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A call for stricter rules on discrimination

January 20, 2001

Alex Coolman

SOUTHWEST GLENDALE -- The city should broaden its nondiscrimination

policies to prevent giving money to groups that exclude people, residents

said at a Thursday night symposium held by the League of Women Voters.

Dozens of Glendale residents and several city officials attended the

meeting on the city's nondiscrimination policy, held at Fire Station 21

on Oak Street.

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Many of those in attendance, including Glendale resident Marjorie

Davis, expressed concern that public money could be going to

organizations unwilling to serve all members of the public.

"How much money do the Boy Scouts get from the city of Glendale?"

Davis asked. "What are we talking about here?"

In fact, said Assistant City Manager Bob McFall, Glendale is not

giving any money to the Boy Scouts of America, although it has given

money to the group in the past.

Glendale does not impose any nondiscrimination rules, besides those

required by the state and federal government, on groups that receive

federal block grant money. Groups taking such money are prohibited in

their hiring practices from more than a dozen categories of

discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of race, sex,

pregnancy and sexual orientation.

But when it comes to groups' distribution of services, the rules are

less strict. Glendale does not prohibit groups from discriminating on the

basis of sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, parenthood,

medical conditions or disabilities.

Many at Thursday's meeting pushed for the discrimination loophole to

be eliminated, a step that the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco

already have taken.

"We have a disparity of standards," said Loretta Novak, a member of

the Glendale Human Relations Coalition.

Speaking on a panel at the meeting were representatives of several

groups that provide services to residents: the Armenian Relief Society,

the Girl Scouts of America, the Glendale Assn. of Realtors and Catholic

Charities.

The groups stressed that although they focus on particular segments of

the population, they do not turn away others.

Given those permissive policies, McFall said they had little to fear

if Glendale opts to enact stricter nondiscrimination rules.

"My understanding," he said, "is that there would be no changes in the

current distribution of funding."

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