Posts Tagged ‘vote’

Burbank Recount – Denied, 2nd Request pulled

April 29, 2011

Burbank City Clerk Margarita Campos explains her decision to deny a substitute request for hand Recount of the General Election made by Burbank voters Fronnie Lewis and Kevin & Linda Muldoon. Fronnie Lewis has an excellent recap here.

BREAKING NEWS: It appears Kevin & Linda Muldoon, Fronnie Lewis and Judy Alter from Protect California Ballots have filed a 2nd Protest & Recount Request contenting the “completion of the canvass” occurred when the City Council declared the results Tuesday, thus triggering the 5 day “protest” period. Looks like a “Hail Mary” (pass) but here’s the Recount Letter (2): + Recount Request Letter (attachment) 

UPDATE: 5/5/11 According to Fronnie Lewis, the 2nd Recount Request has been duly withdrawn. Read all the details here.

-LINKS-

Recount Rejection Letter to Fronnie Lewis

CA Elections Code Sect. 15620-15634

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Burbank Election Results & Recount + Bonuses

April 25, 2011

Emily Gabel-Luddy – 4,411 Votes (49.7%) [+11 Votes]

Bob Frutos – 4,316  Votes (48.7%) [+2 Votes]

Ballots Cast – 8,866 (15.7% of 56, 239 Registered Voters) [+13 Votes]

Measure U – PASSED with 5,720 YES votes vs. 2,562  NO’s  [+456/+7]

Note: [+] = Differential between Preliminary & Final Results

* notice the interesting +456 Vote increase in Measure U?

Link: Election Night Photos

BREAKING NEWS 4/21/11: RECOUNT Official or is it? (Updated 4/26/11)

It appears Burbank’s elected City Clerk Margarita Campos plan is to simply ignore residents Protest and demand for a Recount. Fronnie Lewis has posted 4 excellent Election Recount stories over at MediaCityGroove.com yet not a word about it in our local “newspaper” The Burbank (mis-)Leader. Last week a Hand Recount was initiated by the election watchdog group Protect California Ballots and Burbank resident George Marciniw, who apparently got cold feet the next day. A legal substitute request was then submitted by Fronnie Lewis herself and Kevin Muldoon & his wife Linda within the required 24 hour period. As of 6pm yesterday (4/25/11) Mr Muldoon is still waiting word as to if/when the Recount will proceed. According to Kevin, “The City Clerk is holding by that the original request was withdrawn and the deadline missed”. Fronnie Lewis contents  the following here:

“The recount or ‘protest’ request as the city is calling it was received on Wednesday 20, 2011 before 5 p.m. George Marciniw’s withdrawal letter was not dropped off at the Burbank City Clerk’s office until Thursday, April 21. In his letter (which I have a copy of) Marciniw says quote: The organization ‘Protect California Ballots’ representative Judy Alter would like to pursue the recount using Journalist Fronnie Lewis to take my place if that is acceptable. According to the California Deputy Secretary of State, Lowell Finley, this is acceptable and legal. Also on Thursday April 21, I handed City Clerk Margarita Campos my personal letter volunteering to replace Marciniw in the recount request process. While I was there, Kevin Muldoon came in with two letters and handed them to Campos. All three letters were delivered to the city clerk before 5 p.m. Thursday, April 21.”

It appears that the City is resisting the Recount request and in doing so further eroding any remaining confidence in their honesty and integrity, not to mention the much maligned mail-in ballot process itself which has failed to increase voter turnout and must be changed. You can read Fronnie’s stories by clicking on the below links including her most recent update and as always there’s lots of chatter over @ the SemiChorus Blog. You can also read my own Recount related email correspondence with City Clerk Margarita Campos here. I took the liberty of forwarding a copy to Judy Alter (emeritus UCLA Professor) Protect California Ballots who responded with the following statements via email:

“I believe that Ms Campos has not done a recount.  I checked with the CA Deputy Secretary of State, Lowell Finley, about her assertion about reading only one name, etc.  She is wrong.  A recount of the city council race of all the ballots needs to have the person looking at the ballot and reading the vote to say  Bob, Emily or no vote.  One ballot will have only one vote for that race.  It will not take any more time.  I will write this out for her.  I have been manager of two citizen recounts and know that this is the required process. Asking for more money is also wrong.”

“They cannot charge by the names or ballots but only for the time the recount board members, usually $100 per person of $400.”

