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Banners to honor active military

CITY HALL — Glendale will soon join about a dozen other cities throughout the county with its own military banner-recognition program after the City Council on Tuesday authorized staff members to bring back a finished proposal on how it will be operated.

The program will be similar to those in place in Burbank, West Covina and Glendora, which attach side banners to utility poles with the names of residents actively serving abroad in combat zones.

It was a hit with the council, which unanimously approved it after giving staff members some guidance on the scope of the project.

“I don’t know why we waited so long to do this,” Mayor Ara Najarian said.

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Last year, Burbank started installing its own recognition banners along a 10-block section of Third Street, and the Crescenta Valley Town Council plans to install banners along Foothill Boulevard for service personnel native to the unincorporated area of La Crescenta in about two weeks.

The effect the banners in other cities have on returning soldiers is a powerful one that Glendale should be proud to offer, said Carvel Gay, a Glendale resident who handles public affairs for the California State Military Reserve and sits on the county Veterans Advisory Commission.

“That really means a heck of a lot,” he said. “A lot of them get very emotional.”

Councilmen Frank Quintero and Dave Weaver, who are military veterans, praised the project and were anxious to get it started.

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“I don’t think the city has to put a whole lot of money into this to put this together,” Quintero said.

In considering an array of options, council members directed staff members to limit eligibility to active military personnel who are Glendale residents serving in active military conflict zones.

Council members also wanted the banner to be taken down from a city light or utility pole upon the return of its namesake, who would be presented with the banner during a small ceremony, most likely at a City Council meeting.

The decision on which streets in the city will host the banners won’t come until the final proposal is brought back to the council, but suggestions ranged from major thoroughfares like Glenoaks Boulevard to smaller streets throughout the city.

“I think we should just spread it around so people don’t feel left out,” Councilman Bob Yousefian said.

He also advocated expanding the program to include installing banners for fallen military personnel for a predetermined length of time.

“I think it needs to be very inclusive,” he said.

Because the military has a general policy of not confirming the locations of service personnel on active duty, it would be up to family members to submit names for consideration, according to the report.

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The city could then verify the applicant’s name with the military, Gay said.

The banners will be in addition to the 1,300 U.S. flags that have already been installed on poles throughout the city, officials said.

Council members approved a design mirroring that of the banners used in Burbank, which are installed as vertical, rectangular banners on the side of light poles with American flag-themed graphics with a dark blue background and simple text stating the name and military branch of service.

The design will look noticeably different from the one Crescenta Valley Town Council approved, which maintains the same basic shape but with a red color scheme, more bold graphic design and drop-shadowed text for the name.

If Glendale decides to install its own banners along its portion of Foothill Boulevard, it will make for an incongruent design flow — an unfortunate consequence of staggered planning when various interest groups, headed by the Town Council, are finalizing a master plan guiding the design and pedestrian access along the Foothill Corridor, said Glendale resident Sharon Weisman, who at Tuesday’s meeting had suggested the council try to coordinate the design.

“I don’t want ours to be markedly different,” she said. “They should be relatively compatible.”

With the Town Council preparing to install 16 banners in about two weeks, and with Glendale staff members having received their marching orders, design fluidity seemed unlikely should the two cities’ banners ever meet on Foothill Boulevard, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, said Elaine Aguilar, an assistant for City Manager Jim Starbird, who prepared the report.

Most cities she surveyed liked having their own identity represented in the banner design, she said, adding that almost all of them employ a patriotic color scheme anyway.

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“They will be coordinated in that way,” she said.

Alternate Town Councilman Frank Beyt, who is coordinating the installation of the 16 banners, was just happy to have Glendale joining ranks.

“I think that is absolutely fantastic,” he said.

But opportunities for future collaboration on other program elements abounded, Weisman said.

Most importantly, the two groups, whose jurisdictions are scholastically and socially intertwined, should coordinate on the application process to make sure names aren’t duplicated between the two, she said.

The council also may consider moving operations of the program to the Glendale Chamber of Commerce’s Citizenship and Patriotism Committee, which was largely responsible for installing the veterans memorial at City Hall.


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