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.

Continue reading “A Time of Pandemic, Protest, Change”

Voters Keep Most Incumbents, Support Props. 17, 22

Photo by Zane Hill / Glendale News-Press
A man casts his ballot for Tuesday’s election at the voting center at Pacific Community Center and Park.

Voters returned a number of local incumbents to their state and federal seats Tuesday at a comfortable margin, while Los Angeles County will see changeover at the district attorney’s office.
Statewide, voters also defeated Proposition 15 — a measure supported by both the City Council and the Glendale Unified School District that would have increased property tax funding at a local level — while approving Proposition 17, which restores voting rights for convicted felons after their prison terms end. As of press deadline on Friday, Democratic nominee Joe Biden looked poised to unseat President Donald Trump after taking or maintaining vote leads in key electoral states Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Continue reading “Voters Keep Most Incumbents, Support Props. 17, 22”

Anthony, Schultz Take Early Lead in Burbank City Council Election

With millions of votes counted in Los Angeles County, some local candidates have appeared to take the lead in their races, while a controversial rent regulation measure faces steep opposition so far.

The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office last updated figures at a little before 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13. The office said Tuesday night that there was an estimated 142,715 ballots left to count, not including votes postmarked by Election Day and received through Nov. 20. About 69,500 of the ballots left to count were mail-in ballots, including those deposited in a drop box.

Continue reading “Anthony, Schultz Take Early Lead in Burbank City Council Election”

Representatives Talk Economy, COVID at Town Hall

Federal and state officials said at a virtual town hall this week that economic recovery was at the forefront of their minds, but they often cautioned that they were dependent on federal dollars that may not be coming.
The live-streamed meeting, moderated by former Burbank Mayor Marsha Ramos and which featured Congressman Adam Schiff, state Sen. Anthony Portantino and California Labor Secretary Julie Su, allowed residents to float questions to the representatives on topics ranging from testing to Azerbaijani aggression in Artsakh.
A subject that dominated much of the conversation on Monday, however, was a recession caused by the deadly coronavirus. The California unemployment rate fell to an estimated 10.8% in September, the second consecutive month since March that the rate was lower than the 12.3% height of the Great Recession, according to the state’s Employment Development Department.
There were more than 2 million workers in California who remained unemployed last month.

Continue reading “Representatives Talk Economy, COVID at Town Hall”

Representatives Talk Economy, COVID at Town Hall

Federal and state officials said at a recent virtual town hall that economic recovery was at the forefront of their minds, but also cautioned that federal dollars were needed for the task.
The livestreamed forum, which featured Congressman Adam Schiff, state Sen. Anthony Portantino and California Labor Secretary Julie Su, allowed residents to float questions to the officials on topics ranging from COVID-19 testing to Azerbaijani aggression.
A subject that dominated much of the conversation on Monday, however, was the recession caused by a deadly coronavirus. The California unemployment rate fell to an estimated 10.8% in September, the second consecutive month since March that the rate was lower than the Great Recession peak of 12.3%, according to the state’s Employment Development Department.

Continue reading “Representatives Talk Economy, COVID at Town Hall”

Representatives Talk Economy, COVID at Town Hall

Federal and state officials said at a recent virtual town hall that economic recovery was at the forefront of their minds, but also cautioned that federal dollars were needed for the task.
The livestreamed forum, which featured Congressman Adam Schiff, state Sen. Anthony Portantino and California Labor Secretary Julie Su, allowed residents to float questions to the officials on topics ranging from COVID-19 testing to Azerbaijani aggression.
Continue reading “Representatives Talk Economy, COVID at Town Hall”

Hess Lauded by Agency Imagining an Ever Better City

Photo by David Laurell
Burbank City Manager Justin Hess is FSA’s 2020 Mary Alice O’Connor Vision Award honoree.

It would typically not be a good sign if Burbank City Manager Justin Hess’ secretary Joyce Thompson interrupted his midday business to say he was immediately needed in front of City Hall. It would cause even further concern if, instead of being led through the most direct path via the front doors, he was taken around the corner to approach the front of the building from the side.
That scenario is exactly what took place this past Monday morning.
If Hess’ anxiety level was a bit high as he turned from Third Street onto Olive Avenue, it dropped precipitously when he saw Congressman Adam Schiff, the full complement of the City Council, members of the city’s executive staff and representatives of the Family Service Agency of Burbank welcoming him with applause.