“The opportunity to recount an entire race is too important.  We have secret vote counting and we the people must actually see how the voters voted”.

Declaring the Results of the General Election is on tonight’s Council Agenda but astoninglishly there’s no mention at all of the Protests filed in Ms. Campos Staff Report. It’s almost as if the City is daring those concerned with this unique opportunity to audit and validate the current system to file a Lawsuit…I guess they don’t already have enough (11 current & 14 more anticipated cases to come all on City Manager Mike Flad’s watch). It’s time for newly elected Attorney General Kamala Harris to follow through on one of her election pledges and really take a look at what’s going on here in Burbank. More post Election Commentary to come shortly. In the meantime, please consider donating to Protect California Ballots to help them pay for our Recount.

BONUSES Lawsuit Update

Also of note this weekend, an update on the Burbank Leader vs. City of Burbank “Bonuses” Lawsuit, in which the City claims The Leader’s request to obtain the amount of bonuses paid to individual public employees is “illogical”. The L.A. Times is also running the story here with some good comments. The only thing “illogical” & “suspicious” IMO is the City’s stubborn refusal to comply with the Law (FOIA request) & spend thousands of taxpayers dollars (with Council approval) fighting a case they’re destined to loose, while demonstrating to all of us that they still just don’t get it…you work for us! Any public employee unwilling to disclose their salary & bonuses should tender their resignation immediately & go work in the private sector. There are 100’s if not 1,000’s of people who will gladly take your job and all the benefits that come with it  (health plan, holiday pay, pension etc). These people’s arrogance (Scott, Wilke, Flad etc.), lack of transparency  and sense of entitlement is absolutely astounding!

–Links–

The Recount: Why I support it and what will it cost

Update-on-the-burbank-election-recount-drama

News Alert: Recount in Burbank City Council race

More on the Recount of the Burbank City Council run-off

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

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.

–Links–

Michael Teahan Burbank Leader Opinion

Burbank Primary Election Commentary

February 27, 2011

Incumbents and voter apathy ruled in Tuesday’s Primary Election, with all 4 incumbents (1 Council & 3 School Board members) being easily re-elected in the lowest voter turnout since the Mail-in Ballot system designed to increase voter turnout began in 2005. A meagerly 8,073 votes were cast (approx. 14.3% of 56,499 Registered Voters), representing an almost 3,000 vote decline from the 2009 Primary where 10,990 votes were cast. On the Council side, incumbent Gary Bric, aided by 3 mailers from the IEBU, received 4,642 votes or 57.5%, down slightly from the 61% he received when elected 4 years ago. Emily Gabel-Luddy came in 2nd with 3,845 and will face Bob Frutos in the April General Election run-off.

Frutos received 3,071 votes and has a lot of ground to make-up if he’s going to turn-the-tables, but such a turn-around is not without precedent. In Bric’s first run for Council he easily beat Todd Campbell in the Primary by 414 votes (2921 vs. 2507), only to loose in the General Election in a dramatic 1,841 vote swing (4933 vs. 3506). That said, for Frutos to win he’s going to have to find votes and give those 3,000 people who didn’t vote this Primary a reason to vote for him. I asked Todd Campbell a few years ago how he did it and he shared with me that he took time off work and basically knocked on every door in Burbank. Perennial Councilman Dave Golonski knows this campaign “secret” well and despite the advent of social media, blogs & email, good old-fashion door knocking is still the key, especially in a largely disinterested electorate.

Jackie Waltman who was a late entry in the race got a very respectable 2,131 Votes. It will be interesting to see if she sticks around to lobby the Council for the elimination of public employee bonuses, greater transparency, and opposes the now mandatory annual BWP Rate increases, or if she does what most challengers do, disappear like Kimberley Jo & others. I for one hope she remains politically active & look forward to seeing her speaking at future Council meetings.

The School Board election saw a good showing by 2-time challenger Gregory Bragg, but not enough to challenge the incumbents. Most people appear fairly happy with the direction our Schools and the election results reflect that. The School Board now faces the challenges of dealing with further cuts in education funding. It will be interesting to hear where they weigh-in on Governor Brown’s proposal to eliminate Redevelopment Agencies and if they proceed with an effort to put on the ballot at Parcel Tax increase in 2013.

