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

 

 

City of Glendale buys Sparkletts water?

 

 

 

 

These pictures were taken this week after Urban Toot received a tip that the City was receiving water deliveries from Sparkletts.

Urban Toot asks the question. Why does the city spend tax dollars on buying bottled water instead of drinking water from the tap? Is this a wise use of public money? Why doesn’t the City of Glendale refill water bottles from the tap?

The Glendale Water and Power web site says:

 Over the years, Glendale Water & Power customers have known that they can count on having excellent water quality and water reliability. Each year, GWP sends a water quality report to every customer in the city. Consistently, these reports show that Glendale water meets and, in many instances, surpasses all federal and state drinking water standards.

Urban Toot asks, if it’s so good why don’t they drink their own Water?

Urban Toot called Glendale Water and Power. We identified ourselves and asked for a call back because we had some questions but our call was never returned.  Perhaps here is a good reason. We’d like to know.

We welcome and invite everyone including the city to leave a comment on this below.

Smart Meter Redux

I’ve been reading and thinking about this whole smart meter thing that has been going on here in Glendale. To be honest I’m not sure what to think.

You see, for years Glendale got by pretty well with having regular old meters on the houses and every other month or so Glendale Water and Power would send someone out to read and record the meter. GWP would send me a bill, I’d pay it and that was that.

Then I heard that GWP was going to install this so-called “Smart Meter” on my house and that the smart meter would record my usage and automatically report this back to GWP Headquarters. It didn’t seem like such a big deal. Automation seems like progress.  And hey, who’s against progress?  Certainly not me.  Or am I?

Then I heard that some people were against the smart meters for a number of reasons. From what I understood some of the people felt like the “Big Brother” of Government was watching them. I heard others just felt like they should have the right to say what goes on their property and yet others have said that the radio waves are making them sick.  When I learned about all this I thought: Hooey! You guys must be a bunch of problem causing weirdoes. This is progress people! Get on board or get left behind!

However, now that I’ve taken some time to think about it, I think I was wrong. First of all it is our private property and we should be allowed to have some say in what gets put on it. Sure, anyone can make the case that we don’t have to have electricity and that if we don’t like it then have the power and water turned off and be done with it.  That sounds a lot like when I was a kid and those bratty kids would say well it’s my ball and if you don’t want to play by my rules then I’m not going to play and you can’t play with my ball!  Seems sort of childish doesn’t it?  In today’s society in Glendale it seems like a real necessity to have power and electricity. I am no expert about this but how many choices do I have for water and power?  It’s not like a cable company that I can choose from or a telephone company. It’s pretty close to a monopoly except that my tax dollars support Glendale Water and Power.  If my tax dollars (which I’m obligated by law to pay) support GWP then it’s ridiculous to say that I have a real choice.

Also, I got thinking. People are claiming that they are getting sick from the radio waves from smart meters. Again, I thought: You bunch of whacko’s! What are you talking about? You must just be slackers and con men looking for a pay off! But then I thought some more about it. What if it’s true? What if people really are getting sick from the smart meters? As a community, do we care so very little about our friends and neighbors getting sick and being ill? Why do we just assume that they are being fraudulent?  Shouldn’t we investigate this more?  Are there long-term health problems that we just aren’t seeing? I really don’t know but I do think it’s worthy of our consideration and possibly our action.  Isn’t it just as easy to take the smart meters off the peoples’ homes in return for our neighbors’ good health?

To be honest I don’t know if living under power lines will make you sick but I’ll never volunteer to live under one. If I’m not willing to live under power lines even though it hasn’t been categorically proven unsafe, am I crazy to avoid it? Don’t people claim that living under power lines make them sick? Doesn’t this lend true to the same argument about Smart Meters? Maybe?

What really started me getting upset about all this is Glendale Water and Power saying that its customers can “Opt Out” for a fee. From what I understand that proposed fee is about $56 a month. That’s quite a bit! I have some problems with this ‘Opt Out” policy.

First of all, I was never given the opportunity to “Opt In” and now I have to pay to “Opt Out”?  I’m no lawyer but that seems wrong. I mean I never asked for a Smart Meter. I was never asked if I wanted one. A smart meter was just installed without anyone coming and asking me if it was okay.  So now if I don’t want it I have to opt out? I have to opt out and pay a pretty hefty monthly fee. This just seems wrong.

Second, $56 a month! Since I get billed every 2 months does that means that it costs GWP $112 to have someone drive across town and read my meter. Personally I find that if I plan my day I can make it from any point in Glendale to another in about 20 minutes but to be generous lets say 29. It takes about 30 seconds to read my traditional meter.

