Archives for February 2012

Smart Meters

Last week we wrote about Glendale Water and Power, smart meters and the unresponsiveness of our government. We ran across a local video about Glendale Water and Power installing a Smart Meter at a private residence and the people living in the home not happy about it and then becoming sick. Urban Toot doesn’t have an opinion if Smart Meters cause illness. We really aren’t qualified (although we do find it interesting). What we do think is that when the citizens aren’t happy the local government should listen to the people and make them happy.

I was recently in a Third Grade classroom where the lesson was about Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address. While I’m sure that you’ve heard it before I’ll mention it again.

and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Let’s hope that the utility companies of the world remember that they are part of our local government. Government of the people, by the people, for the people. Perhaps the utility companies should adopt a philosophy along the lines of:

Utility Companies of the People, By the People, For the People,

It’s crazy but it’s an idea that might just work!

Oh and on the video they reference Glendale Action the website

Garbage in Montrose

Responsibility. It’s easy to point the finger. The City of Glendale should do a better job emptying the trash containers. Or maybe the local merchants like Froyo (many, many of the containers are from Froyo) should supply more trash containers or even better yet go outside and collect the trash. Or maybe, just maybe those of us who buy from Froyo (and the other merchants) could just walk a few more steps and throw our trash away like civilized human beings.

So yes the responsibility falls in a wide circle. It includes the merchants, the city, and yes even the customers. Let’s not forget that Glendale is a special place because we are a community, a community where everyone pulls together to make Glendale a special place.

Shopping New in Town Again

Yes I am, sort of new in town again. People in Glendale are great. I want to share with you a few of my shopping experiences.

A few days ago I needed a few items from Micheals. Now we all know that to be a good shopper at Micheals you need to cruise around the store and give things a quick once over. However, when my hubby is waiting in the car (and probably timing me) I make every effort to be quick.

So here I am, in Micheals, with a few items in the basket, looking for the end of the line. (I’m sure you know the long line, that thanks to good planning, moves quickly.) Yea Micheals.

I arrive near the end of the line when I realize that I must go around more merchandise to reach the end. The mother and daughter at the end of the line insist that I go ahead of them. I guess I look really old and tired. Yea for people that care.

With many thanks I got on line. Now the lady in front of me has some pencil erasers in her basket. I ask her how much they cost.

She told me they were only $1.00 for a pack of 40. I thought that was a good deal and asked if they were nearby. No, they were in the rear of the store. She then offered to go get them for me. I watched her basket and off she went.

Quickly from the back of the line she was now first, but no sign of her. I left her cart under the watchful care of the mother and daughter behind me. So there I was at the cashier, watching the cart (from a distance) along with the young lady who was behind me. In time for me to still buy the erasers, she suddenly appeared, and I got my erasers and she went right to another cashier. I conclude that good people shop in Micheals.

Now let me tell you I love to shop. (especially without my husband) My health doesn’t allow for much shopping times, but it’s still one of my favorite things to do. To be visiting here from out of town is great. My daughter in law is a good shopping partner. Yea for a great daughter-in- law.

To know Glendale is brimming with many helpful people is really special. The other day I was in CVS and a lady came up to me and gave me a coupon for $10.00 off that she was unable to use. My goodness. What a kind person. She was very generous to take her time to share.

Today at Target I was able to get a handicapped shopping cart because one lady had not only brought it back into the store, but cared enough to also plug it in. A special yea for Target because I can shop there without pain or bring by wheelchair.

You need to know that there are many kind and generous people living in your community. Let’s work on getting to be able to do acts of kindness wherever we are.

Me, Too

Me Too ScupltureIn Downtown Glendale, where I work, there is a sculpture that I see almost everyday. Some days it kind of blends into the background. Some days, the dark contrasts are absorbed by an overcast SoCal sky, but some days, most days actually, it stands there in the lawn of the Glendale Public Library and tells me a story.

Now, I’m no exemplar of art scholarship or even interpretation, but this work moves me. The title of the piece, commissioned from artist Natalie Krol, is “Me Too.”

When you look at “Me Too,” the first thing you see is an embrace. What a profound symbol! A community is defined by its capacity for embrace. Too often, when we talk about community…or any community for that matter…we usually end up sharing the ways that we have been hurt by exclusion.

Why? Because each of us longs for inclusion. Our deepest desire is to be embraced.

One of the beautiful gifts art gives us is it usually always embraces our perspective. The artist may have had one thing in mind when she created it, but you as the viewer bring new meaning to it when you see it. It’s prismatic and mysterious that way. When I look at this sculpture, a variety of scenarios take shape in my imagination.