So what does this all mean? You can expect more of the same from Bric & the Council majority, although Gary did go on the record as stating he was now opposed to City Employee Bonuses after getting heat over the issue during the campaign. Hopefully he’s a man of his word and given Frutos & Gabel-Luddy are also opposed to these secret bonus payments, we can at least see an end to that practice soon. Bric has shown the ability to think independently and has even voted with Councilman Gordon on occasion. It will be interesting to see what if anything he can accomplish during his 2nd Term to make Burbank a better place to live & work. Don’t expect any changes re the Council’s hostile attitude towards Burbank Police Dept. Litigation and related expenditure that has already cost Burbank Taxpayers unaccounted $ Millions. You can also count on Utility & Water Rate hikes again, but apparently the majority of folks in our upper-middle class town don’t mind. The reality is because of the excellent rainfall we’ve received the last 6 months, most people haven’t really felt the pain of the 13.5% Water Rate hike approved last year, but with warmer weather coming they soon will, especially if/when the Council approves another 8% increase in June.

The future of our Mail-in Elections is another hot topic that needs to be addressed. It’s time to review & re-think the whole process IMO. Some feel the City should pay for postage to encourage more voter participation. Would it help? It certainly can’t hurt. I have no doubt some people filled in their ballots but didn’t have a stamp handy, were going to drop it off but didn’t get around to doing so for whatever reason. That said, it really doesn’t get any easier than this, and the City provides numerous places for residents to drop off their ballots.

Perhaps we should mail out ballots 2 weeks later to give candidates a few extra weeks to introduce themselves and get their messages out to voters. This is especially important for the challengers who do not have the name recognition of incumbents. In fact to my knowledge, no incumbent Council or School Board member has ever not been re-elected since we went to the mail-in system.

Should we go back to having an actual Election Day? Perhaps, but I worry voter turnout could end up being even lower, and doing so would make our Election more expensive. A related idea is to move the election date to November to co-incide with Federal & State Elections. I believe this would absolutely increase voter turnout but worry local issues & candidates would get lost in the mix, overshadowed by the massive media coverage & advertising devoted to partisan Federal/State campaigns. It’s always amazed me that so many people pay so much attention to these bigger races, yet in many ways the decisions made by our local elected officials have far greater impact on our daily lives.

Regardless of what happens, one change I’d like to see is a few real debates where members of the public can stand up and ask questions of all the candidates (1 pre-Primary/ 1 pre-General), vs. the current “controlled” LWV Candidates Forum with pre-screened questions. It would also help if our local rag (Burbank Leader) actually covered the election and the big issues more than they currently do and in a impartial manner. One couldn’t help but notice the page 2 preferential placement of Emily Gabel-Luddy’s answers in their Candidate Q&A’s and the Mailbag letter of support published the weekend before the Primary, something that was disallowed by previous Editors.  The previous weekend we had the Bric + Gabel-Luddy endorsements, Bob Olsen’s City employee bonus defense and Craig Sherwood’s support for City nepotism. I sent responses to the later 2 [scroll down] but neither were published, nor were several other letters I received copies of from well-known Burbank residents opposed to the “confidential” City Hall bonus payments.

So why are so few people in Burbank engaged politically? I know we’re all busy with work, school, church/community activities etc., but this unprecedented low voter turnout is an ominous sign for the future of our City as so few people seem to care. Can folks not find 1 hour over the weekend to at least watch the LWV Candidates Forum to make an informed/educated decision vs. voting for someone just because you’ve heard of them, or received a bunch of glossy mailers, or because a friend/neighbor told you to, or because the local newspaper endorsed them? Are people that lazy, that busy, that apathetic?

Without public involvement bad things happen. Remember what happened in Bell was largely caused by residents not paying attention or voting. In a few months the 3 big BPD law suits will go to trial and things are going to come out that may shake the core of our City to it’s foundations. But knowbody cares, unless of course some developer wants to build something in their neighborhood. The lack of any real debate also doesn’t help generate interest; We have one Candidate’s Forum and a few Q&A’s in the Burbank Leader and that’s about it. I’d really love to see Frutos & Gabel-Luddy go head-to-head on the issues before the General Election but that’s probably not going to happen.

Many people who were once active in local Politics are no longer involved, having been discouraged and in some cases the victims of vicious personal attacks and retaliation for their opposition to our City Council & Staff. I’m not sure what cataclysmic event will cause those people to once again get involved; perhaps something to do with the Airport (expansion) or BPD lawsuit revelations? Who knows, but for now the only thing we have to look forward to is at least one new Council person to replace outgoing Council member Anja Reinke, whose largely forgettable 4 year term ends in April. Please PRAY for Burbank!

