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2015 Burbank Primary Election endorsements

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Burbank election 2015 sign

There are two seats open on the Burbank City Council in the February 24, 2015 primary election. The biggest issue in this election is development. Incumbent, Emily Gabel-Luddy, is running for re-election, but her pro-development views are problematic. Gabel-Luddy has come across as a cheerleader for development for her “yes” votes and fierce defense of the bloated Talaria/Whole Foods project and the failed very dense North Third Street project. In fairness, Gabel-Luddy was the lone “no” vote on the city council for the controversial Walmart at the Empire Center back in February of 2012.  That project is now in legal limbo as the giant retailer takes its case to court later this month.

Development in moderation is what Burbank needs. The Media City will grow, parcels with be developed, but this must not be done in a manner that appears to throw the doors open for over-sized projects.  The needs of the residents, neighborhoods, and the quality of life in the city ( think traffic, congestion, and demands on city services) should be primary considerations and not afterthoughts.

Juan Guillen and David Nos are strong candidates who would be able to face down high-powered suits and sometimes overzealous or misguided city staffers, when it comes to development and other important issues. Guillen has demonstrated a willingness to stand up for residents and neighborhoods. Nos is neither pro nor anti-development, but a voice of reason that will give all aspects of a project careful deliberation before making a decision. Both candidates have deep roots in Burbank and have been active members in the community.

Media City Groove endorsements for Burbank City Council are:

Juan Guillen

David Nos

There are six candidates vying for three seats on the Burbank School Board. Incumbent, Roberta Reynolds, is president of the board and a two-term member. Reynolds has admitted to conducting a low-key campaign, saying her plan is to “run on my record.” That’s the status quo. I think the school board could use an infusion of  fresh approaches and new ideas.

School board candidate, Steve Ferguson, who attended Burbank schools, is a community activist and an advocate for more vocational training. Dr. Armond Aghakhanian is an educator who champions smaller class sizes and more school counselors. Vahe Hovanessian, long-time Burbank resident and community activist,  is a practicing attorney, who not only brings legal knowledge but experience as a litigator to the table. Both Aghakhanian and Hovanessian are parents with children in Burbank schools.

Media City Groove endorsements for Burbank School Board are:

Dr. Armond Aghakhanian

Steve Ferguson

Vahe Hovanessian


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14 Responses to 2015 Burbank Primary Election endorsements

  1. DixieFlyer Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    Gee, Mrs. Fronnie your “to be fair” about Emily’s no vote on WalMart serves as a marvelous reminder that her vote had Nothing to Do with Land Use.

    Please recall her infamous question: “Will you have LIVE Butchers?”

    They own the land, own the building and were seeking an interior modification.

    Her “staff” were called out by the Judge for “withholding” material information from the decision makers–the City Council.

    There were emails admitting to “withhold” the info from the Council and the applicant.

    The traffic modifications could only be authorized and completed by the City of Burbank.

    Compare that with the “withholding” of the Whole Foods Agreement with Cusumano?

    Just what neighborhood was to be impacted by WalMart on Empire?

    Now look at not just the neighborhoods impacted by Talaria, but the Traffic in the South Quadrant of the City of Burbank!!

    To be FAIR, was her vote on Walmart to “protect” the neighbors?

    It looked like a prejudicial vote against a property owner due to “labor practice” alleged in other Cities and other locations—NOT Land Use on Victory Place or Empire.

  2. Al in SoCal Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 10:39 pm #

    Leave it to Mike Nolan to focus on one line from your article about a councilmember you didn’t even endorse – no less! LOL …

    Well whatever … I’m disheartened to see that you didn’t even mention Sharon Springer in your article – whether you endorsed her or not.

    Guillen – I’m worried he’ll “always” be holding his finger up to see which way the air is blowing and vote like that. He will always give the folks who complain on Tuesday night and not enough for the majority who do not.

    David Nos – is a Republican w/ a libertarian bend … scary. Now at least I think I understand your political direction …. disappointed to say the least, but we all get to vote and have an opinion.

