Sheriff wows Women's Civic League crowd

Founded in 1946 and growing strong with 89 members, the Women’s Civic League continues to make its presence felt in Glendale. Thursday’s luncheon meeting at the Elks Lodge was no exception. Speaker Sheriff Lee Baca started the league’s new year with a bang. And President Lynda Burns couldn’t have been more pleased.

Baca more than held his own in front of his knowledgeable audience. But with a USC doctorate in public administration, this top cop knows his business. He also flew all night from Israel to make sure he didn’t miss this speaking engagement. Baca had been in Israel for “Muslim outreach.” According to Baca, “The Muslim community must be on our side if we’re going to win any war.”

Here at home, the 69-year-old Franklin High graduate from Highland Park also knows his business. As National Chair of “Fight Crime, Invest in Kids,” Baca oversees 18 youth centers. He makes sure young center members receive after-school food and experience camping on Saturdays. The centers’ staffs also provide parental counseling.

Baca also began a program he plans on expanding. He calls it “education-based incarceration.” (According to Baca, more than half of California’s incarcerated have not completed high school.) Baca joked about the inmates in the program having “perfect attendance” in the classes — every school teacher’s dream. In fact, for many years Baca worked in law enforcement by day and attended education courses by night for his teaching certificate, a master’s degree and doctorate.

Glendale members of the Women’s Civic League listened intently to Baca’s breadth of knowledge and experience. He has been Los Angeles County sheriff for three terms and will be running for a fourth term. Perhaps a little campaigning was going on, but at the end of his remarks, Baca left plenty of time for questions. Glendale resident Mirna Stanley asked about California’s early-release program for non-violent offenders, and Baca said he “will GPS all inmates” and plans to begin setting up an ankle-bracelet program through the probation department.

Another sharp questioner was Joylene Wagner, vice president of the Civic League and president of the Glendale Unified School District board. Her concerns were, appropriately, education-related. More Glendale residents and league members present were three-time league Past President Mary Margaret Smith, two-time league Past President Karin Jonke, current board member Anna Rundle, Glendale Beautiful President Gladys Wymore with Past President Mary Rose Grim. Also present were Glendale Healthy Kids’ Camille Levee, Luanne Reynolds, Ruth Charles, Ann Chadney and Mary and Paul Wight.

The afternoon ended with Baca’s remarks, “You just do the great things you do. Let us do the worrying.”

Seeking the reputation as the best street festival in Burbank, the first Dubnoff Outdoor Festival took place Saturday with smattering of Glendale and Burbank residents stopping by between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Among those enjoying the street festival were Glendale residents Cecelia Walker and former resident Marjorie Bran-Artis, now of Los Feliz. Burbank folk included Candy and Bob Fitzgerald.

The Dubnoff Center for Child Development had plenty of child-oriented play centers at the festival, from rock-climbing, dunk tank and bounce house to intricate face-painting for the little ones. Hungry moms and dads headed for the food trucks lining the festival boundaries. Most popular were the burgers from Grill ‘Em All. This Los Angeles-based gourmet food truck holds the distinction of winning the Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race.” All food truck owners and crafts vendors donated a percentage of their profits to Dubnoff. “Our goal is to empower the community and bring awareness to Dubnoff,” said Community Engagement Specialist Jane Harmon.

The Dubnoff Center for Child Development supports children and adolescents with special-education needs through a non-public day school, a clinical therapy program and a vocational program at 18 Los Angeles Unified School District public schools. The center also includes a day care facility for low-income families and operates two six-bed group homes for at-risk youths.

Next year’s festival is already being planned.

Ruth Sowby may be reached at

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