Happy 2018!

It’s about to be  the New Year 2018 in Glendale, California and we have some thoughts we’d like to share with you.

We all like to celebrate the new year. It seems like it’s a commendation of surviving and maybe thriving the challenges that we faced for the last 360 days together. It’s a chance to get together with friends, meet new ones and reflect on the upcoming year. It never really meant much to me as a kid but as I become an old fart I realize it’s important to look back and forward in the same breath. We need to look back to see what we’ve overcome, what we celebrated and to look forward to see what we can do better, to remember what we have and the success of what’s already been accomplished. I think above all a new year brings hope. Let’s keep hope alive and find the good. Let’s find the good, let’s dwell on the good and then let’s do good in 2018!

Be Responsible

That brings ups to the the idea of let’s also be responsible. Let’s be kind to those who need it and even to those who don’t.

Let’s not drink and drive.

Let’s put the phones down when we are at any type of table that’s not classified as a desk and let’s take the time to look each other in the eye and say, “You matter.” From Glendale, California to Buffalo, New York let’s be happy this year. Let’s fight for what’s right. Let’s be gracious to those that we disagree with and loving to those that we do. Let’s remember that all politics is local. Let’s make sure that we all vote this year. Let’s offer our opinions to others but let’s actively listen to those that we disagree with. It’s pointless to not try to consider the other person’s perspective if we wish them to consider ours.

Non Profits

Let’s donate more to some Non Profits. In Glendale the Verdugo Woodlands Dads Club is a great place but there are others. Find a non profit you believe that does good and be generous. You might wish that someone was generous to you one day. Generosity never goes out of style.


I think that it’s important to remember to be kind to yourself. I personally like to take a moment to reflect on the idea to give yourself a break! The holidays are tough. Let’s not make them any more difficult than they need to be.


Be kind to artists. It doesn’t matter if you are considered to be a Master Artist like Farzad Kohan, or editorial photographer like Steve O’Bryan you should find an artist and hire them, buy their work or do something kind. This includes musicians as well. Live music is good for the soul. Recently we featured an article on The Replicas Music because they played the Dads’ Club here in Glendale. The Replicas Music website is a great place to find a wide range of musicians to hire in Glendale or for that matter anywhere near Los Angeles.

Have yourself a very merry New Year and come back!


Adobes of Glendale: The Verdugo Heritage


A really great video that describes the history of the Adobes of Glendale, CA. This really wonderfully produced video discusses the history of the Catalina Adobe and the Casa Adobe De San Rafel. I’m really impressed by the depth and complete research that is presented here. They talk about the very early days from the 1500’s to the 1900’s.  Everything from who lived here to how the Adobe Blocks were made.

Urban Toot is Not Dead!


As Monty Python said in that famous scene: “I’m not dead yet! You can view the scene below (It’s actually kinda funny). Yes, it would have been easier to start with that famous quote that has been  attributed to Mark Twain;

“The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated”

But thats just not us. We are more the Monty Python type people. However it’s true, the rumors are exaggerated.

In case you don’t know what I’m talking about let me take a minute and explain. Today, Liana  Aghajanian, who is a wonderful columnist from the Glendale News Press, wrote a great piece about the horrible state of driving that existis in Glendale. She actually quoted us (which was awesome! Thanks Liana!) but she did say that we are short lived.

As much as we appreciate the shout out we have to tell you that we aren’t done. We just took the summer off and we are in the process of settling our editorial calendars and getting ready to hit the ground running again.  We are really hoping to continue to write about both the good and the bad in Glendale with the hope of making our community a better place.

In our upcoming issues we’ll be discussing things that people in Glendale do for the summer, Local Sports, resteraunt reviews, local opinions and lots more. However remember, we aren’t just people who write about Glendale, we are people who live in Glendale. We’ll tell you about the things we did this summer as well. All of it. The good the bad and the ugly. Don’t think for a minute that we are finished talking about the state of driving in Glendale, the operating policies at Glendale Water and Power and so much more.

Glendale is truly a wonderful place to live and work. We are very lucky to have a city with such an effective education system, a impressive local police department and a culturally diverse city population. Glendale really is the Jewel City. However we can’t rest on our laurels. There is always room for improvement! Our city needs better driving lessons, a more responsive city government, greater accountability to the public, and the list goes on. Our work here is far from over. Summer’s over, schools back in session and Urban Toot’s back baby!