It seems to me that even if the meter readers aren’t planning their routes very well that they are paid $224 an hour!? That would be crazy enough but if you figure that there are people all over the city of Glendale who don’t want Smart Meters, then the meter readers can cover even more ground. If that’s true, GWP really has some bigger problems then Smart Meters.

Why is PG&E only charging $10 a month for meter reading? Why do we even have to pay at all? I think that the fact that those smart meters were bought and paid for with money from my taxes, should give me a say about how they are used and if they should be used on my property.  If my tax dollars paid for them, then I have to pay to have them removed and I have to pay monthly — it seems like I’m being triple billed! That just doesn’t seem right.

Now what about progress?  Don’t we need to have everyone on Smart Meters to be on the Smart Grid?  Doesn’t the Smart Grid help us conserve energy and lower gas prices? My answer is: I don’t know. I have it on good authority that Glendale doesn’t need to be on Smart Meters to be on the Smart Grid.

So I have to ask. If you are like me and your bill has substantially gone up; if you have any of the concerns about being forced to install Smart Meters and were never asked; if you are concerned that maybe, just maybe, Smart Meters make people sick.  Then I encourage you to ask: Why do we have them?

We didn’t ask for them. We were told that they were good for us. They were forced upon us. I have to ask. Isn’t Glendale Water and Power part of our local government? Isn’t this the United States where the government is supposed to be FOR THE PEOPLE, by The PEOPLE?

I certainly didn’t want GWP to spend a reported 70 million tax dollars for this. I especially didn’t want GWP to spend my tax dollars and then to make my utility bill go up. How many years will it be before the city of Glendale recoups its 70 million dollars? What has happened to the people who were employed as meter readers? In this lousy economy have we put more people out of work?

When will our local government stop acting like it’s a entity that doesn’t have to be concerned about the people of Glendale and start acting on what the people of Glendale want?

 

 

 

 

 

 

You know you’re getting older when:

My husband and I are not getting any younger. I suppose that’s where most of us senior citizens find themselves. You know you’re getting older when:

1. You talk a lot about your aches and pains.

2. You have to take your meds along when you go out for dinner.

3. You avoid taking lasiks if you’re having a busy day and bathrooms may not be handy.

4. You really don’t like to miss the news especially when there has been a big snowstorm where you once lived. It’s worth watching because not only will you laugh out loud but the memory of it will give you chuckles for days.

5. Your Grandkids don’t know if you live in Canada or Florida.

6.You have trouble sleeping at night, but you can’t stay awake during a quiet afternoon at home.

7. The first of the month comes around in only a few weeks.

8. The doctors look like teenagers!

9. You know more and more people who have cancer.

10. You know more and more people who like to talk to and about God.

Yes, we are growing old. We have been blessed by God with a great family. We have no complaints. God is good and so we keep on living a life that’s given to us by the Giver of life.

rePlanet where?

I recycle…because it’s the right thing to do. In fact, don’t we all buy a myriad of containers that can be recycled? …even paying just a little bit extra each time I take home that 2 liter of soda or that 6-pack of beer. And that’s ok really, because it’s that small nudge, that incentive to eventually return them. I know it’s the law that the retailer must collect the CRV and I know that the law is designed to help the environment so I’m cool with it. I save the scads of bulky containers, which consume a good chunk of real estate in my garage. And then it’s time. Time to finally bring the lot to where it can begin its second life.

But where do I go? Well, the Vons in Montrose had a rePlanet recycling center but when the store was remodeled a while back the rePlanet center was removed. I remember thinking that it would have to come back but it never did.

So what should I do? I have a car full of containers that I want to recycle and no place in my neighborhood to go?  I vaguely recall there being a recycling container in Tujunga behind Albertsons. So I shlep the containers of containers all the way down foothill and pull up to the unit. You know the one: big grey shipping style container (rePlanet) with bright colorful earth friendly paintings all over the sides. Cool, no line. I pull up closer. And it’s closed! c#&p! I check the hours. Open till 4:30. Check my watch and it’s only 3. Double c#&p! because now I’m thinking I have to haul the lot back home with me. The next nearest rePlanet container is 10 miles away, still in Glendale but very close to Eagle Rock.

So, here’s my gripe: we are encouraged to recycle and yet are provided so few places to bring those recyclables. A hundred stores sell bottles and cans and charge the extra deposit but so few help take them back… On top of that why are they only open until 4:30? Don’t they know people have jobs? That people need to stay at work until at least 5PM if not later? I mean seriously, whatever time they sell the drinks they should be forced to take them back and give us back our money!

So I decided to do some digging. According to a pamphlet on the Cal Gov/Cal Recyle website. Stores that do more then 2 million dollars in business a year are considered a convienance zone. Inside that convenience zone the store is requried to have a recycling collection system within .5 miles of the zone.  I’ve copied the text for you to read below.

