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New Burbank City Council facing challenges and controversy

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The new Burbank City Council is facing tough challenges in 2023. On the list, homelessness, affordable housing, and battles over development to name a few. The panel’s first major decision, the selection of a mayor, whipped up controversy and a serious dose of surprise. What is usually a demonstration of unity got thrown off by one dissenter. What will that mean for the council members’ ability to work together?

Mayor Selection

Some previous councils got caught up in a web of animosity, scheming, and backroom dealing over the mayor selection. A lot of time and effort ended up focused on blocking or attempting to stop certain members from serving in the position. That might be the fate of the 2023 council after new Council Member Zizette Mullins voted “no” for Vice Mayor Konstantine Anthony to become mayor at the reorganization meeting last month.

Mullins did not explain why she opposed Anthony. She tried to nominate Council Member Nick Schultz for mayor, but that motion failed for a lack of a second. Schultz declined the nomination, “if and when my time comes I will be prepared to serve (as mayor).” Instead, Schultz nominated the vice-mayor by saying, “watching Mister Anthony for two years I have seen him capably and consistently meet all of the essential duties and responsibilities of his current office.” Schultz describes the mayor selection this way, “Despite what some may believe (it is not) about advancing a political agenda or about who we like or opposing those we don’t. It is about honoring the customs and traditions of this body.”

Anthony Wins Mayor Position

Anthony got “yes” votes from new Council Members Nikki Perez and Tamala Takahashi. Along with Anthony’s vote for himself the final tally 4-1. So, Anthony is the mayor for a year. After the attempt by Mullins to by pass Anthony, one has to wonder what will happen when her turn as vice-mayor/mayor comes around. By the way, Schultz received a unanimous vote for vice-mayor.

Advice from Mayor Talamantes

In his final remarks at the reorganization meeting, outgoing Council Member/Mayor Jess Talamantes reminded the council members to always come to the dais with an open mind. After 13 and a half years, Talamantes did not seek re-election. Here is his farewell video put together by city hall staff.

Footnote: Photo is from the new council’s holiday greeting video 2022. (from left to right, Council Member Nikki Perez, Vice Mayor Nick Schultz, Mayor Konstantine Anthony, and Council Members Tamala Takahashi, and Zizette Mullins)

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