BURBANK 2011 PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS

City Council

Jacqueline “Jackie” Waltman – 2,131 votes

Emily Gabel-Luddy – 3,845 votes – MOVES ON TO GENERAL ELECTION

Robert “Bob” Frutos – 3,071 votes – MOVES ON TO GENERAL ELECTION

Gary Bric – 4,642 – ELECTED

Board of Education

Ted Bunch – 4,373 – ELECTED

Roberta Grande-Reynolds – 4,491 – ELECTED

Dave L. Kemp – 5,041 – ELECTED

Gregory Bragg – 3,318

Home Occupations redux

February 22, 2011

Below is my final attempt to get Council action on this issue.

Dear Burbank City Council Members,

I am writing to request your support for amendments to our Home Occupation Ordinance  that would allow for up-to 2 visits a day (5-10 a week) as per my previous letters on this subject. A quick review of surrounding cities within Los Angeles & Orange County show other cities have much more flexible ordinances that do allow for on-site client visits (see Attachments). The Home Occupation Task Force which I was briefly part of was charged with seeing if there was a way to make it slightly more flexible with regards to client visits while maintaining our neighborhood protections. Unfortunately Task Force members were not able to find a way, even though I presented clear evidence from other City & County Ordinances that show this could be achieved. Staff has been against making changes from day 1 and the stacked Tasked Force made up of 1 Chamber Rep, 1 Board of Realtors Rep & 2 Retired Citizens did essentially what Staff wanted them to do. It’s important to note that no survey or notice of meetings was sent to the 1200-1400 residents with registered Home Occupations in Burbank for their input. I would encourage you to review the minutes of the 2nd meeting I participated in for some of my comments on specific changes. I’m also attaching a copy of my resignation email so as to avoid any undue controversy re alleged inadvertent Brown Act Violations (keep in mind this was an Ad Hoc committee). The City has an opportunity this evening to display both leadership and understanding of current economic conditions and advances in technology that enable more people to work at home, especially in media related professions. I ask you direct Staff to come back with an amended ordinance with a provision that allows a reasonable number of visitors with an on-site parking provision. Thank you for your consideration.

UPDATE 2/17/11: As expected, the Council voted 4-1 to adopt Staff’s recommended changes containing only 1 amendment, with virtually no discussion outside of Dr. Gordon on the major issue of Client Visits. Mayor Anja Reinke called it “crazy” but still voted for it “as is”. Gary Bric asked a question about set-backs, while Dave Golonski & Jess Talamantes said absolutely nothing, surprising since they had supported it before and pledged their support during their Election Campaigns. * Video highlights are now available on my BurbankHomeBiz YouTube channel (see below Links).

What that means (according to Staff) is you are breaking the law if you have anyone visit your home for business purposes, including clients picking up or dropping off work, although I beg to differ with their interpretation. Of course the ordinance is unenforceable; you can have as many family members & friends visit as you like and there’s no way for the Home Occupation Police  to determine who’s coming & going, and unless you’re creating a disturbance you probably don’t have much to worry about out as enforcement is complaint based (although Staff could manufacture bogus complaints just to hassle you).  I’ve stated before that I believe the ordinance violates our constitutional rights and is discriminatory as it allows some people (music teachers) to have client visits, and I hope to have the item re-considered before a new Council. I gave up going to Council meetings a long time ago after their failure to grasp the Film Permit Ordinance and specifically their failure to allow the use of even 1 external low-watt light (LED, CFL etc.) for photo/video purposes. Unfortunately they still just don’t get it. Another EPIC FAIL!

–LINKS-

L.A. County Home Occupations

Orange County Home Occupations

La Canada Home Occupations

Pasadena Home Occupations

San Diego Home Occupations

Calabasas Home Occupations

HOTF Resignation Letters

Home Occupations Staff Report

YouTube_Staff Report

YouTube_Council Discussion

Burbank Public Employee Bonuses

February 12, 2011

Re: http://www.burbankleader.com/news/opinion/tn-gnp-0213-mailbagb,0,2533155.story

