MAILBAG

Public Works isn't cut out for enforcement

Oak, sycamore and bay trees are certainly worth protecting (“Council seeks input on trees,” Dec. 20).

Glendale has passed a law of protection for these trees: one type of sycamore; one type of bay; four types of oak — valley oak, mesa oak, scrub oak and California live oak.

The City Council has given the duty of protecting these trees to the Public Works Department, and we have seen the results of that.

Among the minimum things Public Works should have done is to use its own website to provide links to the websites of authoritative agencies that address the question, “How can I identify a tree as being an oak, a bay or a sycamore?”

Botanists have faced the identification issue for years by using guided botanical examinations, and among the thousands of botanical sites existing, a few good guides are available and anyone can do the preliminary identification cheaply.

Good laws, which address complicated issues, usually require enforcement by a capable agency.

The Glendale City Council should refrain from asking Public Works to extend itself into challenging areas.

Public Works does operate fairly well at what it does best, namely picking up the garbage.

STEVE FOSTER

Glendale

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Councilman's tone was very disturbing

I believe that those who have the power that goes with public office have the obligation not to lord that power over the general public. Occasionally, that has not been the case with city councilmen.

The latest example occurred with Herbert Molano, who has consistently pressed the urgent need for parkland in south Glendale and pointed out the disproportional amount of parkland in north Glendale compared with south Glendale.

At this particular meeting, many were there in support of the acquisition of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course in the La Crescenta area. In the course of his remarks, Molano said that he always has been in favor of open space acquisition, regardless of where that open space is located.

Once Molano concluded his remarks, Councilman John Drayman pounced on him. I say “pounced” because he referred to notes, which he had at the ready, of past statements by Molano as if he had them handy just waiting to use them.

He accused Molano of past opposition to acquisition of north Glendale open space. Drayman's body language, tone of voice and choice of words came across to me like a very personal attack on Molano, who said he had supported councilman Drayman's bid for office, sought to respond but he had already used his time. When he approached the podium and told Drayman his comments were not true, the mayor cut him off, telling him there could be not back and forth.

As usual, there was no time limit on Drayman's comments. I do not know who is right, and that is not the point of this letter. Even if Drayman came across to me with an “I gotcha, and boy, I am going to milk it” attitude and did, under circumstances where Molano could not respond.

If I am inaccurately judging the councilman's motivation, I apologize. But in all honesty, the manner of his comments came across to me like bullying.

It behooves public officials to be aware of how their comments, from the position of power, come across when they disagree with members of the public.

It is one thing to disagree over an issue and another to do so in a manner that suggests that an issue's use as a vehicle for personal attack is as important, or more important, than the issue itself.

That approach does not serve the best interest of anyone, including Drayman.

PHILIP SCHNEIDER

Glendale


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