A Time of Pandemic, Protest, Change

Photo by Zane Hill / Glendale News-Press
A large crowd marches down Central Avenue en route to Artsakh Avenue in support of Armenia and the Artsakh Republic in their conflict with Azerbaijan. The local Armenian diaspora’s efforts have included activism and donation drives.

For many, Friday, Jan. 1, represented a long-overdue turn of the page from a year that lived up to no one’s expectations.
From the beginning of 2020, news trickled into American airwaves and newsprint that a mysterious virus had secretly wreaked havoc throughout much of China and had begun spreading at uncontrolled levels through South Korea, Iran, Italy and Spain. Reports of overwhelmed hospitals, mass graves and widespread lockdowns also spread.
And then the accounts started coming out of New York City. And Seattle. And a well-known pork processing plant in South Dakota.
By March 11, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was declared to be a global pandemic. Locally, by March 13 — auspicious, indeed, as a Friday the 13th — school districts were closing, cities were declaring states of emergency and officials were openly discussing what would become the Safer at Home orders. Restaurants were limited to takeout or delivery. Personal care services, entertainment venues and bars closed. Nonessential retailers had to close. The NBA suspended its season.

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City Council Aligns Rent Repayment Plan With State’s

In anticipation of future state legislation and hopes of mitigating growing confusion among renters, landlords and their legal advisers, the City Council elected this week to abdicate its own rent repayment schedule and align with the state’s own plan.
Mayor Vrej Agajanian and Councilmen Dan Brotman and Ardy Kassakhian supported the measure on Tuesday, with Councilwoman Paula Devine voting against it and Councilman Ara Najarian choosing to abstain after its passage was assured. The decision ends the city’s previously adopted 12-month quarterly rent repayment plan that was scheduled for first installment at the end of November.

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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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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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Council Takes Shine to Possible Mylar Balloon Ban

The City Council has asked for an ordinance to ban the sale of Mylar balloons in Glendale because of the problems they cause for electric utilities.
Photo courtesy Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

In the coming weeks, the City Council expects to take up a possible ordinance banning an innocent-looking party product that can cause nuisances that have frustrated Glendale officials for decades — the Mylar balloon.
City Attorney Michael Garcia will, at the unanimous request of the council at its Tuesday meeting, prepare an ordinance that would ban outright the sale of the metallic balloons — known to drift into power lines — in city limits. The council, for now, eschewed a ban on possession, citing enforcement issues for such a law.
“These products have unfortunately become a nuisance and we have to do the right thing by our residents and by the users of our utilities,” said Councilman Ardy Kassakhian, adding it was a “no-brainer” to enact a sale ban. “I don’t think we can do anything about the possession of them, and I think the enforcement of that becomes a little bit more difficult and troublesome. Our code enforcement is already stretched thin. Our police are now enforcing our mask guidelines and rules. I think now is not the time to add anything of this sort to their plate.”

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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.
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