    Thanks for this and hopefully people WILL participate in this election.

  3. Emma Camacho Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 11:52 pm #

    I’m surprised that you did not even mention Sharon Springer when discussing City Council candidates since your focus (rightly) is on moderate, sustainable development. Ms. Springer has not only been a leading member of The Sustainable Burbank Commission for several years, but she has REPEATEDLY addressed the City Council specifically on matters of development, including the new IKEA project and the now defunct 3rd Street development. Her op-eds and letters to the editor have been published numerous times in The Leader and she is by far the most qualified candidate given her Master’s Degree in City Planning and extensive knowledge of the development process. She is the one candidate with the intellect, experience, and temperament to work collaboratively with the other council members AND who will truly listen to what the residents want.

  4. Fronnie Monday, February 16, 2015 at 12:50 am #


    Emily Gabel-Luddy has said repeatedly she did not vote for every development project. Walmart is a major project and the fact remains she voted against it for whatever reasons. That vote was three years ago. I believe Gabel-Luddy’s recent votes of approval for the recent Talaria and North Third street projects are the most troublesome for her re-election campaign.

  5. Fronnie Monday, February 16, 2015 at 1:11 am #


    I did not mention several candidates running for both city council and school board. I mentioned the incumbents because they have the most experience in the positions and usually get a lot of attention from voters because of that.

    If you think Sharon Springer is a strong candidate and should be on the city council — then vote for her.

    I think it’s important to hear the voices of the minorities as well as the majority. Juan Guillen has gone out into the community and talked with residents about issues that concern them — like the Magnolia Boulevard parking dispute.I think that is a good thing.

    This is a nonpartisan election. Political affiliation did not come into play in my decision to endorse a candidate.

  6. Fronnie Monday, February 16, 2015 at 1:16 am #


    I hear your passion for Sharon Springer. I agree she has some good qualities.

  7. Al in SoCal Monday, February 16, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    “Political affiliation did not come into play in my decision to endorse a candidate” –

    It’s unbelievable to me that most people take that into at least some consideration while voting. It’s tough to believe that it absolutely in no manner, in no way affected your decision.

  8. Fronnie Monday, February 16, 2015 at 12:26 pm #


    You know, I have heard rumblings that some folks in town have been pushing a certain candidate because of party affiliation. In local Burbank city elections I don’t see why that should be the case.How a candidate stands on local issues should be what matters. Now if the candidates begin to push their party affiliation into the forefront of their campaigns– I might have to change that view.

    Over the past few weeks, I have discussed the candidates with a number of voters. None has asked me about the party affiliation of a candidate.

  9. DixieFlyer Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

    Thank You for your courteous response Mrs. Fronnie.

    Whether 3 years or 3 months, Land Use decisions based on NON land use issues need to be identified as such,

    An existing building that requires a traffic signal is Significantly different from traffic impacts to whole neighborhoods.

    One signal vs. 8 to 12 cul-de-sac’s Plus signals?

    A strip club or a shoe repair shop should well impact decision making for reasons such as time of day visits and length of stay.

    It’s hard to consider if a repair person or dancer is “live”!!

  10. Lee Evans Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 1:53 am #

    I wish your endorsements had addressed the record David Nos had while serving on the school board, part of the board that actually forgot to budget an entire department one year. When they later realized they didn’t have the surplus they’d announced and spent, they had to cut off new programs and activities they’d funded with the mistaken surplus, and still ended up in the red. One of my sons saw their new art class disappear when the money had to be taken back and the other lost a playground duty monitor.

    It was the same board that put their faith in a facilities manager who scolded the public that dual pane windows in remodeled schools would not provide energy savings, that they didn’t include warranties and that the city refused to use them. He was wrong on all counts but David Nos stayed silent and backed up the staff. It was also the same board that lied to the public about firing Superintendent Aponik. They claimed they had no idea why he wasn’t coming to work and later admitted they had fired him. Maybe the problem was old news for you or you maybe think he learned his lesson, but why did you not even mention that the school board he served on was famous for taking votes and discussing agenda items in e-mail and private conversations where the board members would agree in private how they would vote in public?

