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Burbank City Buzz

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Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Burbank Police and Fire Headquarters

A death in the Burbank city jail

More strange events in Burbank. First, over the weekend, an inmate reportedly was found hanging in his jail cell. It was reported on Jim Carlile’s blog and then on The Burbank Leader website that 60-year-old John Alfred Flores’ body was discovered on Easter.

Flores, a domestic violence suspect, was jailed after an incident Sunday morning. Early reports are calling it a suicide. The Los Angeles Coroner will release the official cause of death after its investigation.

I went looking for a press release about the inmate death on the Burbank city website, but couldn’t find one as of Tuesday morning.  Gee, what’s with that?  It’s not like a death in a Burbank jail cell is routine or business as usual.


Suspicious bus accident prompts investigation by city officials

Add another probe to the list of investigations going on in Burbank. Last month on March 20, it was first reported here about talk around town, particularly among city employees, about a strange bus accident in Burbank involving a city bus and a bunch of school children.

The accident happened back on January 15, 2010 at Olive Avenue and Orchard Drive. It was a minor collision between a bus and another vehicle. No injuries. The thing that sparked the talk is that the bus was apparently a regular city bus, not one designated to carry school children. From what I heard, the California Highway Patrol, which handles all school bus accidents, refused to touch this one because of the type of bus involved. So is this some kind of cost cutting measure by the city that’s putting children’s lives at risk?

I asked the City Manager Mike Flad about this accident and he told me to contact Interim Community Development Director, Greg Herrmann. This is where it really gets interesting. I sent Herrmann an e-mail on March 30, 2010, asking about the bus accident.

My e-mail:

Dear Greg Herrmann,

I have some questions about a traffic accident involving a Burbank city bus. City Manager Mike Flad recommended I contact you. The accident occurred on January 15, 2010 at Olive Avenue and Orchard Drive. There were 21 school children on that bus who were picked up earlier at Emerson Elementary and Jordan Middle School. I am told this was not proper school bus, not a “Got Wheels” bus, not a youth bus, and not a pupil activity bus. That is the reason the California Highway Patrol, called to the scene, refused to write-up the collision. I understand all accidents involving school buses are handled by the CHP.

The driver, Duane Beekman, was not licensed to drive a school bus. First, why was a regular Burbank transit bus being used to carry school children? How often is this happening in the city of Burbank? Are parents aware that their children are riding on a bus that does not qualify as a school bus?

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

Sincerely yours,

Fronnie Lewis


Greg Herrmann’s e-mail response on March 31, 2010:

Ms. Lewis,

 My information on this incident is that it was a Got Wheels! bus operating on its normal fixed route, which circles through the city stopping at fixed stops like libraries, parks and recreation facilities and other after-school and weekend destinations.  While it may in fact have picked up a number of kids at the fixed stops near Emerson and Jordon, it was not a “school bus” in the sense that it collected the riders at the schools and delivered them at their residence.  The Got Wheels! system operates the same as any other public transit bus, except that it is only available to youth whose parents have pre-registered for the service.  

You ask below why a regular Burbank transit bus is being used to carry schoolchildren?   Again, my understanding is that it was a Got Wheels! bus that was being used, which is our normal operating vehicle for this youth-dedicated route.  The Got Wheels! buses are the same basic vehicle that is used for the Senior & Disabled service, except that they have the Got Wheels! insignia in addition to the BurbankBus designation that all City transit vehicles display.  

I hope that this information adequately responds to your questions.  Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions. 

Greg Herrmann

Community Development Department

City of Burbank

Since Herrmann’s information contradicted what I had heard, I sent a second e-mail on March 31, 2010:

Greg Herrmann,According to my information, the Burbank Police report specifically states it was not a “Got Wheels” bus. “Got Wheels” was not written on the side of the bus. Also, it was not a youth bus as defined in section 680 of the Vehicle Code and not a pupil activity bus as define in section 546 of the VC. The BPD report indicates the Burbank bus was being used as a school bus.

So I have to ask you again, if this was indeed a regular Burbank bus being used to transport children?

I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.

