City Council candidate Grant Michals grew up in Las Vegas, Nev., but after a quick visit to Montrose Village on a work assignment, he found his new home.
"I just fell in love with Montrose and bought a house there just after college," Michals said. "That's where I've chosen to call home and stayed ever since."
After he graduated from Occidental College, Michals worked as an information-technology consultant when he bought his Montrose home at the age of 23. In 2005, he opened his own consulting firm and currently partners with a friend in Las Vegas.
Michals said the years of project management and overseeing large projects to completion have provided him with skills that he doesn't see among City Council members currently.
"I'm essentially the professional monkey-in-the-middle, who walks into complex issues, tries to figure out what everybody is saying and brings everybody together toward a solution," Michals said. "Those skills will serve me in dealing with ... city politics."
Despite being a Glendale homeowner for decades, Michals said he became involved in city affairs roughly seven years ago when he learned about plans for a neighbor's residential project that was set to be a story taller than anything else in the neighborhood at the time.
Prepped with only the knowledge from the city's notice about the project, Michals attended planning meetings about the project's requested variance to learn more. Soon, Michals became president of the Montrose Verdugo City Sparr Heights Neighborhood Assn. and is now serving his fourth term as president of the Glendale Homeowners Coordinating Council.
"I had a personal interest in being more involved, but that has translated into helping the entire city," Michals said. This is his first time running for City Council, which will have three open seats in the April election.
Part of Michals' platform is advocating for neighborhood compatibility, which includes broadening the type of housing Glendale offers to accommodate first-time home buyers or those looking for affordable housing.
Michals said that although he's a longtime homeowner and advocate for related causes, he wants to figure out a way to incorporate renters into the citywide discussions.
"There is a very large need that isn't being filled for renters to be able to represent themselves," Michals said. "Part of the reason I am running is I see that, and I want to try and address that need, but there hasn't been a vehicle to do that."
Aside from housing issues, Michals said he would like to see more open spaces in Glendale and a fight for their preservation on City Council. Michals also includes public safety on his campaign platform, particularly trying to solve the ongoing problems with pedestrian safety in Glendale.
Michals said Glendale is generally a safe place, but city officials should work to bolster surrounding services, such as an investment in mass transit and infrastructure, that could curtail accidents.
Jeff Landa, email@example.com