By Julie BUTCHER
At its last meeting of April on Tuesday night, the Glendale City Council scheduled seven budget study sessions, the first on Tuesday, April 26 at 9 a.m. with the final budget hearing set for Friday, June 17.
April is designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month and on Denim Day (Wednesday, April 27), according to Mayor Ardy Kassakhian, it is expected that millions of people across the world will wear jeans to show solidarity with those who have suffered sexual violence.
“[The purposes are] to support survivors and educate themselves and others about all forms of sexual violence as one in five women and one in 67 men will experience rape or attempted rape and one in four women and one in six men experience sexual assault before the age of 18; it’s obviously a serious issue,” Kassakhian said before presenting a proclamation to a representative of the city’s Commission on the Status of Women.
Additionally, April is designated as Genocide Awareness Month, with many significant dates commemorating historical genocides, including the beginning of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 1915; the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and beginning of the Holocaust on April 19, 1943; the Cambodian Genocide on April 19, 1975; and the Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi on April 7, 1994, Mayor Kassakhian detailed.
“During this observation and acknowledgement of genocide awareness, we must pause to think of those who are currently under attack and those being persecuted for their identity. Glendale believes cultural diversity is achieved when our entire community acknowledges that its wholeness is based on the unique strengths of each of its community members and that we can no longer innocently harbor feelings of superiority and separatism in our society,” the mayor read from commendations presented to local representatives of the “oldest Armenian community and political organizations still working one hundred years later.”
“Glendale is home to one of the largest Armenian American populations per capita in the diaspora and Armenians in Glendale have enriched our city through their leadership and contributions in business, academia, government and the arts,” added Kassakhian. “Many have family members who were affected by the horror and evil of the Armenian Genocide and its ongoing denial. Every person should be made aware and educated about the Armenian Genocide and other genocides and crimes against humanity – presented by this grandson of survivors of the Armenian Genocide.”
Councilmember Paula Devine added, “I’m of Ukrainian descent and I feel as if there’s a genocide right before our very eyes. I have always supported the Armenian community and I will always support you. We shall never forget – a thousand years from now – we shall never forget.”
“It is tragic what’s going on in Ukraine but there’re many ongoing situations of genocide and crimes against humanity that don’t get this level of attention including, of course, what’s happening in Artsakh, what’s happening in western China with the Uyghurs, what’s happening in Myanmar with the Rohingya. It’s a tragedy of human history that this seems to just continue,” Councilmember Dan Brotman said. “I guess what we can do is call it out, as loudly as possible, and continue to condemn these acts and hold the perpetrators accountable, even if they are long gone in the distance of history.”
Councilmember Vrej Agajanian offered a single quote from Adolf Hitler at the conclusion of the Obersalzberg speech in 1939: “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”
Glendale will commemorate the Armenian Genocide at an event at the Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., on Sunday, April 24 at 7 p.m. The event will feature the music of famed Armenian, Komitas, curated by the Lark Musical Society. Tickets are free and available at https://www.itsmyseat.com/events/809470.html.
Next, the council heard an update on spending from Measure R, funding the city gets from Metro to enhance streets and mobility. Glendale expects to spend approximately $100 million over the next 10 years and has already completed projects costing $27 million. The next $12 million is slated to make improvements to the Cañada south fork to Honolulu Avenue in north Glendale, including $5 million to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists; $4 million in street projects to improve roadway infrastructure in the downtown area; and $3 million for critical aerial road work in south Glendale, linking the train station to downtown. Adopted in 2021, the city’s Pedestrian Master Plan has three phases. In the first five years, 10 of 21 projects ($3.5 million) have been completed; five are under design ($4 million). For the next 10 years, 10 of 22 projects are done ($6 million). And, for the last 10 years, six of 14 projects are complete ($5.5 million); two are being designed ($33 million) including $30 million for a bridge spanning the LA River.
“To put it simply, the question is: Which do we put first – pedestrians or automobiles?” Mayor Kassakhian observed.
In celebration of Earth Day on Friday, April 22, councilmembers shared that all trips on the Beeline and LA Metro are free all day on Friday.
The city is sponsoring an Earth Day Pop-Up on Saturday, April 23 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Artsakh Paseo, Councilmember Devine announced.
Finally, the council unanimously voted to accept $138,788 in grant funding from Caltrans’ Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP) for electric bus charging infrastructure.
“It’s great to bring this to council,” said city manager Roubik Golanian, “as it falls in complete alignment with the council’s priorities of sustainability and infrastructure improvement.”
Public works director Yazdan Emrani reported that “this is part of the plan to electrify our buses – we’ll be buying three chargers for the five electric buses you approved in January.”