So my question is why don’t more of the local stores have recycle centers? If the grocery store chain believes that we need the local supermarket why don’t they think we need places to drop off our bottles and get back the money that we paid for them?

I learned that the retail stores can apply for an exception but I don’t know how to find out what stores have been given the exception. I found this notice at http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/BevContainer/Notices/2011/CZJan.pdf on the website of Department of Resources recycling and Recovery, Division of Recycling. I contacted them and after identifying myself I left a message but never heard back. Yeah, I’m shocked as much as you are. In my message I asked how the public can find out what stores have received the exception. Yup, no answer.

Is it me or does it just seem like no one in government ever listens to the public? Yeah I feel the same way.

Requirements for Stores Located
in Convenience Zones without a
Certified Recycling Center
A convenience zone is the area in a one-half mile circle
around a supermarket that has annual sales of two million
dollars or more.
Without a recycling center in your neighborhood, customers who
buy beverages from you will not have a convenient place to get
back the CRV they paid at your store.
All stores in the convenience zone without a Certified Recycling
Center (unserved), will receive a “First Notice” that they have
60 days until they will have to redeem CRV bottles and cans or
pay a daily fee. If a recycling center opens within your
convenience zone, the Department of Resources Recycling and
Recovery (Department) will notify you in writing, providing you
with the name and address of the recycling center.
If a certified recycling center is not established in the
convenience zone on or before the end of the 60-day “grace
period,” then California law requires stores to do one of the
following:
A. Redeem all empty California Redemption Value (CRV)
beverage containers brought to your store during regular
business hours by consumers. This would mean paying
customers CRV and storing containers until they could be
taken to a certified recycling center, where you would get
back the CRV you paid your customers, or
B. Pay $100 per day to the Department. By paying $100 per
day, a store is relieved of its legal obligation to redeem
empty beverage containers in-store. Please note that the
$100 per day payment is an option in California law and is
not a fine.

Beverage Container Recycling Program

801 K Street, MS 19-01
Sacramento, CA 95814-3533
Phone: (916) 323-3836
Hotline: 1-800-RECYCLE
Fax: (916) 327-2144

Online: http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/BevContainer/Contacts.htm

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!

Best Blogs in Glendale

Glendale is a wonderful place to live but a tough place to be a blogger. Many bloggers start and then stop. Its okay, blogging isn’t as easy as it seems. To constantly come up with fresh content when you are  probably working a day job and have all the other pressures of life is difficult. We applaud these Glendale Bloggers for their perseverance and for letting us know their thoughts about Glendale.

 

Here is a list of some of our favorite local blogs:

  • Tropico Station – Is written by Scott who descirbes himself as that he does indeed. ” live, work, bike, and walk in southwest and downtown Glendale. ” Tropico is a great blog that is updated about once or twice a month and always has really good fresh content. Urban Toot has lots and lots of respect for Tropico Station.
  • Glendale Noon Concerts – We think that Glendale Noon Concerts are a best kept secrect in Los Angeles. While not exactly a secrect we do wish that everyone knew more about these free (did we say “FREE?”) concerts in Glendale. The blog does a great job at keeping the schedule up to date and allowing you to see whats coming up. It’s worth a good long look and even better go to a FREE concert!
  • Leon Bakery & Cafe – While we must disclose that Leon is a client of Smack Smog This most incredible Bakery and Cafe serves real Peets Coffee. That alone is worth putting them on the list but the  really cool thing about this blog is that you can tell that they love what they do! They blog about their pastries, their coffee, etc. They love to donate coffee to community groups and even host community  meetings at their shop!
  • Kendyl’s Open House – There are many fine Realtors in Glendale but I have to tell you that Kendyl uses technlogoy better then anyone I have ever seen in her field. She blogs via the traditional written word as well as video blogging. You can get current up to date information on the market as well as who knows what information from her blog.
  • Ascencia – Formerly known as PATH Achieve Glendale they changed their name but kept their commitment to end homelessness in Glendale. While we wish that they would update their blog more often (at least lately) we do understand that it is the holiday season and that they must be busy.
  • La Canada Preschool – While technically not in Glendale it’s only about 10 minutes away. La Canada Preschool is the oldest preschool in La Canada. They tweet and blog on a semi regular basis and provide good information about early childhood development and preschool issues that affect everyone with small children. Oh and we should also point out that they are also a client of  Smack Smog.
  • Sunroom Desk – Sunroom Desk is a cool website with lots of good information about whats happening in Glendale and how larger things like the state budget can impact our great city of Glendale. Lots of news about community events, reports and grassroots organizations. Sunroom Desk really pulls everything together for the people of Glendale.
We know that there must be other good blogs out there. What local bloggers do you find deserving? Let us know in the comments!

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