Don’t relax and think that our native son is a shoe-in for reelection. He’s on the ropes and desperately needs every vote he can muster. If you thought you’d just sit out this election, please make the effort to vote on Tuesday. This election will say much about the future of the Crescenta Valley.
John Drayman has been immensely popular and successful in his role as Glendale City Councilman. Yet he has been seriously hurt in recent weeks, both professionally and personally, by lies and allegations from gadflies and opportunistic media, to the point that some worry about his reelection. His loss would be a disaster for the Crescenta Valley. His loss would prove to Glendale development interests that our valley is vulnerable and ripe ground for an intensive barrage of multifamily and mega-office development.
Let me outline what’s at stake here. Since entering city politics several years ago Drayman’s accomplishments have been incredible. The purchase of Rockhaven Sanitarium, which was slated for multifamily development but will instead serve as a future cultural center for CV, was his brainchild. Drayman protects the family atmosphere of the Montrose Shopping Park and the Sunday Harvest Market is his baby. He helped bring Trader Joes to Montrose, which ensures a long-needed business anchor for the west side of Montrose, and a steady stream of civic revenue, as it sits on city-owned land. Montrose’s new historic streetlights, re-done sidewalks and landscaping are all Drayman’s work. The city’s attention to the Glendale portion of Foothill Boulevard, after years of neglect, was orchestrated by John.
In flatland Glendale, Drayman is responsible for the Museum of Neon Art moving to Brand Boulevard. The new era of public participation in planning and design review was guided by Drayman. We now have evening design review meetings accessible to working Glendalians, featuring boards no longer populated with developers and their cronies. Better notification of upcoming projects such as bigger notice signs and story poles help ensure our communities won’t have another “Starship Verdugo” like the one that blindsided us at Verdugo and Broadview.
For the first time in a decade, our City Council members get along with each other and childish tantrums are performed by gadflies, not our elected officials. Our city just survived a huge financial crisis without the layoffs and painful cuts that cities around us endured. Drayman had a hand in both these.
So what happens if Drayman isn’t reelected? I have this sort of “It’s A Wonderful Life” vision, where George Bailey sees Bedford Falls as it would be without his good works. OK, maybe Montrose wouldn’t become Pottersville with sleazy nightclubs and pawnshops like in the movie, but there are a few unthinkable disasters that could occur without Drayman in office. I could envision Rockhaven going back on the market, and those beautiful oaks bulldozed to make way for the apartments that were promised before Drayman stepped in. It’s conceivable that the private school/condo project that was being planned for Mountain Oaks could resurface. Foothill Boulevard could return to its plan for a corridor of office high-rises, and the planning process could return to the darkness of the backroom, inaccessible to residents. Montrose’s “Mayberry” atmosphere could take a hit, and without Drayman in a position of power, we could see some ugly changes to our beloved shopping park.
The City Council gadflies that have hurt John so badly operate like an organized gang of thugs. They intimidate and con, and operate on the “Big Lie” philosophy that if you repeat an allegation over and over again, no matter how transparent the lie, people will begin to believe it. The News Press has bought a piece of that action, seeing that innuendo sells newspapers, and their ADI stories sound like the National Enquirer wrote them.
Don’t let these guys destroy the strong local representation we enjoy. On Tuesday make the effort to vote, and do as I do – support John Drayman for City Council. After all, Bedford Falls would be an uglier place without George Bailey. The same is true of Glendale without John Drayman.