Rockhaven Roofs and Ballots Just a Few Council Topics


The subject of rain at Rockhaven kicked off this week’s Glendale City Council meeting.

“Is the city taking adequate precautions to protect the buildings at Rockhaven from these storms?” asked Councilmember Paula Devine.

City manager Yasmin Beers attempted to assure the council that roofs have been patched and tarps deployed “each season, before the ‘rainy’ season.” Later in the meeting Beers reported that the roofs are patched throughout the year.

The council then heard a detailed update on changes happening to this year’s election procedures. Right now, vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots are showing up in mailboxes. The envelopes are larger than before, local races are at the front, just after the instructions, and the presidential primary races show up last, on page 6. According to city election officials, all registered voters in California have the option of voting by absentee ballot. These ballots may be returned by return mail – no postage is required. Voters can drop them off at drop boxes currently open at city hall and in the city clerk’s office, outdoor drop boxes will be opening soon outside the Grandview and Central libraries, or at any voting center in Los Angeles county after Feb. 22.

More information about voting in the upcoming local and national elections is available at and

Voters who have not designated a party preference will receive ballots that do not include the presidential primary unless they do one of two things: for voters who wish to vote in the party primaries of the American Independent, Democratic, or Libertarian parties, they can select that box on the online absentee ballot application. Voters who wish to vote in the primaries held by the Green, Peace & Freedom, or Republican parties must re-register to vote with that party designated as their preference before they can request an absentee ballot.

Absentee ballots must be postmarked by election day, March 3, and must be received within three days of the election. New to this election, voters will be able to track their ballot “the same way you can track that pair of shoes from Amazon – you can track your ballot every step of the way, through the counting, and know that it got securely to the county. You can even get alerts on your phone if you want,” the elections official noted.

Voters are required to sign the outside of the VBM envelope. If they forget, they will receive an unsigned ballot statement to sign and return within eight days.

While anyone can turn in a voter’s VBM ballot, voters are advised to avoid handing over a blank signed ballot to anyone. Voters who change their minds or realize an error after mailing their ballots can request a new one by calling (800) 815-2666 until counting begins.

Albert Hernandez reported on the work Family Promise of the Verdugos has been doing to help local homeless families and invited the council and public to the Glendale Latino Association’s annual lunch and fundraiser on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 11:30 a.m. at the Oakmont Country Club, where Councilmember Frank Quintero will be honored as the organization’s man of the year, along with Karen Swan, woman of the year, and Glendale’s department of Library, Culture & Arts, organization of the year.

The council heard a preliminary outline of the lobbying registration and financial disclosure regulations previously introduced and debated (and reported here on Oct. 10, 2019) and opted to include commissioners on boards with land use or financial authority as well as full-time employees of corporations with business before the city.

Mayor Ara Najarian celebrated the act of disclosure and open government.

“I am so proud of this council for taking this step. Lots of cities don’t come close,” he said. “Imagine those corridor of corruption cities – which shall not be named. So much transparency; this is a milestone for Glendale, something we can brag about.”

At an earlier meeting of the city’s housing officials and the council, the city entered into a joint powers agreement with the California Community Housing Authority (CalCHA), a relatively new organization formed in January 2019 to provide affordable housing. Statewide, seven cities and one county (Marin) have joined the non-profit’s efforts. CalCHA issues tax exempt bonds to acquire market rate housing to convert into affordable rental units aimed at meeting outstanding housing needs for moderate income people, namely those with family incomes as low as $43,869.

Councilmember Paula Devine wondered if the plan is “too good to be true.

“You’re going to convert these buildings at no cost to us and rent to people needing workforce housing for teachers and nurses and in 15 or 30 years we’ll have the option to buy the development? If this is something other cities are doing and it’s working, I’m all for it,” she said.

Director of Community Development Philip Lanzafame agreed.

“It really does make some sense that somebody’s figured out and is willing to take the risk on properties that have a positive cash flow,” he added.

And at another special meeting of the council earlier in the day, 2020 plans and budgets for business improvement districts (BIDs) covering the downtown and Montrose areas were reviewed and adopted.

Montrose Shopping Park advisory board member Dale Dawson shared the report, noting a positive $23,000 net.

“We’re restaurant strong, which is good because traditional brick-and-mortar businesses are getting hammered and buying habits have changed,” Dawson told the council. “Casa Cordoba has been named the most romantic restaurant in Los Angeles and we’ve got two new ramen restaurants, Kontentsu and Tenjin; we’re aiming to keep Montrose a destination for retail and business. Cement is being poured on the corner. We’ve got a wonderful relationship with our chambers of commerce. Maybe downtown is the showcase – we’ll be the jewel in Glendale’s crown. So many people have a heart for Montrose like we do – and they’re all in this room.”

Councilmember Vartan Gharpetian agreed. “We used to go to Pasadena to have dinner. Now we’re either in Montrose or downtown.”

Finally, the council approved plans and expenditures for a 3.5-mile open streets CicLAvia event called Glendale Meets Atwater Village on Saturday, June 12. Mayor Ara Najarian proudly recalled the last CicLAvia event in 2017.

“There are no motorized vehicles so it’s great for young kids and folks who may need a little more room,” he said.

Before the item was approved, Najarian wondered aloud about public support for the event from local environmentalists and bicycle advocates.