Thank you to the entire City Council for approving the Glendale Safe and Healthy Streets Plan (“Glendale clears path for pedalers,” April 20).
In particular, I would like to single out Mayor Laura Friedman and Councilman Frank Quintero for their leadership and forward thinking. The only sour note of the entire evening was sounded by Councilman Dave Weaver, who reluctantly voted for the plan after a lengthy and negative speech.
I encourage the citizens of Glendale to watch Weaver's comments via the archived video of the meeting on the GTV6 website or on my blog, http://tropicostation.blogspot.com.
This is a condensed version of my open response to Weaver:
Mr. Weaver, as you pointed out in your comments, most roads in Glendale cannot be widened. Moving people around efficiently with the roads we have is key; whether by car, bus, foot or bike. You are certainly correct that most people will still get around by car. It will just get more difficult as more cars clog the roads and gas prices continue to rise. These are inevitabilities.
I bike to work in downtown Glendale every day — a little over a mile. It takes me six or seven minutes. It would take me longer to drive, as I would have to drive up to the third floor of a parking structure and walk down to ground level. A bike is the most efficient choice for my commute.
It's also a more efficient choice for the city: every day, my bike is one less car clogging up Brand Boulevard and one less car taking up space in a city parking structure. I am actively reducing congestion, and the fact that it makes me healthier, saves money and is fun is just gravy.
There are many others throughout the city for whom riding bikes short distances would also be an efficient choice — if they felt it was safe to do so. As you pointed out, being on a bike in Glendale can be very unsafe. This is a situation a great city like Glendale should be ashamed of.
Providing a network of bike routes is a public safety issue. Glendale has fallen far behind neighboring cities in providing for the needs of its residents in this regard. To neglect to provide basic amenities that can increase the public safety of my fellow residents — your constituents — is not realistic, it is defeatist.
I ask that you reconsider your attitude and research cities such as Long Beach that have successfully created safe bike routes.
Keep on eye on the union’s motives
Regarding City Manager Starbird's approval of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers to represent city utility workers (“Utility workers join IBEW,” April 20), I certainly hope our elected officials keep a close eye on what this union does and how it affects the city financially.
As all intelligent citizens well know, unions have transitioned from protecting workers, to the “what's in it for me” phase, generating higher payroll and pension expenses, and reducing efficiency. The reasoning mentioned in the Glendale News-Press for needing a union is laughable: “that Glendale Water & Power employees do some of the most important and dangerous jobs in the city.”
That may be true in the city, but not in the world in general. I believe our armed forces experience a high level of danger, but I don't believe they are unionized.
What's really at stake here is what seems to be the main purpose of the modern union: maximum pay and benefits.
How has that worked out in other areas of our society?