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NEWS
January 26, 2013
Councilman Ara Najarian recently said, “As the city budget reaches its limit, the community many times steps in and helps with many of these programs.” In the past, former Councilwoman Laura Friedman expressed those same sentiments. Both of these council members are very proud the city has so many volunteer organizations to “pick up the slack” of previous expected city services. We respect the daily service performed by our fire, police and general employees of the city. However, where is the responsibility from council members when they receive thousands of dollars in campaign money from the city unions and then approve salaries and pensions in the millions of dollars that are both unfunded and unsustainable?
NEWS
July 27, 2012
Councilwoman Laura Friedman recently stated Social Security and city pension benefits should not be compared ("Unions agree to share the fiscal pain,” July 6). She further stated Social Security “was never meant to be the pensions or the savings of this nation. It was meant to be something to keep people out of abject poverty.” Were the city pensions initially given to city employees supposed to make them millionaires when they retired? Should a Glendale city employee be entitled to a pension after 30 years, receiving 90%, 75% or 60% of their last year of spiked earnings?
NEWS
By Melanie Hicken | July 22, 2010
A spokesman for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System said Thursday that the agency plans to audit the city of Bell to ensure the record-high salaries being paid to top city officials fall within established guidelines. The small working-class city of Bell has been embroiled in controversy since last week when the L.A. Times reported that City Manager Robert Rizzo earns nearly $800,000 annually, while former Glendale Police Chief Randy Adams makes $457,000 as the top cop there.
NEWS
By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com | March 22, 2013
When it comes to managing skyrocketing pension obligations, Glendale's either done all it can or is failing horribly, depending on who you talk to. While most City Council candidates have criticized city pensions, the city manager, incumbents and union leaders say Glendale has already implemented comprehensive reform and nothing more can be done. Glendale has taken big steps to curb rising pension costs, but more - albeit controversial - options are available. “The first thing I would say is, I have no magic formula.
FEATURES
May 2, 2010
This is an answer to Councilman John Drayman regarding the Armenian Genocide (“Never forget the Armenian Genocide,” April 22). By all means our Congress must recognize the Armenian Genocide. As our country is an utterly fair and unbiased nation, our Congress must as well recognize genocide in various other nations, where citizens were slaughtered for their faith, political bents or race. Stalin was responsible for the death of his own countrymen, 2 million of them, the communistic regime in Cambodia murdered 1 million, Idi Amin of Uganda was guilty of killing 3,000 of his own people and probably many other nations.
NEWS
August 30, 2012
Re: ”Rain and money occupy convention,” Aug. 29. Editor Dan Evans wrote that it was disconcerting being around so much money at the Republican convention vs the occupy RNC protesters. This is such hypocrisy. The Obama campaign's stated goal was to raise a billion dollars and the president 's goal seems to be commander in chief of fundraising events. This is, unfortunately, what the parties do during elections. When did success become a dirty word? Evans stated, “I suppose I could complain of a lack of specifics.” I think delegate John Cushman said “ the solution is to reduce the regulation and taxation that is driving companies out of the state.” California's Democratic party is not working on solutions when the state and city unions and employees association can still retire in their 50s and receive 90% to 60% of their last year's income.
NEWS
March 2, 2013
I find it ironic that letter-writer Roberta Medford is upset to see Mike Mohill's posters flourish up and down Honolulu Avenue and elsewhere (“ Not a fan of what Mohill stands for ,” Mailbag, Feb. 13). She states that businesses should not express their politics and that shopkeepers risk turning customers away with partisanship. Where was Medford when former councilman John Drayman, the unofficial mayor of Montrose, ran for office and had posters all over town? Did she object then?
NEWS
March 22, 2013
Glendale is on track to become an even more vibrant city in the coming years as developments get underway throughout the community - all happening at a time when several other cities are still struggling to climb out of a crippling recession. There are still serious budget issues that must be dealt with, but three City Council candidates from a pack of 12 stand out. We endorse Laura Friedman, Ara Najarian and Sam Engel. Incumbents Friedman and Najarian have been part of a team that has steered Glendale away from a financial collapse, kept the downtown area a strong business hub and maintained the quality-of-life services that make it an ideal place to live and raise a family.
NEWS
By Ron Kaye | May 26, 2011
All politics is local — even wars halfway around the world in Iraq and Afghanistan. The point comes home with force as we watch our elected officials at every level grapple with a third year of massive budget deficits that are forcing drastic cuts in public services, sharp increases in fees and taxes where they can and causing tense conflict with public employees who face loss of their jobs or reductions in wages, pensions and benefits. It isn’t a pretty picture, and next year and the years after are certain to be even uglier.
