Burbank City Council Candidate Q&A – Steven Ferguson

 

Steven Ferguson

1. In 2007 Burbank passed a Second-Hand Smoke Control Ordinance to protect the public’s health & well-being, and which has since been emulated by numerous cities (Glendale, Pasadena etc.). Do you support the “SHSCO” & would you support an amendment to the ordinance to limit smoking in multi-unit housing? 

~ The SHSCO was and is a great ordinance for Burbank. When it comes to regulating smoking in multi-unit housing I think we would have a very large enforcement issue. Smoking regulations in multi-unit housing should remain under the jurisdiction of local Home Owners Associations and Management. 

2. In late 2008 the Council updated Burbank’s Film Permit Ordinance to accommodate the use of hand-held cameras, but still prohibits the use of such cameras without a ($350) permit if external lighting/audio gear is used. Would you support amending the current fee structure to waive &/or lower permit fees for small-scale video productions? 

~ Yes, I believe the current fee is too overbearing and would support reducing the fee for small scale productions. 

3. In 2006 the Council adopted a ZTA with AUP process to allow Music Lessons as a Home Occupation. Would you support revisiting our (10 year old) Home Occupation Ordinance to allow more reasonable & flexible home business usage to enable more people (media freelancers, moms etc.) to work-at-home? 

~ Yes 

4. You all seem to agree that protecting our residential neighborhoods “quality-of-life” is key. We live adjacent to a school in a R-1 zone and my neighbors and I experience daily the negative impacts from peak-hour traffic, school noise & student interactions. Many of us have had our property damaged by students and soccer is now being played on weekends. What can/will you do to protect our quality-of-life & safety? 

~ Unfortunately there is not much we can do. Parents will always pick up their children and children walking home will sometimes get into mischief. 

5. Do you support the building of a new Aquatics Facility to replace our aging swimming pools and year-round programs for all people & ages? 

~ Realistically our two pools, as they stand today, are in need of a total renovation. I support renovating those pools and their current facilities. I do not support spending money to have a totally new center because I don’t believe our community is really looking for one. Our pools have met the recreational needs of our residents for many years and I support renovating the current pools so that they will last for many years to come. 

6. If I support your candidacy, will you return my calls, read & respond to my emails, &/or meet with me (if necessary) to discuss an issue of importance? i.e. Will you be my/our representative? 

~ Yes, to the best of my ability I would. 

7. Would you make any changes to the current Public Comment period at Council meetings or leave it “as is”? (Please specify any changes) 

~ I believe five minutes is a long period of time and feel 3-4 minutes should be allocated to agenda items and 2 minutes to non-agenda items. I am really open for discussion and debate on this one. 

8. Accountability and open/transparent Government is important to most people. What steps will you take to ensure Staff’s responsiveness to information requests and the public’s access to documentation under the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act)? 

~ I believe City staff does an excellent job of trying to meet the needs of Burbank’s residents, including FOIA requests. They know the law and do not need an extra step except for maybe a small reminder from a Council Member. 

9. What specific cuts in spending will you propose in order to overcome our projected $7 million dollar plus budget deficit in 2009? Can you balance the Budget without raising utility rates or dramatically cutting City services? Will you hold City Department heads accountable for wasteful spending & inefficiencies? 

~ First, I must set the record straight. A budget deficit in the General Fund has no bearing on the rates which the City assesses its utility rate payers. The General Fund and Utility Fund are completely separate. I see current economic times as a mandate to assess the value of all community programs. This is a time to “cut the low hanging fruit”. Realistically cuts will have to be made, if not this year then soon. I must state that through these budgetary struggles the high level of safety that we enjoy will always be my number one priority. 

10. With all of the recent business closures and job losses, what can we do as a community to maintain a vibrant local economy? What would you do to encourage employers to hire locally and the public to shop & dine locally? 

~ We need to give residents a reason to come out and spend. Currently, I am working on the Cultural Arts Master Plan Committee to help foster and strengthen Burbank’s art and cultural communities so that we can have community events that promotes the arts and encourages people to explore Burbank’s retail base. For example a person who comes to an art show in the downtown is likely to visit the show and then eat in the downtown, and possibly shop in the downtown. Money that wasn’t going to be spent before is now being spent because the opportunity was present. 

11. There’s been some controversy over the past few years re the use of Redevelopment Funds for certain projects, most notably BHC & FSA. Where do you stand on these matters? How would you maximize our Redevelopment dollars to improve Burbank. 

~ Redevelopment Agency funds have specific uses. I support the way we have used Redevelopment Funds, but would also like to ensure that assets that are acquired with Redevelopment Agency Funds stay assets of the community. 

12. With imminent budget cuts to School district funds, what if anything can you do to work with BUSD to ensure our children’s educational needs are met, as well as our school’s infrastructure needs? 

~ This is a time when our partnerships with the district are going to mean more than ever. There is not a lot we can do as we ourselves face a tough budget climate. I will always been open to new partnerships that may be mutually beneficial. 

13. Do you support Term Limits? Would you support a ballot measure that would allow the people of Burbank to vote on this issue? Will you vow to serve no more than 2 full terms? 

~ I do support term limits for City Council and would vote to support a ballot measure to set term limits to three terms. I will commit to only serving two terms.

14. Where do you stand on Airport related matters such as the Part 161 Study, the possibility of noisy stage-2 aircrafts being re-directed from Van Nuys Airport, the B-6 Property and a new relocated terminal? 

~ I support the airport’s efforts to attain a nighttime curfew. I am not for airport expansion and would not support relocating the terminal. 

15. Re the Environment; What specific things can we do that we aren’t already doing to improve our air quality and be more eco-friendly? 

~ I think we have done a great job of being green friendly…I would support efforts to continue to go green but also hesitate to give a one-hundred percent commital to always being environmentally friendly. You see, often going green has a significant cost and I will not vote “to green a project” if the costs may lead to a reduction of other services for residents. I support responsible greening because at the end of the day, green is expensive. 

Contact Steven Ferguson: 
Phone: 818-967-1907 
Email: Steven@ibelieveinsteven.com 
Web site: http://www.ibelieveinsteven.com Steven Ferguson web site

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