Nearly every Glendale City Council member elected to office since the 1980s has lived in the toney neighborhoods north of the Ventura (134) Freeway — a fact that seems to beg the question for district-based representation.
But beyond the fact that council dais has in recent decades been relatively diverse in terms of race and sex, lost in the discussion is the relatively low pay that comes with what has historically been a part-time job that requires plenty of free time — something many lower-income residents in South Glendale don’t have.
With the demise of redevelopment duties, the overall council salary has dropped from $41,100 per year — including pension, car allowances and agency stipends — to roughly $28,000 for a job that demands close to 60 hours a week. That is hardly a part-time gig.
Many lower-income residents, especially now, don’t have the ability to essentially “donate” hours upon hours to city events, long meetings and other demands of being an at-large City Council member for the third-largest city in Los Angeles County.
If we truly want to widen the pool of elected officials in Glendale, instead of exploring districts, perhaps it’s time to talk about dramatically increasing compensation to make one the most important jobs in the city more viable for more people.