Sometimes I see a father hugging his daughter. His toughness melts, as do the stresses of the day, in the too short reach of her grappling arms. As his heart melts a little and a tender smile spreads across his face, it creates a warm and safe space in the home. His wife walks over and says, “me, too?”

Or perhaps, a mother and her daughter are holding one another, waiting for the terminal door to open, anxiously hoping to be first one to see him as he arrives home from Afghanistan. Eyes wide open, he walks into their line of sight. He runs to them as they get to their feet. “Me, too?”

Then, maybe this is a moment where a young couple stand in the library lawn, watching his neighbors’ son roll around in the grass, pretending the Goodnight Moon he just borrowed is a space ship. Suddenly he looks up and see that the young man and woman are close together. He knows what his job is. Forgetting his book behind him, he runs…”me, too!”

When I asked Natalie Krol, the artist, about the piece, she related, “When I decided to create the imagery the uppermost thought in my mind was to express the love that is shared with family members. I decided to leave the figures faceless to represent all of humanity.”

All of humanity.

That’s alot of embrace.

Glendale is an impressively diverse community. We have it all, so to speak, and Krol’s sculpture is an appropriately placed reminder of that fact. Kristin Hunter wrote, “First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms.”

Remember, the next time you are at the downtown library, stop and enter into the story of the art. And also, remember the next time you pull somebody close that someone else may be quietlythinking, “Me, too.”

Chris Harrison is pastor @glenpres church and blogs at http:// . Most days you can find him venturing back and forth from the Starbucks in Frog Alley (He has a gold card, you know).

Check out Natalie Krols website!

Voice of the People

I don’t understand. Glendale Water and Power said that the Smart Meter’s would:

  • make our lives better.
  • we would be able to better identify areas of waste.
  • ( implied) we would be patriotic by following President Obama’s plan for a Greener Utility environment.

I don’t know anyone who has had their utility bill decrease. Everyone I know has had their Utility bills increase.( Sure it’s not a scientific survey but then I don’t live my life in a scientific survey.)

Instead I live my life by viewing and experiencing the world around me. The world around me (many of the people I know) says that Glendale Water and Power charged more for the smart meters. Now they are charging me, and the people I know, more money.

Does it feel wrong?. For sure yes. Is it fair? (no. maybe, yes??) I really don’t know. Does it feel like, once again, the government is not really responsive to the voice of the people? To me it does, the voice of the public falls on deaf ears. You see GWP presented all this as a good thing. As the responsible thing as a thing that will make the world better. Now it just feels like it’s an expensive thing.

I understand that under the old way of doing things that Glendale Water and Power was still making enough money. From what I’ve heard every year the city took some of that money that we paid for water and power and used it in the rest of the city. I’m not sure if thats going on but if it is it should stop. If it was the people of the city of Glendale should get a rebate and an apology.

Will we. most likely not. Because who really is listening to the Voice of the People?

Silly me I thought that the money I paid to GWP was for my water and power. I thought that the money I paid in taxes went to the rest of the city.

Does it ever feel like as regular middle class Americans who live in Glendale that none of our elected leaders are listening? Does it feel like we no loner have a voice? Does it feel like all we hear is sorry we can’t afford that or that’s not the way that we do it? Sometimes it does.

From time to time Urban Toot is going to start pointing out times when we feel like the public doesn’t have a voice or a say in things. They might be long articles or short ones. We’ll have to see. But you can rest assured that we aren’t finished talking about all this!

The Alex Theater

Urban Toot - Alex Theater

A crown jewel of the the Jewel City! The Alex Theater is a beautiful, classic theater that is used in many. many television shows, local performances and classic movies. I was surprised when I saw the movie Deep Throat in lights. Oh well. Learn more about the Alex Theater on their web site.

The Monterey Road Eco-Community Garden in Glendale

Editors Note:

The link to vote for the $5,000 Grant is here:|105c2bc7-2491-4f58-9336-e9b0696abe29

The Monterey Road Eco-Community Garden in Glendale stands out as a simple yet productive urban renewal living project.  Now in its fourth year, the Garden occupies what used to be two vacant parcels in a residential neighborhood just north of the 134 Freeway.  Serving over 40 families this project embodies sustainable living, organic gardening, and community organizing.

As the brainchild of the Coalition for a Green Glendale, a community group whose mission is to promote sustainable living in Glendale, the Garden is designed to do just that.  They are the first community-run gardens in Glendale and the first in the State of California to use reclaimed water for irrigation.  Complete with dozens of compost bins to recycle waste, demonstration gardens to show passersby how they can transform their yards, and promoting an urban agricultural lifestyle where you can grow your own food, the Garden stands out to the community as an opportunity to do something good at an individual and local level.

