MAILBAG: Police officers deserve their raise

I support the Police Department in its effort on a planned 6% salary increase due in July (“Council, police hit an impasse,” June 17).

The police have the most dangerous job in the city. The rank and file carry a firearm whenever they are on duty, i.e. traffic enforcement, domestic violence or any other call. No police call is the same, and they rarely know what to expect. Their lives are on the line 24/7 and they are willing to do their job knowing the risk at hand. Who on the council would volunteer for their job?

The city's other safety personnel are firefighters, who are very well paid and who generally go into a situation knowing what to expect. And most of all, they do not carry a firearm while on duty.

Recently, the Fire Department union said they would give up their cost-of-living adjustments, but their logging of thousands of hours of overtime has been well recorded. So will the firefighters add more overtime to make up for the loss in salary?

Former City Council candidate and critic Bruce Philpott came before the council many times last year challenging the way the Fire Department was run, with excess overtime included. Several councilmen at the time dismissed Philpott's criticism of the department. Will this new council take a second look into the management of the Fire Department as the city faces financial turmoil?

But we also have executive managers making more than $100,000, with some more than $200,000 per year with benefits, who sit behind a desk without any threat to their lives, property and safety.

I believe the City Council has its priorities all wrong. If the council brought in an independent auditor for the Fire Department, how much money could the city save and pass on to the rank and file in the Police Department?

This city is famous for hiring outside consultants. Perhaps it is time to bring forward an independent auditor to see where the city can save additional money.

From what I have been reading, there are too many foxes in the hen house.




Freedom of expression is key

It has been a few years since I started to read Glendale News-Press and also many articles by columnist Dan Kimber, and sometimes I disagree with him. Other times I have felt close to him in his suggestion to find a way for a common concern of our city, or to evaluate and give advice.

Never have I thought of Kimber's views to be prejudiced or doubted his intention. I do not belong to any organization and I don't know Kimber, but what I can say about his article that caused many unkind responses (“Greet melting pot with open arms,” April 10) is that I, myself being an Armenian, find some truth there.

I think not only Armenians, but other minorities as well — Koreans, Mexicans, Chinese — want our youth not to assimilate into the broader culture for fear of losing our identity. They may also feel some values, which we can find only in our native culture, are put at risk in going from culture to culture.

But I can confidently say that there is a single universal reason that brought all of us here — freedom. A free expression of one's opinion must be respected by all of us.



Where was the coverage of Clark?

I was both surprised and very disappointed that Clark Magnet High School was the least covered school in the paper from Friday's graduations. No picture, just a list of the graduates.

Clark Magnet is a Blue Ribbon School, Distinguished School and Title One School.

With such prominent accolades, you would think that the Glendale News-Press would give the most deserving school at least equal coverage to the other schools.


La Crescenta

EDITOR'S NOTE: Though coverage of the Clark Magnet graduation did not include photos, an article — of similar length to those that ran with the other schools — accompanied the list of graduates.


All discrimination needs to disappear

I am intolerant against intolerant people and their cheerleaders. As an American of Armenian descent, I feel a moral obligation and civic duty to combat discrimination regardless of who is targeted, because we've seen the outcome in faraway lands of what is possible when too many remain silent.

We are fortunate to live in a country that embraces and accepts all cultures. As we will soon celebrate America's 233rd birthday, we should all be especially thankful to those who have worked extra hard to see that newcomers were made welcome and were given a chance to become great Americans, under one flag.

There are many old laws that still stand right here in the United States that are outdated and irrelevant today, and although one can make a case that the states need to spend time to go back and repeal them to reflect a more modern era, it is insulting to an American's intelligence to think anyone would actually enforce these laws to begin with. I will share four of such laws below.

The 1863 law President Lincoln signed abolishing Dakota Indians from Minnesota.

Blythe, Calif.: You reportedly aren't allowed to wear cowboy boots unless you own at least two cows.

Dana Point: One may not use one's own restroom if the window is open.

Pasadena: It is illegal for a secretary to be alone in a room with her boss.

As I stated before, assimilation is inevitable, but can be prolonged in an uncomfortable environment, in which nobody benefits.




Many thanks for saving houses

We would like to add our thanks to Glendale Water & Power utility crew members who, while upgrading power lines in our neighborhood Thursday, stopped a fire that threatened to destroy our next-door neighbor's home and possibly our own (“Many thanks to city's firefighters,” June 20).

Their quick action and smooth coordination with the Fire Department averted disaster when an unpredictable charge sparked fire in the home's wiring. The follow-up, both with our neighbors and with us, was thorough and deeply appreciated.

We own the property with easiest access to the power pole, so we are well aware of the responsiveness, professionalism and unwavering courtesy of the people who keep power flowing to our homes despite frequent high winds and squirrels who eat through wire.

The city of Glendale couldn't ask for better public relations ambassadors than the Glendale Water & Power personnel who, along with firefighters and police, take care of us all.



It's time to put an end to project

With all due respect to Doug Failing, local district director for the California Department of Transportation, our concerns are not premature (“Tunnel opposition premature, officials say,” May 30). Now is the time to act.

The state is spending millions of our taxpayer dollars, which we don't have (whether general-fund or special-fund money). The state would have us sit back and do nothing until it is too late, all the while spending our tax dollars on this study on a project that hopefully will never come to fruition.

As one of our community members so ably and succinctly stated at the Sparr Heights Community Center meeting May 21, the project needs to stop now. No more money should be spent on it. And to whom do we write to get the project stopped?

Councilman Ara Najarian is right on when he says the time to act is now.

The state has studied the 710 Freeway extension project for 40 years, and yet proponents say the project is too young to judge? Even the tunnel concept of the project has been in the works for seven years. And the project is too young to judge? When will the time be right, and how much of our tax dollars will have been spent by that time?

Caltrans has bought up hundreds of residential properties since the early 1950s along the proposed corridor and has become nothing more than a long term property manager. Now there is a bill authored by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino that directs Caltrans to sell the property it owns for the unconstructed surface right-of-way of the proposed 710 extension through Alhambra and Pasadena.

Of course, that's the way it works: Buy up the property with our tax dollars prior to project approval by the affected communities, hold it for years (maybe receiving rental income, but expending little or nothing on upkeep) trying to get approval, and then have to sell it at the then current market value because approval was never obtained. And selling it any time soon in the current market will ensure a loss to the taxpayers. This bill needs our attention and input now.

Now is the time for us to make ourselves heard. And we need to stay united and vocal for however long it takes to defeat this project.


La Crescenta

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