Rockhaven Reno on Council Agenda

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During comments at Tuesday night’s Glendale City Council meeting council member Vartan
Gharpetian asked City Manager Scott Ochoa for an update on the status  of the Rockhaven
Sanitarium property.

Since receiving seven proposals, one of which arrived past the
deadline but was allowed for
submission pursuant to the
council’s ruling, the council has yet to review the proposals.

According to Ochoa, one of the proposals will be selected and
presented to the council on Nov. 15 for a decision on granting an exclusive negotiating agreement (ENA) for the project. He cited proprietary information as reasons why the council and public have yet to see the proposals.

Ochoa stated that because the proposals might include proprietary information it might not be legal to share the information
publicly. He went on to say that his office would be contacting the city attorney’s office to determine when release will be allowable under law.
Because the proposals include a “comprehensive amount of
information” as well as that of a proprietary nature, the committee responsible for evaluating the proposals would like to provide an equally comprehensive presentation.

“The goal would be to bring the information [from the decision process] back in such a way that you don’t see it one time and be asked to make a decision,” Ochoa said.

The committee, which includes individuals from the community development and community service and parks department, is looking to finish its analysis within the next week.

“It is a complex project; the financing is interesting depending on who you look at and what you value,” Ochoa said after suggesting the council might not want to award the ENA to anybody “because [the council] might not want to do anything.”

Ochoa dismissed concerns from the council stating he did not want to heighten expectations for the proposals because the location is considered special by residents and community members.

Mayor Paula Devine commented that as long as there is public input on the decision she is optimistic.

Council member Zareh Sinanyan invited Chief of Police Robert Castro to discuss reports of increased crime and violence throughout California and in Glendale, specifically, over the past year.

Sinanyan cited that multiple businesses in the city have been burglarized in the past couple of  weeks. He also cited a story from
the Sacramento Bee that reported a 7.5% increase in crime, year over year, in California which is over the 4% national average.

“We are seeing some increases in crime, like many cities,” Castro said. “The good news is that the increases we’re seeing in Glendale are significantly lower than neighboring cities based on our per capita crime rates.”

Castro reported a 4% increase in crime and stated violent crime had gone up “a little bit” but did not provide any percentages. He cited Assembly Bill (AB) 109 and Proposition 47 as reasons for some of the increases in crime.

AB 109 was passed in late 2011 by Gov. Jerry Brown which intended to reduce the number of state prison inmates after orders from the U.S. Supreme Court. The proposition provided that “newly-convicted
low-level offenders without current or prior serious or violent offenses stay in county jail to serve their sentence.”

Proposition 47, which passed in November 2014, reduced certain drug possessions from felonies to misdemeanors and required misdemeanor sentences for petty theft when the amount involved was $950 or less.

Castro argued that people are not receiving mental health treatment or drug rehabilitation because they’re not getting into the jail system or are being released early.

“We’re finding more and more individuals on the streets with substance abuse problems as well as mental health issues,” Castro said.

Castro stated the Glendale Police Department started its own mental health intervention team and has been working with the Los Angeles County’s mental health division to find resources for those individuals.

Castro said he hopes to be more proactive, rather than reactive, regarding mental health issues within the city.

In other news, Lynda Burns, chair member of the commission on the Status of Women, was joined by Tara Peterson, executive director of the YWCA, to advocate for declaring October Domestic Violence Awareness Month throughout the city. Mayor Devine delivered the proclamation.

On Thursday, Oct. 6, the YWCA, along with the City of Glendale Commission on the Status of Women, will be holding a candlelight vigil. “Be Someone’s Hero” aims to celebrate survivors of domestic violence and open discussion on how people can help in domestic violence situations.

The vigil will be held from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. and a community fair, “Prevention Is Possible,” will also be held later this month on the Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both are to be held at 735 E. Lexington Drive in Glendale.

Peterson stated that a new website is currently in the works and shared the 24-hour crisis hotline phone number (888) 999-7511.

Devine encouraged residents to join, as funding for the YWCA and domestic violence programs has been cut and that this could serve as an additional revenue source for the programs.

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