By Ted AYALA
A special meeting of the Glendale City Council was held at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday to discuss a possible end to the long standing feud that pits the city and developer Rick Caruso against Ray Patel, owner of The Golden Key Motel on 123 W. Colorado Blvd. Throngs of people packed the aisles of the council chamber – over 200 folks in total – eager to have their voices heard.
“It’s criminal,” said Glendale resident Abbey MacMillan. “The city wants to bump this little guy off the map to feed its own coffers.”
Montrose resident George Atovmyan disagreed. “With all due respect to Mr. Patel, the city needs to take action. The Americana brings in millions of dollars in income to Glendale. With the economy as bad as it is now, the city would be foolish to turn away the potential income that the use of eminent domain over the Golden Key could reap.”
Glendale Police had their hands full containing the crowd, ordering the mass again and again to ensure that the aisles were kept clear.
Nine o’clock came and went without the meeting being called to order. Finally, at 9:45 James Starbird, Glendale city manager, announced to the audience that the meeting was being delayed. “Mr. Caruso and Mr. Patel are in discussion. We’ll begin as soon as they’re ready.”
Another hour passed. Finally a hush set over the audience, with people scrambling to their seats. Walking into the room was Ray Patel. Cheers erupted for Patel, where he was received with all the fanfare of a champion boxer.
Following Patel was developer Rick Caruso of Caruso Affiliated.
Councilwoman Laura Friedman called the meeting to order and allowed Caruso and Patel to make oral statements. Both parties had agreed to discuss an amicable end to the issue of absorbing the Golden Key’s property into the Americana that would preclude the use of eminent domain. Pending the outcome of these talks, the meeting to discuss the issue was pushed to Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 2:30 p.m.
The crowds of people in support for Patel and Caruso quickly emptied the chambers, hoping to return and have their say next week.
Albert Vickers, member of the Glendale Elks 1289 where Ray Patel is also a member, came out in support of his fellow Elk. “We came here to support Ray [Patel]. He is very active in the Elks; very active in our programs for youth and veterans. For the city to kick this civic minded citizen is simply cruel.” Vickers noted that over 50 of his fellow Elks came out in support of Patel. When asked if he and his fellow Elks would return to support Patel next week, Vickers answered, “Definitely. We’re coming back next week. Absolutely.”