Family Service Agency Gala Set for Oct. 24

The Family Service Agency of Burbank’s annual “Imagine a City” gala, which will honor City Manager Justin Hess and state Sen. Anthony Portantino, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Olive Ball Fields at Izay Park.
The mission of Family Service Agency is to offer quality mental health counseling, care, education and advocacy at low or no cost. FSA has dramatically changed and saved the lives of local individuals, couples and families as well as active and veteran members of the armed forces by providing housing, crisis intervention, legal guidance, safety in the face of domestic violence and hope for those in the grip of mental illness and substance addiction.
Former City Manager Mary Alvord, who is serving as co-chair of the event along with Terry Stein, said the gala had to be “reimagined to adhere to county safety protocols.”

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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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Glendale Armenians “Inspired by Other People’s Sacrifices”

When local members of the Armenian diaspora woke up on Thursday and began to scour the internet and social media for on-the-ground updates — any news, really — from the front lines of the reignited war between Azerbaijan and the Armenia-backed breakaway state Artsakh, they found pictures of the Holy Savior Cathedral.
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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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After 33 Years, Beers to Exit

City Manager Yasmin Beers, (center) pictured here at last year’s Work Boot Tuesday event with the fire department, will retire after 33 years working for the city.

Glendale officials will begin searching for a new City Manager Yasmin Beers, (center) pictured here at last year’s Work Boot Tuesday event with the fire department, will retire after 33 years working for the city.city manager after Yasmin Beers announced her pending retirement this week.
Beers, who has spent 33 years working for the city of Glendale in a variety of capacities, said in a statement that she will retire in October. She has served as the city manager since 2018, after having the role on an interim basis starting in November 2017.
“This was not an easy decision for me, and I am grateful to Glendale for the opportunity to serve all these years,” Beers said. “I thank the City Council and community for entrusting me with the position of city manager.”
Beers joined the city in 1987, when she was hired as a part-time employee in the city’s library department while completing high school and enrolled in college. She moved to gradually higher-level positions over more than three decades with the city, reaching the role of deputy city manager in 2000 and assistant city manager in 2010.
The City Council expects to discuss parameters of the search for a new executive during closed session at its upcoming meeting scheduled for Tuesday.

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Portantino’s Workforce Housing Bill Clears Assembly Housing Committee

State Sen. Anthony Portantino
State Sen. Anthony Portantino

State Sen. Anthony Portantino’s SB 1299 passed the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee last week with bipartisan support. The bill previously passed the Senate unanimously.
Portantino has long supported incentive-based legislation and SB 1299 is consistent with that approach, according to a spokesman. The Los Angeles County Business Federation suggested the bill idea to the senator earlier in the year to help address L.A. County’s housing shortage.
According to a Portantino spokesman, SB 1299 will create a program for cities to convert abandoned big-box retail sites into affordable and workforce housing. Under Portantino’s bill, local governments will be able to use these incentives to replace sales tax revenues previously generated from big-box retail stores.
Specifically, SB 1299 will enable local cities to receive from HCD the average of the annual amount of sales tax revenue generated by that site for the last seven years if the site has been converted and occupied with new housing. The city would receive that average amount for a total of seven years.

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Reynolds Selected Woman of Year By State Senator

Dr. Roberta Reynolds

Dr. Roberta Reynolds, a local resident who has served on the Burbank Board of Education since 2007 and recently completed her third term as its president, has been selected by state Sen. Anthony Portantino as the 25th State Senate District’s Woman of the Year, it has been announced.
Each year, the California Legislature recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding women during Women’s History Month. This year, the ceremony was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reynolds has previously served as PTSA president at Burbank High School, president of Burbank Council PTA, vice president of the First District PTA, and Reflections chairperson for First District PTA. Reynolds has been the recipient of a PTA Honorary Service Award from the Burbank High School PTSA, Burbank Council PTA, and First District PTA.
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La Cañada Council Picks Davitt as Mayor; Inducts Eich, Gunter

Michael Davitt

Amid a notable lack of fanfare due to social distancing, Michael Davitt was chosen unanimously as mayor of La Cañada Flintridge at a virtual City Council meeting on Tuesday, which also featured the installation of new members Keith Eich, Rick Gunter and incumbent Terry Walker.

The meeting, which typically would have celebrated the council re-organization after an election, with special recognition to new members and those leaving office — which this term includes Gregory Brown and Leonard Pieroni — was held quickly and from the privacy of separate locations.

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Portantino’s Bill on Start of School Day Is Vetoed by Governor

A bid to help students statewide get a bit more sleep and do better in class was derailed when state Sen. Anthony Portantino’s bill requiring high school and middle schools to begin their day no earlier than 8:30 was vetoed recently.
Gov. Jerry Brown issued his veto of Senate Bill 328 and explained his decision.
“This bill would prohibit middle and high schools from starting earlier than 8:30 in the morning, unless in a rural area,” Brown wrote. “This is a one-size-fits-all approach that is opposed by teachers and school boards. Several schools have already moved to later start times. Others prefer beginning the school day earlier. These are the types of decisions best handled in the local community.”
The bill would have taken effect sometime between January 2019 and July 2021.
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Portantino’s Bill on Suicide Prevention Signed Into Law

Photo courtesy state Sen. Anthony Portantino Gov. Jerry Brown (right) recently signed into law state Sen. Anthony Portantino’s Senate Bill 972, which requires schools to print a suicide prevention telephone number on identification cards of students in grades 7-12.
Photo courtesy state Sen. Anthony Portantino
Gov. Jerry Brown (right) recently signed into law state Sen. Anthony Portantino’s Senate Bill 972, which requires schools to print a suicide prevention telephone number on identification cards of students in grades 7-12.

State Sen. Anthony Portantino, whose suicide prevention bill was recently signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, said people sometimes have spoken openly with him about the tragedy because of his experience dealing with it.
His older brother Michael died of suicide in 2010.
“One of the things that struck me was after the suicide, people came up to me and felt comfortable talking about it,” said Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge). And talking about it is something his legislation aims to encourage.
The bill, which requires the telephone number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to be printed on student identification cards, was signed on Tuesday.
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