Council Approves Alcohol on City Property


Faced with a budget gap and the need to find new streams of revenue for Glendale, the Glendale City Council voted on Tuesday to allow the serving of alcoholic beverages on city property. Deukmeijian Wilderness Park and the Brand Library will be among the sites where visitors can order themselves a drink – as long as a permit has been obtained.

Though alcohol can be served, those organizing an event on city property must provide bartenders that are licensed, bonded and insured for any liabilities. Even then, it would still be up to the discretion of the city manager’s office to approve the permits. Factors that would be considered before approval of permits would be the size of the facility, ability to manage the particular event in question, and types of alcohol being served.

“[City Manager Scott] Ochoa wouldn’t necessarily be allowing a kegger at Chevy Chase Library,” joked City Attorney Micheal J. Garcia. “He’s going to be able to use his discretion.”

Event planners would need to be required to provide one security guard per 75 people estimated to attend as well as obtain a $1 million insurance policy.

The ordinance as it stands now would allow the serving of beer, wine and champagne on city property. City council hesitated at expanding the ordinance to include distilled spirits. However, there will be room for the council to modify the ordinance in the future to include the serving of distilled spirits if a demand is seen from the public to do so.

“There could possibly be a big demand for it,” said Mayor Dave Weaver.

One person who wasn’t pleased about the ordinance was Margaret Hammond, who was the sole person from the public to comment.

“I don’t feel that it’s necessary for city facilities to be opened for the serving [of alcohol],” she said. “There’s more than enough places in Glendale that serve beer and so forth.”

But Councilmember Laura Friedman countered that allowing alcohol would be a good way to find new revenue and that the city should consider permitting sales of distilled spirits.

“When I got married,” she said, “it was in a city park. They make a lot of money in the city for wedding rentals. How many of you only served beer and wine at your weddings? Most people would like to have served something else. If we could serve alcohol in a place like Deukmeijian, we would have a bang-up wedding business. Word gets out on how beautiful that is. At a time when we need revenue, this is a good way to get it.”

In other business, Councilmember Zareh Sinanyan took to the dais on Tuesday to apologize directly to the public for racist comments he had made on YouTube. The comments, which date from five years ago, were discovered and made public early last March while Sinanyan’s campaign for city council was in full stride.

The ensuing controversy cost him the support of various public officials, most notably that of Rep. Adam Schiff who rescinded his endorsement of the candidate.

The comments continued to hound him after he won the election, with speakers on the council dais criticizing the comments and his refusal to acknowledge them.

“If I have not gone far enough,” he said, “let me be clear: to anyone who may have been offended by my past comments, I am truly sorry.”

“It truly does not matter to me if you’re Armenian or Latino or Anglo or Korean,” he added. “It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight and it doesn’t matter if you’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Hindu. As my life experiences have shown, the only thing that matters to me is that I want to serve Glendale. That is who I am.”

“I am looking forward to working with you and moving forward in that spirit,” said Friedman in response to Sinanyan. “I do hope that your supporters stop saying that this was somehow a conspiracy by me against you as happened last week outside these chambers. I sincerely believe we can work together and I’ve seen a lot of good things from you since you’ve been here.”

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