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A new Burbank mayor, but will it mean real change?

Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — (L-R) Vice-Mayor Jess Talamantes, Councilmen David Gordon, Gary Bric, Dave Golonski, and in the center, Burbank Mayor Anja Reinke             

 

Burbank has a new mayor and a new vice-mayor. Yesterday, the Burbank City Council selected Anja Reinke as mayor and Jess Talamantes as vice-mayor. I must say, Reinke smiled and bubbled at this city council meeting more than at any other I’ve seen her attend in the past year. However, the big story is who did not get picked for one of these high profile positions — long time council member, Dr. David Gordon.

In a rare consensus, both The Burbank Leader and Jim Carlile’s popular blog reported on the Gordon snub. Ah, Carlile’s post has a lot more punch and vigor than the Leader story.  Carlile calls the council action against Dr. Gordon discriminatory — and I agree.

The Leader reports that some Burbank council members have said privately “… they wouldn’t support him (Dr. Gordon) based on his never voting to approve a budget and his earlier call for then-Chief Tim Stehr to step down.” Who made that rule that certain decisions by a council member means he or she gets disqualified from holding the office of mayor or vice-mayor? Is that in the city charter?

Some tough issues facing the city and the council in the coming weeks and months. How much confidence can the public really have in the council’s handling of these issues on its behalf — when council members can be so blatantly unfair to one of their own.

 

Secret tapes, lies, and conspirators

Photo of Sgt. Neil Thomas Gunn Sr.

Another hot topic on Carlile’s blog — alleged secret tape recordings made by Sergeant Neil Thomas Gunn Sr.,  the Burbank police officer who committed suicide last fall. I have heard many rumors about Gunn leaving behind a clever trail of evidence accusing ex-Police Chief Tim Stehr and others of complicity in the Burbank Police mess.

Carlile reports that Gunn made some secret tapes, which his wife and her lawyers are going to use in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city. Read about it here.

Controversial changes on Verdugo Avenue

Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — A cyclist rolls along in the new jumbo bicycle lane on a section of Verdugo Avenue in Burbank May 3, 2010

Before the city council reorganization meeting kicked off, I had a brief chat with Burbank Public Works Director Bonnie Teaford about the Verdugo Avenue project. I’ve heard quite a bit of grumbling and complaining about the changes (some of the gripes are in the comment sections of this blog).

Bike lanes have been added to a stretch of Verdugo Avenue from Olive Avenue to Hollywood Way, reducing traffic lanes to one in each direction with a  yellowed turn section in the middle. I occasionally drive this section of Verdugo Avenue. Yesterday afternoon at around 5 p.m. I drove it again.  I spotted several, perhaps 5 or 6, cyclists riding in the bike lane during a 20 minute period.

Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — A cyclist shares the road with traffic on Verdugo Avenue in Burbank May 3, 2010

Teaford says her department is monitoring the project and collecting data from the community — now  through October — then will report the findings to the city council for a decision on whether it gets a thumbs up or thumbs down verdict. Teaford summed up many of the claims about traffic hassles to simply, “…change is hard for people.”

 

Major “Honey Bee” sighting in Downtown Burbank

Plenty of hot looking cars in the Southland — many in Burbank. I scoped on Chevy Jim aka Burbank Police Commissioner Jim Etter cruising down Olive Avenue yesterday, in his very cool fully restored 1956 Chevy Bel Air convertible called “Honey Bee.”  Etter was behind the wheel, the top was down, and the “Bee” was turning heads and getting stares.

Check out the before and after photos of this award-winning classic car on chevyjim.com 

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36 Responses to City Buzz

  1. Maybe Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 7:54 pm #

    The likes of Reinke, Bric and Golonski are very prejudice and very racially motivated.

    They are like some people who do buisiness by day with a smile and slip the sheets over their head under the cover of darkness. Of course the action was against Gordon and it’s all due to the fact that Gordon asks questions they could never even think of and gets answers they can never understand.

    It’s not an accident that we have racists cops who beat people. It’s a reflection of who is on the council.

  2. Jim C. Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    I think to be fair that the rest of the council thinks Gordon’s a noodge, and that’s why they don’t want him around. I doubt there’s anything conspiratorial about this.

    The problem is, so what? If they were doing their job he wouldn’t have to be. So they marginalize him.

    He’s probably glad he isn’t the mayor right now. Who’d want to be?