NEWS
July 5, 2011
Recently, there was an interesting confluence of stories in the paper. Though probably unintended, a story about the new future tenants at Burbank's the Pointe office building (“KCET, DC Comics move in to area, June 25) was followed the next day by a dining review of the Clean Street Food truck (“Simple, fresh food from a truck,” June 26). First of all, I'd like to express how refreshing it is to see a food truck reviewed, as they have become incredibly prevalent over the last couple of years, and many have excellent servings that deserve more attention.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com | November 12, 2013
A couple who owned three Glendale-based post-production film companies pleaded guilty Tuesday to embezzling more than a $1 million - a portion of it from their employees' retirement fund, but the lion's share for not paying their income taxes. Ronald Burdett, 75, and Karen Burdett, 70, each pleaded guilty to embezzling $102,327 from their employees' retirement plan and for failing to pay about $971,896 in income taxes withheld from their employees' paychecks to the Internal Revenue Service.
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NEWS
August 23, 2013
Re: the letter “ Increases over five years not excessive ,” Mailbag, Aug. 14. If Ron Kaye's Sunday column is this writer's source , she is misinformed. If this lady's experience of electric rates in a nearby city is any indication, I can be sure that it wasn't Pasadena, Burbank or Los Angeles. All of them have publicly owned utilities and all of them have had rates lower than Glendale's in the past 13 years except for 2001, when Pasadena had a higher rate than Glendale's.
NEWS
By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com | May 11, 2013
As Glendale struggles to get a handle on its growing pension obligations, records show that about 11% of the nearly 1,350 city retirees draw annual pensions of more than $100,000 a year - and some of them far more than that. At the top of the list is former City Manager Jim Starbird, who draws $238,686, followed by ex-Fire Chief Christopher Gray at $200,783 and former Police Capt. Ray Edey at $198,386. But the sticker shock of high earners doesn't tell the whole story, pension experts said.
NEWS
By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com | May 11, 2013
Former Glendale Police Capt. Ray Edey is not one to relax, so when he had the opportunity to return to writing grant applications for the city in September 2011, about a week after he retired, he took it. "I don't golf, fish or hunt," said the 30-year employee. "I need to keep my mind busy. " In addition to more work, he also reaped more money. He took home both an annual pension of $198,386 and a self-reported salary of roughly $80,000 a year until about four months ago. Edey is one of 46 city employees who, since 2000, retired and then returned to work at City Hall, according to an analysis of records from Glendale and California Public Employees' Retirement System, or CalPERS.
NEWS
By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com | April 19, 2013
Glendale officials warned this week that planned changes to how the state's pension agency calculates contribution rates will have a significant impact on a city still recovering from a prolonged recession. The California Public Employees' Retirement System this week approved a proposal to increase how much cities pay for their benefit plans starting in 2015. The plan is part of an effort to fully fund the system in 30 years. Median contribution rates for public safety and miscellaneous personnel could jump by 34% and 36%, respectively, over 10 years, according to CalPERS.
NEWS
March 22, 2013
Glendale is on track to become an even more vibrant city in the coming years as developments get underway throughout the community - all happening at a time when several other cities are still struggling to climb out of a crippling recession. There are still serious budget issues that must be dealt with, but three City Council candidates from a pack of 12 stand out. We endorse Laura Friedman, Ara Najarian and Sam Engel. Incumbents Friedman and Najarian have been part of a team that has steered Glendale away from a financial collapse, kept the downtown area a strong business hub and maintained the quality-of-life services that make it an ideal place to live and raise a family.
NEWS
By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com | March 22, 2013
When it comes to managing skyrocketing pension obligations, Glendale's either done all it can or is failing horribly, depending on who you talk to. While most City Council candidates have criticized city pensions, the city manager, incumbents and union leaders say Glendale has already implemented comprehensive reform and nothing more can be done. Glendale has taken big steps to curb rising pension costs, but more - albeit controversial - options are available. “The first thing I would say is, I have no magic formula.
NEWS
March 2, 2013
I find it ironic that letter-writer Roberta Medford is upset to see Mike Mohill's posters flourish up and down Honolulu Avenue and elsewhere (“ Not a fan of what Mohill stands for ,” Mailbag, Feb. 13). She states that businesses should not express their politics and that shopkeepers risk turning customers away with partisanship. Where was Medford when former councilman John Drayman, the unofficial mayor of Montrose, ran for office and had posters all over town? Did she object then?
ABOUT
February 8, 2013
During the Feb. 2 Glendale City Council candidates forum at Oakmont Country Club, none of the candidates addressed the major problems with Glendale's pension system. At one time pensions were sustainable (2% at age 50 in 1973) for safety officers. This was before past city councils made too many concessions to the unions. For example, they agreed to change the retirement formula from 2.5% to 3% at age 50 for each year of service. It should have applied only to future years of service, not past service already earned.
NEWS
By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com | February 2, 2013
City pensions and looming electricity rate increases were front and center Saturday as 10 of the 13 candidates for City Council faced off at the first election forum of the campaign season. In front of about 80 people at the Oakmont Country Club, nearly all of the candidates said they would support changes to the city's pension system. Several suggested increasing the retirement age as well as reducing the percentage of one's salary collected at retirement. Even former city employees supported changes, despite the pension reform the city has already undergone.
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