Discussions Held by Council on Polystyrene and Second Amendment



At the Nov. 16 meeting of the Glendale City Council continuation of the public hearing was held regarding an ordinance that would amend Glendale Municipal Code 1995, effectively prohibiting the use, distribution and sale of polystyrene products on a citywide basis.

This issue has been presented to the Council several times. In the latest discussion there was an exemption presented to staff.

“This included an additional exception into the ordinance. That exception would [regard] food prepared or packaged outside the City provided such food is not altered, packaged or repackaged within City limits; [those] would be exempt from the citing. Raw produce, poultry, vegetables, fruit, fish, meat or eggs would not be exempt,” said David Jones, Glendale Sustainability Officer.

There will be an appeal process set up for businesses that feel for a variety of reasons they should not have to comply with the ordinance. The request for exemption would be made to the city manager’s office where it will be accepted or denied. That decision can be looked at again, and brought to the City Council for review.

In previous meetings Jones presented his investigation into the costs of using polystyrene products as opposed to more environmentally friendly products. He found there was availability of more environmentally friendly products and the cost difference between the two items was minimal.

The ordinance amendment was approved with Councilmembers Ardy Kassakhian, Paula Devine and Mayor Dan Brotman voting to approve; Councilmembers Ara Najarian and Elen Asatryan voted not to approve.

The Council then voted to approve an amendment to the City’s ban on the possession of firearms and ammunition on city property.

In 2013 the City Council banned both the possession and sale of guns on City owned property; however, in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v Bruen, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in a 6-3 ruling to strike down New York’s public carry licensing law and created a new rubric for evaluating Second Amendment challenges. Since then cities around the nation faced legal battles as their gun laws were challenged.

“The City was sued challenging this [ordinance],” said Mike Garcia, Glendale city attorney.

The amendment approved on Nov. 16 proposes compromising with those who brought the lawsuit against the City.

“The amendment would permit concealed carry weapons permit holders to an exception to carry on certain City-owned properties, which would include City-owned open spaces, parks, the Glendale Civic Auditorium, parking lots and playgrounds; but as it pertains to playgrounds only when the concealed carry weapons permit holder is in the company of their minor children or other children they are there to care for or supervise at the playground,” said Ed Kang, principal assistant city attorney.

All members of the Council voted to accept this amendment, although Kassakhian, Devine and Brotman made it known they were reluctantly voting to approve.

Councilmembers also voted unanimously for a Glendale Police Dept. (GPD) referral incentive program. Chief Manual Cid told the Council that his department, like many others across the nation, is facing challenges in recruiting and hiring for sworn and civilian positions.

“We are competing with other agencies who are hiring hundreds of police and [staff],” he said.

The proposal that was approved included a referral bonus for current GPD employees who recruit and refer any individual to a full time police department. Those who referred would receive $2,500 when the new hire begins and another $2,500 at the completion of the new hire’s probation period.

Cid also proposed a signing bonus of $20,000 for lateral hires of police officers and dispatchers. Lateral hiring is the process of hiring a candidate with experience working in a role similar to what is being offered.

He added that these types of bonus programs are now commonplace and that some agencies are offering up to $70,000 as a signing bonus, so competition has increased.

Then the Glendale Water and Power took center stage and reported on its proposed rate increase. Before its presentation, however, City Manager Roubik Golanian said that periodical rate hikes are common.

“No city manager wants to bring an adjustment of this magnitude,” he said. But he added the City has reached a point where there are no options left but to raise rates.

“[This is] absolutely critical to keep Glendale Water and Power solvent and to keep the lights on in the community,” he said.

There were a lot of reasons given for the increase including the increased cost of wholesale power, and increases in labor and materials.

Golanian added the biggest increase was the rate of borrowing money.

Though there was enough blame that could go around as to why the rates are going up he wanted to focus on the fact that this rate hike must be adopted.

GWP is not a private, for-profit utility like Pacific Gas & Electric or Southern California Edison. It has not had a rate hike since 2018. There was one proposed during COVID; however, the Council decided it was not the right time to increase rates. But now there is little choice.

Two options were presented:

Option 1 Residential increase of 18.6% in 2024, 14.0% in 2025, 13.8% in 2026 and no increases in 2027 or 2028.

Small business increases of 18.2% in 2024, 13.5% in 2025, 12.6% in 2026 and no increases in 2027 or 2028.

Medium business increases of 9.7% in 2024, 7.5% in 2025, 7.4% in 2026 and no increases in 2027 or 2028.

Large business increases of 12.1% in 2024, 9.4% in 2025, 9.5% in 2026 and no increases in 2027 or 2028.

Option 2 Residential increases of 17% in 2024, 10.8% in 2025, 10.8% in 2026, 10.8% in 2027 and no increase in 2028.

Small business increases of 16.8% in 2024, 10.2% in 2025, 10.2% in 2026, 10.2% in 2027 and no increase in 2028.

Medium business increases of 8.9% in 2024, 6.4% in 2025, 6.3% in 2026, 6.3% in 2027 and no increase in 2028.

Large business increases of 11.3% in 2024, 7.7% in 2025, 7.5% in 2026, 7.7% in 2027 and no increase in 2028.

For Option 1, this equates to the average bill for residential single-family homes going from the current amount of $186 per month to $220 per month in 2025, $251 in 2026 and leveling out at $286 in 2027-2028.

These prices are based on an average bill; bills may be higher or lower depending on the customers’ use of electricity. Numbers are different for multi-family homes, like apartments, but this gives the public an idea of what the rates will look like.

A motion was made to have Option 1 brought back for a vote to the Council’s meeting on Nov. 28.