  3. Fronnie Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 9:44 pm #

    Jim, Maybe,

    True Dr. Gordon asks a lot of questions — most of them very good questions at council meetings. He reads background material and the e-mails and letters that are sent to him by folks in the community. By doing so — he makes some on the city council look like slackers. Instead of stepping up — and improving — they resent and put down Gordon — in hopes he’ll lower the bar. But he doesn’t.
    I think he would at least like to be offer the opportunity to be vice-mayor or mayor.

  4. Jerry Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    Gordon sounds like the only one of the council members who knows anything about stuff. The rest of them sound like they just make decisions based on how it feels to them and if their staff people think it’s a good idea. How many times do we hear them just say that staff likes this so it must be good. Gordon speaks for the people and the other ones just speak for their staff all the time. It is sickening because they think they represent staff and let the staff do their thinking.

  5. Don Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 11:03 am #

    There is nothing inspiring about the leadership of Dave Golonski or Jess Talamantes. When it comes to being a role model what do we see in Anja Reinke ?

    No way would I want to see children watch and emulate these three at all. Would you ?

    Why they sit there and say we have to pay more for water while they let large buildings full of bathrooms and kitchens be built is just a crazy thing.

    On the day that Reinke became mayor she talked forever but not a word about how the residents here are in a struggle to survive and just stay in their homes. No she talked about plans to fly to Europe as the mayor and blah, blah, blah. It made me feel so happy to know her daughter works for her and gets paid with our tax money. Made me proud because so many of my neighbors have no jobs but we have a mayor who brags about trips and paying her daughter while we struggle. She needs a good dose of reality if you ask me.

  6. Millie Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    Now that we have a new mayor the city must become more proactive in protecting and sustaining the environment.

    I suggest that we limit the use of automobiles in Burbank to reduce our carbon footyprint. Our new mayor has some great ideas to replace the automobiles with shuttles that will be able to provide effecient and sustainable transportation to everyone in Burbank.

    We need to continue developing appropraie parking structures at the cities boarders so that those visiting or working in Burbank can park their cars at the boarder and ride shuttles while working or doing business in our city.

    It is time to replace parking and space for automibles with more bike facilities and walking paths. It would be wonderfull to see parking spaces replaced with bike racks infront of businesses. This would make Burbank busineses a premire destination for environmentally concerned citizens.

    The future is looking bright for Burbank with the environmentally sound leadership of our newest mayor. The days of the automobile are quickly coming to an end and tree lined walkways will replace the unsightly and noxious residual effects of the autos that currently defile our beautiful city.

    Lets get busy and remove the automobile from Burbank and become a leader in environmental action now.

  7. Johnny Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

    Millie

    What the city council should do immediately if not sooner is create a law that eliminates all SUV’s from Burbank.

    Drivers of these vehicles take two parking spaces and overall are very rude drivers. Most of them utilize the cell phone wile driving and they use more than one persons fair share of gasoline.

    How do we get a ban on SUV’s in Burbank as a start, I think they should be outlawed every place in California.

  8. Sunglasses Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    I heard that Mayor Reinke refused to vote for Talamantes to be the vice mayor. What does Reinke know about Tallamantes that she refused to vote fo him ?

  9. Tiger Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

    The changes on Verdugo have made some improvement but more needs to be done so it’s great they are doing a study on it.

    A few changes that are really necessary to further make the improvements work better are the following.

    1)Parking needs to be removed along Verdugo. The parked cars force bicyclists dangerously close to the traffic.

    2)Large vehicles must be banned from Verdugo. Vehicles such as delivery trucks, the suv and double cab truck create dangersous visibility problems along this route for bikers, a simple solution would be to post signs prohibiting anything larger than a sedan.

    3)This street needs alteration in order to accomodate more trees. The shade provided by the trees would furthr encourage more bike riders to utilize this as a dedicated bike/walk route.

    4)Now this same procedure should be done on Clark. Clarke would be a beautiful bike access street with all of the same much needed improvements as listed above.

  10. Keystone Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    We need to remove cars from the street so that everyone could enjoy riding their bike. I would certainly ride mine more often if the cars were no longer there creating a hazard. I love this idea.

