The California Voter and the Proposition Experience

Before we begin, Urban Toot thinks that an educated voter is the best voter. Before you vote on any proposition please educate yourself. You can learn about the current California Voter Propositions at the California Secretary of State Voter Information Guide Web Site.

“Political corruption, social greed, and Americanized quasi-socialism can ruin even the most wonderful places. California proved that.”
― Tiffany Madison

Propositions

So, with the eve of the election upon us it’s time to think about not only the presidential election, but also the dearth of propositions that have been placed in front of the Glendale voting public.

When will the elected actually govern? (Or why do we have to do their job?)

In fact this year California voters will face 11 propositions. They range in topic from tax money on education to the death penalty. The issues are serious and tend to be heady in details. You can read about them here at BallotPedia.org

 

Urban Toot encourages you to educate yourself and to ponder the issues. However, we have something else for you to ponder: are propositions good for California?

 

This may come as a shock to most Americans but the Untied States is a Republic and unlike what most of the public thinks, America is not a democracy. Yes we can argue about the wider definition of democracy but the point is that we elect our leaders to govern. We choose them for a wide range of reasons (how they look, what they think, who we think they are) but their job is ultimately to govern.

 

Our elected leaders should be making new laws, striking down old antiquated laws and, well you know, governing. By having the current proposition system anyone with a couple of million dollars can try to evoke laws that benefit themselves without much thought to the common good. Yes there are still some checks and balances ensure that the propositions aren’t too much out of whack with our nation of laws, but the people who float these propositions already know that. They carefully craft these propositions so that they have the best chance to hold up when challenged in court. So in essence, money talks.

 

Many people will agree that the system is broken. Most people do argue about how to fix the system. We argue, we pontificate and we do nothing. Nothing happens, nothing gets fixed. The problems get worse but just worse enough that we don’t dare do anything that requires a radical change. We don’t really fix anything and we continue in a downward spiral.

 

So here is my “what if?” What if we all voted? No really. What happens if the fat, the lazy, the super know it all’s, the Republicans, The Democrats, The Tea Party’s, the far left tree huggers, the far right meanies, everybody who is legal to vote actually voted? What would things look like and more importantly what would our society be like?

 

It’s easy to say “What if?” but how do we get everyone to vote? What if voting was the law? The federal government says that we have to file income taxes, and soon have medical insurance so why not vote? Well because it’s not in our elected leaders interest to have people vote. If people don’t vote then change doesn’t happen and everything stays how it is and that’s how the people in power like it. They like it when things stay the same because they stay the same, in power.

 

What if we voted ‘no’ on all the propositions? What if we demanded that our elected leaders actually do their job and govern? What if we all wrote or emailed or stopped by our leaders’ offices and told them what we think? What if our leaders had to work as hard as non profits to get donations and fulfill their missions?

 

What if?

 

Back to the propositions– What if the California population voted against them all and our elected leaders had to make good laws? We’d vote out the bums who didn’t make laws and elect new people who understood that their future was tied in with ours.

 

What if we cared as much about how our elected leaders performed as we do about how the Dodgers and the Lakers perform?

 

It would take the strength and resolve of the people of Glendale and California to say “no to everything and everyone”. It would take strength and resolve to evoke the necessary changes to make radical, effective and substantial changes in our government.

 

Now it’s up to you. What will you do to make a change? Will you continue to be part of the problem or be part of the solution? Tell us how you think government should change. Tell us what you think of the Proposition system in California.

Just another traffic fatality? No more!

It’s Sunday night and I’m hanging out on Twitter. Checking my feeds and wondering what’s going on in the world. Then suddenly a small flurry of local tweets start flowing in about an accident:

I’m not putting making the names public but because I want to get this out right away. They are on Twitter, you can look them up. Here is a bit of the conversation.

(note: stock photo of Glendale Police Department, not from the scene of the fatality)

Right near the corner of Glendale Blvd and Broadway I think. Cops weren’t even trying to help her cause she was just gone. Bloody.

