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Burbank City Council candidates draw a crowd to Woodbury University forum

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Photo: FLLewis / Media City G -- Audience in Woody's Cafeteria at Woodbury University for the city council candidates' forum January 28, 2015

Photo: FLLewis / Media City G — Audience in Woody’s Cafeteria at Woodbury University for the city council candidates’ forum January 28, 2015

It was practically a full house at the city council candidates’ forum in Woody’s Cafeteria at Woodbury University last Wednesday, January 28. Much of the candidates’ opening statements and views expressed were repeats or pretty close to what they said during the recent League of Women Voters of Glendale/Burbank forum.  However, there were some moments that set this forum apart from the previous one.

Photo: Greg Reyna / Freelancer / Media City G -- 2015 Burbank City Council candidates at a forum held in Woody's Cafeteria on the Woodbury University campus in Burbank January 28, 2015

Photo: Greg Reyna / Freelancer / Media City G — 2015 Burbank City Council candidates at a forum held in Woody’s Cafeteria on the Woodbury University campus in Burbank January 28, 2015

At various times during the forum, candidates David Nos and Chris Rizzotti chose to stand or walk in front of the audience to make their responses to questions. Neither used notes. Whether you agree with them or not, they both made stronger impressions than candidates that decided to remain seated, reading from prepared text.

Photo: Greg Reyna / Freelancer /Media city G -- City Council candidate David Nos speaks directly to the audience during a forum at Woodbury University in Burbank January 28, 2015

Photo: Greg Reyna / Freelancer /Media city G — City Council candidate David Nos speaks directly to the audience during a forum at Woodbury University in Burbank January 28, 2015

Photo: Greg Reyna / Freelancer / Media City G -- City Council candidate Chris Rizzotti during forum at Woodbury University in Burbank January 28, 2015

Photo: Greg Reyna / Freelancer / Media City G — City Council candidate Chris Rizzotti during forum at Woodbury University in Burbank January 28, 2015

Rizzotti and incumbent, Emily Gabel-Luddy, had to defend their pro-development positions, which they did vigorously. Gabel-Luddy  appeared to become defensive when once again prodded to answer for her decision to approve the bloated Talaria/ Whole Foods project last October. Gabel-Luddy said “four” other council members voted for the project as well. Actually, it was three.  Mayor David Gordon was the lone “no” vote.

Gabel-Luddy got her facts scrambled again, when she suggested Dr. Gordon did not offer a compromise when it came to that giveaway I-mean-deal to sell some city remnant properties to the Talaria developer for $1.2 million. The low-end appraisal was $997, 000 and the high $3.7 million.

Dr. Gordon tried to get his fellow council members to come up with another figure “somewhere in between,” but he got no offers. Gabel-Luddy then put forth a motion to accept the $1.2 million price.

Another interesting moment at the forum came when the moderator, Burbank editor, Dan Evans,asked the candidates if they considered themselves allies of Mayor Gordon. They all said “yes.” That caused murmurs and chuckles of surprise to roll through the audience. Gordon, standing in the back of the room, reacted with disbelief. He probably did so for several reasons. Two come to mind.

After being unfairly passed over as mayor for several years, Dr. Gordon got his chance last May. However, Gabel-Luddy abstained from the vote. Dr. Gordon was elected by the rest of the council with a 4-zip vote. Oh, and Will Rogers has gone before the city council and “bashed” Mayor Gordon during public comment on a few occasions. Hmm, with allies like that who needs enemies.

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