I plan to vote yes on the three-quarter-cent sales tax increase to benefit Glendale residents and visitors. The background material for the Glendale City Council meeting of July 17 explains cities that already have local sales tax at the maximum of 10.25% set by Los Angeles County do not pay into Measure H, yet benefit from it. Glendale businesses generated an estimated $10 million for Measure H in its first year. L.A. County allocated less than $300,000 to Glendale. It is highly likely the state, county or a regional taxing entity will enact a three-quarter-cent sales tax soon.
The only way to retain control over what Glendale businesses generate is to vote in a city sales tax first. Sales and transient occupancy taxes are paid by shoppers and vacationers who use services while here. I think that is fitting. Those who attended or watched video of the council meeting discussions know the current council is committed to using the anticipated $30-million yearly revenue for affordable housing if this measure passes in November.
Those who don't think the city is spending current tax revenue wisely and don't need this income should review the budget. Let the City Council members know what services you don’t want. Remember that employee salaries, pensions and other compensation are negotiated by bargaining unit representatives and cannot legally be changed unilaterally.
Bill and I understand our ability to absorb this additional expense relatively painlessly is due in part to high-quality public education through graduate school. We’re happy to give back and feel it’s patriotic to pay taxes. We invest some of our time attending public meetings and helping elected officials make their decisions. I urge everyone to do the same.
Glendale City Manager Yasmin Beers along with Finance Director Bob Elliot have successfully convinced the City Council to put a measure on the November ballot to increase the sales tax here by three quarters of a cent. The “Glendale Quality of Life and Essential Services Protection Measure” will, if passed, increase the city sales tax to 10.25% from the existing 9.5%. Many residents already are aware of this latest money-grab scheme and have spoken out or written to the News-Press voicing their displeasure to the tax increase. Thank you.
A few caveats if you will. Remember, if this measure passes (and it surely will if residents are not aware that buying a $33,000 vehicle in Glendale will add another $247 to the price tag) it won’t be a problem for Beers or Elliot, who have very generous salaries and benefits packages.
Auto sales in Glendale will surely be impacted. But wait, what if City Council should exempt them? Not fair, you say. Me too.
Dressing this as " Glendale Quality of Life Services Protection Measure" is using a slogan the city feels will guarantee them sympathy among voters. After all, it's earmarked for helping the usual progressive targets. Infrastructure, low-cost housing and the elderly, to name a few. If it passes, would all $30 million in revenue really get to the needy?
Strange days have found the Glendale planning department. The purpose of the Design Review Board is to enforce the design guidelines and balance existing neighborhoods with developer plans. The system requires competent city planners and for DRB members to follow guidelines. Roger Kiesel failed as a city planner by being unable to produce pertinent public records of a proposed development at 1650 Cumberland Terrace.
In the DRB review of the project at 1650 Cumberland Terrace, DRB members approved the project, which I believe violate the hillside design guidelines. The guidelines state that “Development shall be compatible with the surrounding neighborhood in terms of size, scale, bulk/mass …” Cumberland Terrace consists of single-story and split-level family homes only. The proposed two-story dwelling is nearly three times the size of an adjacent house and more than double the average size house on the street. The guidelines also state, “The architectural style and architectural elements … shall be compatible with surrounding neighborhood.” Roger Kiesel stated “the modern design (has a) difference in appearance from earlier construction in the neighborhood.”
The difference in appearance is not compatible with the surrounding neighborhood because the houses on Cumberland Terrace are Midcentury modern, ranch and traditional homes. The DRB strangely approved a project I believe is in violation of the guidelines and not compatible in terms of size and architectural style.
As a Glendale resident of more than 30 years, I am writing this letter to warn the public. I believe the planning department has failed and the DRB did not follow guidelines. Public support and the City Council are my only recourse for justice.