Thank you,

Fronnie Lewis

Greg Herrmann’s second e-mail response April 2, 2010:

Ms. Lewis,

I have referred your interpretation of the incident to our City Attorney office for a legal opinion.  I have also suggested that they investigate how a confidential police report was made available to the public.    


Greg Herrmann



Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove –Burbank City Hall

Herrmann’s second response is one we’ve seen all too much of lately by Burbank city officials. It’s the “circle the wagons and go on the attack” reaction, rather than dealing with a problem or situation.  Where is the concern for the community, specifically the children?  I haven’t seen the police report on the accident, but it must really contain some damaging details to prompt the city officials to try to track down and “punish” those who were concerned enough to talk about it.

By the way, according to what I’ve heard, the Burbank City Attorney’s Office has been aware of this accident for some time.

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38 Responses to Burbank City Buzz

  1. Mike Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    If the City of Burbank wasn’t being run by such a group of high paid goof offs they would just be honest when they speak. They only know one how to do one thing and that’s hide the facts.

    The police report on this should be released to the press, unless of course Herman and others have some serious things to hide.

    They don’t have concern for children or anyone else. They only care about themselves and their big pay checks that the rest of us pay. Herman should just be fired along with most of the rest of the crew.

  2. Tim Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    Refer you to the city attorney sounds like a threat to me. So why would a simple question be answered by a threat ? Because this is Burbank and you must be on the road to truth. Burbank officials hate the truth.

  3. Shocked Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

    Let’s see, we can expect a biased opinion from the City Attorney that says parents can sign away legal protections imposed by the state to protect children, and a search to fire anyone who may have voiced concern and shed light on a dangerous situation.

    Can parents sign away rights having to do with transportation protections? I kinda doubt it. It seems odd considering parents have to “buckle up” their children in a specific manner to transport them in the family vehicle. But who knows what will come out of the city’s legal department. When Barlow gets involved in any legal “interpretation” he tends to write whatever Golonski and the council majority want, not necessarily what is legally correct.

    Thanks for bring this incident to light.

  4. Tim Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    Here is the way it works. A writers groove asks question. Question is so hard and so confusing to the staff guy that probably makes over one hundred thousand dollars a year that he sends it off to city attorney barlow. Barlow of course makes evn more so surely he can come up with an answer. So what’s next ?

    I predict that city attorney proposes a million dollar budget to hire some expert attorney to review the email from a writers groove. Maybe that attorney can conduct an independent investigation of a writers groove and determine if a writers groove had anything to do with the accident.

    City hall is under the control of overpaid misfits and nin-com-poops.

  5. Jim C. Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

    Wow Fronnie, I love how Herrmann seems a little p.o.’d about you getting a hold of a police report. The wagons are circling, obviously.

    You’re on to something here too, I think. It probably was the Got Wheels route, but maybe not a Got Wheels bus. But the question is, since this is a child-only bus route, do the state and federal school bus transportation laws then apply, and is Burbank violating them.

    BTW, I gave up a few years ago pleading with the city about opening up the Got Wheels route to adults– they are very good and handy for people. But they adamantly refused.

    If they’d had– just like the Beeline in Glendale does– they might not be in hot water right now over this.

    Ironically, you know who it was that went ballistic over the mere idea of letting adults on that bus? Future felon Stacey Murphy, who got in trouble for having guns around kids.

  6. Dominic Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 7:51 pm #

    Does the got wheel bus have seat belts ? Do they make kids put them on ?

    I ask this for a reason. What kind of example or training is it for kids to learn that riding in got wheels with no seat belts is ok when they will get a ticket in ther vehicles without a seat belt ?

    Our city and our council are terrible role models for children.

  7. Fronnie Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    Jim C.,

    I think that’s the bottom line here: is the city of Burbank violating laws designed to protect children riding busses.

    The city of Burbank needs to come clean about that bus accident, release the “confidential police report” on it mentioned by Herrmann in his second e-mail, and give the public a complete accounting of the transportation system being used in this city to carry school children.


    I don’t know if there are seat belts on the “Got Wheels” busses. But it’s a good question and one that city officials should answer.


