By Skeptik Sinikian
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Glendale is a world of its own. Sometimes–I feel as though it’s a biosphere experiment–fully contained and independent of the world around it. The upcoming special municipal election is evidence to back my theory and for anyone who has been living in a cave in the Verdugo Mountains for the last three years–here’s the Skeptik ynopsis.
On September 14– Glendalers (I refuse to dignify them with an "ian" ending – call me a snob if you wish) will go to the polls to decide whether they want a Town Center built in Downtown Glendale or not. If you drive through Glendale as often as I do–then you must have noticed the "No on A–B–and C" or "Yes on A–B–and C" signs littered all over the place. And contrary to what you may think after visiting the city–Glendale is not hosting an election to promote or get rid of the alphabet or literacy. By voting "yes" on A–B–and C–Glendalers will approve the project proposed by wealthy developer Rick Caruso of Caruso Affiliated. If you vote "No" on A–B–and C then you support another wealthy entity–General Growth Properties–owners of that vast wasteland and black hole of suburban culture known as the Glendale Galleria (just typing those two words brought back horrendous Christmas shopping memories.) Now either way–the only real people benefiting from either decision are people who have more money than they know what to do with–who care more about their off-shore bank accounts than Glendale–even if it were ravaged by the bubonic plague. Voters will have to forget this for a minute while they are herded to the polls on Tuesday to cast their ballots. It’s like having an executioner ask you if prefer to be stoned to death or hung. At first you think you have a choice but you realize the end results are the same and you resent even being asked.
It would seem as though Glendalers were stuck between a Rick and a hard place until you drive by the area where the development is supposed to be built. You can’t miss it. It’s that vast area of nothingness in south Glendale right before the miles of car dealerships and nothing else. The area is anchored by an empty asphalt lot used by Galleria employees as a parking lot during the Holiday season.
It’s no secret that when coming up with weekend plans–Glendale doesn’t make it on anyone’s list of top three destinations unless you happen to be a fourteen year old unibrowed kid in Adidas warm-ups who likes to smoke cigarettes while watching frog statues randomly spit water. Why has Glendale been black listed? Is it because there’s nothing to do in Glendale past 9 PM? Is it because Brand Boulevard is spattered with random–mediocre restauran’s–a beauty academy–and even more random clothing and gift stores? I personally think that much like some of its more bigoted residents–Glendale has no heart. No center of gravity. Nothing to pull people towards it. Everyone seems to prefer either Pasadena’s Old Town or Burbank’s Media Center.
Personally–I think it’s high time that Glendale had a "Town Center." The only argument that merits any type of consideration from the opposition is the complaint that the development would increase traffic in the area. But the Galleria complaining about traffic problems is like a chain smoker complaining to a waiter about the person at the next table smoking a fat cigar. I’ve read the argumen’s for and against this project and I personally believe that with the new development–the city will actually take steps to fix the traffic problem in the area. I’m sure that amongst the people who are complaining about traffic–there are a few SUV owners–the same one’s who think that their gigantic hunk of steel designed to fit every known animal on it two-by-two will fit into the compact car parking space in the Galleria parking lot. It’s people who drive 5 miles-to-the-gallon Hummers that make me glad that oil prices are at an all time high. But that’s a rant for another day.
I’m also convinced that with a premiere shopping area next to it–the Galleria will be compelled to redesign and revamp the enclosed capitalist red brick gulag into a nicer–outdoor type shopping center. I haven’t stepped foot inside the Galleria for nearly three years and I don’t have any plans of doing so in the near future either. If I wanted to go to a depressing–enclosed space filled with obnoxious–rude–horny teenagers–I’d visit my old high school.
I hope Glendalers vote to build the Town Center and I hope they do it soon. I promised myself that I wouldn’t touch this topic with a ten foot pole–but it seems as though everywhere I turn–people are talking about this issue. So I’m putting in my two cents with the hope of urging people to abandon the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) attitude and do what’s right for this city. In an ideal world–we’d build a nice park with a monument to the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide in the area that’s going to be developed. But a park and monument won’t generate tax revenue for the city. And even a monument won’t knock some sense into the chain-smoking fourteen year olds hanging out at the Marketplace up the street. But a Town Center will hopefully provide us with a decent park–some stores with merchandise worth purchasing–and a place of congregation for those of us who are seeking a change of scenery from Burbank and Pasadena.
Just vote "yes" on this project and let’s build something that will put Glendale back on the map rather than keeping it the no-man’s land/buffer zone between Burbank and Pasadena. If you build it–we will come.
Skeptik Sinikian encourages people to vote their conscience on September 14–regardless of their choices.
He can be reached for comment at [email protected] or visit his website at www.sinikian.blogspot.com.