Posts Tagged ‘bpoa’

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!

-LINKS-

Bob Frutos for Burbank City Council Web Site

Ballotpedia – CA Utility User Taxes

Burbank Voter Information Pamphlet

Craig Sherwood – BurbankNBeyond.com Commentary

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

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Burbank Election Issues & Candidates – 2011

February 20, 2011

Kudos to the League of Woman Voters for hosting an excellent Candidates Forum that actually dealt with many of the issues Burbank residents are concerned with. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, please try & catch a replay before casting your ballot in the upcoming Primary Election. I came away most impressed by Police Commission President Robert Frutos. Robert 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 seems to have what I consider a “fiscally-conservative” approach to dealing with many of the financial issues we face; He spoke strongly against 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 spoke of transparency with respect to the release of information on public employee salaries & bonuses, which hopefully 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. Consider this an endorsement!

As for the rest of the field; Emily Gabel-Luddy has 10 years of Planning Board experience and while she spoke of cutting $1.3 million from employee bonuses and giving that to families in need which I’d support, I don’t see how we can do that and be fiscally responsible when we have an $8 million deficit that needs to be addressed first. Jackie Waltman seemed much stronger in her opposition to the bonuses, BWP rate/pay increases + audits, giving Police Commission & City Boards more power, so while we’re normally reluctant to support someone we’ve never heard of before, she might be the 3rd vote needed to ensure reform.

Finally, I have to say I was very disappointed in incumbent Gary Bric’s responses; The fact that he’s endorsed by every major organized Labor Union including the vulnerable BPOA is a huge turn-off, as it appears to me he’s more beholden unto them than being my/our voice/representative. He was the only candidate who did not oppose the bonus payments and actually defended BWP GM Ron Davis’ 21% pay increase over the next 3 years. I also didn’t care for his comments about getting rid of the LAPD folks who’ve been brought in to help clean up the BPD “mess” and end the nepotism so that they could promote from within. The fact that he’d rather push another 5% across-the-board cut within all departments to address the Budget deficit (that’s 15% in cuts the last 3 years), instead of cutting the 1-1.3 million in bonuses paid to public employees (15% saving) is bewildering, as what he’s essentially advocating is a cut in City Services & Programs over the elimination of bonuses. No wonder our roads are in such bad condition! (esp. Delaware) I like Gary as a person, he’s a neighbor of mine & we supported him last time he ran but it’s time for change and in my mind Gary represents a continuation of the “status-quo” and the “good-old-boy” network within the BPD which lead to all the BPD lawsuits we’re dealing with & millions of dollars in taxpayers money being poured out with little oversight to defend them, not to mention a liability that could seriously jeopardize our City’s future. I do agree with Gary on one thing; the reconsideration of the sidewalks on Screenland Dr. adj. to Luther Middle School…the children’s safety must come first!

On the School Board side I like Greg Bragg, a Manager at Bexel Video who wants to utilize technology in the classroom more and explore corporate partnerships to supplement Education funding shortfalls. While I like most parents with children within the BUSD am fairly happy with the School Board (outside of the Jolly hiring), having a fresh face with new ideas can often prevent staleness that sets in when you have the exact same people sitting on a Board year after year. That said, if the BUSB plans on putting a Property Parcel Tax increase on the ballot in 2013 they better be able to provide a full accounting of where the last Bond measure’s money was spent and full details of where future money will go…hopefully in the classroom where it belongs!

–LINKS–

Burbank Leader Mailbag Letter – 1/30/2011

LWV Candidates Forum Video Replay

Bob Frutos for City Council Website

Jackie Waltman for City Council Website

Gregory Bragg for School Board Website

Burbank 2011 Election Voting Information

Open Letter to Burbank City Council re Bonuses & Burbank Police Dept. Litigation

February 16, 2011

Dear Burbank City Council Members & Staff,

I want to echo Robert Phipps thoughts on the Bonus issue; I strongly oppose the continuation of this practice and ask that it be discontinued immediately. If that means tearing up and renegotiating MOU’s, so be it. Other Cities are instituting furloughs and laying off City workers. Given the choice I’m sure our Labor Unions would prefer to avoid such drastic actions to balance the budget, and are hopefully willing to renegotiate their contracts just as auto workers did in Detroit for the good of the community, understanding the current economic times, current & anticipated budget deficits, and the public’s overwhelming disapproval. Moreover, I believe it’s time to stop suppressing the truth regarding this and other issues and to start telling the truth. I expect total transparency regarding the amount of bonuses paid to each individual employee, and find it disturbing that the City continues to defend these secret payments and not fully comply with numerous Freedom of Information requests, which have now lead to the Burbank Leader’s parent company (L.A. Times) filing a lawsuit against us (like we don’t already have enough lawsuits). Please do not waste more taxpayers money resisting full disclosure. As the Supreme Court has already ruled on this issue the end result is a given, and outside of delaying the inevitable for political purposes, there is nothing to be gained with the City’s continued stubborn refusal to comply. Please provide the L.A. Times / Burbank Leader and the Public with the requested information asap!

