The candidates are heading into the home stretch for tomorrow’s Burbank General Election. This is a mail-in ballot only election with four city council candidates in a run-off for two seats. The contenders are Juan Guillen, Sharon Springer, and council members Dr. David Gordon and Bob Frutos. As of last Friday April 7, “… approximately 7, 500 ballots, as compared to the 2015 General Municipal Election, (when) we had approximately 6,600 ballots at this time,” according to City Clerk, Zizette Mullins. By today, Monday, April 10, the number of ballots processed jumped to around 8,750.
Long-time hillside resident, Sharon Springer, appears have the most momentum in these final days of the campaign. Springer is running a much more aggressive campaign than in 2015, when she did not get past the primary. The Burbank Water and Power board member and some of her supporters were out talking to voters and handing out campaign literature last month on “Ladies and Gents Night Out” in Magnolia Park. It’s hard not to notice the proliferation of Springer pink and white yard signs in various sections of B-town. And the number of those political signs seem to be growing by the day.
Also, the money is flowing into the Springer campaign from inside and outside of Burbank. In the most recent campaign filing statement for February 23-March 25, Springer raised $6, 909, the most of any candidate. Among her major contributors former Burbank Council Member, Dave Golonski, and State Assembly Member, Laura Friedman, whose 43rd District includes Burbank. Nevertheless, some of Springer’s support has come from outside of Burbank as well.
The Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters has endorsed Springer. I’ve received three mailers from this PAC, which focuses on protecting the environment. Also, Springer sparked a lot of chatter with the support and endorsement from the BizFed PAC, which advocates for more than 160 business organizations in Los Angeles County. Last week, at the Burbank City Council meeting during public comments, Springer struck back at her critics — many of them strong supporters of her opponents.
Springer charged the complaints were mostly sour grapes because she got the endorsement of BizFed over Juan Guillen and Dr. Gordon. She claims the reason for that may be because “I’m forward thinking.” Springer admits she might have stirred up some of the animosity or “put her finger in the hornet’s nest” by going on Facebook last March and questioning a donation both Gordon and Guillen received from big time Burbank developer Michael Cusumano and subsequently returned.
Later, during council comments, Dr. Gordon admitted he was not aware of BizFed’s pro-business stance when he answered the PAC’s email request. Councilmember, Bob Frutos, says after researching BizFed, he chose not to apply for its endorsement.
In an email, candidate Juan Guillen said this about BizFed: “Organizations ask you to fill out a questionnaire. I did, obviously their values and mine don’t coincide. They previously endorsed Rizzotti and now Springer. I think Bizfed is a joke, the first time they interviewed me 2 years ago all they cared about was how much money I planned to raise and how much I had raised. I wasn’t going to reply to them but did. Just as I didn’t want to interview with the Board of Realtors. The interviews are bias and based on whether or not you are willing to sell out your values. I’m not for sale.”
Tensions grow and the drama gets whipped up towards the end of an campaign. Let’s be clear. Endorsements and fundraising are important to a campaign. However, getting out the vote is what wins elections. Bottom line, the number of valid mail-in ballots returned to the Burbank City Clerk’s Office in a timely manner, will determine who gets elected to two seats on the city council.