  11. Cathy Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    I am in the hope that Mayor Reinke implements all of the recomendations from the suatainability task force.
    Burbank should pass very restrictive laws on plastic bags and styrofoam. The use of vehicles should be limited for fresher air and safety reasons. It would also be wonderfull to close downtown Burbank to vehicle traffic. Imagine once we have clean high speed rail how we will be able to close the freeways once and for all. A green future will create jobs and a clean environment and our city should lead the way in all of these measures. Now that we have a green sensitive mayor we can look forward to green days ahead in our city and meet our sustainability goals.

  12. Shocked Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

    Let’s see, if we eliminate vehicles in Burbank and only allow bicycles does that mean my mother and sister will no longer be able to leave home because they have disabilities and can’t walk very far or ride a bicycle? Do you really think people going to the airport or picking up someone from the airport are going to ride a bicycle? How about studio executives and movie stars? Are they going to ride bicycles or take a shuttle? Surely you jest.

    It is important to understand that a cross-section of people live in Burbank, some need caregivers being able to come to their homes to provide care, and everyone’s needs are not the same. Adding bicycle lanes is good where feasible (like Verdugo), but eliminating everything else is absurd. We all need to find ways to be aware of our environment and be supportive of a diverse society.

    As for the council reorganization, it was totally predictable that Dr. Gordon would be passed over yet again. Golonski holds grudges like no other and has somehow managed to run the council and the city for the past few years although he has not been elected by even a super-majority.

    The staff never wants anyone to question any recommendation much less vote against one of their suggestions. The former mayor appears to truly be connected to the community and loves representing the community whether you agree of disagree with his votes. However, two of the council members, the new mayor included, appears to have little interest in many of the issues brought to council. Indeed, if I heard her correctly the new mayor recently said she preferred reading books to children over coming to council meetings to do the work of the Council. So this is what you get when people get elected who have no real connection to the community and only represent the staff. The staff is supposed to take direction from the Council, instead it is the other way around in Burbank.

  13. Jonathan Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    The planet is depending on us to live responsibly.

    I understand your issues that somepeople like your mother and your sister require special care however that can be taken care of by moving to an assisted living home. At the home they will have everything they need and that even includes some recreation and entertainment. This would be a better environment for them and will be designed to meet their needs.

    I disagree with you Shocked about our council members. They care about our planet and making it sustainable for all of us to live in. This means changes must and will come so that we can all enjoy a healthy environment.

    Just look at the obesity in our city. This is unhealthy living that has caused the obesity. We as humans need to be connected to our plant and nature for good health. Care givers can ride bikes and discover the joys of healthy living.

    Cars, Vans and Trucks are a problem for us and for our environment. They have created green house gasses that have been proven by science to destroy our planets ozone. This is a very serious issue and the most important issue for our elected representatives to address.

    Burbank has taken some steps to be sustainable however we have many more to take and time is of the essence to protect our lives and the life of our planet.

    Think of the money we can save on street repair by simply riding our bikes or taking a joyfilled walk to the store. With small gardens and fresh veggies we can be a health filled community that shines as a sustainable example to others. This must become our goal now.

  14. Chrissy Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 7:46 pm #

    The automobile is now known to be one of the worst environmental disasters.

    From the rubber tires to the tar laden streets to accomodate the automobile this invention endangers wildlife and harms the planet.

    Look at the damage done in the gulf of Mexico all for the sake of the people who continue to drive their automobiles.

    No one has the right to harm the planet by driving an automobile. The planet belongs to all of us and those driving autos are destroying our planet. One person does not have the right to destroy what belongs to us all.

    I believe that autos and their polutants must be removed from our society and claim my right as an interested person in my planet to ask ou elected officials to pass laws prohibiting the use of any motorizd vehicle. It is absurd to think that disabled people require an auto when disabled persons are not even able to drive one if they are disabled.

  15. Shocked Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    Jonathan,

    Perhaps as you get older you will realize that family members need to be able to live independently as long as they possibly can to maintain their dignity and self worth. I don’t believe it is appropriate to dictate to anyone how and where they should live until they or their family with assistance can no longer meet their daily needs. How would you like it if someone told you that you to give up your bicycle and you can only make 1 trip a day from your home.

    I noted that you did not mention the airport. If it were closed and all those passengers didn’t come thru the city everyday our air quality and environment would be amazingly improved without the related aviation and vehicular pollution.

    Sustainability includes sustaining everything including our landscaping, trees, gardens and quality of life. It doesn’t include high density development without the essential resources. Don’t be surprised if all the “sustainability” goals by the council and staff are geared toward increasing development and density in Burbank instead of improving our planet and quality of life.