    If David Nos and Juan Guillen are the guys to stand up to the suits and business people, why did you not at least mention that they are the Chamber of Commerce candidates? I’m very curious why you didn’t observe that they run as a slate and supporting each other when talking to business interests and on the hillsides, but Guillen runs without mentioning business or the Chamber or David Nos when he’s going after the populist, neighborhood support. When it comes to his populist, neighborhood campaign it’s hard not to notice that Guillen has tailored his campaign and platform to make it sound just like that of another candidate. He’s basically copied the homework of a candidate who has done a lot more than make sure he can be seen on camera in that one special seat in the city council chambers every week.

    Maybe none of these facts that can be easily confirmed by reading newspapers for the years Nos was on the school board would have changed your mind. Maybe you just haven’t seen the difference in how Guillen campaigns on the hillsides and how he does it on the flatlands. Maybe you think Guillen does a better job with the populist issues than the candidate whose words and positions he’s duplicated. But when you mention none of these things it makes it seem that you don’t really know very much about the past and present day surrounding the candidates you like.

    Many are still amazed that you gave ONE school board candidate a series of videos posted on your site, and then went ahead and endorsed that very same candidate. You really don’t understand how bad that looks? And you didn’t address the most obvious issues about him, like his campaign manager being caught in the last election stealing campaign signs and still being kept as campaign manager. What about his having dropped out of every single panel, board and class he’s signed up or volunteered for over the years, never once following through on his commitments? Once again, maybe you have reasons that record does not bother you, but to fail to mention the record makes it appear you don’t know about it, or that you think the facts are in dispute.

    Playing favorites this way is not illegal. It may not even be wrong. But if you continue to call yourself an independent journalist you may be fooling yourself even more than you are trying to fool the public.

  11. Fronnie Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 9:35 am #

    Lee Evans,

    Clearly your knowledge of journalism is rather weak and slanted. Fairness is about giving every candidate the same opportunity and review. Some candidates are mentioned more in copy than others. Some get their photos used more. Some get their videos used.

    Every candidate got the chance to answer the same or similar questions in their own way on this blog. Some had very lengthy responses others were shorter.

    Steve Ferguson wanted to do a video interview. If you read the interview, you would see he agreed to some tough guidelines. No other candidate offered to do that. Jesse Tangk has sent out his own videos to the media. Some have appeared here on Media City Groove.

    Oh by the way, if you were a reader of this blog, you would know that the campaign sign theft issue involving a member of Ferguson’s campaign was covered on this blog back in April of 2013.

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with David Nos and Juan Guillen being small business owners. Both have been straight forward about that. Nor do I see anything wrong with being a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Long time council member/Mayor Dr. David Gordon is a business owner and fights for the rights of residents and neighborhoods. So Nos and Guillen are not unusual in that.

    You’re entitled to your gripes and complaints about these candidates. However, your gripes and complaints appear to have blinded you to the fact that someone else could hold different and valid opinions about these candidates.

  12. Lee Evans Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    You have misstated my points. For example, I did not “complain” that Guillen and Nos are small business owners. Technically, corporate records in Sacramento show Guillen’s business is owned by his mother and he is an employee, not an owner. But I did complain that the candidates campaign as one type of candidate in one place and as another sort in other places, and in one of those roles they claim to be “fighting” the influence wielded by supporters of the other role.

    Your coverage of the sign incident in 2013 does not eliminate the obligation to explain today why the candidate’s decision not to terminate the campaign manager responsible should not reflect on the candidate. Does this mean that, as a board member, if a district employee is caught engaging in an illegal and unethical act, as a board member the candidate would not support the removal of that employee?

