Council Discussed Ordinance Against Polystyrene and Evictions of Local Residents



During the Glendale City Council meeting Dennis Rihn was appointed to the Civil Service Commission, sponsored by Councilmembers Ardy Kassakhian and Paula Devine, and Chris Cragnotti was reappointed to the Historic Preservation Commission sponsored by Councilmember Ara Najarian and Mayor Dan Brotman. Arlene Vidor was then reappointed to the Arts and Culture Commission sponsored by Kassakhian and Brotman.

The Council voted to adopt an amendment to the City’s municipal code to prohibit the use, distribution and sale of polystyrene products on a citywide basis. This topic has been in front of the Council in the past.

David Jones, Glendale Sustainability officer, made a presentation on why it is important to prohibit the use and sale of polystyrene products. The presentation included information noting there is a lack of recycling of polystyrene and with this ordinance the City will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Its goals are to minimize use of polystyrene products, encourage reuse of products and develop regulations that can be applied effectively.

Polystyrene is a hard synthetic resin produced by the polymerization of styrene. “Styrofoam” is a brand of expanded polystyrene foam. Polystyrene is widely used in food service including items like eating utensils and foam cups, plates and bowls.

Jones stated the City has done outreach to educate the public and businesses on this ordinance. There was a survey conducted with 129 respondents where the majority (private individuals and businesses) was in favor of the ordinance; however, businesses were concerned at the cost of this change.

The ordinance will prohibit the use, distribution and sale of polystyrene foodware, coolers, packing materials, egg cartons, produce trays and meat and fish trays.

There will be an exemptions process businesses could request through the City. Glendale will join other cities in the area that have this type of ordinance including Los Angeles, Long Beach, Culver City, Hermosa Beach and Malibu.

There will be fines set in place for those who violate the ordinance. It was moved and agreed upon that the fines would first start with a warning, the second notice would be a fine of $100, the third $200 and the fourth $500. There would be no cap on fine amounts or number of fines issued for a violation.

There will be a future discussion on how people can report any violations of the ordinance.

The Council also voted to approve Yunex Traffic LLC to provide maintenance services on traffic lights, and voted to approve a resolution in support of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

The meeting ended with numerous Glendale residents, many of them returning for a second week, voicing their concerns and fears of what their future will be after a company purchased their apartment building in the 300 block of W. Lomita Avenue. The speakers became very emotional as they begged the Council to do something to help them. Many of the residents had lived in their building for decades but were given notice to leave before Christmas. Making it even more difficult for the residents was that some of them are considered Section 8 and low income. One resident said she was told once repairs to the building were done, rent would go from $1500/month to $2700/month. Another speaker, who was from another apartment complex, also asked for the Council’s help with her situation in which she, her family and everyone in the small complex received eviction notices to be out of their units the day before Thanksgiving. She questioned the process allowing the owners to send out the notices.

All speakers said they had paid their rent without fail for years. Many said it was difficult to find a residence they could afford in the time allotted. Residents also stated the application to get a new apartment would require them to have income of $6,000 a month, which very high for those whose incomes are from pensions or Social Security. Although most speakers realized these issues may not be within the scope of powers of the City Council they asked for help regardless. Many of the speakers said the situations were a moral point, too.

The Council members asked for the speakers to leave their contact information so they could continue to gather specifics on this issue.