Op-Ed: It takes citizens to make a city

Personal attacks do nothing to resolve the legal dispute presented in court on the validity of the transfers to the General Fund. Glendale City Manager Scott Ochoa’s op-ed of March 22, “Glendale’s City Charter is clear,” is itself a collection of bad facts presented in a self-serving and condescending tone belittling the concerns of citizens who have the audacity to question the city by wanting their voices heard.

For the record, the lawsuit does not question the validity of the needed general expenditures for libraries, paramedics, police officers, engineers and the like. In fact, Mr. Zavos and many others recognize that these expenses may be necessary, but they argue that they must be voted on by the people and not unilaterally imposed on the public by a select few as a backdoor tax. Mr. Ochoa does not seem to shy away from the doomsday politicking of spreading fear and chaos should the size of revenues available for him to manage this city be questioned.

What is clear from the letters of Mr. Zavos and the op-ed piece of Mr. Ochoa is that Mr. Zavos represents a Glendale built upon the respect of individuals willing to step up and challenge city officials where it is evident that their policies and action are not in compliance with the City Charter and the state Constitution, where public engagement in government is expected and encouraged. Whereas Mr. Ochoa’s Glendale is based on an elitist attitude toward the governed, built upon personal attacks and relegating the concerns of its citizens to dismissive clichés of “counting angels on the head of a pin.”

Great cities are not built by accident; they are built over decades and multiple generations of wisdom, experience, integrity, accountability and, most importantly, public engagement. Mr. Zavos’ letter builds upon that tradition. Mr. Ochoa’s op-ed piece is condescending and insulting to the efforts, hard work, and engagement of the countless generations who built Glendale to what it is today. Mr. Ochoa takes far too much credit for the accomplishments of Glendale and attributes very little to its citizens.


ROLAND KEDIKIAN is a board member of Glendale Coalition for Better Government. He can be reached at