Asked to speak at the Glendale Partners' monthly luncheon, I accepted
before someone came to their senses and withdrew the invitation. If
nothing else, I knew the food would be great.
The members were more jovial and congenial in their questions than I
would have been if given a chance to grill each of them. I babbled and
rambled, stammered and stalled, and they were polite to the last. It was
a huge disappointment to a columnist certain they'd all be clad in black
robes and chanting around a fire as they prepared for a ritual sacrifice.
The Partners has always been made up of top executives and owners of
area businesses -- largely centered in the downtown area. The group's
mission statement dictates its vision of Glendale's future, premised on
three principles. One calls for the city to become a "complete
destination community," a bid for everything from a commercial area
serving pedestrians, to cultural and recreational facilities. Another
principle demands an "exemplary quality of life for residents, employees
Those principles had the Partners leading efforts to renovate The Alex
Theatre and preserve the Brand Library. But the Partners is best known
today for its work to support its mission's first principle. It calls for
"the development of a wide, but balanced, spectrum of corporate and
commercial interests." The members reflect a similar spectrum. Those at
the luncheon ran the gamut from developers, to printers, from the
executive of a multinational corporation, to well-known local lawyers.
A unique facet to the Partners has always been its willingness to put
cash behind its agenda. Calling for a downtown strategic plan, the
Partners accompanied its demand with $125,000 to help pay for it. When
the Partners urged the city to keep backing an annual pops concert, the
urging came with a check for $10,000, and help raising another $7,000.
Raps against the Partners, and I've advanced a few, are simple. And
they all conflict with the group's stated positions. They've long been
perceived as being narrowly focus on the downtown corridor where programs