EDITORIAL:

It appears to be time for solidarity in the U.S. After a bruising — and seemingly endless — campaign, President-elect Barack Obama has called on Republicans and Democrats to set aside their differences and work together to address the nation’s problems.

The down economy has hit all walks of life, placing people who may never have met two months ago in the same shelter line.

With all due respect to Obama, just about every incoming president announces plans to break down partisan barriers, and the success rate has been pretty hit-and-miss.

More impressive, in view of recent history, was the recent revelation that the Glendale Galleria and the Americana at Brand — the city’s two massive malls that face each other across Central Avenue — have been quietly sharing strategies and plans as a tough holiday season approaches.

Shopping centers the size and scope of the Galleria and the Americana are relatively rare, but to have the two of them separated by a few dozen yards of pavement is even more unusual.

With the plethora of restaurants and retail shops at both malls, the holiday months might have been a bonanza for the average Glendale shopper and the city after the Americana opened in May.

Instead, with the U.S. economy mired in what the National Bureau of Economic Research officially declared a recession this week, many forecasters are predicting a grim holiday season on the balance sheet.

The Americana and Galleria drew promising crowds for Black Friday, but it remains to be seen whether the numbers will hold up through the new year.

Still, if any businesses are able to weather an economic storm, they should be a pair of outlets as impressive as the Galleria and Americana. And the malls’ leaders are right to put competition behind them during a lean time for the community’s pocketbook.

The relationship between the two neighbors hasn’t always been rosy.

General Growth Properties Inc., the owner of the Galleria, and Caruso Affiliated Holdings, the owner of the Americana, fought in the courts for three years after the Americana’s 2004 City Council approval. General Growth alleged that the new mall’s environmental impact report skirted the law, while Caruso accused its rival of trying to strong-arm tenants away from signing with the Americana.

Since May, though, the owners have let the acrimony slide — publicly, at least.

Developer Rick Caruso said after the Americana’s opening that he hoped his mall would bring more customers to the Galleria, while Janet LaFevre, the Galleria’s senior marketing director, said last week that her outlet was “trying to foster a good relationship” with its neighbor.

If the Galleria and Americana help lift Glendale out of the economic doldrums together, it’s a win for the community as a whole. Maybe it’s also a good example for the Obama White House.


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