Today, the Monterey Road Eco-Community Garden wants to initiate another first in Glendale.  Pending funding from a grant they are competing for, a bioswale in the parkway will be installed to divert stormwater from the street to instead go into the ground and naturally percolate down, preventing polluted water from entering the Los Angeles River.  The Garden will also have rain barrels to capture water from the toolsheds and neighboring roofs, and install rain gardens where small ditches can turn into temporarily holding ponds for stormwater to collect.

If you want to get directly involved in helping the garden, click on the following link and cast your vote for your local Monterey Road Eco-Community Garden Project.  You can vote once per day and the project needs to be ranked 1st 2nd or 3rd to win.  The grant competition will end on March 15.|105c2bc7-2491-4f58-9336-e9b0696abe29

Additionally, if you want to be in touch with the Coalition for a Green Glendale to obtain a plot at the Gardens, regarding upcoming volunteer opportunities, free community-wide gardening workshops, and local environmental issues, please contact them Alek Bartrosouf at

Our Youth

Urban Toot - Youth

Are we doing enough for our youth? What do they need from us? What can we do for the young people in our community. Is seems like we could use some hope around here. Some jobs, something to do, more affordable college and how about just some available college classes. What do you think Glendale can do better for our youth?

New in Town…Again

Well, yes I am, new in town, ummm…I’m just visiting for now. It seems to me that I just get over one crisis and another one pops up, completely unannounced. At least that what happens to me.

A few days ago I dropped my trifocals and ugh.. the lens popped out again. Please know that they were only purchased in September 2011, out of state.

This was the third time it happened in Glendale. The first time my adult kids did their best and took them to Lenscrafters in the Galleria. They were able to put the lens in, no charge. Yea for Lenscrafters.

The next time it falls out we go to Montrose. Yes quiet little Montrose. My dear spouse does not want to go to the Galleria, and so we start cruising along Honolulu. Oh my, right along the first block there’s an optometrist! So off I go.

It was Montrose Optometry. What an attractive shop with many styles of frames on display and several shoppers looking them over. Someone came over to me right away. She was most helpful. She took my glasses right away and proceeded to repair them. She put the lens in and even put some clear nail polish on the screw to help hold together. I was very pleased that Montrose Optometry was as generous as Lenscrafters. No charge! Yea for Montrose Optometry!

About 2 days later I dropped the glasses and out pops the lens again. Not knowing what we could do next I left them with my hubby. I didn’t have any idea how to solve this situation.

In a few hours he returned them to me all repaired, but they came back to me with rules. Since we’ve been married 50 years in a few months I knew enough to keep my mouth shut and listen. The rules were as follows:

Do not sleep with your glasses on.

Do not sleep on your glasses.

Do not hold your glasses when you’re going to sleep.

Do not drop your glasses any place.

Do not abuse your glasses.

Now I listened to him very carefully and decided he might be on to something. And so I pledged to do my best. I’ve worn glasses since I was 11, but have never had a problem before. I must conclude that Old Age is Not for Sissies.


Oh yes… and YEA for my hubby. I willing agreed to his rules so… so far it’s working!

New Lending Guidelines!

Lenders are beginning to accept applications under the new HARP 2 rules – there is no loan-to-value limit on HARP refis for borrowers who have fixed-rate mortgages (if you are underwater this is GREAT news).

Here is a brief overview of HARP 2’s guidelines:

· 1. The program is for borrowers whose mortgages are owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and who got their loans before May 2009.

· 2. HARP had been scheduled to expire at the end June 2012; HARP 2 extends the expiration to the end of 2013.

· 3. There is no loan-to-value cap anymore for borrowers who now have fixed-rate mortgages.

· 4. For borrowers with ARMs, the loan-to-value cap remains 105 percent.

· 5. Borrowers can qualify for HARP 2 refis if they have paid on time for the last six months and have no more than one 30-day late payment in the last 12 months.

· 6. Fees have been reduced. Under HARP 2, the fees are reduced to zero percent on loans for 20 years or fewer, and 0.75 percent for mortgages for more than 20 years and for ARMs.

I wanted to remind everyone about our current refinance fund raiser for VW and the Dad’s club. For the month of February, I will donate $250 in the name of the family refinancing with me to the non-profit of their choice. $250 went to the Dad’s club this week in honor of a local VW Family, the Dad’s club and all thank you!

Please give me a call if you have any questions or if I can help with your financing needs!

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