I’d also like to know how almost $2 Million allocated for these bonus payments in last year’s Budget apparently slipped through unnoticed? I expect you as my elected representatives to exercise “due diligence” in making sure that every dollar of taxpayers money is maximized. It blows my mind to think that in the face of an $8+ million deficit last year, no one apparently picked up on this. That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in your leadership. Were you mis-lead by Staff? What else has been hidden from you and us? Try and put yourself in my position; What am I and the public suppose to think? This coupled with your handling of the BPD “mess” and your unconscionable decision to raise Water Rates by 13% and then weeks later hand out a 21% pay raise to BWP GM Ron Davis (payable over 3 years), & 7-11% raises to other Snr. BWP Mgmt, have caused me to loose all confidence in your leadership and ability to make sound decisions in the best interests of Burbank residents. I believe some @ City Hall are completely out of touch with the financial realities & hardships many in this community are facing; you may claim otherwise but your actions in these matters tell another story. It pains me to say this as I have supported all of you on the Council at one time and would much prefer to “sing your praises”, but as the Good Book says; There is a time for encouragement, a time for correction and a time for rebuking. Consider this your public rebuke and call for repentance!

A few closing questions and statements:

Were any bonuses paid to Burbank Police Dept. and other City Employees who gave depositions or declarations/affidavits in any of the existing BPD litigation? If so, to whom and how much?

Will you direct Staff to provide a full list of the names of all City Employees who are related to each other, as per Civil Service Board Member Schlossman’s request, to deal with the nepotism issues that are in my opinion one of the root causes of our many problems?

Will you authorize the release of the Merrick Bobb Report into the BPD “mess” or a redacted (PBOR-friendly) version of it to the Public prior to the General Election? If not, why not?

How much has the City spent in total as of 1/31/11 on Burbank Police Dept. Litigation, including all costs for 3rd party Attorneys, P.I.’s and any other parties in relation to these matters?

How much did my recent Deposition in the matter of Omar Rodriquez et al vs. Burbank Police Dept. et al, cost Burbank taxpayers, including all costs for Subpoenas (Google/YouTube, me), Private Investigators (Gary Prince @ Prince Investigations), Attorneys (Thomas G Mackey @ Jackson Lewis,  Veronica Von Grabow @ Mitchell Silberg & Knupp), Videographer (Chuch Goswitz @ Legal Video Services) and Court Reporter (Lana L. Loper @ Affinity)?

For those of you who aren’t aware, last Tuesday I gave a Deposition in the above matters pursuant to the attached Subpoena and Request for Documents. The Deposition was a result of videos I re-posted on YouTube.com featuring BPOA Pres. Mike Parrinello, who appears to give false testimony on numerous occasions based on secretly recorded audio excerpts played following his answers. I make no apologies for exercising my 1st Amendment Rights in posting the videos; I believe I have a moral responsibility/duty to share important information with the public and will continue to exercise these rights. I was asked how I got the video, if I’d had any communication with any of the parties listed in the subpoena, if I knew who edited or posted the original video, if I know who has 27 secret audio tapes, if I know who a blogger named “Going Nuts” is, and other questions totally unrelated to the case subject matter. At the end of the day it was a fruitless exercise, an abuse of process and waste of everyone’s time and thousands of (taxpayer) dollars.

Below are links to the videos in question FYI. Given that these matters are set for Trial shortly, I would encourage you to direct the City Attorney to focus his time and energy on trying to expedite settlement of these cases before more embarrassing details come out in Court that end up costing taxpayers $ Millions more, not to mention irreparable harm to our City & Police Dept. Haven’t we already wasted enough money? Haven’t enough people been hurt, reputations & careers ruined, and our City divided? The buck stops with you and while you may not have created this “mess” it’s your responsibility to fix it!

–LINKS–

YouTube_Mike Parrinello Video Part1
YouTube_Mike Parrinello Video Part2

PLTF’s REPLY to DEF OPP to PLTF’s MTN to Quash Depo Subpoenas (3594675) (New)

Cap Deposition Subpoena PDF Download

Plaintiffs Motion to Quash PDF Download

SemiChorus Blog Story – Cap cops to desposition

SemiChorus Blog Story – Rodriguez Deposition

Robert Phipps Bonuses Letter PDF Download

Phil Berlin Bonuses Letter PDF Download

Councilman Gordon Email Reply PDF Download

Burbank Leader vs. City of Burbank Lawsuit PDF Download

CA Supreme Court Case Law PDF Download

Burbank Employee Gross Salaries – 2010 PDF Download

Burbank Employee Gross Earnings – 2009 PDF Download

Burbank Leader Editorial on Bonuses


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