Council should reject dubious contributions

I feel obligated to comment on the recent debacle in which our city officials appear to have allowed Glendale to be victimized by Advanced Development & Investment Inc., the builder of low-income housing on San Fernando Road.

Engaging a builder whose bid was substantially higher than it should have been may be a forgivable mistake. City councils are not expected to know technical matters about every issue that comes before them. They often must rely on the advice of city staff. (It is not yet clear what advice our City Council was given, but several staff members claim to have recommended against engaging ADI.)

The really unforgivable part of the ADI transaction is that four of our current City Council members are reported to have accepted substantial campaign contributions from the builder. That raises integrity issues.

True, ADI has successfully used the same modus operandi with several other cities and city councils, and, true, elected officials these days commonly take money from people who seek favors from them. However, we are accustomed to better performance by our City Council.

With each candidate competing to raise and spend more (or at least as much) money as the other candidates, election campaigns in this town are now out of control and are threatening to corrupt our city government.

Yet, we certainly don't expect candidates for City Council to emulate the kind of high-pressure, anything-goes campaigning that is happening at the state and federal levels. I voted for each member of our current City Council, and I still believe this City Council is among the best Glendale has ever had. Please, City Council, don't let me down again.

I have a suggestion for our City Council members. They should make a public pledge to avoid conflicts of interest in money-raising for their election campaigns. I suggest that, in the future, they instruct their election campaign workers that each donor must be informed that his or her donation cannot be accepted if the donor intends to do business with the city.

Moreover, City Council members should let prospective donors know that if a donation is received and the donor, nevertheless, seeks to engage in business with the city, the City Council will do its best to block whatever business engagement is proposed.

I'm sure I won't be the only one watching how candidates for City Council conduct their campaigns in the next election.

Gerry Rankin


A robber baron in the new Glendale

All I can think of is — "land-robber barons from the Old West." I feel so sorry for the little Golden Key Hotel near the Americana at Brand ("Court battle set between studio, Americana," Jan. 8).

"Mr. Monopoly" — aka Americana developer Rick Caruso — has his greedy plans to swallow up the hotel so he can expand his ever-growing empire by using city leaders to take it under the eminent domain ploy. He's promising more money to the city of Glendale.

I am sure that's all true, but greed is still greed, no matter the pretty packaging with bows.

Mark Hernandez


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