I’m not a person of faith, yet I have had to summon a lot of that just that to continue to support John Drayman.
The attacks on him have been unrelenting. Some have said, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” I maintain that in some cases, and this is one of them, “Where there’s smoke, there’s arson.” Some of you may disagree (this is an opinion page after all), but I still believe that the charges are trumped up and that nothing will come of them.
I think that we can all agree that we as a community are torn up about the controversies swirling around what we’ve been hearing in the media about Drayman. It’s hard for us to make sense of this. Are they true? Are they fabricated? Somewhere in between? This has been a trial by media and none of the accusations have resulted in anything more tangible than more accusations. We should default to the legal standard that a man is innocent until charges are proven.
So what does all this mean to our community? I believe there are two major issues at stake here.
One is the status of Drayman as a community leader and as a man. Charge after charge has virtually destroyed John’s current status in this town and has wreaked havoc with his dreams for Montrose. There’s no doubt that Drayman had the best interests of the community at heart. He did wonderful things for Montrose and for Glendale as a whole. The Montrose historic streetlights, Rockhaven, the Harvest Market, the Museum of Neon Art – I could go on.
As a man, John is an “idea guy.” He’s great at brainstorming, but less concerned about details. I feel that this was the source of some of his problems, but for my choice of leadership, I’ll take a visionary over a micro-manager any day. I think Drayman as a man, and as a Councilman, was good for CV, and good for Glendale as a whole.
But the second issue at stake here is even larger – the future of Montrose. I thought of Drayman as a capable “gatekeeper” for us here in CV. His removal from the City Council, and as a guiding force in the community, has opened opportunities for those who have no respect for the gem that Montrose is. His fall has left a power void. As we’ve seen in world politics, sometimes a power vacuum will be filled by evil forces and I see trouble on the horizon for Montrose without a strong hand guiding its direction. I know for a fact that large chain retailers are already targeting Montrose, and although there’s nothing inherently wrong with chain stores, some of them have a bad track record with how they balance their care for the community against their care for their profit margin. With the current makeup of the City Council, I fear we are vulnerable to changes that may diminish the great community we have here. We saw in the recent Council decision about Chamalian School, the opinions of the neighbors of the school carried little weight with the Council on their ruling to overturn the Planning Commission’s decision. How much attention will they pay to us when we express opinions about what is right for Montrose? We’ll soon find out.
In the meantime, the pain goes on. For John, for his accusers, for you and me and the community as a whole – this is a nightmare that just won’t end. This is toxic stuff for the health of our community, and we need to treat it with care.
Don’t believe everything you read and use your own judgment. Does this sound like the Drayman you knew? If not, hold off on judging.
Remember what’s important – our community. Drayman has been a good friend to us. As a community, let’s treat him as we would any good friend who’s in trouble – with kindness and compassion.
Mike Lawler is the president of the Historical Society of the
Crescenta Valley. Reach him at