By Mary O’KEEFE
The Crescenta Valley Town Council with community members have created a website to help residents understand what’s on the April 7 ballot.
“We want people to know the importance of voting,” said CVTC President Robbyn Battles.
The website cvvotes.org has information on the upcoming Glendale election including a map of polling areas and links to information on vote-by-mail and the candidates.
The CVTC is an elected body that represents the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County/La Crescenta. Though it does not have the power to change L.A. County laws, it acts as an advisory council to L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich whose office oversees the area.
The April 7 election is for the city of Glendale; however, those in the unincorporated area do have a chance to vote on the Glendale Unified School Board candidates.
“[Some] people don’t realize they can vote for the school board,” Battles said.
Crescenta Valley is unique. The area from Pennsylvania Avenue west to Lowell Avenue and portions of Montrose are part of the City of Glendale. The east portion of La Crescenta (east of Pennsylvania) and other portions of Montrose are part of the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County. And residents in the far west portions of La Cañada Flintridge, known as Sagebrush, are part of the GUSD area.
The residents in the unincorporated area and Sagebrush do not vote for the Glendale City Council but they do vote for both the GUSD and Glendale Community College boards.
Battles added that, in addition to informing residents on who can vote, the website is also promoting why it is important to vote.
“We did [the website] because in listening to all the [candidate] debates [in the past and present] and conversations we have had on the Sagebrush [transfer], we heard over and over that [the governing board] does not listen to us up here [in CV],” she said. “We don’t feel like we have a choice.”
The proposed Sagebrush transfer has been discussed and debated by the La Cañada Unified Governing Board and GUSD. A transfer of students who are now attending GUSD schools to LCUSD schools would have an impact on the Glendale district financially and would directly affect students in Mountain Avenue Elementary, Rosemont Middle School, Crescenta Valley and Clark Magnet high schools.
The proposed Sagebrush transfer is a hot topic with GUSD candidates.
Battles added the issue of voting for a GUSD board member is important, not only to those residents who have students in the district, but to all residents.
“When you have a school district pop up solar panels in the back of a school [that butts up against] your property, those neighbors should be voting,” she added.
A few years ago the Glendale school district constructed large solar panels in the back playground area of Monte Vista Elementary. This upset several residents who argued that the panels were intrusive and would affect their property values.
“Let’s face it – our property values are driven by the schools,” said Battles, who is also a real estate agent. “We have the values of our homes that we have because we have phenomenal schools.”
The funding for schools is an ever-changing issue. Where that money should go is also an important factor for all registered voters to go and vote, she added.
Crescenta Valley High School has different needs than those of Glendale High, which has different needs than Hoover High. It has been argued by local residents for years that it is important that voters look at candidates who have a working knowledge of the Crescenta Valley.
One of the reasons voters have not turned out in large numbers in the past, Battles hypothesized, is that parents are so directly involved in the schools they feel that is where their power lies. Battles wants those voters to know their real power is wielded at the polls.
“We want to get out the vote,” she said. “By voting you are sending a message to our district that what happens in our schools and our community is important.”
CVTC will have a school board candidate forum at its March 19 meeting at 7 p.m. in the La Crescenta Library community room. Councilmembers are requesting the public to submit questions, which can be done by visiting cvvotes.org. There will be an opportunity to register to vote at the meeting as well. The last day to register to vote in the April 7 election is March 23.