Is there something that you would like to know more about? Drop us a line or leave a suggestion in our comment section below. We’d love to hear from you! Are you interested in writing and contributing for Urban Toot. Drop us a line and share your ideas!

Anyway as promised here is the video!

Related Posts:


Bad Driver, Bad!




$139,000 Your Life. Animated.

Glendale Logo Description

Back in November of 2011 the city of Glendale announced it’s big plan to fix the city. They spent $139,000 dollars to hire an agency, all the way from Nashville Tennessee to find a way to fix Glendale.

According to the people who live 2,004 miles away in Nashville Tennessee, Glendale is boring. Just think that it took some people who live 2004 miles away from our community to look at Glendale negatively and insult us. Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that they don’t live here They think that Burbank and Pasadena are the hip spots but that Glendale isn’t interesting and gets looked over when compared to Burbank and Pasadena.  They seemed to think that if Glendale were more interesting then more outside companies would want to relocate here, and our tax base would soar, and the Glendale would be a better place.

So are we fixed? Has unemployment gone down? Does Glendale have a problem that there is not enough office space for rent or lease? Have our property taxes dropped because we don’t need the money? Do our schools have enough money? Uhm, the answer to all those questions is obviously no.

Yes, $139,000 dollars was allocated to pay Northstar Brand from  Nashville Tennessee to fix our city.

What’s really interesting is that in 2009 the staff of the City of Glendale developed what was reported to be “Shop Local, Buy Glendale.” Many cities across California have adapted similar campaigns. The idea is simple. The more times we can turn a dollar over within our city the more we all prosper. It’s not very complex. It comes down to the more you do business with your neighbor the better your community will be.  This is a simple, logical and dare I say, a good piece of common sense. Shop Local, Buy Local.

So instead of taking their own advice and buying local they hire a firm from 2004 miles away. But of course they had a good reason to completely abandon the buy local campigan. No one knew who was in charge or what to do!

The Redevelopment Agency reports stated:

“Since there was no clear consensus on the Buy Glendale campaign, the Agency recommended that the effort would be best served by developing a citywide branding and marketing strategy with the services of a professional marketing firm, and directed staff to issue a Request for Qualifications”

It sounds like no one could agree on the Buy Glendale campaign and so the City decided that they should throw money at it. Brilliant.

The report decided to tap into local big shots who apparently have great marketing skills. In fact here is what they report says:

“Marketing professionals from Glendale businesses assisted staff in interviewing the top four firms to further evaluate the details of their proposals in terms of experience, final work products, timing, creativity and design concepts, and anticipated costs.  These individuals included Senior Vice Presidents, Directors, Managers, and Executives from Glendale Arts, Glendale Chamber of Commerce, Glendale Galleria, Glendale Hilton, Huerta Quorum, Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, and The Americana at Brand. “

You can read it yourself at CITY OF GLENDALE CALIFORNIA JOINT REPORT TO THE CITY COUNCIL AND REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY (http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/government/council_packets/Reports_112911/CC_RA_Item3_112911.pdf) it seems like they had a good idea. Shop Local, Buy Local. But they gave up on their idea in order to outsource it.

Now it doesn’t say who those people are or if the people represented in the even live or work directly in Glendale and how much marketing experience they have?

If we really wanted some good advice why didn’t we tap into Disney or DreamWorks. These are people who have a proven track record of marketing? In fact Councilman Weaver said a similar thing.

Glendale City Councilman Dave Weaver, however, isn’t sold on the idea. Calling the campaign a waste of money, he cast the sole dissenting vote last month when the council approved the slogan, as well as a logo featuring the city’s name in lower-case letters and five multicolored curlicues.

“There’s nothing catchy about it that I can see,” he said in an interview. “People are not going to go around using it.

“I think we should just call Glendale `The Animation Capital of the World’ and let go of it,” he said. “Ask the animators of those three (local) studios to come up with a logo.” (http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_19502620)

In my opinion it seems like we wasted something good. It seems like they had a good idea. Shop Local, Buy Local. But they gave up on their idea in order to outsource it.dollars on people from out of town. If we had gone with a local firm it would at least stimulate the local economy but we didn’t even do that. No we sent it to Tennessee instead.

I realize that with all the current State financial problems that the Redevelopment Agency is basically being shut down but I still have to ask who is responsible for this? Is it someone who has lost their job at the ReDevelopment office? Is it the City Council? Who?!?   Has anything positive come from this campaign? Have we gotten our money’s worth?