I saw an old woman lying dead in the street after being hit by a car today. Nice way to end the weekend. 🙁

Pedestrian struck at Glendale ave and California ave in Glendale PD says it could be bad.

Pedestrian struck on intersection of Glendale & California. Victim not to be looking good. Streets closed w/detours

Whats wrong with us Glendale? What’s wrong when an old lady lays dead on the road and it’s busisness as usual. The good people who wrote the tweets above sounded genuinely concerned about this victim of what we are assuming was another traffic fatality. Now we don’t know the facts yet. It sounds like it just happened a few minutes ago but will the good people of Glendale be outraged or will we just accept this as another part of living in Glendale?

I feel outrage. I feel contempt with my own community because we view this tragedy as another day. We have become to complaincent in accepting traffic fatalities in our community when other communities don’t have any. Glendale we must change.

Glendale must find a way to change. We can no longer accept that traffic fatalities are a way of life and that as long as it’s no one that I know, or that it’s no one that I love then it’s okay. No more.

We must become radical in our thinking and be willing to be willing to be radical in our actions. There is still plenty of options that are within our legal rights and I believe that we need to start to explore them. If we don’t start having these conversations and those conversations lead to action then  we shouldn’t be outraged when someone we love gets injured or worse by a driver. Let’s get active before we are forced to experience loss.

What are your thoughts?

 

10 Reasons why Art is important for Children

When you visit a preschool it is essential to ask how much art the children are creating each day. At the core of learning is the desire to be creative, and children know the difference between true art and art that is directed by adult expectations. A good preschool needs to provide art through out the day, not just on certain occasions.

The best art is process art, where children are allowed to create their own vision, with the only result is that they like what they have created.

Why is art important? Here are ten reasons:

1. Art nourishes a child’s soul and true creative spirit.

2. Creating art promotes self esteem.

3. Art encourages children to give attention to the physical space that surrounds them.

4. When creating art children learn to solve problems and think for themselves, known as critical thinking.

5. Art teaches children to use their senses.

6. Children can share and reflect on their art work to help them makes sense of the world they live in.

7. When art is integrated with other curriculum, children commit to the learning process.

8. Art stimulates the right and left side of the brain.

9. Art teaches there is more than one way to solve a problem.

10. If a child learns to love art, this will stay with them forever.

If we want children to love art, it needs to be a part of their daily preschool life. This will far outlast knowing their ABC”S or how to write the alphabet.

Debbie Bacino has been an early childhood educator for the past twenty years as a preschool teacher, director and parent educator. She is a member of the National Association of Early Childhood Educators, Pasadena City College’s Advisory Board and a local preschool directors networking group. Debbie is the owner and Director of La Canada Preschool. Her vision is to provide the best environment for children to experience discovery and their sense of wonder at this magical moment in human development.

 

 

$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. 

 

Biking in Glendale

Who isn’t excited about all the energy that is going into biking in Glendale?

It was recently Bike To Work day in Glendale and from all my bike loving friends I heard that was pretty cool. But did you know that the City of Glendale has teamed up with Los Angeles County Biking Coalation to have a month of bike riding activities? I didn’t know until I visited their website. You should as well!

The City of Glendale Traffic & Transportation Division currently is trying to bring Glendale to present with a new revison of the city’s Bikeway Master Plan. The city is preparing the Honolulu Avenue Road Diet Test Case (“Project”). What this means is that in certain parts of the city, bike lanes will be installed and the current roads will be narrowed.  The website describes the actual prjoect in these terms:

No Helmet Bike Rider!

Key Project characteristics include:

  • The Project’s easterly limit will be Orangedale Avenue. The Project’s westerly limit will be based upon funding availability; Public Works anticipates the westerly limit will fall between La Crescenta Avenue and Whiting Woods Road.
  • The existing and proposed cross sections of Honolulu Avenue are described below:
  • Between Orangedale Avenue and La Crescenta Avenue, the existing four through travel lanes will be reduced to two through travel lanes (one per direction). In lieu of the two through travel lanes being eliminated, a two-way-left-turn lane and designated bicycle lanes (one per direction) will be created. Existing separate left-turn lanes and on-street parking will continue to be provided.
  • Between La Crescenta Avenue and (approximately) Whiting Woods Road, the existing four through travel lanes will be reduced to two through travel lanes (one per direction). In lieu of the two through travel lanes being eliminated, designated bicycle lanes (one per direction) will be created. The existing two-way-left-turn lane, separate left-turn lanes, and on-street parking will continue to be provided

You can read more about it here.

