Archive for March, 2011

Burbank Election Guide – for “Dummies”

March 29, 2011

* Vote for ROBERT (BOB) FRUTOS for Burbank City Council

Police Commission President Robert Frutos is a 17 year Burbank resident with an outstanding record of community service. He has 24 years of law enforcement experience at LAPD, which makes him the best candidate by far to deal with the BPD “mess” and the institution of real reforms, including an independent Inspector with wide-reaching oversight powers who would report directly to the City Council. He has what I consider a “fiscally-conservative” approach to dealing with many of the financial issues we face; He strongly opposes the controversial payment of over $1 million in bonuses to Burbank public employees, as well as the 7-11% pay increases handed out to Snr. BWP Executives (21% over 3 years for GM Ron Davis) just weeks after our Utility & Water Rates we’re increased, the latter by a whopping 13%. He believes in total transparency with respect to the release of information on public employee salaries & bonuses, which also applies to a recent Civil Service Board members request for a list of all employees who are related to each other during a discussion about nepotism. In short, Robert gets it; He understands the financial hardships many are facing paying their mortgages/rent & utility bills, and is especially sensitive to the needs of our Seniors. He’s also opposed to further cuts in City Services including Police, Fire and Park services. I like his humility and the fact that he shares the same Christian values we do; I’ve seen so much grandstanding, anger & hostility at recent Council meetings, and he would be refreshing change for the better, a voice of reason, a voice of the people.

UPDATE 4/11/11. Bob Frutos Statement in response to Burbank (mis)Leader’s attacks c/o Fronnie Lewis Media City Groove Blog:

““The IBEW represents Burbank City Employees and is a part of our community. As a candidate I do not control who they chose to support or what they chose to do. I appreciate their support of my ideas to balance our city budget and I am very happy they joined me in supporting the idea that our employees should pay into their retirement plans and that employee bonuses must come to an end. From what I have seen the IBEW is not engaged in personal attacks but is asking questions about the source of contributions and endorsements.” – Bob Frutos

* Vote NO on Measure U – Utility Users TAX

Don’t be fooled by the City’s deceptive marketing of this ballot measure as a “modernization” of the UUT to fund City Services; It’s an attempt to expand what the City can TAX and protect themselves from having to refund telecommunication giants such as AT&T & Verizon for what maybe illegal Utility Tax charges on our Cell Phone bills (check your Bills folks…it’s there). They also want to TAX Satellite TV subscribers, so if you’re a Direct TV or DISH Network subscriber like us, you’ll be taxed an extra 7%. VOIP Subscribers (Vonage) will also be subject to this TAX, as will Cable & DSL Subscribers. You name it, they want to TAX it! Very Important Note: As stated by City Manager Mike Flad when questioned in a recent open Council meeting, these funds are “unrestricted” General Fund monies, which means they can be used for anything i.e. revenues generated from the UUT are not set-aside or earmarked specifically for Parks or Safety Services but can be used to pay public employee Bonuses, BPD litigation costs that the City refuses to provide an accounting for, BWP Snr Mgm’t  pay raises, and whatever else they want. Given the City chose to raise Water Rates 13.5% last year (almost twice the actual MWD increase) and hand BWP GM Ron Davis a 21% pay raise over 3 years, voting NO on this measure is also a great way to protest that unconscionable decision. And don’t forget, BWP has proposed more Rate increases (+8.4% Water, +8% Garbage, +4% Sewer) this June. Please spread the word on this …you will be paying more by virtue of additional TAXES  on top of further Utility Rate hikes!


Bob Frutos for Burbank City Council Web Site

Ballotpedia – CA Utility User Taxes

Burbank Voter Information Pamphlet

Craig Sherwood – Commentary

SemiChorus Blog – It’s not “modernization”, it’s extension

Keep Your Grubby Hands Off Proposition 13

March 28, 2011

(Guest Commentary by Robert Phipps – 3/28/11)

Michael Teahan makes me think of a politician: someone always looking for a lot of easy, quick money they can take from a small group and “buy” popularity by spreading it out to a larger group.

Teahan says we need good schools, libraries, parks, and other services—and he’s right. But his facile politician’s way to pay for them is to make homeowners pay higher property taxes (“Proposition 13 is not making things better,” March 27).

Proposition 13 was passed because elderly homeowners—with fixed incomes and no time left to start over—were being forced out of their homes by escalating property taxes. When the choice became food or taxes, healthcare or taxes, heat or taxes, the outcome was sealed and the people lost their homes.

These were people who had worked all their lives, and done everything they were supposed to, to contribute to society; and because of political greed for quick, big money, were forced to sell their homes. It was as if there were no fixed-rate loans; only adjustable-rate loans, and we have seen how many people have lost their homes to those.

Teahan feels guilty because he can afford a house in a better school district—but he bought it anyway. He wants all homeowners to pay more taxes, but feels “soaked,” having to pay $9,000 more taxes than the previous homeowner—a transaction he entered voluntarily, knowing in advance the costs and his financial status. In other words, he wants other people to pay more taxes, but not himself.

If Teahan has so much guilt and so much money (for a house presumably costing more than $1million), then let him take a bunch of his excess money and donate it to his pet causes, and stop trying to displace senior citizens to force them to do it.

Note: Robert Phipps maybe contacted via this blog.


Michael Teahan Burbank Leader Opinion

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