What can we expect for our $139,000?

You can read it yourself at CITY OF GLENDALE CALIFORNIA JOINT REPORT TO THE CITY COUNCIL AND REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY (http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/government/council_packets/Reports_112911/CC_RA_Item3_112911.pdf) it seems like they had a good idea. Shop Local, Buy Local. But they gave up on their idea in order to outsource it.

Glendale Logo Description

Steve O’Bryan is a resident of Glendale who loves where he lives. He runs Smack Smog Inc a Strategic Content company that helps Organizations reach their goals via the Internet and Social Media. 


Killer Community

I’m a really fortunate dude.

Everyday, I discover another way that I have been completely blessed. Last weekend, I was reminded what an amazing community I’m a part of. My son’s school is close by and is home to the only Dad’s Club I’ve ever heard of. In the 50’s, the Dads of the school got together and began to sow the seeds of a community that served the school, loved the kids and created space for Fathers to find something that, honestly, is really rare: a community.

For 65 years, the Dads have worked alongside the PTA to do a unique kind of fundraiser called The Fathers’ Follies. I’m not going to be shy about it: it’s burlesque, it’s barbershop, it’s barbarian. It’s awesome. For two months, the Dads gather once a week so that the dancers can dance, the singers can sing and the actors can do their thing. The script is penned by a gifted (and somewhat tripping) writer. The sets are astounding. The legacy is legendary. Generations of Dads have been a part of this and now I’m a part of it, too.

It could easily written off as silly and eccentric, and it is those things, but as strange as it sounds…The Fathers’ Follies are Dads at their very best.

OK, so the balloon boobs and dresses are a bit over the top, but these are busy guys, professionals who carve minutes and hours out of their schedules because they love their kids. These guys love their families. They love one another. It’s difficult to tell where the best time is had: on stage or back stage, in rehearsal or performance. It doesn’t matter what stage, we have a great time together. Whether we’re learning lines, melodies dances, painting sets or hot gluing costumes, the sweat equity builds friendships. I am privileged to share a bow with these guys.

As for me, I got to pretend to be a singer for a while. As a local pastor, I don’t get to be that “artistic” too often. And as a 25+ year performer, it’s a challenge. This year, though, I got to do the best Freddie Mercury I could muster. A sextet of singers doo-wopped “Killer Queen” and I got my 15 seconds with a mic. I had a BLAST. Big thanks to Steve-O, Mark B, Tom the Martian and the whole killer crew for sharing their time so I could play at tenor.

If you live in Glendale, I can tell you when the next Follies are: Mother’s Day weekend 2013. Barring Mayan disaster, the curtain will rise Friday at 7pm. You will see a fun show, for sure, but you will also see strong relationships, close families, significant sacrifice and hidden courage. You will see the result of conversation, teamwork, partnership and camaraderie.

You will see community…a killer community!

Chris is pastor of @glenpres church in Downtown G-Town. He twitters at @prophets facebooks @chrisdharrison and blogs at prophetsandpopstars.com.

No End to Graffiti

Remember back on March 30th when we wrote about Graffiti in Glendale and about how awesome it is that the Neighborhood Services Program goes around the city and cleans it up. That way the Graffiti Taggers pretty much learn that it’s useless to Tag in Glendale because it won’t stay? It’s a great concept except for one thing. You really have to do it or it doesn’t work. In fact things only get worse.

How do we know? Because they have become worse, much worse.

Not only is the Graffiti that we reported to you on March 30th still right there on the path that many school children take when they walk to school but it’s also spread to the Wash where it’s bigger and more of any eyesore!

We originally contacted the city via the graffiti removal web form told about the problem, identified where the problem was and we received a response from John J. Brownell, Senior Neighborhood Services Supervisor that said;

Thanks for the request.  It will be scheduled for follow-up. – John J. Brownell

Guess what? They haven’t done anything. Not one thing to clean this up. It’s been over a month and nothing. Shame on you City of Glendale. Clean up your city!

Sports Nutrition Tips for Active Kids

Just because they are young and small, does not mean that kids do not need to fuel properly before a competition.  The proper amount of food and fluid is necessary before a competition and can make or break their performance.

Eat Smart Before You Compete

Save the heavy junk food for after (or not at all) and have your child fuel with meals and snacks that will provide a good energy balance.  Eating the proper foods will not only keep their playing skills sharp but will also keep their minds alert as well.    Have your child eat a healthy meal or snack 2 to 4 hours before they compete.

