By Julie BUTCHER
Glendale’s City Council wisely brought a cooler full of water to its afternoon meeting at Glendale’s Fire Safety Center as part of its annual “Work Boot Tuesday.” The annual trek gives councilmembers a chance to get a “behind the scenes” glimpse into the inner workings of the city. This year, the city highlighted its newly revamped fire training facilities and unveiled its first new fire truck since 2009 that represents $1.2 million of the latest fire fighting equipment and technology – a Pierce Arrow XT 107-foot heavy-duty Ascendant Tiller.
Utilizing $750,000 from Glendale Community College (GCC), in coordination with the Verdugo Fire Academy sited at the college, the updated training facility at 541 W. Chevy Chase benefits both the school and the city, fire department officials told the members of the council before a hands-on tour. The tour included climbing the new truck’s extended aerial ladder as well as staging various fire simulations (using theatrical smoke for added realism and safety).
The new Fire Truck No. 26, designed by an equipment committee that included management, firefighters and mechanics.
“It’s got to last 20 years,” said Fire Captain Joe Donnelly detailing the planning process with pride, particularly when he talked about the work of veteran fire mechanic Frank Zadian.
“He’s our guy,” Donnelly said, pointing out the many specific fabrications, welds and attachments the city’s mechanics had created to meet the needs of the firefighters.
At its regular evening meeting, library head Dr. Gary Shaffer updated the council about this year’s “One Book – One Glendale” festivities. The book selected is “The Library Book” by Susan Orlean; an event is set for Monday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Glendale Central Library at 222 E. Harvard to hear from author Orlean and Glendale’s Shaffer. Copies of the book are available for loan on the first floor as well as for purchase at local bookstore Once Upon a Time.
In light of national fire prevention week, Shaffer reported that that the library department is partnering with the fire department for an all-day career seminar on Saturday, Oct. 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., presented by the Verdugo Fire Academy and the International Public Safety Leadership & Ethics Institute. Story time and a fire truck tour for kids will be on Wednesday, Oct. 9 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. On Saturday, Oct. 19 starting at 2 p.m., there will be fire safety and CPR training for children and families. All events will be at the Central Library.
Many local events are also scheduled to highlight fire prevention including an ice cream social with Fire Station No. 29 at the Montrose Library, 2465 Honolulu Ave., on Tuesday, Oct. 1 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
A training called “Save Your Memories” is planned for Wednesday, Oct. 16 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., also at the Central Library, that will teach how to preserve documents and photos through scanning and online cloud storage options.
Finally, One Glendale – One Book, the Glendale Latino Association, the Arts & Cultural Commission, and City Clerk Ardashes “Ardy” Kassakhian are co-sponsoring a “fun family” Diá de los Muertos event on Saturday, Nov. 2 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Glendale’s Arts & Entertainment District on Artsakh Avenue between Broadway and Wilson.
Brand Associates, the non-profit organization responsible for supporting the Brand Library & Arts Center and its grounds, was honored by the Council as it celebrates 50 years of work. President Arlene Vidor introduced the members of the organization’s board and reported on their recent work, hoping “for another great 50 years of organizing, supporting, funding, and helping with the fabulous Brand Library.”
Vidor invited everyone to a 1960s themed birthday party on Saturday, Oct. 5 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 1601 W. Mountain.
“It’s called ‘We’re Gonna Party Like It’s 1969’ and it’s a fun-raiser, not a fundraiser. We’ve got the coolest DJ ever spinning vinyl. A makers’ space is where people can make love beads and head bands. The first gala in 1969 was black-tie and it cost $5. That’s the suggested donation for this event but is not required. Wear your fringe and your bell-bottoms!”
Glendale’s police Chief Carl Povilaitis accepted a resolution honoring the work of members of his department.
