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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

PPP Funds Reach Burbank, Federal Data Questioned

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, roughly 3,370 Burbank businesses received potentially forgivable federal loans during a pandemic that sank the economy into a recession — though the source of that information is being called into question.
Those businesses, including sole proprietorships and self-employed individuals, received approval for Paycheck Protection Program loans from lenders. Altogether, the Burbank businesses that were approved for loans said the money would allow them to save more than 34,000 jobs
However, there have been reports of businesses and officials across the nation saying that the data from the SBA, released July 6, contains many errors, including inflated loan amounts.
As a result, the reliability of some of the SBA’s data set — released after congressional calls for the $699-billion program to publish it — has been thrown into doubt.
“I think there is a real issue with transparency,” Congressman Adam Schiff, whose district includes Burbank, said in a phone interview. “There were a lot of bad numbers coming out of that disclosure.”
SBA spokeswoman Shannon Giles said in an email that the department reported only approved — not disbursed — PPP loans: “Lenders report their PPP disbursements monthly, so there is a data lag between approval and disbursal reports.”
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Friedman, Schiff Yank Jackie Lacey Endorsements

Laura Friedman

Two area legislators last weekend publicly retracted prior endorsements of Jackie Lacey in her bid to be reelected as the Los Angeles County district attorney.
Assemblywoman Laura Friedman and Congressman Adam Schiff, whose districts include Burbank, each tweeted the rescission of their endorsements last Saturday, using nearly identical language and tagging each other in their statements. Each lawmaker said this was “a rare time in our nation’s history” that magnified their responsibility to enact sweeping changes to “end systemic racism and reform criminal justice.”
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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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Congressman Discusses Potential New Stimulus With Council

Congressman Adam B. Schiff

More federal funds addressing the economic impact of the coronavirus may be on the way, Congressman Adam Schiff said during the City Council’s virtual meeting Tuesday.
Schiff, D-Burbank, joined the meeting to announce the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, a potential follow-up to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the coronavirus stimulus package known as the CARES Act. The $3 trillion legislation would give about $500 billion to states and $375 billion to cities for their coronavirus responses, with the largest portion of the latter provision awarded to bigger cities like Burbank.
Councilmembers expressed support for the bill, which additionally provides more money for COVID-19 testing. However, Schiff also said that the federal government has been slow to increase its testing capacity.
“Much of the issue in terms of testing is that the administration got such a late start in prioritizing this. The early test that was rolled out by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] was a flawed test, and that cost us precious weeks to get a good test out, and even then I think the response has been very slow to ramp up the capacity,” he said.
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Democrats, Republicans Can Agree on the Importance of Community Newspapers

‘Why We Must Support Local Journalism,’ Congressman Writes

By Adam B. Schiff
Special to the News-Press

Congressman Adam B. Schiff

Last month, we were all deeply saddened when the Los Angeles Times announced the closing of three of our community newspapers: the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Cañada Valley Sun. These papers have played an integral role in our community for years, from informing us about local events to highlighting important work by community members and much more.
These papers have helped knit together the fabric of our communities. They covered our local achievements and setbacks, our challenges and our victories, our community heroes and our heartaches. And over the years, I had the great privilege of working with many of their talented editors and journalists. I took issue with their stories from time to time – as it should be – but I never doubted their professionalism and commitment to our community.
That is why I am so heartened that these papers will be brought back into circulation by Outlook Newspapers.
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Schiff Honors LCF’s Weber as Woman of the Year

OUTLOOK file photo
Congressman Adam Schiff recently named Barbara Weber, shown with her husband, Bill, as one of the 2020 Women of the Year honorees.

Congressman Adam Schiff has named La Cañada Flintridge resident Barbara Weber as one of the “2020 Women of the Year,” an annual tradition to recognize inspiring women throughout local communities in the 28th Congressional District during Women’s History Month in March.
Weber was one of 15 women honored for her extensive volunteer work in the community, including serving on the boards of several La Cañada Flintridge Parent-Teacher Associations, as well as a classroom volunteer at Paradise Canyon Elementary School. She also has actively volunteered at Huntington Hospital, the Assistance League of Flintridge, and Caltech Women’s Club.
Typically, the women are honored with a celebratory luncheon, but due to the coronavirus pandemic this year, Schiff gave an online Facebook speech to sing their praises.
“Every year in March, in honor of Women’s History Month, my office hosts an event to honor our district’s Women of the Year,” Schiff said. “Unfortunately, we had to postpone our celebration due to coronavirus, but I wanted to make sure these outstanding women get the recognition they deserve. They are all pillars of our communities and I thank them for their invaluable service.”