  • Cereal with milk and fruit
  • Granola bar with yogurt and a banana
  • Turkey sandwich on wheat with milk and fruit.
  • For the child who is too nervous to eat before a game a homemade smoothie might do the trick made with yogurt, fresh fruit and milk.

Drinking the Right Fluids

Making sure your child is hydrated is the key to a great performance. Not being properly hydrated is a recipe for disaster.  To ensure that your child is drinking enough throughout the day be sure to follow these simple steps:

  • Pack a water bottle in their backpack
  • Offer fluids at every meal
  • Offer extra fluids at lunch to prepare for an afternoon game
  • Drink during games and practices
  • Water is best

What to Eat After the Competition is Over

Following competition it is important to eat within 1 hour.  This allows the body to recover properly and to replenish diminished energy stores.  When a meal is eaten immediately after exercise the rate of recovery and replenishment is much higher than if a meal is consumed at a later time (>1 hr).  Any well-balanced meal will do.  If junk food is a must, now is the time to have it.  But remember don’t go overboard because the healthier the foods you put into your child’s body the better they will perform.


Katie Valdes, MS, RD, CSSD rnkvaldes@aol.com

Katie is a Registered Dietitian specializing in weight management, sports nutrition and child nutrition. Katie maintains her own practice in Southern California consulting with individuals of all ages.  She has taught university nutrition classes, conducted nutrition seminars and lectures, and continues to author a nutrition newsletter.

She is an avid runner, having regularly run long distance competitively in high school, at USC, and she continues to do it today while pushing two of her three children, ages 25, and 8, in a stroller.  Katie has placed 13th overall female in the Los Angeles Marathon, 4th overall female in the Napa Valley Marathon and regularly ranks at the top of her class in races today.

Katie holds a Masters Degree in Nutrition and is Board Certified in Sports Dietetics in addition to her Bachelor Degree in Exercise Science from USC.



Flickr Creative Commons Image Sources: Virginia’s Photostream, Humphrey’s Photostream, and Rick McCharles

Bruce Davidson and Nature in Los Angeles

Bruce Davidson is a Magnum photographer and he recently spoke to the New Yorker about tree’s and nature. Urban Toot thought that it was fitting that for this Earth Day the tree’s of Los Angeles get some of the love and recognition that they deserve!

California High Speed Rail Line

So in 2008 the voters of the State of California voted and approved the creation of a High Speed Rail Line. I was excited. I really thought that’s what America needs and that California could show the rest of our great nation how we get things done here in California. Silly me. It’s 4 years later and we still have no train.

It seems like we are once again mired down in government… well to be honest we seem to be mired down in mire.

Here are some of the things that bother me…

  1. There’s still no agreement on how they will bring the train into Los Angeles! According to this report the staff thinks that the high speed rail should go through Palmdale instead of up and over the grapevine. Here is what they say…“The engineering team conducted several months of analysis that included extensive modeling to develop, identify and analyze alignments along the I-5/Grapevine corridor. The environmental review included an analysis of impacts on cultural and biological resources, wetlands and water bodies, growth- inducing impacts, national forests, farmland, and opportunities for using alignment variations to avoid impacting sensitive resources. The Study also analyzed constructability and cost issues and an evaluation of operational aspects, including ridership, operating costs and maintenance costs that were not compared qualitatively in the 2005 Program EIR/EIS. “So back in 2005 no one took into account that the I5 goes though the grapevine which are tall mountains? Oh right putting a man on the moon 40 years ago was possible but putting train tracks up the side of a mountain is too tough!But wait they want to use Pamdale and the Antelope Valley instead of the grapevine. While I don’t really have a strong opinion about what route that they should use I do have to ask. Isn’t the Antelope Valley out of the way? Won’t it take longer for the HIGH SPEED RAIL LINE to travel? Oh silly me. When you get to the bottom of the report they say this:“The Study included intensive outreach to local agencies, cities, and communities to determine the local community impacts of these possible alignments. The Antelope Valley alignments continue to have strong stakeholder support based on the comprehensive outreach done during the Study process.”So what does strong stakeholder support mean? They don’t define what this is and why it’s important. The press release mentions that the Antelope Valley alignments… What alingments?  What impacts are they talking about? Why is everything so cryptic? Why can’t governement speak clearly?
  2. Common seems to be lost, turf wars are hinted and more studies are on the table. In a recent press release found here they say“We’re very interested in enhancing connections between high-speed rail and local transit and other transportation systems. The Governor has told us he wants a plan that will get high-speed rail trains on the track sooner and in a less costly manner than previous plans called for.  If that can be accomplished by electrifying Caltrain’s lines and using that right-of-way, then it’s certainly something we want to consider,’ Richard said.I commend the Governor for giving the directive of blending the lines but I have to ask, why isn’t this a no brainer? Why does it take the Governor to provide this incredible wisdom? Why wasn’t the idea of using the high speed rail lines and local transit thought of back in 2008?
  3. It was recently reported in the LA Times and then in the Boston Hearld:

