Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Burbank
Judgment in the Burbank PD
For several days, I’ve been hearing about some ominous letters handed out to some members of the Burbank PD, the result of information gathered during those hush-hush investigations for alleged misconduct in the department. A source tells me that those who have received letters include Sergeant Chris Canales, Officer Nick Nichols, Detective Mike Reyes, Officer Elfuego Rodriguez, Lieutenant Omar Rodriguez, and Officer Tommy Perez.
Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Burbank Police and Fire Headquarters
Apparently these letters put the recipients on administrative leave. I’m told all of those listed above are in jeopardy of being fired. The word is Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse has issued a warning that more judgment letters are expected to go out to certain department personnel this week. I’ll have more on this later. Also, check out Jim Carlile’s post on his blog about the BPD letters.
UPDATE: A response from the city posted on its website at 3:30 p.m. today. Read it here.
City Statement on Burbank PD Independent Investigation Concluding
Burbank, Calif. (March 29, 2010)
In April of 2009, the City retained retired police Chief Jim Gardiner to conduct an independent investigation into serious allegations that had been made against certain police officers in the Burbank Police Department.
The independent investigation the City requested is now coming to a close, and will be moving onto the required administrative process. Because of the strict personnel confidentiality requirements, the City is limited in the information it can legally provide to the public.
The City has taken every effort to make sure that the investigation and its results are objective and fair. During this entire process, the consistent direction from the City Council was always to “follow the trail wherever it leads.”
The results have been reviewed by private attorney Rich Kreisler, who has significant expertise in police investigations, multiple members of the City’s legal team, Interim Police Chief Scott LaChasse and his staff and two well-respected outside attorneys (Merrick Bobb who served with the Christopher Commission and former United States Attorney Debra Wong Yang).
Interim Chief LaChasse, a 32-year veteran of the LAPD, will be responsible for issuing any personnel actions.
We urge the public to be patient and allow the process to proceed to its legal completion. Our citizens can be assured that the vast majority of the officers in this department are dedicated public servants committed to the safety of Burbank and have served the community with integrity and courage.
Race for the vacant seat in the 43rd Assembly District
Over the weekend, I got more of those expensive looking campaign flyers in my snail mail box from the Mike Gatto and Nayiri Nahabedian camps and their supporters. Also, at least one candidate phone pitch from the Gatto folks.
I’m not a fan of political phone calls, but I do read campaign literature. Again, most of what I got concerned the Democratic front runners, Gatto and Nahabedian. I have to mention, both candidates have been criticized for allegedly, ah, embellishing their credentials. This kind of criticism could end-up hurting both candidates.
Last Wednesday during the candidates’ forum for the 43rd Assembly District, sponsored by the Glendale/Burbank League of Women Voters, Gatto made a good showing and Nahabedian did well, too. The third Democratic candidate, Chahe Keuroghelian, was just okay. The fourth candidate, Republican Sunder Ramani, was smooth and articulate in answering questions. Republicans are a minority in this district, but Ramani is still a strong candidate.
I’ve received my sample ballot for the special primary election on Tuesday, April 13. Interestingly, the only candidate statement included is from Ramani who also appears in the top spot on the ballot. By the way, if you want to vote by mail you gotta get your application in by April 6.
Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove –Burbank City Hall
To gate or not to gate, that was the question
Meanwhile at last Tuesday’s city council meeting, Republican Assembly candidate Sunder Ramani wore his private consultant hat. Ramani led the charge to try to convince the city council to approve a gate to the entrance of the hillside housing tract, the Burbank Hills Community. They’ve got their own private roads and recreational facilities up there near Brace Park.
In the past, the city council has rejected the gate proposal, saying it would hamper access by emergency vehicles. This time around, the proposal contained new technology to address the old issue of emergency access along with a 24-hour guard. The council still turned thumbs down on the gate as unnecessary in a 4-to-1 vote.
Mayor Gary Bric was the only “yes” vote. Apparently the other council members did not buy the complaints of crime, fast cars, and safety concerns by some residents/speakers, so they denied the gate request. Check out the discussion about the controversy and some, ah, side issues, over on Jim Carlile’s blog.
I happened to drop by the McDonald’s at Reese Place and Olive Avenue last Friday night. A long line of vehicles stretched from the drive-thru window around the restaurant and nearly into the street. Found out many customers were taking advantage of the fillet-o-fish special. Usually $3.59 each, except on Friday when the price drops to a buck-twenty-nine. This is how the big chains stay in business and make profits during a down turn in the economy. They offer the kind of bargains that draw crowds.
More grocery markets popping up in Media City and that’s a good thing. Magnolia Fresh Market, which is really at 418 Glenoaks Boulevard near Magnolia Boulevard, is opening soon, according to signs plastered on the storefront.
Also on Glenoaks, near Providencia Avenue, the old 20/20 Video store is being converted into the Glenoaks/Providencia Grocery Store. Then over in the Rancho area, the new Fresh and Easy Neighborhood Market is getting read to open its doors on April 7th, at the location of that old CVS Pharmacy near Verdugo Avenue and Reese Place. This is a perfect place for a market. Plenty of store space and parking.
Hopefully these new markets will take some of the pressure off the Trader Joe’s on Alameda Avenue. It sure would be nice to be able to easily find a parking space and not be bumping carts with shoppers inside the almost always crowded grocery store.