By Julie BUTCHER
At an afternoon meeting on Tuesday, the Glendale City Council authorized the procurement of a new system to track land use and other city processes. Releasing an RFP to solicit proposals for the new Land Management System (LMS), as the City’s chief information officer Jason Bradford explained, will allow the city to develop an “enterprise software application that automates tasks associated with the City’s permitting, land development and planning, inspections, code enforcement and licensing.” It would be accessible to all city departments, permitting historical records of land use activities to be associated with each piece of property.
The current system was purchased and customized in 2007 and has reached the end of its serviceable life, Bradford told the council. He added, “People really want to do business on mobile devices now.”
The current system does not allow for that, he said, and is difficult to support and maintain in part because of the level of customization. The new system would be purchased “off the shelf” and may be individualized to the needs of Glendale without being heavily customized.
The Council met at 6 p.m. with an announcement that next week’s meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 3 p.m. would begin at the Glendale Fire Training Center, 541 W. Chevy Chase Dr., as part of the City’s annual “Work Boot Tuesday” to showcase city services and offer “behind the scenes” insight into the city’s operations.
This year’s event will highlight the newly enhanced fire training facility that includes a revamped training “burn tower.” According to Fire Chief Silvio Lanzas, though work boots are not necessary for the event wearing open-toed shoes would be unsafe and are discouraged.
The Council also heard a presentation about renovations recently completed at the Shoseian Teahouse & Garden in Brand Park with support from the non-profit organization the Friends of Shoseian Teahouse & Friendship Garden and a grant of $170,000 from the Japanese Foundation.
Senator Matsukaya, who represents Osaka and Glendale sister-city Higashiosaka in Japan, thanked the Council for supporting the work.
“[It is a] beautiful reminder of the sister city relationship of our cities,” she said, “even more manifest during the renovation project when a special team of gardeners from Japan worked side-by-side with the Glendale parks staff to transform the space.”
Before the bulk of the business of the council meeting began, Councilmember Paula Devine addressed the controversy raised by Councilmember Vartan Gharpetian at last week’s meeting when he reported being asked to leave an event hosted by the Royal Oaks Property Owners Association. Devine said that she had not said anything at the time because she had left the event before Gharpetian and Mayor Ara Najarian arrived and had therefore not witnessed the disputed events. She reiterated her commitment to diversity and her “track record” and noted that “whether the actions of the association were racially or politically motivated, or were a breach of civility and decorum, the association was in the wrong.”
Gharpetian commented as well, concluding that he has found his “mission for life, to speak up when I see injustice. I felt the sting [of being thrown out of the event I attended representing the city] to my very core.”
Two members of the public also addressed the Royal Oaks event. Sharon Weisman from north Glendale first encouraged the city to reach out to its sister cities for increased participation in next year’s “Play Music on the Porch Day” festivities. Then she addressed the Royal Oaks incident.
“It’s way past time we pretend there aren’t ethnic undercurrents and bigotry in our city,” she said, “and we need to be open and actively call out those who behave badly. It’s not okay.”
Neda Farhoumand also addressed the council as a 30-year Glendale resident.
“I resent that in my Jewel City rather than embrace people and cultivate friendship that comes knocking on our door, some neighbors opted to bully our mayor and councilmember.
“I condemn the shameful behavior of the Royal Oaks Property Owners Association for its bias and prejudice against our city officials. Throughout history, people who sit back in silence have proven to be the most dangerous accomplices to racial and social injustice.”
In other community announcements, Steve Hunt, president of the Glendale Historical Society, announced its annual home tour, Icons of Architecture, this year featuring five prominent homes and architects. It is set for Saturday, Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information can be found at https://glendalehistorical.org/2019-home-tour.
Finally, the Council approved funding for an historical survey for two neighborhoods, Casa Verdugo and South Cumberland Heights, the penultimate precursor to a formal historical designation.
“My house is 103 years old, surrounded by homes that have also stood the test of time. We appreciate your support to preserve our neighborhood for another hundred years,” Mary Wallace of Casa Verdugo addressed the council.
The measure passed unanimously.