    I wonder what information parents have been given about that accident. Also, good question about the parents rights and the state laws designed to protect children on busses.


    Yes, Herrmann’s second e-mail sounds like a threat to me as well.


    I agree, the police report should be released to the media. If the city has made some mistakes, they should own up to them and correct the situation. Not hide and threaten those who ask questions or want to see the suspect problems corrected.

  8. Bob Rumson Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    What is the call to make the report available to the media? Fronnie, surely you’re making these allegations after having seen a copy yourself, so why not post it yourself?

    Or are you just speculating, and hearing things second hand, or just straight up making it up?

  9. Fronnie Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 2:28 pm #


    If you read my posts you would know that my reporting is based on reliable sources. I’ve said I have not seen the police report. I stand by my statement that the city should release the report to the media/public.

    Gee, if you doubt my reporting on this incident — you probably would not believe the police report if it were posted on my blog.

  10. Terri Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

    Dearest Bob,

    Why would it be the job of Fronnie Lewis to make any report available to anyone. Perhaps you should contact your paid news source, The Burbank Leader and ask them why they have not been supplied a copy by their good friends (and bosses) at Burbank City Hall ?

    As for making it up this has been a point of much discussion at the do-nut shop for a few weeks. Honestly it must be half of Burbank who now knows that the city is mis-using busses. The question I keep hearing is why does the city disregard every law that they can ?

    Infact Bob every day at the coffee shop and at the do-nut shop the discussion these days seems to be all about the city of Burbanks disregard for this law or that law.

    One is really left to wonder what this city attorney does during the course of his work day. Few seem to believe he gives any sound advice and even fewer believe he knows anything about the law.

    One man said on Monday morning over coffee and donuts that Burbank is the place where truth is a such a hard pill to swallow that they prefer to threaten and deny above all else. This man concluded that what we need is a few iv drips of truth with a shunt into the arms of city hall.

    These threatening emails are a poor excuse for how a democracy should run and a very poor reflection of those who work in public service. Or Bob have we forgotten that the job is public service and that those who engage in that job are indeed public servants.

  11. The Big Blue Dog Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    Mz Lewis you really should stick to reporting Hollywood stories and the weather and leave the reporting on Burbank to the experienced reporters at the Leader.

    You owe Mr Herman an apology for even sending him an email in the first place. Ofcourse your emails should be investigated. They threaten a public official and just might be a terrorist threat.

  12. The Big Blue Dogs Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    Mz Lewis you really should stick to reporting Hollywood stories and the weather and leave the reporting on Burbank to the experienced reporters at the Leader.

    You owe Mr Herman an apology for even sending him an email in the first place. Ofcourse your emails should be investigated. They threaten a public official and just might be a terrorist threat.

  13. Red White & Blue Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    If the writers of this blog has nothing better to do that email and critize our city employees she should move out of Burbank.

    Lady we don’t need your type in Burbank so move out.

  14. Red White & Blue Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 3:15 pm #

    Lady you are an unapreciative ingreat. The city is generous in even provinding a bus for your kind of person to ride in. What do you contribute to the city?
    Do your support the work of our great non profits, no you criticize everything and show no appreciation. It really is time for you to move.

  15. the Lizard Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

    This blog invents news stories. The writer has quite the imagination. Read and enjoy her play time but remember it is her dilusions that create the story.

    There was no serious bus accident in Burbank, but don’t fill her in on any facts. Her kind likes to live in a fantasy world.

  16. Burbank Taxpayer Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 5:54 pm #

    If I could ask, who are your reliable sources? What makes them reliable? Do they tend to show any bias against the City? Reliable to me would be someone who is independent and does not take sides.

  17. the Lizard Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

    Reliable sources ???

    This woman is one of those people. She sits in her underwear while she complains and makes up stories. She talks to semichorus while she waits for the mailman to drop off her next welfare check. I bet she has a picture of Obama next to her bed while she milks the taxpayers for free health care.

  18. Burbank Taxpayer Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    I do question them myself but respectfully I am asking if she will answer my questions. From what I read on here, they do seem to be bias people. Maybe they are not but that what it seems to be. If they are independent then I would love to hear the city’s response.