Continue reading “Hess Lauded by Agency Imagining an Ever Better City”

Kiwanis Looks to Draw Its Next Generation Into Service

Photos by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Newly sworn-in Kiwanis Club of Burbank President Kelly Peña (center) with First Vice President Douglas Chadwick (left) and Second Vice President Bryan Snodgrass at last week’s reorganization ceremony, which fellow club members saw via Zoom.

This past week, for the 99th time, members and supporters of the Kiwanis Club of Burbank gathered to swear in the organization’s new president and board of directors.
While the event included all of the traditional components of a Kiwanian reorganization, it was also very different from the previous 98 ceremonies. Instead of a gathering at a local restaurant or event facility, the service club’s 2020-21 reorganization was physically attended only by the group’s board members, who wore masks and maintained a social distance while convening at the Magnolia Park home of incoming President Kelly Peña.
As preparations were finalized by the evening’s hostess, Charissa Wheeler, to “go live” via Zoom and bring in a screen-ful of fellow Kiwanians and local dignitaries, Peña shared some insight on what the organization will look like under her leadership.
“My theme will be ‘Creating the Leaders of Today and Tomorrow,’ and we will be making that happen by what I am calling the ‘Three M’s’ — membership, marketing and mentoring,” Peña revealed.

Continue reading “Kiwanis Looks to Draw Its Next Generation Into Service”

Activists Rally Support for Armenia, Reject Hatred

Photo by Zane Hill / Glendale News-Press
Activists and others gathered outside of the Armenian Consulate last Saturday in a show of support for Armenian troops who in July engaged in border skirmishes with the Azerbaijani military. The clashes represent the latest in a series of ceasefire violations between the two nations since 1994.

When hundreds gathered outside of the Armenian Consulate last week — an event that largely turned the corner of Lexington Drive and Central Avenue into a sea of red, blue and orange — it was not to showcase aggression or hostility.
Rather, those who gathered in solidarity with Armenia and the Artsakh Republic sang, cheered and danced in the closed-off block, to a backdrop of motorists — many of whom had decked their vehicles with flags — enthusiastically honking in support. And, as officials for local Armenian organizations shouted to the crowd last Saturday, they did so out of love for their homeland, not hatred for Azerbaijani soldiers ordered to fire upon Armenian targets throughout July.
“We are here to tell our brothers and sisters in the homeland that the diaspora stands with them,” yelled Gev Iskajyan, a member of the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region’s board of directors. “We are here to exemplify the love that we have for peace, the love that we have for freedom and the love that we have for our people in the homeland. That love will never cater to hatred.”
The Armenian and Azerbaijani militaries traded artillery rounds and drone strikes starting on July 12, when Armenian troops said their adversary’s units began aiming at civilian targets along the nations’ borders. The escalation again violates a ceasefire agreement in 1994 that followed the Nagorno Karabakh war; a more substantial incursion occurred in 2016.

Continue reading “Activists Rally Support for Armenia, Reject Hatred”

Armenian Group to Rally Today Over Foreign Conflict

The Armenian Youth Federation, through its western U.S. office in Glendale, will host a rally for unity today amid an escalation of military hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The rally will take place outside the Armenian Consulate on Central Avenue at 5 p.m.
And on Tuesday, Aug. 4, at 5:30 p.m., the local organization GlendaleOUT will host a gathering of solidarity for the Armenian community outside City Hall on Broadway. In observance of the pandemic, both events will require participants to wear face coverings and adhere to social distancing.
Similar demonstrations have occurred in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the U.S. since clashes between Armenia and Azerbajian were renewed on July 12. In the wake of the Soviet Union’s breakup, the two nations engaged in the 1994 Nagorno-Karabakh War as part of their broader ethnic conflict over territory largely occupied by Armenians but apportioned to Azerbaijan by the Soviets in their state’s early days.
The AYF plans to “celebrate our Armenian culture, heritage and strength” at today’s rally at 346 N. Central Ave.
The organization “is calling on our community to stand with us as we showcase our unity and strength and celebrate our culture and heritage in the face of Azerbaijani aggression against our homeland and Armenians around the world,” it wrote in its fliers.
This event follows a similar march, organized last week, where there were a variety of speakers and a number of signs left at the consulate. The Glendale chapter of the Armenian National Committee of America condemned the military clashes in a statement, and the House Armenian Caucus — which is co-chaired by Congressman Adam Schiff, a Burbank Democrat who also represents Glendale — called upon the Trump administration to take action to reel in Azerbaijan’s aggression.

For information about the youth federation, visit ayfwest.org.