By Ted AYALA
After a sojourn of two weeks at the end of 2010, the Glendale City Council held its first meeting of the year on Tuesday, Jan. 4. There was little chance for the council to take a breather. Last Tuesday’s agenda was heavy with issues that demanded the council’s immediate attention.
Oral communications from the public began the proceedings. Mike Perry, outgoing president of the Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce (MVCC), gave a few words to the council concerning last month’s city council decision to allow the governing board of the local Montrose business improvement district (BID) – in this case, the Montrose Shopping Park Association (MSPA) – be the point-of-contact for the city regarding the maintenance of the Montrose Vietnam War Memorial.
“We hope to still be included in the ceremonies and events and we’re very proud to have that monument in Montrose,” said Perry.
Councilmember John Drayman asked City Manager Jim Starbird to clarify for the benefit of the MVCC and the public the MSPA’s role in sheepherding the memorial. Starbird then stated that “the city authorized a point organization that is responsible for administering the BID activities in Montrose. … But in that was stressing that both [the MSPA and MVCC] continue working together. … We needed to have one point of contact and that would be whichever group would be administering the BID.”
Next the council discussed what to do with how to fairly portion out the contracts for towing in the city of Glendale now that the contracts are going to lapse. Captain Carl Povlaitis of the Glendale Police Department (GPD), liaison to the city’s towing companies, gave a brief summary of the successes and problems faced by the present towing contractors. At the heart of the matter was a complaint from Crescenta Valley Towing Company (CVTC) regarding what it feels is an unfair portioning of tows. Though tows are portioned on a 40/40/20 basis, with CVTC receiving North Glendale’s 20%, the CVTC has only been able to eke out 10% while a rival company has swallowed 49%.
After giving a variety of options to address this imbalance, Capt. Povlaitis’ second option – redraw the tow district boundaries – was seized upon and modified by Councilmember Dave Weaver who added a six month waiting period before deciding on redrawing the boundary lines, pending studies.
The Present family, owners of the CVTC, was in attendance and made their displeasure over this imbalance known.
“We were relying on the city to double the tows as promised. [But] to date, we have not yet received 20% of the tows,” said Susan Present. “The effect of all of this is to harm a long-lived [local] business and our livelihood. … We’ve had to lay-off dispatchers.”
In the end, the city voted unanimously to accept Weaver’s proposal and will revisit the option to redraw the towing boundary lines pending further study by the city.
At the close of the meeting, oral communications were resumed. The main topic of discussion among all the speakers was recent allegations of corruption by the Glendale News-Press against several Glendale city politicians. The commentary by the citizens that chose to speak was spirited and colorful, both in praise and scorn of the city council members. Mike Mohill, Glendale resident, was a particularly vivid firebrand that brought out a chart as he chided the council for their alleged offences. Still, amidst the furor, civility was maintained.
Noting that Mr. Mohill sounded raspy, Mayor Najarian had a glass of water brought to him to soothe his throat.
“We want to make sure you’re here for the next meeting,” smiled Najarian.