GLENDALE–Glendale Mayor Eileen Givens–Superintendent of the Glendale Unified School District James Brown and City Manager James Starbird were on hand to field questions from the Armenian community and discuss issues of importance to the city during a town hall meeting Wednesday evening at the "Armenag Der Bedrossian" Hall–sponsored by the Glendale chapter of the Armenian National Committee.
More than 150 community members weathered the heavy El Nino downpour to meet with the city officials who diligently responded to questions ranging from alleged bigotry in the city to promoting tolerance and working together to make Glendale a better place.
Following brief introductory remarks–the three officials fielded questions from the audience who presented them to Glendale ANC representative and the moderator of the evening Ara Khachatourian. The responses were then presented and simultaneously translated for non-English speaking audience members.
Many concerned parents addressed issues concerning discipline in the school system–which they viewed as being excessive.
Superintendent Brown described the measures through which the school district disciplines students and stated that bearing firearms–dealing drugs or physical violence were not tolerated by the school system–as is the case by law.
To prevent such instances the Glendale Unified School District has partnered with the Glendale Police Department–which provides police monitoring of schools to prevent such issues.
Brown also touched upon various activities the GUSD was promoting including the establishment of a pilot school which has received wide support from the city and school community.
Brown also expressed his and the School District’s vehement opposition to proposition 227–which if approved–would eliminate bi-lingual education from the California school system. He urged all to vote against the measure during the June 2 primary elections.
The sentimen’s articulated by Mayor Givens and City Manager Starbird was that of cooperation among the residents of Glendale–and the issue of understanding and dialogue through which the quality of life in Glendale would be enhanced.
Givens highlighted a pilot project she has spearheaded entitled Mediation Program through which neighborhood task forces are established to settle small disputes among neighbors and promote an atmosphere of cooperation before misunderstandings escalate into something bigger.
She also outlined the city’s record on hate crimes–and its mechanism to deal with such issues–adding that the city has become a model throughout the county in addressing this issue.
In his responses Starbird outlined several outreach programs designed to accommodate low-income residents–as well as programs which assist the elderly and disabled to find housing and other services.
Starbird–who has assumed his post in March–also stated that employing individuals from various ethnic backgrounds would serve to better meet community needs.
In conclusion all three officials expressed their readiness to work with the Armenian community and also asked the community to reciprocate that willingness. Their message for cooperation–understanding and tolerance provided the community–which has been somewhat distraught over recent verbal attacks on Armenia’s–with a great deal of hope and provided a new avenue for Armenia’s to co-exist with the rest of their neighbors in Glendale.
The ANC reported that similar Town Hall meeting were scheduled to take place on a regular basis.