CITY COUNCIL RECAP
Special Meeting, 6PM, September 29, 2020
EXCERPTS (Eco-related Items only)
Please see agenda and full video for additional items discussed.
1: In staff comments – Council Member Devine praised GWP and the City of Glendale for joining the LA Clean Tech Incubator’s “Transportation Electrification Partnership” as part of the Advisory Group with Burbank, Pasadena, and over 50 other cities. The partnership’s goals are to increase EV transportation and EV infrastructure (More info / Working Group Goals & Roadmap )
2: Council Member Brotman also brought up EV’s, noting fossil fuel powered vehicles are the biggest cause of GHG emissions in CA and our bad air quality here in Glendale. Brotman asked for staff to work on a plan that gets us to 100% electrification of our municipal vehicle fleet (garbage trucks, beeline buses, GWP vehicles, public works vehicles, etc) by a set date. Brotman’s motion was seconded by Mayor Agajanian. Staff discussed some of their current efforts, including current efforts switching to EVs and hybrids and CNG garbage trucks and buses. Brotman made it clear that he’s talking about real and full electrification, not half measures that still use fossil fuels. He emphasized that he understands this will take time, but that we need to plan.
Mr. Zurn (GWP) mentioned in the last fleet budget discussions, they budgeted for 2 electric motors for the police department and are looking at electrifying a piece of fire apparatus (that LA is testing now). They are looking at GWP equipment that they can convert, such as standard electrical panel vans (there is now an EV version they are interested in testing.) Zurn thinks Governor Newsom’s executive order that all new sales of vehicles must be zero emission by 2035 will push them forward more quickly. GWP will be looking into Nikola pickup trucks. EV infrastructure is moving forward. He said the the public should see a lot more in a couple of months, at civic center campus and other city locations.
3: Mosquitoes in Glendale: What you Need to Know – See the presentation. Following the presentation, the presenter discusses services that Greater LA County Vector Control offers.
4: City of Glendale Endorsement of Prop 15 – Schools & Communities First Ballot Measure: Passes 3 to 2.
This item received 19 callers and approx. 1000 emails (per the mayor). Staff offered a report.
Motion moved by Brotman, Seconded by Kassakhian. Votes and comment excerpts as follows:
Brotman, yes – To stabilize our local tax base to afford many programs residents want and need; fix something that is distorting markets. Not at all worried this would have future effects on Prop 13. Said no leader would touch Prop 13 as it is incredibly valued by voters. People die and move but companies can last forever and with the way current law is structured, can retain decades-old tax rates. Overwhelmingly, market rates will be set by competition, not any other factor (from needing a new roof to re-assessed property taxes etc.) Referenced Beacon Economics study on this.
Kassakhian, yes – Not a total panacea for CA. Worried about a few particular details – e.g. triple-net leases; however, stands in unity with GUSD whose board voted unanimously in favor of supporting the measure and because of the severe need of CA schools to increase per pupil funding. Would like to use potential city funding from this measure so that the city no longer has to do a GWP transfer.
Najarian, no – Noted he did not think this issue should have been brought before council. Think it’s the wrong time for the measure because of the pandemic and will be a stress on businesses that would lead to job losses and potentially cause businesses to go out of business. Believes that the cost increase will be passed on to renters. Does not like that the funds are not earmarked for specific uses. Does not, for example, want the city to use the money to fill pension needs. Also referred to Beacon Economics report that projected 120,000 jobs might be lost but re-appear in municipal government. Also brought up his personal situation as a property owner, that if this measure passes, he will see an increase in taxes. Also referenced NAACP coming out in opposition to the measure. Also mentioned the difficult CA climate for businesses.
Devine, yes – Agreed with Ara re: wishes this should not be in front of council. Agreed with all the benefits of this measure, but had one main concern – will this have detrimental effects on small businesses? Did a tremendous amount of research. Does not think it is perfect legislation, but is a tangible fix and will close loopholes and may be our best option to start reform. Money for cities and schools will take time to start coming in. Appreciates the small carve outs for small business which addressed her concerns for small businesses. Effects will not start til 2022 and will be phased in and nothing will be implemented until 2025, so she is comfortable that this won’t have immediate impacts during the pandemic. Said It will not be this council that determines if this measure passes, it will be the voters.
Agajanian, abstained – Does not think this should have come to council, Voters will decide, mentioned worries that this measure could lead to future attacks on prop 13.
5: Ban on Sales of Mylar (Foil) Balloons in Glendale: Ordinance (as drafted by Staff) WILL move forward for a vote in the next meeting. Motion moved by Council Member Devine.
The balloon lobby has been in full effect with hundreds of emails pouring in (Councilwoman Devine noted the vast majority from outside of Glendale) in opposition to Glendale becoming the first city in the state to ban the sale of mylar balloons. During the city council meeting, three residents called in expressing support for the ban, including one resident whose personal home business computer equipment was affected by a mylar balloon-caused outage.
After multiple callers from outside Glendale spoke against the ban, citing the devastating impact on small businesses (and emphasizing women and minority owned businesses) focused on party/balloon products, Paula rebutted them saying they could use latex balloons instead. She emphasized that latex balloons outsell Mylar balloons in our state. She mentioned the industry can move ahead with the proposed “non-conductive” material they are exploring that would prevent outages using this ban as an incentive to get moving on the development of this material. The ban could be lifted at any time if that were done. She said that education of the customer is NOT working and neither are the warning labels and weighted balloon requirements.
There was some discussion (primarily by Mayor Agajanian) of differentiating between mylar balloons that used regular air and those that use helium. The city attorney recommended against that, saying enforcement and differentiation would be complicated. This review will not cover the full list of reasons that mylar balloons have a harmful impact to our community, as this was covered in a prior post – but some of the top reasons are: 18.8% of our outages are due to mylar balloons here in Glendale, disentangling them is very dangerous to the utility workers, and they can cause fires.
No city council member spoke against the ordinance, although Mayor Agajanian expressed an opinion that people will just go to a neighboring city to purchase their balloons and Glendale will therefore lose business for no reason. As other council members have suggested, this ordinance could quite possibly lead to other cities passing similar bans. The preponderance of outside callers (a Mission Viejo businesswoman called in, a man who owns 750 businesses across the U.S. called in) worked against industry interests in the eyes of city council. The balloon lobby is concerned that Glendale will set a precedent. Ms. Devine thinks it is indeed time for us to set a precedent.
All city council members spoke in favor of the ban.
Council Member Devine introduced the ordinance as drafted by staff (the agenda item.) The actual ordinance comes up for a vote at the next meeting.
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