    My comments about the special treatment given one candidate did not involve the written responses to a questionnaire in any way. You have constructed a straw man argument here, as well. I have spoken to three other school board candidates and they all claim they had never even heard of you or your blog until they learned one candidate’s extensive video interviews appeared on line. They say they were never told they had the option of undergoing a lengthy video interview, nor were they invited to do so. They claim the only contact they have had with you was receiving a questionnaire via e-mail. One says he was introduced to you at an event, but you did not ask them any questions. Are they all lying? Or were they to learn of your claimed openness to lengthy, multi-part interviews via osmosis, or some telepathic means?

    You may characterize now as “gripes and complaints” the long, embarrassing record David Nos has as a sitting elected official, but what’s missing is your “balance,” where you acknowledge those indisputable realities and explain why you believe they are not relevant to his effort to return to elected office. It certainly looks as though you just did not know about his very clear record. Or do the voters not deserve to know whether he intends to once again engage in secret meetings far outside those allowed by California’s Sunshine laws? Do the voters not deserve to know how he will avoid repeating the mistake of forgetting to budget for an entire department of the agency he oversees?

    Last of all, my knowledge of the standards of journalism is not at all “weak,” and I believe that if I’d offered a comparable insult about yours my post would have been withheld as “abusive.” But be assured there are those of us who know very well specifically what your duties and responsibilities were at NBC 4, and a degree in Communications is not at all the same as a degree in journalism. My degree IS in journalism, and I’ve thought journalism at the college level for more than 15 years. I helped write the Code of Ethics for both PEN and SPJ. My name is listed in two “Halls of Fame” on two US coasts for my work in print and radio journalism, and my pension check carries the logo of one of the largest and oldest outlets for journalism in the United States. One of my two sons also now works at NBC 4 out of NBC/Univ, but that’s only a brag. I don’t mean to imply his degree and work credentials somehow imbue me with special J powers. But it is fair to say that journalism is in the family’s blood.

    Rather than attempting to call into question my qualifications, I strongly suggest you instead stick to weighing the points I’ve made and, at the very least, consider whether it might reasonably appear to the average outsider that you blatantly play favorites. If you’re only interested in being another blogger, some kind of local pundit who only bloviates from their own ideological point of view and with a clear agenda, protecting pals and and serving as attack dog against those who challenge them, you are obviously entitled to do so. But please do not denigrate a sacred trust and a noble pursuit by trying to claim it’s journalism.

  13. Fronnie Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

    Lee Evans,

    It is not too difficult to find out that I was a news writer at NBC-4 for more than 25 years. I do not see any reason to drag up an issue from a previous campaign. You should have done your talking and complaining about that issue back then.

    This blog is not your personal platform.

    My degree is Communications and I completed requirements for both print and broadcast journalism at Stanford University. I don’t share your views. Where you teach those views are not my concern.

    If you bothered to check you would see I have been covering elections and campaigns on this blog for several years. I’m not a newcomer. If you don’t like my blog or what I have to say — move on! You’ve had your say.

  14. Al in SoCal Monday, February 23, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

    “How a candidate stands on local issues should be what matters. Now if the candidates begin to push their party affiliation into the forefront of their campaigns– I might have to change that view.”

    Definitely understand that, but a person’s political affiliations go into the “what would this person think” box in my mind and someone who has expressed a point of view so different than my own would not get my vote.

    On Guillen – I hope he has learned from the last election. Of course the minority-opinion should be heard and sometimes acted upon, but not to the point of not acknowledging that they are, in fact, a minority. Sidewalk situation was where he lost my vote – of course sidewalks should have been put in. The sky didn’t fall, and they are being used. Some of the residents had moved fencelines to where they didn’t belong onto property that didn’t belong to them, no doubt why some were opposed to it. Boiled down to a sense of entitlement where none existed.

    I’m worried that someone without all the facts would listen to their complaints, and without clearly investigating ALL the reasons would jump to a conclusion that seemed to be the most “popular”. Maybe things are different now – one can hope.

    Not ragging on your selections – just expressing why I chose differently.

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