Week in review

The level of budget-cutting next year may be much as it was this year, city officials told the City Council on Tuesday, with city revenue sliding into what could be an $8-million budget shortfall.

The same economic recession that pushed down city revenue in the first quarter was expected to continue through the fiscal year and cramp City Hall as it prepares to draw up another budget plan for next fiscal year.

 The City Council, faced with losing up to $8.7 million a year in telephone user taxes because of antiquated code language, voted unanimously Tuesday to place an updated tax on the April 7 ballot.

The new tax codes would update definitions of rapidly changing communications technology — such as Voice Over Internet Protocol and packaged cellular charges — to capture more uses and retain Glendale’s 40-year-old claim on the utility users tax, which directly finances public safety, libraries, recreation and other city services.

Two state assemblymen who represent Glendale — each just elected to his second term in the Legislature — are moving up California’s political leadership ladder.

Democratic Assemblyman Paul Krekorian, of the state’s 26th District, has been tapped by Speaker Karen Bass to be the party’s assistant majority floor leader, while Republican leader Mike Villines asked Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, of the 38th District, to chair his party’s caucus.

As assistant majority floor leader, Krekorian, 48, will help lead Democrats by ensuring party continuity among the 80 Assembly members and working with Republicans to advance Democratic legislation.

As caucus chairman — the second-highest-ranking Republican position in the state Assembly — Smyth will act as a liaison between Villines and the 32 Assembly members of his party.

General Growth Properties Inc., the fiscally troubled owner of the Glendale Galleria, announced last week that it had reached an agreement with its creditors to delay payment on a $58-million debt until Dec. 11.

The announcement followed an extension the company received for a two-week extension on $900 million in outstanding mortgage loan payments at two Las Vegas malls that had been due amid persistent questions about General Growth’s long-term financial solvency.

The state is running out of cash to support free and reduced-price school meals as demand has increased with the recession — a reality that has prompted concerns even in prepared local districts, officials said.

State Supt. Jack O’Connell announced the funding problem Tuesday, when he urged lawmakers to find more money to pay for the growing number of applicants for the meal program.

Although the majority of food assistance comes from the federal government — which pays between $2.17 and $2.57 of the total $2.75 cost of elementary school meal price, depending on whether a student is receiving a free or reduced lunch — fluctuations in state funding can be costly, officials said.

 An unprecedented number of Glendale Community College employees are retiring this year, even during the nation’s recession, because of a generous incentive package that will help the college cut costs, officials said.

Many of the 43 management, staff and faculty members retiring would not have made the choice if they weren’t offered the supplemental package, an effort to encourage older, more expensive employees to leave their positions so that they could eventually be filled with much lower-paid replacements, said Gordon Alexandre, president of the Glendale College Guild, the college’s faculty union.

The state’s budget crisis may result in up to $4.5 million in cuts to the college district, according to official estimates.

  

A 48-year-old Glendale woman was sentenced Thursday to 16 years to life in prison for stabbing her 55-year-old boyfriend to death.

Pasadena Superior Court Judge Janice Croft ordered Karen Harding to serve time in prison for the second-degree murder of her live-in boyfriend, John Holder.

A jury found Harding guilty Oct. 7 of stabbing Holder to death in 2004 in the couple’s Glendale apartment.

The winter sports season kicked off this week for area high school boys’ and girls’ soccer and basketball teams and girls’ water polo teams.

On Thursday, the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy girls’ soccer team defeated crosstown rival Flintridge Prep, 2-0, in the first match of the season for both teams.

Flintridge Prep’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams had better luck in their openers, as the Rebels’ boys defeated South Pasadena, 57-50, on Wednesday and the Rebels’ girls were winners over Flintridge Sacred Heart, 62-31, on Monday, in what was the Tologs’ opener, as well. Intracity competition between Prep and Sacred Heart continued Thursday, when the Rebels bested the Tologs, 3-0.

St. Francis High kicked off its boys’ soccer season with a 1-1 tie with Granada Hills in the opening round of the Ralph Brandt Tournament. Glendale’s boys soccer team is also in the tournament, which continues over the next week, and the Nitros opened the season with a tie of their own Thursday, 2-2, with Alemany.

Many area basketball teams opened their season in tournaments, some of which continue into today.

Glendale’s girls’ team played in the Hoover Tip-Off Classic, where it reached the championship game Friday with three consecutive victories. The host Tornadoes began the season 1-1.

Crescenta Valley’s girls’ team went 2-0 to open play in the Falcon Tip-Off Classic before falling to Oaks Christian, 52-43, on Thursday.

The boys’ basketball teams from Hoover, Glendale and Renaissance Academy are all participating in the Bulldog Tip-Off Classic at Burbank, which concludes today.

In Pacific League soccer, Crescenta Valley High’s girls kicked off the season with a 1-0 win over La Cañada on Monday.

NOTABLE QUOTABLES

“People need to talk to us more. We’re human. This is a 24-hour job, being homeless.”

Kathleen Rubio on being homeless for more than three years in Glendale. She was at a homeless services event Thursday held at the Glendale armory.

“If you’ve got a sleeping bag, you’re damp. And when you wake up, you’re wet and cold. And I don’t like to be cold.”

Lawrence Keuleman, 45, who was one of 31 homeless people to take advantage of Burbank’s winter shelter, on sleeping outside during the winter.

“It’s an incredibly sad commentary when the financial situations become so dire that someone could even consider not making sure the kids are properly fed.”

— Glendale Unified School District Supt. Michael Escalante, on the state’s dwindling resources for funding free and reduced-price meal programs for students.

“This year, however, is shaping up to be something unlike anything we’ve faced in a long, long time.”

— City Manager Jim Starbird on the gloomy economic forecast for the next fiscal year.

“I hope it will be an indication that the Republican caucus is looking to be more moderate in dealing with the budget.”

— Assemblyman Paul Krekorian on the appointment of Assemblyman Cameron Smyth to chair the Republican caucus.

“Regardless of what happens to General Growth, the Galleria will survive.”

Jack Kyser, head of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. on the financial troubles currently ailing General Growth Properties Inc., which owns the Glendale Galleria.


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