By Ted AYALA
Newly-elected Glendale City Councilmember Paula Devine may only be serving the rump of a full term on the council dais, but that isn’t stopping her from laying out ambitious goals that she hopes to accomplish by next April.
Working against a time frame that leaves her only nine months for the remainder of her term, Devine pledged to be a “voice for the entire city” and detailed her focus on issues that she deems critical for the city.
Among the issues she hopes to tackle in the next few months is pension reform, an issue that sharply divides its supporters and opponents.
Devine said that she would ensure that a discussion on pension reform would make an appearance on the agenda as soon as possible. Although some inroads have been made into reform, she stressed that more remained to be done in the long-term.
Plans to form an outside taskforce that would be assigned with reporting within six months to the city with options and recommendations for reform were detailed. Consisting of pension experts, members of the community, city management, and city unions, the objective would be to consider ways to reduce the city’s overall pension burden, while offering a fair deal to its employees.
The new member of the council also pledged to improve traffic and pedestrian safety in the city, saying that, “Nobody should die or be injured in Glendale for making a mistake.”
Describing Glendale as a “multi-modal city” with many viable means of transportation, she promised that pedestrian and bicycling safety, progress on education and engineering efforts for safety on the streets would be her focus. Among the plans she laid out was increasing the number of lighted and well-marked crosswalks throughout the city.
“This is a lot to do in eight months, but I’m up to the challenge,” said Devine. “Alone we can do little, together we can do much.”
Councilmember Laura Friedman lauded Devine’s work serving the community through various charities over the years, mentioning that she had firmly supported her run for council.
“Paula met all of those challenges. That’s what resonated with the voters,” she said. “She has demonstrated her service to this [city] for so many years. She’s a leader and she knows how to get people behind her.”
She also received words of congratulations from Councilmembers Ara Najarian and Dave Weaver, with the latter offering some playful encouragement.
“You won’t be a successful councilmember until you make a few enemies,” he said.
In the same meeting, longtime Councilmember Frank Quintero finally stepped down, offering some brief parting words.
Appointed by council last year to serve the remainder of former Councilmember Rafi Manoukian’s term, Quintero said he accepted the appointment believing it would be a three-to-four month assignment. But because of the cost savings of folding the special election into a countywide one, he ended up serving longer than he had anticipated.
He praised city staff, saying that “some of the finest and best professionals working even at the basic, blue-collar level” work for Glendale.
Quintero also praised the city for weathering the “economic storm” of the financial malaise that began in 2008.
“Bottom line is we’re still here and we’re doing quite well,” he said. “Our quality of life has not deteriorated and will continue to be among the best in Southern California.”