So BWP board member Bob Olson doesn’t think merit bonuses constitutes a giveaway of taxpayers dollars when taxpayers are paying for them? ($1.3 Million in 2010). And detailed disclosure is not in Burbank’s best interest as an employer? Really?  Taxpayers aren’t entitled to know how their money is being spent? WOW! What Planet is he living on? Aren’t most other Cities providing detailed disclosure re Employee Salaries in light of the Bell scandal? God forbid we engage in any form of open/transparent local Government. No surprise coming from someone who supported last years 13.5% Water Rate hike, then just a few weeks later championed BWP GM Ron Davis’ 21% pay rise (payable over the next 3 years), plus 7-11% pay rises for other Snr. BWP Exec’s at a time when so many people are having trouble just keeping the power on. [For the record, Davis grossed $255k in 2009 & $263k in 2010]

This is the same old tired  argument we heard when the City hired and overpaid Mike Flad as City Manager. And how’s that working out? How many lawsuits are we dealing with and how many $ Millions have we already spent all under his watch? City workers need to be grateful they have a job period,  that they haven’t had to endure furloughs, pay cuts or layoffs. Most people in the real world I know are working harder for less money, and that’s those lucky enough to be working. If having a secure job serving the community with incredible health & retirement benefits isn’t enough to attract or keep our exceptional public service employees in these tough economic times, then perhaps those folks should pursue careers in the private sector. Read Col 3:23.

–LINKS–

YouTube_Public Comment1

YouTube_Public Comment2

SemiChorus Blog Response to Bob Olson Letter

Burbank Primary Election – Opinion

February 20, 2009

Now that most people have already mailed in their ballots, I thought I’d weigh-in with my final election thoughts. Was it just us or did anyone else have a hard time discerning which candidates to support? We read each candidate’s statement, watched their videos and the LWV Forum on Channel 6, visited each candidates web site, and conducted our own Q&A survey to see where they stand on a variety of  issues that are important to us. (See Below). So after all that, who are we supporting?

First off, someone new! Barbara Sharp is our No.1 pick in the upcoming Burbank Primary election. We’re very impressed by Barbara’s knowledge of local issues, her creative & innovative ideas, and common sense approach to solving the economic challenges we face. She supports our leading health & environmental initiatives, will abolish permit fees for small-scale video productions, and supports changes to our 10yr old Home Occupation ordinance to provide greater flexibility for those who choose to work from home. Moreover, Barbara is committed to ensuring Burbank remains the “Media Capital of the World” by working hard to retain & attract new media/entertainment companies & jobs. She’s a breath of fresh air with an infectious spirit, boundless energy and deep love for the City she now calls home. I hope my fellow media professionals will join me in supporting Barbara Sharp for Burbank City Council.

Second, someone older and familiar…Dave Golonksi. There’s something to be said for experience, especially during these uncertain times, and while Dave & I have not always seen eye to eye, he is tried & tested and has served this community well. He’s been fiscally responsible, lead the fight in obtaining airport protections for residents (Measure B, Part 161 study), has been a champion for youth causes, and put a stop to the mansionization that was ruining our neighborhoods. He proposed changes to our Art in Public Places program that now allows developers to give ½% of a projects total cost to fund school arts programs. He threatened to put up a billboard to shame a certain carrier that was violating our voluntary airport curfew. He has a vision for a new “green” aquatics center & year-round swimming programs, and recently came up with a proposal that could see Burbank & Glendale combining to build a new Armory on the B-6 property, that could also serve as a Winter Homeless Shelter. While others are talking, Dave is doing and has earned our support.

Third…someone “in-between”. There’s a number of candidate’s who’ve served the community on various boards & committees over the last few years, but we feel Lee Dunayer is a good choice to balance out the line-up. He’s a financial whiz and we could use all the help we can to balance the budget & deal with the financial challenges we face as a City. As BWP Vice-Chair he’s knowledgeable on Utility & infrastructure issues, is a big fan of renewable energy and our “green” efforts to be environmentally friendly, and as a former PERC member (& pilot), someone I trust to protect our best interests in relation to airport matters. My wife & I have been a big fan of Marsha Ramos over the years and trust her judgment, so with her glowing endorsement, along with that of City Treasurer Donna Anderson, Lee gets the nod for the 3rd available Council seat.

We all spent countless hours watching the Presidential campaign coverage this past year, but how many of us are willing to spend an hour or 2 researching the people who will be making critical decisions that in many ways, will have a greater impact on our daily lives than the decisions made in Washington or Sacramento. Ballots are due by February 24th. If you haven’t already done so, please take the time to Vote…Burbank’s future depends on it!

