Burbank Election Commentary & Analysis

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Congratulations to Councilman-Elect Bob Frutos on his stunning election win in our recent Burbank Primary, becoming the first non-incumbant to be elected outright in a Primary since Bob Kramer did it 18yrs ago in 1995. More remarkable is the fact that Frutos easily defeated 3 well-known incumbents, whereas Kramer won 1 of 2 open seats at the time. Frutos won the election because while the City Council majority were busy ignoring the BPD Litigation “mess” and majoring on minors (puppy mills, downtown muzak etc), Frutos was having conversations about the Big Issues with the Community such as our ever-increasing Utility Rates & Renewable costs; BPD Litigation costs ($7.1M spent + $3.2M owed), Police Reforms & Public Safety; Bonuses & Pay Raises and their impact on our massive $252 million unfunded Pension Liability; Fiscal responsibility & Budget Priorities that maintain our excellent City Services, Neighborhood Protections and Small Business (see Videos below). Frutos is a very likable & humble leader committed to serving the people’s best interests and I wish him well as he takes his seat in May. May God bless and guide Bob Frutos.

Dr. David Gordon finished 2nd (48%) & was the top incumbent vote-getter by 364 votes over Jess Talamantes (46%) and 20yr incumbent Dave Golonski (44%). This result while surprising to some, was not a surprise to me given Dr. Gordon’s track record on the above-mentioned issues the last 4 years. He’s the only Councilmember who has consistantly asked questions about these issues and challenged his colleagues and staff on their assertions & positions. Now that both Bob Frutos and Juan Guillen are endorsing Dr. Gordon, I expect him to receive a nice bump & easily win re-election, despite the negative campaign being propagated by Pro-Golonski Supporters and the Burbank Leader, providing he continues to campaign & engage the issues.

The race is really for 2nd and that choice is not so clear-cut. When you examine the voting record of Mr Talamantes & Mr Golonski over the last 4 years on the Big Issues, there’s really not much difference. Both have voted to raise Utility Rates 4 years in row while approving a 21% pay raise for BWP GM Ron Davis, who was already grossing $250M, & 7-11% pay raises to Sr BWP Mgm’t in the middle of the worse recession since 1929. Both have supported the virtual blank check given to our City Attorney’s office which has already spent over $7.1 million on outside Attorney’s defending BPD related Litigation. Two of the three cases that made it to trial have resulted in expensive Jury verdicts against the City; we’re currently on the hook for another $3.2M (awards + costs) and now have to deal with a 2nd wave of wrongful termination lawsuits, 3 of which have already been filed by former BPD Officers. Yet we’ve just learned that several fired Officers were cleared of any wrong doing in several independent District Attorney/Sheriff Dept. investigations dating back to 2011. Apparently no one on the Council knew about or had seen these clearance letters, yet they’re directing the City Attorney in these matters. Another epic failure to lead by a Council majority who continue to bury their collective heads in the sand, deny any wrong-doing despite clear trial evidence to the contrary and circle the wagons. It’s not “unfortunate” it’s “unforgivable”!

What that means for you and me is that instead of a new (scaled-down) Central Library or Boys & Girls Club Bldg. or McCambridge Pool, we’re giving $Millions to Lawyers & Law Firms who are getting rich. When the new Council seats in May we need to begin an outside investigation & audit of our City Attorney’s Office re their handling/mis-handling of the BPD “mess”, as well as the City Council’s involvement.

Continuing; Both Golonski & Talamantes voted to support the City’s legal defense against the release of Public Employee Salaries & Bonuses ($4 million paid out) when they were sued by the Burbank Leader’s parent company and lost, although to his credit Mr Talamantes did vote to suspend the Bonus program while it’s creator Dave Golonski defiantly supported it’s continuation. I could go on…their Failure to repay $50 Million in Redevelopment Loans back to the General Fund prior to the Redevelopment Agency’s dissolution c/o Governor Brown, a $2 Million Golf Course bailout while cutting the ($8k) Easter Eggsplosion for our kids, the Recycle Center debacle, the 3yr Verdugo Pool delay etc. Bottom line; neither incumbent has represented the community well and their bad decisions have cost us $Millions.

Which leaves former School Board Pres. David Nos. I like the fact that he’s a small-business owner who’s experienced financial hardship and can hopefully relate to the rest of us and make better financial decisions than the other 2 guys who don’t have F/T Jobs or run a business. The problem with Nos is a) He hasn’t taken a public position on what I consider the Big Issues and b) He’s too far behind. Yes he’s picked up Bob Frutos endorsement but that’s not enough to close a 1200 vote gap IMO. For comparison, Frutos was able to make up about 700 Votes on Emily Gabel-Luddy in 2011 with Gary Bric’s post-primary endorsement. Todd Campbell was able to turnaround 1841 Votes on Bric in 2003 so it’s not impossible given the anticipated continuation of the anti-Talamantes campaign by anti-Walmart forces, but the fear is by voting for Nos you maybe enabling Dave Golonski to sneak past Jess. This is causing many people to choose the lesser of 2 evils (so-to-speak) and Vote for Jess Talamanates in order to keep Mr Golonski off the Council. It’s an interesting delimma.

I like Jess & Dave and have supported them in the past but can’t support both based on what they’ve done the last 4 years. I also think it’s time for Dave Golonski to move on…we have plenty of experience on the Council and I don’t know why anyone would want to serve more than 2 terms (8yrs), let alone 5 terms (20 years). Dave really should take a leaf out of former Mayor/Councilwoman Marsha Ramos playbook; She served just 2 terms before helping to start Family Promise of ESFV, a wonderful non-profit working in partnership with the faith-based community to provide housing & resources for temporary homeless families. She then moved on to become Chair of the CA American Lung Assoc., which I get a real kick out of being one of the guys who campaigned to create our wonderful Second-hand Smoke Control Ordinance in 2007. And just a few weeks ago she celebrated another success with the passage of the Measure S School Bond, a remarkable feat given the relatively small time window to campaign, limited funds, and all the confusion & controversy surrounding the Bond. So the good news for Dave or whichever incumbent is unsuccessful in their re-election bid is – There is Life after the Council. 🙂

Links: David Nos “Issues” Q&A | Open Letter to Burbank City Council re Bonuses & Burbank Police Dept. Litigation | pltf-evidience-in-opp-to-defs-msj-rodriguez-part-1-2-3789487

[Note: Story updated w/new links. Orig. posted March 22nd]

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5 Responses to “Burbank Election Commentary & Analysis”

  1. Garen Yegparian Says:

    One factual correction, regarding winning outright in the primary. My recollection is that Gary Bric did it in 2011, and Stracy Murphy in 2005.

  2. Eric Michael Cap Says:

    Actually Garen, both Gary Bric & Stacey Murphy were Incumbents who were re-elected in the Primary, as was Marsha Ramos when she won her 2nd term. Bob Frutos is the first Non-Incumbent to be elected outright in a Primary since Bob Kramer did it 18yrs ago in 1995. Cheers!

    • yeghpairiank@earthlink.net Says:

      aaaak, apologies, I didn’t register the “non-incumbent” part

      • Eric Michael Cap Says:

        So Garen, who do YOU like & why? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts as a former Council candidate & current Park & Rec. Board member, who also served on the Charter Review Committee. Cheers!

  3. BurbankWatchDog Says:

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