Monday, January 31, 2011

Ron Kaye's Take On Glendale and Burbank: 'Paradise'

The Glendale News-Press and the Burbank Leader newspapers launched their new joint Sunday newspaper this week, and as promised, former Daily News editor-turned-community activist Ron Kaye is there on the front page with a new weekly column.

Kaye was a major booster behind the San Fernando Valley succession movement and now runs a blog in which he takes on Los Angeles politics and issues. So it was a little strange that he agreed to write a column geared toward Glendale and Burbank residents; those cities haven't been in his line of fire.

And sure enough, in his first column for the Sunday News-Press & Leader, Kaye still seems more interested in bashing Los Angeles than he does writing about actual Glendale and Burbank issues. Comparing the nation's second-largest city to two small/adjacent suburbs seems, well, not all that fair. Here's how his column starts:

The bumpy roads and broken sidewalks and overgrown trees end when you leave the city limits of Los Angeles and enter Burbank or Glendale — there should be signs saying, "Welcome to Paradise."

In contrast to the warring factions — business, civic, neighborhood groups — fighting over crumbs from the table of power in L.A., people along Olive Avenue in Burbank and Brand Boulevard in Glendale seem content as I chat them up. Most are unaware City Council elections are fast approaching — Burbank's first round is in February and Glendale's is in April — and those who do know seem little concerned about who wins.

It isn't apathy; people are happy with the way things are. After all, 94% in Burbank are satisfied with city services, according to a recent poll, and 90% in Glendale based on the last time the city asked.

Having fought for cityhood for the San Fernando Valley, and having worked hard to help make Los Angeles the great city it can be, I relish the opportunity explore smaller neighboring cities that seem to be thriving while L.A. is dying.

To be fair, Kaye addresses some of both cities' problems further down in his column. But I still wonder if he really has the interest in exploring the nitty-gritty issues facing Burbank and Glendale when he has much bigger fish to fry in his L.A. crusades. We'll keep reading.

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