“It’s going to preserve the charms of this city I was born in 60 years ago,” he said. The economy is poised for growth with the City Council recently adopting a new downtown land use plan, which will encourage live-and-work development along Brand Boulevard. Downtown’s office vacancy rate – at about 16 percent, a sore spot for local leaders – also appeared on the decline, Weaver said. “Our future is bright,” he said. “Our future is now.” [email protected] (818) 546-3304 UNITE HERE organizer Paulina Gonzalez said the union wants to get better pay and benefits for the workers. Officials at the hotel, owned by Eagle Hospitality of Covington, Ky., have maintained they are neutral on the organizing drive, though they insisted the workers decide whether to unionize by election. “Seems like what would be best for both entities – UNITE HERE and the hotel – would be to go through the secret ballot process and let our team members decide,” said Linda Norman, the hotel’s general manager. During his speech, Weaver said the wages for local residents and the city coffers have increased steadily since 2000. The city’s annual budget has swelled to $636 million, with an additional $700 million invested in housing and other municipal projects. The council also approved an ordinance protecting historic districts. GLENDALE – Mayor Dave Weaver’s State of the City address was marred Thursday by the arrests of 16 pro-union demonstrators outside the Hilton hotel, the latest public clash in a two-year-old labor dispute. The 16 were arrested for unlawful assembly after sitting down in the middle of Glenoaks Boulevard during a demonstration organized by UNITE HERE Local 11, which has been trying to unionize the hotel’s 180 workers. The protesters faulted Weaver for crossing their picket line to attend the luncheon event, sponsored by the Glendale Chamber of Commerce. The other four City Council members were no-shows. “I don’t think it’s fair that many of us who live in Glendale don’t have the support of the City Council,” said Leticia Ceballos, a housekeeper at the hotel for seven years.