Notable Groups Recognized by Council


The Glendale City Council started its weekly meeting on Tuesday night by recognizing frontline emergency medical workers during EMS Week.

“You never really appreciate the EMS service until you need it,” said Councilmember Ara Najarian. “Their service is truly what helps make Glendale the premier city that it is. We can sleep safer because of them. That’s why my parents moved from La Cañada to Glendale.”

Additionally, the council recognized Older American Month and Public Works Week.

Next, the council approved the schedule of meetings for the coming year. Adopted three or more years ago, the council historically skips one meeting each month.

Councilmember Najarian sought to “clear up misinformation out there and on social media that I’m doing this to ‘pay off staff’ – it’s not a free day; staff continues their work. There’s a lot of stupidity out there and we need to call that sort of misinformation when the opportunity arises.”

“Dark days are scheduled and, as mayor, I plan on scheduling a summer recess as well. It gives staff a chance to catch up with everything we’ve asked them to report back on,” Mayor Ardy Kassakhian said, holding up a double-sided page of those requests. “We’re running the city and the public still has the opportunity to meet with us.”

Councilmember Dan Brotman reported on a concern raised by people in the Rossmoyne neighborhood regarding “vehicle safety issues along Glenoaks.” Brotman quoted an email signed by 21 households noting that the 2012 Bicycle Transportation Plan called for bike lanes on Glenoaks Boulevard between Geneva and Louise streets and that, when the street was repaved in 2017, the city failed to include the promised bike lanes. Now the community wants the situation rectified, with attention to calming traffic and increasing safety along the segment of road. According to Brotman, the neighborhood has been told that since the city is not planning on repaving the street, they will need to wait, perhaps years, for the improvements. He suggested that staff estimate the cost of the bike lanes extending to Brand Boulevard. Najarian suggested extending the analysis to Central Avenue “to connect to our BRT’s dedicated bike lanes another block further west.”

May is Bike Month and Thursday, May 19 has been designated as Bike To Work Day. Councilmember Najarian announced during the week of May 16 that Metrolink is offering free rides to anyone with a bicycle; “We have special bike cars,” he shared.

Next, the council approved a five-year service agreement costing up to $3 million to purchase modern electric meters.

As reported by Glendale staff, “In 2009, GWP performed an extensive evaluation and testing process through an RFP and ultimately chose Itron Electric Meters as the GWP standard for its AMI electric meter infrastructure. In 2012, approximately 88,000 residential, commercial and industrial meters were replaced with Itron Electric Meters as part of GWP’s Grid Modernization Project. Itron Electric Meters can be read remotely and provide revenue loss detection, real-time consumption information, demand, current and voltage information. The meters can also provide customers with information about their daily electric usage.”

Then the council reviewed and okayed a list of projects funded by the SB 1 and state gas tax, including the construction or reconstruction of more than 100 curb ramps to improve pedestrian safety and comply with federal guidelines in the Americans with Disabilities Act; selective sidewalk, curb and gutter repairs; and crack-sealing of road pavement. The active transportation elements of the list, estimated at 35%-40% of the projects, include the installation of bump-outs and high-visibility crosswalks, and improved signage and striping. The South Verdugo Road street improvements project calls for extensive grinding and repaving of 1.2 miles of South Verdugo Road between Colorado Street and the southernmost border of Glendale. The project also includes a study of protected bike lanes.

Next, the council authorized spending $276,874 to upgrade two emergency power generators backing up the police building, and approved the standardization of Taser 7s in the police department and the purchase of new Tasers from Axon Enterprise, Inc., the only approved manufacturer of the devices.

“The Taser 7 currently used is a less-lethal conducted energy device intended to de-escalate or control a violent or potentially violent individual while minimizing the risk of injury to everyone involved,” police captain Andrew Jenks told the council. He explained that a couple of features of the Taser add to its effectiveness as a tool for de-escalating a situation: the device has a laser pointer and an electrical arc that can be deployed before the Taser is used. Captain Jenks added that, in the past three years, Tasers have been used between three and 16 times a year on average.

Finally, the council reviewed two requests to add Glendale homes to the city’s historic registry. The first, at 711 E. Mountain Street in the Rossmoyne neighborhood, was designed in 1923 “for owner Frank Echols, partner of the Roberts & Echols Drug Store that was founded in 1903 by Echols and his business partner Fred H. Roberts. In 1925, they purchased the Security Trust and Savings Bank building and opened a three-story flagship location at the corner of East Broadway and Brand Boulevard, ‘the center of Glendale’s business section,’” city staff wrote about the home called the Echols House.

“It’s an excellent example of a Spanish Colonial Revival-style residence,” associate historic preservation planner Kasey Conley observed. The council unanimously approved the designation.

The city’s historic preservation planner Jay Platt presented the application for 1420 Winchester Ave., noting that the historical preservation commission had split on the house and that staff agreed with the dissenters on the commission and recommended against adding the house to the registry given the numerous alterations that have been made over time.

“The creativity of a lot of the work that was done is unquestionable but what we are questioning is whether it belongs on the historic registry,” Platt said.

“You have a great house,” Councilmember Najarian told the owner, “Enjoy it!”

Mayor Kassakhian cast the lone dissenting vote.

“I like this house. It has historical value – it’s not like we’ve got a lot of 99-year-old structures,” he said. “If we don’t add it to the registry, what happens to it in the future? A new oner can simply raze it to the ground?”