Council Comes to a Local Neighborhood


The Glendale City Council held its weekly meeting not at city hall as typical but at Griffith Manor Park in the Riverside Rancho area of the city. This was the first time since the pandemic that the Council in Your Neighborhood program was held. It is a way for the Council to connect with residents throughout the city who do not travel to city hall for the Council’s regular meetings. It is also a way for councilmembers to get to know areas of the city with which they may not be familiar.

“We won’t be taking any action this evening in part because we can only take action and take votes within Council chambers,” explained Mayor Ardy Kassakhian.

Kassakhian said he thought this was the first time the Council had met in the area. The Council in Your Neighborhood, according to City Manager Roubik Golanian, was brought back at the request of Kassakhian when he became mayor.

On the agenda was discussion on four areas: Glendale Narrows Riverwalk and Community Services and Parks Program, Garden Bridge Project, Residential Horse Manure Collection Program and the Verdugo Wash Project and Housing Element.

Presentations on these topics had been made in the past at Glendale City Council meetings but the Council in Your Neighborhood meeting opened the topics to those who don’t regularly attend the Tuesday night Council meetings in chambers.

Several residents in the area spoke of specific concerns in their neighborhood, which has several horse properties. Issues raised during the Riverwalk portion, which also included an overall discussion on programs offered by Community Services and Parks, concerned the unhoused in the area.

Councilmember Dan Brotman praised the Community Services and Parks Program for the way it approached the unhoused in Glendale. The approach is to find services, including shelter, for those unhoused. He also praised the Glendale Police Dept. for its involvement as well as its homeless outreach team.

Brotman spoke on how Glendale dealt with its unhoused population compared to Los Angeles, and how there were some misconceptions on what the city does concerning unhoused individuals.

“It’s not that we pick them up and move them to the LA side,” Brotman said.

The Community Services and Parks Program reaches out to unhoused individuals and offers them services. Councilmember Paula Devine added the City was fortunate to not only have Community Services and Parks Program and GPD but other non-profit organizations, like Door of Hope, Family Promise and Ascencia, that can be called for support.

At present, the Community Services and Parks Program is developing a homeless action plan expected by June 2023. It has held community meetings with organizations that work with the unhoused; however, the program would like more input from the community. Anyone who would like to share their opinions, suggestions or comments can call (818) 548-2000 or (818) 548-3720.

Comments about Community Services and Parks Program by community members were, for the most part, positive about the way the City has responded to residents’ concerns. Some of the issues that were covered were about the unhoused people who have tents on the river on the LA side. They may sleep in LA but spend the day in Glendale. A resident asked if there was any way the city could reach out to LA to ask them to respond for support to those living in the tents.

There were also issues raised concerning mud and safety due to the latest series of rains.

Another resident voiced her concern about the traffic near Franklin Elementary School. She said the speeding is “out of control” and that a friend and his dog last month had been struck by a vehicle. She asked for some type of pedestrian awareness safety measures like flashing lights at crossings.

Once again there was a discussion concerning the Verdugo Wash Visioning project. This is a project that had some approval by those in the audience; however, the majority was still concerned on the planning, location and implementation of the Vision.

Many of the residents came from far north Glendale in the Whiting Woods and Sycamore areas; some were members representing the Verdugo Wash Neighborhood Coalition, a neighborhood organization that according to representative Patrick Murphy had over 700 members and continues to grow.

Prior to the discussion Councilmember Ara Najarian stepped down from the Council panel to sit in the audience stating he had clear feelings about the project and wanted to step away from the table.

“Before we start, even though we are not taking action on this item, I think sitting up here my facial expressions may betray my disdain for the project so I am just going to go over there,” Najarian said as he walked into the audience to the applause from some members.

Paul Rabinov, who is a member with of the Glendale Parks and Open Space Foundation, spoke in favor of the project. He said one of the things he had heard repeatedly from people dealt with communication outreach. He asked that the next phase of the study/project be more focused on each specific community within the Glendale area.

Murphy spoke about the same – communication or lack there of. He stated that the city had held meetings but “by their own record” were attended by about 120 people, which is a low percentage when compared to the population of Glendale or just those who live along the wash.

Vartan Gharpetian, former Glendale mayor, voiced his opposition to the project as well. He lives in the Verdugo Woodlands area.

There were questions from the Council concerning the timeframe for the project that according to Bradley Calvert, director of Community Development, would be at least a decade before there would be “shovels on the ground.”

Calvert explained that the study, in accordance with Council approval, would include the entire area affected by the proposal including far north Glendale. This would be a cost saving measure – conducting one study all at once instead of conducting a study of just the north area of the city at a later time.

The recommendation was to start the project in the south area of Glendale; however, that did not ease concerns for the residents along the north area of the wash.

For more information on the Verdugo Wash Visioning visit and type Verdugo Wash Visioning in the search bar.