Glendale Bike Riders

We just hope that the City of Glendale and the County of Los Angles provides it’s citizen’s a fair amount of education about sharing the road between Cars and Bikes. I’m a little nervous because as Urban Toot has reported in the past (http://urbantoot.com/bad-driver-bad/) Glendale has the third worst driving record in the country.  I cringe to think what it will be like having more bicyclists on the road.

However it’s not just the job of the car drivers to be safe. It’s also the job of the bicyclists. Bicyclists need to remember to:

  1.  Wear a helmet.
  2. Follow all traffic laws (including stopping for all redlights)
  3. Use hand signals.
  4. Adults, stay off the sidewalk!
  5. Always be in control of your bike!

Yet More Sparkletts!

A reader sent this photo of what appears to be Sparkletts Water containers outside a City of Glendale facility. Here is what the reader wrote:

…took this yesterday. It’s the building on Verdugo at Glorietta. It’s the water bldg where the metropolitan water blends and is treated along with Glendale water from the Glorietta wells.

After reporting that the Urban Toot staff personally witnessed and documented a Sparkletts water delivery to the city, it’s not a stretch of the imagination to believe that these are legitimate water bottles from a recent Sparkletts water delivery.

We have to ask. Why is the city buying bottled water instead of refilling from the tap?   Especially since a few years ago they promoted just that by supplying reusable “Fill & Chill” bottles to their customers with the motto of “Drink it right From the tap.”

Times are tough, lets start saving some of the tax payers money!

 

 

 

 

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)

Economic

  • 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

Environmental

  • 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

 Community

  • 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

8 Things that make me wonder what’s going on in Glendale?

 

  1. The City of Glendale has begun the process to stop rental subsidies that are found in Section 8.
  2. Gangs from outside of Glendale are burgling our City.
  3. The City Council has approved an increase in water rates.
  4. Palate the uber fancy, restaurant in downtown Glendale has apparently shut down.
  5. Graffiti appears to be on the rise.
  6.  Glendale has an overabundance of office space that is vacant.
  7. $1 million in education dollars for the Early Education and Extended Learning Program has been slashed to the chagrin of 2600 students.
  8. Herion is being sold in Glendale and one of it’s users has even driven into a Police Officer.

What’s going on Glendale?

6 Easter Safety Tips

With this being a big holiday and travel weekend Urban Toot thought that we’d share some safety tips and suggestions for this years Easter Weekend.

1. Ask a friend or a neighbor to pick up your mail, your newspaper and your trash cans from the side of the road. These things left out are a sure sign that no one is home and thieves consider this to be an invitation to rob your home!

2. Planning on driving this weekend? Be sure to check your tire pressure before you hit the road. It will hep you to save money and drive safer!

3. Not going to be home? Place some lights on a timer to go off at different times. I always place a lamp (on a timer) in the bathroom to go on and off in the middle of the night. It really helps to make it look like  you are home.

4. Easter Lilies are toxic and should not be within reach of kids, pets and anyone else who might put part of it into their mouth.

5. Turn Off and Unplug all those electrical devices. If you aren’t home do they really need to be plugged in? Save some money and unplug for this yeats Holiday Weekend!

6. Before making those easter eggs, make sure that you buy fresh eggs from the store. Check the date on the package to ensure that they are fresh and safe to eat!

Graffiti in Glendale

 

These photos of graffiti were taken this past week of March 25th in North East Glendale. They were reported to the Neighborhood Services Program. Let’s see how long it takes to be rid of it? Glendale is an amazing community. Let’s not allow graffiti to set hold. Report it ASAP to the City via the Neighborhood Services Program.

City Council Graffiti Policy

Report Graffiti

 

 

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