I had to laugh when reading that several Glendale City Council candidates want to keep the Sears building because it is "historic."
Here's my take: beautiful historic buildings that bring charm to the community are wonderful — look at how Rick Caruso brought the Masonic temple back to life, and look at the beauty of Old Town Pasadena. But then there are places like the Sears building, which is the textbook example of architecture that should never have been approved in this city.
I grew up in Glendale in the 1960s and '70s going to Billy's Deli on Orange Street, and I can remember always looking over at Sears and wondering how any building could be so ugly. Its blank, windowless facade is a symbol of a bygone era with a layout that's all about the parking lot as king.
Today, our downtown is being transformed into a wonderful, vibrant walking community that's suddenly full of life — and full of people who want more charming places to eat and shop, thanks to our exciting new modern apartment building population.
I urge these City Council candidates to embrace a new vision for our downtown. Let's take this Sears block (once the inevitable happens) and create something lovely, full of life and light, and pedestrian-friendly for our community — perhaps a beautifully designed plaza with outdoor cafes around a fountain where people can gather and enjoy time with friends and family. I really think Glendale needs visionary leaders who can imagine a more vibrant and beautiful downtown for the community, not leaders who want to stick with an old model that never really worked.
Term limits offer an opportunity
On April 4, voters have an opportunity in Glendale to limit how many times our council members can be reelected to office. Currently, the power of the incumbent is almost insurmountable for a challenger.
Council members Paula Devine, Vartan Gharpetian and Zareh Sinanyan voted to place Measure L on the ballot for the April 4 election. If approved, beginning with the 2017 elections, council members' service would be subject to a maximum of three four-year terms.
Dozens of California cities and counties have already instituted term limits, and in 2002 Los Angeles County voters passed Measure B to limit the supervisors to three consecutive four-year terms. Measure L will do the same.
Below are several reasons for limiting the length of public -service:
Reduces the number of career politicians. The job of an elected city council member is to represent the interests of the citizens for a time and then turn the job over to another volunteer.
Minimizes opportunities for corruption.
Offers opportunities for leadership in a community to many more citizens. Many talented potential leaders will simply not run for council because of the challenges of running against an incumbent.
Creates new and fresh perspectives and motivated individuals that are interested in serving the public and not simply holding an office.
Please vote yes on Measure L.
Grant Michals is a tireless advocate
There are several good candidates running for Glendale City Council. I urge you to consider Grant Michals for one of your three votes. His numerous volunteer efforts all over Glendale illustrate his value to all the residents of our diverse city.
He is a longtime member of the Crescenta Valley Community Assn. Steering Committee, president of the Montrose-Verdugo City-Sparr Heights Neighborhood Assn. and president of the Glendale Homeowners Coordinating Council. He also serves on the Parks, Recreation & Community Services Commission and took part in the annual homeless count out in the streets. He is a small business owner. Grant is not only a Friend of Rockhaven, he personally helps with the maintenance. His work with Glendale Clean & Beautiful includes graffiti removal and the annual "I Love My Neighborhood" poster contest in cooperation with GUSD.
Most importantly, he frequently attends Glendale City Council meetings, giving him real understanding of the work of the council and the needs of community members who come to speak of their concerns.
Please vote for Grant Michals on April 4.
Listed priorities are just words
I received a campaign flier from Vrej Agajanian on Saturday. He listed his priorities as: traffic and pedestrian safety, responsible appropriation of funds, cutting red tape for small business, innovative parks and youth recreation, protect neighborhoods from overdevelopment and eliminate senior and veteran homelessness. I am sure that these priorities are on the list of every candidate for Glendale City Council. Who wouldn't want all of the above?
The problem is these priorities are just words.
Traffic and pedestrian safety: How can you possibly do anything about drivers who pay no attention to speed limits or stop signs with just words? And it is getting worse.
Responsible appropriation of funds: What funds? Glendale will be broke when it has to pay back the millions of dollars for the funds from the utility tax increase fraudulently transferred to the Glendale general fund.
Overdevelopment has already occurred: 4,000 new apartment units on every available piece of open land.
Eliminate senior and veteran homelessness: I read this as low-cost housing, which has no definition and rent control which is just government telling a business owner what he or she can charge for their services. Just more words.
I would love to see any candidate for City Council present a plan that actually sounds like it would solve just one of these grandiose priorities.
So far all I hear are words with no substance.