“Behind the badge beats a heart of gold,” he said, sharing the story of a local woman, Karol-Ann Roberts, who had been homeless since 2017 after losing contact with her mother. Daniel Lee is the department’s mental health liaison officer and Mark Newberg is its homeless liaison officer. The two worked with police department public relations representative Tahnee Lightfoot and local salon owner Cindy Burns of Thairapy who donated a complete makeover for the woman before she boarded a plane for Portland paid for with a local grant to reunite with her mother.
“Cindy didn’t think twice when I called her asking for help,” Lightfoot told the council.
“It’s not me, it’s the people standing here,” Povilaitis added, “able to change a life in a very positive way. This is for these folks for going above and beyond” to help.
Next, the council recognized members of the city’s Commission on the Status of Women and the director of Glendale’s YWCA, Tara Peterson, to commemorate this year’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Peterson invited the Council and city officials to a candlelight vigil on Wednesday, Oct. 3 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at 735 E. Lexington Drive, followed by a Purple Ties Award event “so that we can honor men in our community. We know that domestic violence is not a woman’s issue. It takes all of us to truly come together.”
Crescenta Valley High School (CVHS) student and president of its Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Sarah Ricci addressed the Council in advance of CVHS’s Ally Week when “we turn school spirit into something for a positive change making everyone on campus feel involved and accepted.”
“Hostile school environments negatively affect LGBTQ students’ mental health and educational outcomes,” Ricci explained, which lead to lower GPAs and self esteem and higher levels of depression. “Homophobia is so deeply engrained. This is why we need Ally Week, to show LGBTQ youth that they are accepted and loved wherever their place in our community.” CVHS teacher and co-sponsor of the school’s GSA Alicia Harris followed.
“Mayor Najarian and Councilmember Gharpetian, I rise to address the despicable discrimination you recently faced,” Harris said. “As Sarah shared, tragically too many of our young LGBTQ students – and I will add adults in this very city – are treated in a discriminatory fashion, for simply being who they are. We came at the beginning of Ally Week last year and invited you all to a week of events. The CV community deeply appreciated the attendance of former councilmember Sinanyan and Paula Devine. Unfortunately, you gentlemen did not come. The school board in June recognized pride for the first time this year. The City Council did not.”
Harris added, “I truly do not stand here to berate you, but to remind you: Discrimination is discrimination is discrimination. If you condemn it in one instance or feel pained by it because it personally affects you, you must condemn it in all instances. The teacher in me hopes this is what they call a ‘teachable moment.’”
Mayor Ara Najarian responded. “My physical absence from any particular event in no way implies that I am against the principles or the organization or the cause. I have a day job.”
Najarian expressed his unwavering support of LGBTQ rights, particularly among Glendale’s youth, and stated that he would make every effort to attend.
After the Verdugo Boulevard rehabilitation project passed, Councilmember Paula Devine acknowledged approximately $300,000 included for parking bollards in Montrose. Mayor Najarian commended the “great advocacy of the Montrose Shopping Park – they have been doing outreach to every member of the council and we promised them that we would listen to their concerns. I’m glad that this rehabilitation project is able to include at least some of their concerns. (I know they have a lot more!) But this is a step and congratulations to them – Steve Pierce and Andre Ordubegian – you know who you all are – the residents will be safer for your work.”
Speaking during public comments, new Glendale resident Morgan Goodwin introduced himself and commented on the street rehab project. He is “interested to see that the city is spending $2 million on this road rehabilitation project without any mention of improving cycling infrastructure or facilities. I looked at the April staff report and apologize if I missed it.”
“I know this is not the time to make design changes,” Goodwin continued, “however, as someone who’s been biking around the city for just a few weeks, I will say that I wish it felt a lot safer. I wish that Glendale had some policy to the effect that whenever we’re spending millions to rehabilitate roads that we go the extra step and spend what is essentially a small amount of money to separate bike lanes, improve striping, and improve intersection crossings so that both bicyclists and pedestrians can feel safer and more likely to hopefully get around that way.”