commission through June 2021.
Pasadena Commissioner Ross Selvidge was elected president, Commissioner Paula Devine of Glendale was anointed as vice president, and Burbank Commissioner Don Brown was chosen secretary. The commission elects its officers each July.
Selvidge was first appointed to the authority in July 2015 and served as vice president in the recent term and as secretary in the term before that. Coming from a family of aviators, he holds airplane and glider pilot licenses and made his very first solo flight at Hollywood Burbank Airport more than 50 years ago.
He also has an extensive airport background, having been a construction contracting officer at two Marine Corps air stations while he was an active-duty Navy Civil Engineer Corps officer.
Devine was first appointed to the commission in June 2017 and served as treasurer this last term. Brown was first appointed to the panel in November 2001 and has served as president and vice president during his tenure.
In related action, the authority appointed Vrej Agajanian as treasurer, reappointed Bill Wiggins as auditor and reappointed Executive Director Frank Miller as assistant secretary.
The authority is a joint powers agency formed by Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena to own and operate the airport. The authority is governed by a nine-member commission; each of the cities appoints three commissioners.
The other current commissioners are Wiggins and Ray Adams of Burbank; Agajanian and Ara Najarian of Glendale; and John J. Kennedy and Steve Madison of Pasadena.

New Leaders Chosen for Airport Authority Commission

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, owner and operator of Hollywood Burbank Airport, has elected new officers to head the Authority Commission through June 2021.
Pasadena Commissioner Ross Selvidge was elected president, Commissioner Paula Devine of Glendale was anointed as vice president, and Burbank Commissioner Don Brown was chosen secretary. The commission elects its officers each July.
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