Burbank Council Candidate Q&A – Barbara Sharp

February 3, 2009

Barbara Sharp

Barbara Sharp

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? 

~ I myself am a non-smoker and allergic to smoke, so I am appreciative that I no longer have to be subjected to second-hand smoke aboard airplanes and in restaurants. Thus, I am supportive of some controls on smoking, for no reason other than smoking is not really a private habit or pleasure, as it impacts the air quality of everyone in the user’s vicinity. With that being said, I am in favor of allowing the private sector to address further restrictions on smoking, such as in multi-unit housing. I have lived in units where my neighbors were smokers and the effect does travel into adjacent units and impacts the ambiance and aesthetics of the premises in general. I am interested in taking a wait-and-see approach and allowing property owners to address any additional problems by, for example, designating certain buildings or units as non-smoking and/or charging appreciably more for units where smokers reside, such as is often done for tenants with pets. 

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? 

~ As Burbank is the “Media Capital,” I believe we must be supportive of film/television/Internet production, if we are to live up to the title. I have been a producer of low budget, small scale documentary and feature productions and see no legitimate public purpose that is served by charging these productions a permit fee based upon the mere fact that external lighting and/or audio gear is being utilized. These factors — either alone or in conjunction with other requirements of the production – do not necessarily mean the particular shoot is unsafe or otherwise burdensome to the City. 

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? 

~ I definitely support revisiting Burbank’s Home Occupation Ordinance. A primary purpose of laws of this nature is to ensure neighborhoods are not burdened with additional traffic and parking congestion when residents run businesses out of their homes. However, today many home businesses are computer-based or involve very limited business-related visits, such as with music lessons or media freelancers, including audio and video computer production and editing. Additionally, our economy has made it a necessity for some residents to work at home due to job loss; because the operation cannot support off-site business rent; or in order to supplement a family’s income. As long as the particular business does not transform the residence and the neighborhood into an operation that should legitimately be conducted in a proper business zone, residents should be permitted to work in this manner. 

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? 

~ While little can be done to address school hour drop-off and pick-up traffic, it is inexcusable that property owners should be subjected to unruly students who are excessively loud, damage private property and/or loiter. This needs to be addressed by the PTA organization, the Burbank Unified School District and, if necessary, the Police. The community is doing a complete disservice to students when this type of behavior is permitted without repercussion. I am fully supportive of meaningful penalties for students who vandalize property or otherwise create a nuisance, and I advocate a zero-tolerance policy for same. Weekend activities on school property should only be permitted when adequately supervised and monitored. 

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? 

~ The Aquatic Facility is a unique feature of our City’s many public programs and services that other Cities simply do not enjoy. As with all facilities of this nature, major upgrades and replacement are required as the useful lives expire. Review of usage demand and cost should be undertaken, then, if feasible during this time of economic downturn, I support the renovation/replacement of the Aquatics Facility. 

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? 

~ These 12 years that I have been living in Burbank, I’ve been like most of you – working, paying my taxes, paying my bills and enjoying our exceptional quality of life. I can relate to the average resident and business owner. I plan to bring to City Council an open-door policy and some fresh energy to build consensus and arrive at meaningful solutions. I am against, and will not participate in, “back room deals.” The citizens of Burbank deserve an open, equitable system that encourages participation from all those desiring to do so. I bring no ties to pet projects, committees and/or organizations that might seek to influence decision-making. I have been a grateful recipient of the high quality of life afforded here in Burbank and would now consider it a privilege to serve the City and you, the residents. 

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 support free speech and participation by the public at all levels of government, including City Council meetings. I am in favor of preserving the current public comment period to the extent it serves the free exchange of information and expression, as well as the particular subject at-issue. 

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 fully support enforcement of the Freedom of Information Act, which in California has been enacted as The California Public Records Act (California Government Code §§6250 – 6276.48. Under these provisions, access is immediate and allowed at all times during business hours. (§6253(a).) Staff does not have to disrupt operations to allow immediate access, but a decision whether to grant access must be prompt. An agency (e.g., City of Burbank) may not adopt rules that limit the hours records are open for viewing and inspection, but may adopt regulations stating procedures to be followed. (§§6253(d); 6253.4(b).) The agency has ten days to decide if copies will be provided, or, in some limited cases, 14 days (§6253(c)). Access is always free (§6253) and copying costs are limited to statutory fees set by the Legislature and not by local ordinances. The agency must justify the withholding of any record by demonstrating that the record is exempt or that the public interest in confidentiality outweighs the public interest in disclosure. (§6255.) I believe you will agree that if we simply demand enforcement of The California Public Records Act, our rights will be adequately protected. 

