Missing memorial flag sparks curiosity

Every Friday evening for the past several weeks, the American flag has been missing from its pole above the Vietnam memorial at the corner of Honolulu Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard in Montrose.

When I was young, my parents took me to hear Assemblyman Newt Russell and the publisher of the Ledger, Don Carpenter, speak at the memorial’s dedication.

I worked at a record store in Montrose through the 1970s and could always count on seeing our flag flying 24 hours a day, lit for all to see, high above the sidewalk and the plaques naming those who gave their lives in service to our country.

Lately, it has been absent while some protest another conflict at a peace vigil every week, also on city property. They honor our freedom in their way.

The flag belongs to all of us. Who is responsible for depriving our heroes of its high tribute?



Disappointed in councilmen’s stance

As a Democrat, I have been very disappointed by the position of our two local Democratic councilmen, Frank Quintero and John Drayman, on the vote-by-mail limitation measure (“Fight against ordinance isn’t over,” Saturday).

As a party, we’ve always fought for the rights of voters and supported any attempts to increase voter turnout. I am very proud that the chair of the Democratic Party, Art Torres, wrote a letter in opposition to the voter limitation measure.

We should support the rights of voters to participate in our great American political system as a matter of principle, not just when we think they will vote for candidates or causes we support. I guess that is a lesson that Quintero and Drayman never learned in their civics classes.



Writer went too far with letter

Albert Hofmann has no place talking about uniting the community (“It is time to move on from ballot vote,” Mailbag, ).

His beliefs came out during the public hearing on absentee ballot applications. In reality, it’s individuals like Hofmann and the rumors he spreads in this community that give others the perception that there was something wrong with the way things were. Shame on Hofmann for making it seem like the Armenian National Committee and others would be dividing the city should they decide to pursue the matter any further.

Moreover, Hofmann stated in his letter, “There was nothing racial about the proposed ordinance.” But Mayor Ara Najarian and Councilman Bob Yousefian chose to contest the ordinance, and it turned into a very divisive ethnic issue.

Reality check for Hofmann — Najarian and Yousefian decided to listen to their constituents. They listened to the concerns of those who spoke against the measure and voted no. I suggest that Hofmann and all those who supported this undemocratic measure to use in the 2009 municipal elections assist voters who are new to the system and then maybe, just maybe, they’ll understand why passing this law would disenfranchise voters. I hope that the organizations that have fought so hard against this ordinance don’t stop now.



Hillsides need better public transit

Once again, the Metropolitan Transit Authority is planning on largely eliminating the Burbank wing of the No. 183 bus line, the route that now goes from East Glendale to Van Nuys.

This must be stopped.

In defending themselves, they claim that Line No. 94 and the Glendale Beeline are adequate substitutes for Burbank and Glendale residents. It’s a ridiculous contention, because they are clearly not. And we don’t even have the Beeline here in Burbank.

Even worse, Burbank has no municipal bus system that will replace the 183. It is the only bus line that provides service into our hillside residential areas. In fact, it’s the only public transportation that goes into any of Burbank’s residential neighborhoods. The 183 also provides a vital link between downtown Glendale and the North Hollywood transportation hub as well.

Line 183 has run for years in our Burbank and Glendale neighborhoods. The Metropolitan Transit Authority has been trying to kill it, but in doing so it has always evaded a big issue for Burbank. Because of our abysmal public transportation options here in town, we have absolutely nothing to replace it with. It is the only lifeline for those residents who lack the means of getting around on their own.

Elimination of the 183 could also mean the complete disappearance of any public transportation options above Glenoaks Boulevard. This is not a complicated issue. The demise of the 183, if allowed to happen, is a further example of the disenfranchisement of our hillside neighborhoods. In my own town, any quick look at the Burbank transportation map will show a concentration of bus services in the flatlands. If you live on the hill, you’re out of luck, unless you happen to also live at the mall — which seems to be the only area of concern to the powers that be, i.e., being able to shop at the stores.

So what’s happened to equitability, let alone our building of a decent public transportation system of benefit to everyone? A few years ago in Burbank we had a mayor whose boyfriend ran the local cab companies. It was obvious why we were neglecting our bus lines. Glendale also once had a very useful hillside bus line of its own.

But what’s our present-day excuse for ignoring the problem of providing decent transportation options for our residents?



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