Schiff Takes Part in Council Meeting


Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-28) addressed the Glendale City Council virtually from Washington, D.C. at the beginning of its Tuesday evening meeting, commenting on the extraordinariness of thousands marching peacefully in Glendale and how interminably long it felt to kneel on the pavement for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Schiff outlined what he described as comprehensive police reform introduced in Congress; the bill would: eliminate the use of chokeholds; provide funding for a database of police officers with a history of using excessive force; eliminate no-knock warrants in drug cases; eliminate or modify limited immunity; and utilize best practices in de-escalation. He is a co-sponsor of the bill.

“That is but one facet of the challenge facing our society, beyond the criminal justice system,” he said.

Schiff described a bill he is working on “with leadership in the black community, to attempt to address racism in the healthcare system. African Americans are many times more likely to die from the virus. Our response cannot be incremental.”

Congressman Schiff summarized some of the actions taken at the federal level to help address the economic effects of the pandemic, including the details of the Heroes Act, passed by the House, awaiting action in the Senate. Councilmember Paula Devine asked when that money is coming.

“No state could have anticipated going from near-full employment to near-depression levels,” Schiff answered.

He acknowledged that foreclosure prohibitions currently in place on federally guaranteed loans will expire “like local eviction protections” and do not forgive amounts due. The Heroes Act includes provisions of $100 billion for renters and $75 billion for homeowners.

“European countries acted as the guarantor of payroll and, as a result, people haven’t lost their jobs and can make their rent payments,” he said.

The congressman ended by commending the work of Glendale Meals On Wheels.

“I’m delighted to see Glendale performing these services. Some of the people we delivered meals to are normally volunteers for the program,” he said, urging residents to step up and volunteer for something that can be done safely.

Getting down to business, staff announced that Glendale summer day camps will begin operations on July 6 with sign-ups starting on June 22 for residents, June 23 for non-residents. The six-week camping sessions will be offered at a reduced rate of $75 per child per week and will not include swimming or field trips.

Local pools opened last week for recreational lap swimming by reservation. For more info on both pools and camps, call (818) 548-2000.

City staff reported working with LA County Public Health to offer limited focused use of sports fields to community groups for sports clinics and day camp programs.

Councilmember Daniel Brotman reminded the public about an ongoing educational forum organized by Glendale Community College called Deconstructing Racism: A Persistent American Challenge, which will conclude Friday evening with a Q&A session:

Additionally, he called for a “deep dive into policing policies and practices” and for a public process culminating in a town hall organized with community input.

The council unanimously approved the Hospitality Workers Workplace Protections ordinance it had deliberated on at last week’s council meeting. The emergency measure was proposed by UNITE HERE Local 11, a union representing hotel and hospitality workers, and addresses the issues of worker recall, just cause discharge, worker retention and worker safety training provisions. In April, the council directed staff to conduct stakeholder outreach and to review similar ordinances adopted by other cities in the region and to include limited worker personal safety training provisions in the legislation Glendale adopted. The city estimates the cost at $408,000 in training and enforcement expenses.

The council received an extensive update from local and Sacramento staff and reviewed its overall policy goals: local control, fiscal responsibility, economic vibrancy, informed and engaged community, safe and healthy community, balanced quality housing, community services and facilities, infrastructure and mobility, arts and culture, and sustainability.

Regarding the state budget, the governor’s “May revise” called for $14 billion in education cuts as well as a 10% cut to state workers’ pay. The legislature delayed these so-called “trigger cuts” until October anticipating potential federal help for state and local governments.

In local action, the council approved the final part of the Deukmejian Park Nature Education Center project, authorizing the use of local Glendale contractor Ironwood for interpretive work, authorizing the expenditure of up to $1.2 million to complete the project. Some discussion ensued about increasing access to the natural treasure to families in all parts of the city.

Finally, the council took up a proposal to automate pedestrian traffic signals. Initially the measure had been introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the public from contraction. Councilmember Brotman proposed to implement broader measures to enhance the city’s “walkability;” the council voted instead to install self-cleaning safety film on the buttons.

“Motorists are going to go bananas,” Devine observed after understanding the proposal called for traffic to stop at every signaled intersection.

“If this is about traffic calming, let’s go through the process and analyze it,” Councilmember Ara Najarian added.