By Justin HAGER
Veteran councilmember Paula Devine was selected by her peers to serve as mayor of the City of Glendale during Tuesday night’s city council meeting. Devine has served on the Glendale Council since 2014, including a one-year term as mayor from April 2016-April 2017.
“I’m reminded of the saying that being a good leader is being a good listener,” said Devine as she laid out her commitment to addressing climate change and creating economic resiliency through green energy, support for small businesses and continuing efforts to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The outgoing mayor, Councilmember Vrej Agajanian, delivered a short farewell address highlighting his many accomplishments as “a wartime mayor” in the battle against COVID-19 while thanking is colleagues, city staff and the people of Glendale for making his mayorship successful.
After selecting the new mayor, the council turned to business, including adopting a new ordinance that requires disposable foodware, including straws, lids and utensils, at all city events to be marine degradable. Under the new ordinance, which will take effect in 30 days, city events include those managed directly by the city or through a vendor hired by the city; city-sponsored events that are supported in whole or in part by the city and are conducted on city-owned or controlled facilities; and city run or permitted concessions. Council and staff openly discussed that the ordinance is a “city-first” precursor to a future ordinance that will address the issue city-wide. However, the ordinance does allow for non-marine degradable straws and utensils to be provided upon request and provides a four-month exemption grace period for food and beverage providers who have entered into a contract for non-marine degradable foodware in the past year.
The longest agenda item of the night was a presentation by Bradley Calvert on the future direction of the city’s Slow Streets program. In addition to upgrading the popular “slow-down” signs to be more reflective and visible, the city is also exploring other traffic-speed-control strategies, such as artistically painted crosswalks and intersections, permanently mounted signs, and more resilient barriers such as K-rails.
Other topics of the meeting included a legislative update from State Senator Anthony Portantino who encouraged individuals and small businesses in Glendale to pursue COVID relief and stimulus opportunities such as the Golden State Stimulus program and California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program; a request was made by Councilmember Dan Brotman to add a discussion of the Crescenta Valley Independence Day fireworks celebration to a future agenda. Ending the meeting were an announcement about the availability of a new CERT training opportunity and the announcement of the new “Jewel City Vaccination Clinic” – a mass vaccination site at Glendale Community College that hopes to provide up to 10,000 vaccinations a week to anyone who lives or works in LA County and is eligible for a vaccine. The site will be open each week, from Thursday-Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.