  19. Jim C. Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 8:24 pm #

    What is this with all these rude responses, comedy night at the Chamber of Commerce?

    Fronnie asks a good question about the city bus system and school kids. The city’s evasive and now threatening response only leads us to conclude that they are hiding something.

    Since it’s been about 10 years since anyone around here has been asking challenging questions about policy, these guys aren’t used to the heat. But they better learn.

  20. the Lizard Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    Taxpayer she doesn’t amswer questions. What she does is make up stories and then ask about her own stories.

    Burbank is the best city in the country. That’s why she lives here. It’s simple. If she doesn’t like it she can take her attitude and her questions and move.

    She would be more at home in Arkansas anyway.

  21. Fronnie Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 10:53 pm #

    Lizard, blue dogs, red, white & blue, Burbank Taxpayer, and other attackers,

    My blog stories speak for themselves. I really think you should all move somewhere else.

    I have a degree in journalism/communications from Stanford University and wrote television news for several stations including NBC-4 here in Burbank. Most folks without an agenda can see my journalism background and experience in my writings and posts.

    I’m not moving. Get over it. I work and live in this town. I pay taxes as well. I plan to continue to run this blog and ask questions.

    If you don’t like it, don’t visit. You will not be missed.

  22. Burbank Taxpayer Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 10:15 am #

    Wait, where was I being disrespectful? I only asked some questions about your sources. Lighten up! You made a specific reference to “reliable” sources. I was asking if they were an independent source.

    I could careless if you have any degree, or from whatever prestigious university. A person who questions your sources is an “attacker”?

  23. Fronnie Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    Burbank Taxpayer,

    I don’t care about your opinion. As the writer I get to describe my sources the way I feel appropriate. My choice. I do not plan to give anymore details about my reliable sources.

    If you need an “education” on the meaning of reliable sources and independent news sources — search the Internet for yourself.

  24. Red White & Blue Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    Lady you should move someplace and put your degree from the Stanford College for the mentally Challenged to good use picking flowers for weddings.

    Before you pack your bags we expect a full and public apology to Mr Herrmann for your threats and disrespectfull emails.

  25. Red White & Blue Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

    Mz Lewis is her own relaible source Taxpayer. She looked into the mirror and told herself a story.

    Why not name the source ? Because it is a fantasy.

  26. Samantha Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    Why is a bus accident so important when traffic accidents occur everyday ?

    My thoughts are that we have a mayor. We are very fortunate to have our mayor taking care of our cities business. As good citizens our role is to trust and support our mayor as he guides us in the direction of righteousness.

    Those who have critical comments or differing ideas should run for an elected position. If the citizens support their ideas they will hold office. As citizens we have one right and that right is not to criticize and complain it is to support our elected officials and count our blesings that they take care of business for us and lead us so well.

  27. Danny Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    Well Samantha if you like nut casses running things I guess we have a great mayor. Give me a break people have a right to complain and most people do complain about this guy who thinks he is mayor.

    I vote Fronie Lewis stay in Burbank and the rest of you move someplace else. Maybe there is some good property available for you in Cuba.

  28. Donald Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    I resent as a taxpayer that each of your emails cost me money to answer. The time taken to deal with you costs the taxpayers money and steals money from childrens programs. I would hope that you will pay for the time taken to answer your foolish questions in the future.

  29. the Lizard Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 2:50 pm #


    Just maybe you can list for all of us the civic organizations you are a member of. Include the non profits you assist and are involvd in. Some of us would like to know just what you contribute to Burbank.
    Don’t list your membership in the Obama fan club or your membership in the I Love Obasma Club. What do you contribute to Burbank lady ?

  30. Burbank Taxpayer Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 3:53 pm #

    Ms F. Leegh Lewis,

    Well, I am glad you don’t care about my opinion. Quite frankly, I don’t give a damn about yours either. I just made a simple request. You take the request like it is an attack on your integrity as a blogger. Yes, there is a quite a bit of bias in your bloggings. It would be like me saying, I have a “reliable” source who thinks you are full of crap.

