By Brian CHERNICK
Former Glendale City Manager James Starbird recently filed a $1 million claim against the City of Glendale saying an uneven sidewalk
was the cause of his wife’s death.
According to police records, the incident occurred on March 16 while Starbird was pushing his 60-year-old wife Carolyn in a wheelchair in the 1200 block of Ethel Street. The wheelchair hit an uplifted section of the sidewalk. Carolyn was ejected from the chair and struck her head on the concrete, causing a severe concussion. She later died from her injuries.
The portion of sidewalk has since been spray painted bright orange by city officials. The height of the uneven section is approximately 1 and 1/4-inch from the rest of the sidewalk.
According to Public Works Director Roubik Golanian, when an issue with a sidewalk is reported to Glendale a crew is dispatched to pave over the hazard within a day. However, many of the repairs are dependent on reports from passersby.
Starbird is joined by his two sons in the claim and has hired as their family attorney Steven Glickman, who specializes in personal injury.
“You can’t have city personnel ignoring these dangerous conditions, especially with disabled people in wheelchairs,” Glickman said.
The filing of the claim was mentioned by community member Mike Mohill during a Glendale City Council meeting last week when Mohill urged the city not to settle and fight the case in court, stating Starbird had failed to maintain sidewalks during his tenure.
Starbird served as Glendale’s city manager for nearly 14 years when he left office in 2011.
The city has 45 days from filing to respond to the claim, after which, if the city does not respond the claim will be considered rejected and Starbird will then have the option of filing a lawsuit.