The City Council affirmed its commitment to fostering a city that is inclusive of its diversity this week, unequivocally condemning a national surge in hateful rhetoric and violence toward Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in a resolution. The condemnation was issued a week after a 21-year-old white man killed eight people in a shooting spree in Atlanta-area spas, six of whom were Asian women. That tragedy followed a year in which Asian and Pacific Islander residents across the country have reported a rise in harassment and attacks by others, a trend corresponding to the coronavirus’ origins in China. In recent months, these attacks have grown increasingly violent and deadly.
The City Council plans to consider Tuesday whether to impose a “hero pay” requirement to food and medication retailers in Glendale, a trend that is taking off throughout Los Angeles County as the coronavirus pandemic has passed its anniversary this month. A number of cities in Southern California have enacted a hero pay ordinance in recent months, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Irvine and Costa Mesa. Additionally, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors enacted a hero pay ordinance on national grocery retailers that are in the unincorporated parts of the county. Councilwoman Paula Devine asked last week for a report on possibly implementing hero pay in Glendale, with Councilman Dan Brotman offering the endorsement necessary to make it happen.
Roubik Golanian will continue his decades-long career with Glendale after the City Council confirmed him this week to be the permanent city manager moving forward. Golanian — who was the assistant city manager under his predecessor, Yasmin Beers, since May 2018 — is now tasked with continuing to guide the city through the end of the coronavirus pandemic, improving the efficiency of the city’s bureaucracy and with implementing the council’s myriad policy goals, which range from ramping up affordable housing construction, developing sustainability practices and modernizing the city’s transportation infrastructure. He had been keeping the seat warm as interim city manager since October, when Beers retired.
The City Council plans to continue looking at options to potentially make permanent the Slow Streets program that it piloted last year at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The council had considered a number of options at its meeting Tuesday and ultimately sought more research on an additional batch of options that were brainstormed at the meeting. There was not a vote on Tuesday, but there likely will be eventually. “People are, at this point, vested in the program,” Councilwoman Paula Devine said. “I’m for creating a permanent program.”
Planning officials provided a number of quick updates on mobility projects at a special City Council meeting this week. Many of the updates concerned typical long-term planning topics such as circulation studies, while more pointed projects such as the Verdugo Wash linear park also came up. No decisions were made, as the presentations were information-only, but many of the projects are due to come before the council again for myriad reasons.
Vision Zero This is perhaps the most wide-ranging of the city’s plans, as it encompasses all facets of transportation and safety for those undertaking it. Pragmatically, it’s more of an approach than it is any singular project.
More than two hours of discussing what one caller coined as “winegate” produced more headache than anything for the City Council this week. Ultimately, four council members voted to formally codify a rule directly forbidding the consumption of alcohol during board, commission or council meetings. However, a separate motion to simply recognize the event in question — that a member of the Design Review Board was on two occasions seen sipping from a wine glass during a meeting — fizzled out on an unusual 2-1-2 vote.
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.
An eastern redbud tree will soon grow in a peaceful corner of Brand Park, alongside a bench for park-goers to rest and reflect on the woman whom the two amenities commemorate. The City Council this week approved placement of the memorial items that will honor the life of Glendale native Lauren Geoghegan, who with her boyfriend, Jay Austin, and two others were killed in 2018 by militants in Tajikistan who later pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. Geoghegan’s parents, Elvira Muñoz and Robert Geoghegan, approached the city earlier this year about the idea.
With unanimous endorsement by the City Council, Glendale this week cast aside the ambiguity of silence and directly rebuked the past practices of city officials, local organizations and onetime residents that helped give the city the odious reputation of a sundown town. Continue reading “Council Condemns Glendale’s Past Racism”
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.