By Ted AYALA
The Glendale City Council met for the final time this year (they had voted to cancel the last two meetings of December at a previous meeting). All members were present.
The one throbbing point that was a major source of discussion regarded Councilwoman Laura Friedman’s resolution showing the displeasure of the city council and the residents of Glendale over the DMV’s closing of the crucial Glendale branch of the DMV.
Closed for over a year. The DMV branch was originally closed because of repairs and refurbishing. According to John Tahtalian, assistant to city manager James Starbird, the DMV closed down the branch to install new furniture, heating ducts, and a fresh coat of paint. “They were costly,” noted Tahtalian. “[They cost] nearly a million dollars total.”
Mayor Ara Najarian displayed his outrage over what he felt was the state taking advantage of the city of Glendale. “Let’s be honest about this,” said Najarian. “[This is because] they took advantage of the [special election declared for the 43rd district when Paul Krekorian left to run for Los Angeles City Council] and the DMV saw the opportunity to close that branch while we were distracted electing a new assemblyman.”
Najarian could barely contain his ire when he said, “Let’s take those wrecked cars [from the recent driver awareness program] and put it in front of their damned building.”
Councilwoman Laura Friedman, author of the resolution, said she had two reasons for pushing this forward.
“First, it’s bad enough that the government wastes taxpayer money. But when they do it in our city, under our noses, I feel we ought to do something about it. Secondly, we’re a city with over 110,00 residents that don’t have a place to get or renew their drivers license, register their car, [etc.] For our residents this is a hardship.”
“This is more than just Glendale,” added Councilman Frank Quintero. “Where do Burbank residents go? Where do Atwater residents go?”
Councilman John Drayman, too, supported the measure, but urged the council that more needed to be done. “We should be lobbying our counter-parts higher up in the food chain in Sacramento. We need answers.”
A dissenting voice was heard from Councilman Dale Weaver who noted that California’s present budget constraints in all likelihood will not allow for the reopening of the Glendale DMV branch any time soon.
Still, he and his fellow council members passed the resolution unanimously, calling for some kind of explanation and ultimate resolution from the state.