The City Council seems poised to enact an urgency ordinance on Tuesday to essentially enter into a contract with a local hotel developer that would involve committing the operation to temporary homeless housing vouchers.
Under the general terms of the proposed ordinance, which was discussed this past Tuesday, the Vagabond Inn on West Colorado Street would continue to accept vouchers for the homeless tenants through the remainder of the year and would consider six-month renewals after that until the site is demolished. In exchange, developer Vista Investments LLC, which owns the inn, will be granted a contractual development agreement with the city that allows Vista additional time to complete the approved project with its variances. The Glendale Youth Alliance would administer the voucher program, with assistance from the city, and hotel stays would be capped at 28 days per client.
The city is likely to order a ban on selling flavored tobacco products after introducing an ordinance this week. The ordinance is expected to be formally approved at a later meeting and pre-empt a potential statewide ban of the products’ sale. Councilman Dan Brotman introduced the ordinance this week, after Mayor Paula Devine had asked for it earlier in the year. “Hopefully this won’t actually be in effect for very long, because there’s a referendum next year,” Brotman said, “and, well, I’m going to go out on a limb and say I think it’s likely the voters will support a ban statewide and we’ll be able to just align with that.”
The Jewel City is now home to one of Los Angeles County’s coveted mass COVID-19 vaccination sites, which officially kicks off tomorrow and is available to all eligible county residents. Those residents will be able to register for appointments from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, at the Glendale Community Collegeparking structure off Mountain Street. Patients can either park and walk up to the clinic or get dropped off there. The clinic will not take walk-in appointments and patients will have to register through the state system, at myturn.ca.gov. The long-awaited Jewel City Vax Clinic is being run as a collaboration between the city and its police and fire departments, GCC and Adventist Health Glendale. It is being funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
In her second stint as the city’s mayor, Paula Devine said she plans to continue moving the city forward as it emerges from the restrictions and calamity of the coronavirus pandemic. Devine, who joined the City Council in 2014 and was re-elected last year, took on the largely ceremonial role at this week’s meeting, within the framework of the city’s recently modified mayor selection policy. Before conducting the remainder of the meeting, Devine outlined an agenda of continuing work started this past year and charting new paths. “Our shared goals to make our neighborhoods stronger, safer and healthier are still at the core of who we are and the reason for everything that we do and every decision that we make,” she said Tuesday. “We have much to do in the next year.” Moving forward, the city will continue working toward a transition to being run on renewable energy, including through retrofitting the Grayson Power Plant, Devine said. She said she will also push the city to continue exploring Vision Zero policies, with a goal of reducing traffic and pedestrian fatalities and injuries.
For the next four months, employees at the larger grocery and drug store outlets in Glendale will be paid an extra $5 per hour, under an urgency ordinance dictating “hero pay” to those workers. The City Council approved the policy on Tuesday, after which it immediately went into effect. The discussion of the ordinance throughout March was borne of other cities throughout Southern California also implementing the hazard pay, which has politically been coined as “hero pay” because of the necessity of grocery stores and drug stores throughout the coronavirus pandemic. “They have been there since the very beginning of this pandemic,” Councilwoman Paula Devine said during last week’s initial debate, noting that grocery employees have had the highest uptick in workplace mortality. “That is extraordinary and scary. Imagine going to work and knowing that you could die. Very easily, you could become infected and be one of the workers that loses their life over this.”
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.
The recently passed stimulus package will likely present a boon for the Hollywood Burbank Airport, which has been facing steep revenue losses as passenger levels remain low. In recent meetings, representatives of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority reported that the number of revenue passengers who traveled through the airport last year fell to about a third of the level in 2019. About 2 million passengers enplaned or deplaned at the Hollywood Burbank Airport in 2020, compared to nearly 6 million in 2019. And in January 2021, officials told Airport Authority commissioners — who include City Council members Paula Devine, Ara Najarian and Vrej Agajanian — this week, the number of revenue passengers dropped by nearly 86% compared to January 2020.
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.”