Gym decision holds an important lesson

The roughly 500 students of Chamlian Armenian School this week got an important lesson in civic government: Never stop believing that your local officials should work for you, rather than against you.

The City Council on Tuesday rightfully overturned a decision by the Planning Commission to deny the project, saying arguments from nearby residents that the building would overwhelm the neighborhood in size and would generate additional traffic were groundless.

Even the city’s own planners determined that it would not overwhelm the neighborhood and that, in fact, it would actually reduce campus noise by bringing the sounds of sports inside. And if this campus were still a public school — as it once had been — plans for the gym would have been exempt from this whole review mess to begin with.

Glendale’s neighborhoods are notoriously prickly to change, but one can’t help but wonder if there was something else tacit in the strong opposition to what a review by the city’s own Community Development Department determined to be a relatively benign project.

At the very least, Chamlian students come away from the experience knowing that not giving up — taking your grievances to your elected officials — can pay off. That’s a lesson we hope sticks with them.

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