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? 

~ The economic downturn that is being experienced at all levels of government and society affords us an opportunity to evaluate our fiscal policies in the City of Burbank. While it would be irresponsible for me to arbitrarily cite specific programs or services at this time, I certainly advocate taking a hard look at our expenditures. Then, under-serving and/or under-performing programs and services can be streamlined or eliminated. We need to look for ways to implement efficiencies that will save money across the board – just like all of us are doing in our own households. Also, Burbank is unique since we generate our own power and are invested in other generating facilities, such that additional opportunity may exist to sell surplus for more revenue. In general, City government needs to shift its way of thinking — from spending everything available to creating surplus resulting from successfully implemented efficiencies. A balanced budget is not a luxury; it is a necessity. 

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? 

~ Burbank is truly fortunate to have such good neighbors as Warner Brothers Studios and The Walt Disney Company, among many others, who afford us a supportive tax base, as well as give Burbank its unique character in being the “Media Capital.” Our City needs to ensure we do our best to continue to attract and retain entertainment and entertainment-related companies. Burbank presently enjoys a very low office vacancy rate, and we need to continue to foster a positive, nurturing business environment and not unduly restrict the rights of owners to profitably operate their businesses and properties. As far as dining and shopping locally, Burbank has come a long way in its offerings. It is precisely this wide variety of choice that encourages the public to shop and dine locally. 

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. 

~ The stated goals and objectives of Burbank’s Redevelopment Agency Board are to remove blight; improve utilities/infrastructure; promote rehabilitation and increase housing stock to primarily low income households; and promote local employment opportunities. However, with respect to the Family Service Agency (FSA) of Burbank, which is a 501(c)(3) organization (exempt, non-profit), their stated purpose is to provide low-cost/no-cost professional clinical and psycho-educational services to the families of Burbank and the neighboring communities. Therefore, resident concern over the use of Redevelopment funds for FSA projects is justified. The Burbank Housing Corporation (BHC) is a private non-profit housing developer that was chartered in 1997 with the assistance of the City of Burbank’s Redevelopment Agency. The mission of the BHC is to preserve, upgrade and develop affordable housing opportunities in Burbank and to provide a safe, service-enriched environment for the residents in our community. As a result, much more interplay, including usage of Redevelopment Funds, is to be expected. 

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? 

~ The biggest issue facing the Burbank Unified School District (BUSD) is how to continue, with less State money, to achieve academic goals without sacrificing programs like physical education, art and music. I would hope BUSD would first pursue non-classroom cuts and the freezing of non-critical purchases. We can explore collaborative opportunities with BUSD, such as combined purchasing and centralized printing and copying operations. We can also assist BUSD in implementing business-like practices with respect to education. As we move forward, we all must operate smartly and efficiently with respect to contracts and negotiations with unions, contractors and vendors. I would also like to see government restrictions lifted on parents and others who, through the parent-teacher organizations, would like to undertake to upgrade and enhance their individual schools, as well as fulfill service needs, but are prohibited from doing so independent of draconian government restrictions, primarily regarding labor. 

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 believe the residents of Burbank are more than capable of implementing “term limits” via their vote; however, yes, I do personally vow to serve no more than two terms. I would consider it a distinct privilege to serve the residents and City of Burbank as a City Council member. 

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? 

~ Presently, the voluntary curfew compliance rate is 97%. It is estimated that the imposition of a mandatory curfew will cause cargo flights to be diverted, with one carrier’s bank courier operations relocated in its entirety. This is in addition to the expected relocation of corporate operators, as well as passenger costs for cancelled or diverted flights. As aviation continues upgrading to “Stage-3” aircraft, Burbank residents are direct beneficiaries of superior technology in terms of noise reduction, and even more so, as “Next Generation” aircraft comes online. Noise is a concern we all share, however, a curfew does not necessarily address the overall noise signature. In the end, the decision to implement a mandatory curfew is within the sole discretion of the Federal Aviation Administration. We know the airport is a huge economic resource for our City, and a recent change in legislation now allows Burbank to reap an additional approximately $500,000 in wing-tip fuel revenue. We should look at whether continuing to fund expensive studies to address a 3% shortfall is the best use of our money. Additionally, Burbank is, for the time being, protected from the threat of airport expansion. Since the Airport Development Agreement does not expire until 2015, Council members elected to serve these next four years will not be addressing the fate of the B6 property. Furthermore, Measure B, which I fully support, requires the issue of a new or relocated terminal to be voted upon by the residents of Burbank. I also support avoiding Easterly take-offs, such that the Hillside and other areas not currently impacted by the Airport continue to be protected. I welcome the opportunity to speak with flight path residents regarding these issues. 