    As for sharing your resources, please don’t say you don’t plan to give anymore details about your so called reliable sources. You never gave any details about who and what they were. So I have no idea what you are talking about.

    I have more “education” than you think. You do make yourself like real smug with your “I have a degree” from Stanford. Good for you. I don’t know if I believe you have any degree, but maybe your “reliable” source can validate your credentials.

  31. Glad Bag Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    F. Leegha Lewis if you have a degree why do you only write on a blog isn’t that a tad bit second class ?

    Your expertise really is making much adoo about nothing when you should just be thankfull to have the opportunity to live and work in Burbank.

  32. Blue Shield Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    Lewis did you contact the public information officer about the accident you claim happened ? You want to be a reporter then ask the information officer what happened and report what he tells you. Just to let you know your limited experience and even more limited experience is not news a press release is news Lewis.

  33. Fronnie Friday, April 9, 2010 at 12:06 am #

    If you think so little of my blog and my skills why are you commenting here?

    You have amused a lot folks with your comments. Now you have become boring. I will no longer respond to any of your remarks.

    I’m more determine than ever to continue to cover this accident and any other story I want.

    Your complaining, sniveling and whatever has just made me more determined. Congrats!

  34. Shocked Friday, April 9, 2010 at 1:14 am #

    These disrespectful comments sound like those that have spewed from Burbank city council members to anyone who had a differing opinion or questioned their actions. In the past those remarks went something like this: “The cadre of people who come down here to complain don’t belong to any churches, local charities or contribute anything to the city. So your comments are not welcome and neither are you!”

    This has been the standard line for those who get freaked out when anyone from the public brings out information that the people of Burbank would not otherwise learn. Quite an attitude to encourage democracy wouldn’t you say?

    The Constitution provides for free speech with no restrictions for anyone to voice their opinion and speak freely. It says nothing about who you are, what you have to say, that you must belong to any church to speak, not even that you have to pay taxes. Those who try to intimidate and shut down these rights need to move, not the people who are exercise their rights.

    So … the message of “sit down, shut up, and go to the back of the bus” has no place in today’s political discussion and blogging world. You can change the channel, turn off your hearing aids, or just go away. Those who leave insulting comments only demonstrate ignorance and reinforce the belief that laws are being broken daily in Burbank.

  35. John Brady Friday, April 9, 2010 at 4:18 am #

    Fronnie. Whoopee! I am having so much fun reading these comments. This is almost like reading FreeRepublic.

    Now if you feel upset about any of these comments do what I do. Reach up and feel your scalp. Notice that it does not have a scar there. You and I are not in John Lewis’ league. But we can still suit up.

    These are just nasty little words from anonymous people. I always remember that John Lewis faced real danger and that makes anything people say about me … well it just makes me laugh.

    One little question about an accident seems to bring out the eliminationist tendencies in people. To them I say “This is my and Fronnie’s HOME. We would like to see it better. So we are going to make it better for you too.”

    I love your work.

  36. Beverly Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    I see nothing wrong with Fronnie asking questions. The information she presents appears to be fair and balanced. If anything, we should be asking more questions.

    Questions that should have been asked:

    Should I really put all my retirement money in the stock market?

    So you really think I will be able to sell before the teaser rate ends?

    What are you really doing with my money Bernie?

    I am glad the people of Burbank ask probing difficult questions.

  37. DixieFlyer Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    Hey,”colored Shield”,

    Since when is it necessary to contact the public information officer?
    When did that directive come out?
    After the press release about Taylor’s lawsuit drew so much flack, a Committee of ANJE and Jess “right Dave” Tellamontes has to review the press releases.
    Just last week, during the City Council meeting, folks were instructed to call the Watch Commander.
    The Patrol Captain would be at a ballgame or in the parking lot.


  38. Lawrence Monday, April 12, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

    Don’t forget to VOTE on TUESDAY APRIL 13. It’s time to send Mike Gatto back where he came from.

    Mike Gatto endorsed by Councilman Golonski and in the pocket of Councilman Golonski. Vote NO on Gatto.

Comments are closed.