    “The agency overseeing California’s high-speed rail project reportedly plans to reduce the projected cost of the bullet train by $30 billion by connecting it with existing rail lines on the outskirts of Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

    Critics say the revised plan would not create the system that voters were promised when they approved $9 billion in public funding four years ago to get the project started. That plan was to allow passengers to ride without any transfers between the two metropolitan centers – at a total cost of $43 billion.”

     Does anyone else feel lied to and abused? I know I sure do. How has it gone from 9 billion to 43 billion? Plus now instead of a no connecting ride they are going to force the riders to make connections which will be yet another reason why people don’t want to take what’s looking more and more as a silly train.

Are you on the fence about the high speed train line? Here is what the The California High Speed Authority website states these Attractive Arguments for the High Speed Rail (http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/project_vision.aspx)


  • High-speed rail means tens of thousands of good, family-supporting jobs for California — jobs not just to build the trains and the train line, but also jobs to operate and maintain it. And there’s more — hundreds more jobs will be created for suppliers, restaurants and other businesses along the route.
  • As many as 100,000 construction-related jobs each year that the system is being built
  • The potential for 450,000 permanent new jobs statewide created by the economic growth high-speed rail will generate over the next 25 years
  • Improved movement of people, goods and services
  • Faster travel on the ground between major metropolitan areas
  • Congestion relief on freeways and at airports


  • Because the electric power to the trains can be produced by sustainable and renewable power sources like wind and solar, this system will cut air pollution and smog throughout California.
  • Improved air quality
  • Improved energy efficiency: high-speed rail uses only one-third the energy of airplanes and one-fifth the energy of the family car1
  • Reduced dependence on foreign oil: 12.7 million barrels less per year2
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions: 12 billion pounds less per year3


  • Cheaper, faster and more convenient travel connected to local public transportation
  • Revitalized communities and economic development around new transportation terminals
  • Transit- and pedestrian-oriented infill development promoted
  • Enhanced public safety due to separation of tracks and existing roads and highways


We also found a mention of a report written by Sarah Schlicter  that lists top reasons for train travel. I encourage you to read the whole article. I only skimmed the top of each argument in order to entice you to read the whole thing!

1 . Money savings: If you’re watching your wallet, trains are an increasingly cost-effective

2 . Stable fares: Anyone who’s agonized over when to purchase airfare knows how arcane and  frustrating the airlines’ pricing structures can be. (

3 . Flexibility: Except on long-haul or infrequently traveled routes, trains tend to offer travelers a great deal of flexibility.

4 . More baggage: These days, nearly all the major airlines charge domestic travelers a fee to

5 . Less hassle

6 . Door-to-door convenience: Unlike airports, most major train stations are located right downtown in the heart of the cities they serve.

7 . Eco-friendliness: Trains are more energy-efficient per passenger mile than planes or cars, making them one of the most eco-friendly transportation options around (short of walking or riding your bike)!

8 . Comfort and relaxation: Rather than cramming yourself into an ever-shrinking airplane seat or squinting at road signs trying to figure out where to make your next turn, why not relax on a train?

9 . Old-fashioned charm:

10 . Beyond just transportation: Unlike airplanes, which whisk you from point A to point B with barely a glimpse of what’s in between, a train ride can be a destination in and of itself.

I still think the train is a good idea. I just think that it’s gotten out of hand it that it belongs in the hands of private business and not as a public entity. Our government sure doesn’t know how to do it. What do you think? We’ll be talking more about this whole issue. We’d love to have you weigh in on it!



Bullet Train Rendering from California High Speed Rail Authority

Dear City Council

This is the best thing from Glendale since George Lucas! Oh wait he’s from Modesto.

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