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? 

~ Environmentally-sound development – both commercial and residential — with consideration of issues such as water conservation, energy efficiency, waste reduction, renewable energy and recycling deserves our attention. We can encourage building lean, green businesses and residences through educating the public on available options and the many benefits, including cost-savings, that construction of this nature affords. Additionally, we can feature green properties that implement these efficiencies in City literature. I am also interested in encouraging the use of solar panels on public buildings and private residences. By investigating and implementing these efficiencies, we will be making good decisions about our City’s growth and inevitable change that will help ensure our high quality of life continues for generations to come. 

Contact Barbara Sharp: 
Phone: 818-729-0507 
Email: bsharp7@earthlink.net 
Web site: http://www.sharpforburbank.com Barbara Sharp web site

Burbank Council Candidate Q&A – Dave Golonski

February 3, 2009

 

Dave Golonski

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? 

~ I strongly support our existing SHSCO and would be willing to look at the issue for multi-family housing. I believe that’s a tougher issue, but perhaps requiring notice would be a good initial step. 

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. 

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? 

~ I am willing to look at this issue, however I will want to make sure that we don’t turn residential zones into defacto commercial zones and that we make sure that neighborhoods are protected from potential negative impacts. 

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? 

~ I am always willing to look at what can be done to improve the quality of life in every neighborhood. School traffic can be chaotic and we’ve been able to make some improvements in some areas. Living next to a school will always mean there are certain impacts that are unavoidable, similar to living next to a park. 

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? 

~ Yes. 

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. 

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

~ Probably leave it as it is, I would like to see if we can schedule hearings on a certain night where that is all we are going to do. 

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)? 

~ The city is required by law to respond to FOIA requests in a certain time frame. I think the city needs to be timely in honoring informal requests as well. 

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? 

~ I would start by freezing all non-essential open positions, reviewing outside consulting contracts and looking for ways to save money on the various things that we purchase (i.e. insurance). We can balance the budget without impacting the level of service we provide. Rates are a different issue as our rates are all handled as enterprise funds and their levels are set based on our costs. I would look for ways to cut or maintain our costs to minimize any rate increase that may be necessary. 

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 can get the word out to everyone that it helps our community to shop locally, use local businesses and keep jobs local. 

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. 

~ We have used redevelopment funds to better our community and this has included supporting some non-profits that provide essential service to our community. We have also contributed in the range of $45 million to our schools, built a new Police/Fire headquarters, new fire stations and the Buena Vista Library with Redevelopment funds. I’d call that maximizing these funds. We also use these funds for infrastructure needs such as the recent improvements on Burbank Blvd. 

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? 

~ We are funding the renovation of the track & fields at our High Schools and the building of a new stadium at Burroughs. We work closely with the school district and support Peacebuilders at the elementary schools as well as counseling at elementary, middle and high schools. We also support programs such as Challenge Day at our middle and high schools. We currently pay for a resource manager to help the district conserve energy and water and will continue to look for ways to help them provide better services and reduce their costs. 

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 think the voters of Burbank are quite capable of choosing who they think will best represent them. I also don’t believe we have had a problem with lack of turnover on the council. After this election at least 4 of the council members will have less than three years experience. 

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 strongly support the Part 161 application for a mandatory curfew and believe a new terminal needs to come with guarantees against expansion. 

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? 

~ There are many things we can do to be a more sustainable city. I believe the city should be a leader in this area, as we have been with our Natural Gas fleet and our push towards more renewable sources in our energy portfolio. I would also like to see us create our own green waste composting program (we currently ship green waste to Ventura) and promote more use of bio-fuels. 

Contact Dave Golonski: 
Phone: 818-434-5873 
Email: Dgolon@aol.com 
Web site: http://www.reelectdavegolonski.com Dave Golonski web site


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