    There are a lot of issues that are involved in obesity but again, thankfully we don’t live in a communist country that dictates the amount of food we are allotted. There are also health issues, genetics and disabilities not to mention aging that need to be considered when judging whether the solution to all obesity problems is walking or riding a bicycle and eliminating cars and parking.

    Tolerance and diversity are a valuable consideration when reviewing the needs of a society.

  16. Shocked Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 8:09 pm #

    Crissy,

    Hope you are always healthy with no disabilities, but thankfully people can drive with disabilities, vehicles can be retrofitted and laws require accommodation to those with disabilities. Many can drive but have great difficulty walking because of either structural issues or respiratory problems. But, they can’t ride a bike.

  17. Jim C. Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 11:03 pm #

    The only time this city will ever ban cars is when the Cusumanos set up a bus system.

  18. DixieFlyer Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 11:20 pm #

    When did Fronnie’s husband move to Pico Rivera???

  19. Fronnie Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 12:04 am #

    Dixie,

    I wish, ha!ha! I’m not the lucky wife in that couple.

  20. Stan Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    Shocked,

    The Obama Administration has mandated clean fuel and green air travel as a goal.

    We need to build a new eco terminal and other eco buildings at the airport which will create new green jobs for the unemployed people.

    Jets are about to become eco jets that will be polutant free and this is the nw technology that will make air travel clean, quiet and affordable.

    The airport I read already is building a new eco terminal to facilitate air travelers that will be complete with facilities for bikes.

    Burbank should help with this goal of an eco airport and provided bike streets to help make travel to the airport more user friendly and polution free.

    A modern eco terminal will do three things. It will make the airport a friend to the environment, traveler friendly and provide much needed green jobs.

    Our aiport can become a friend to the environment with these new goals!

  21. Freddie Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

    Sorry Shocked but people over 60 should not be allowed to drive. They are dangerous just look at what happened at the Santa Monica farmers market.

  22. Robby Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    The old airport is not made to todays environmental standards. That’s why we need a new airport that is enviornmentally sound.

    I agre they need to cut cars from going there because it just makes smog and traffic. That’s why they need better transportation to get people there.

  23. Hum'n Bird Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    Old people get respiratory problems from auto exhaust. Keep driving the cars and your respiratory problems keep getting worse. People are like crack addicts to cars. We need to just make cars illegal to save people from the car addiction. Believe it or not people can live without cars they do it all over the world.

  24. Lori Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    In answer to your question most certainly the term of Anja Reinke will mean change.

    Anja is very supportive of our communities non profits and faith based communities. She will be a force that works to implement environmental change that creates a sustainable city.

    Hopefully one of her first acts is to lead all residents to greater conservation of water and all resources and pass a ban on waste. Leading us to recieve awards as the first zero waste city.

    This is an exciting time as we begin a refocus and enter a new age of environmental sustainability under the leadership of Mayor Reinkie.

  25. Lori Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

    I also hope that Mayor Reinke returns the environmental walks with the mayor on Chandler and maybe adds walks on Verdugo as well. These raise environmental awareness.

  26. Doug Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    Sorry Robby you are in a dream world there is no such thing as some eco jet and never will be such a thing. Jets and airports = polution so stop talking garbage about what this mayor and this president can do. All they can do is make more polution with their ideas.

  27. Doug Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    Nutty ideas here. Maybe the man drove through the farmers market because the thing should not have been in the street in the first place.

    Lori wants people wanking in Verdugo why to make traffic even worse than it is ?

    Verdugo is a nightmare now already. Put it back the way it was and leave it alone. How much did we spend for a few panty waists that want to joy ride on a bike or feel comfy in some turn pocket ? It is a waste of money just put it back like it was.

    I hate this new mayor and the old one was nut much better does anyone in Burbank have any brains ?

  28. Burbanker Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

    My Lord we need a new city motto. Something along the lines of:
    WELCOME TO BURBANK
    PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE ENVIRONMENTAL MENTAL PATIENTS

  29. Burbanker Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    This mayor may reduce traffic and make Burbank waste free when everyone moves from her for their own safety and sanity.

  30. Burbanker Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    This president and his ideas scare me greatly. Imagine polution free airplanes. I am not falling for that one and I certainly do not trust anything he can do will lower any prices for a ticket.

  31. Robby Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

    The world of eco airports is well underway. Here is a link to this exciting new and suatainable plan. It requires local city council who are willing to take the bold step in helping their community to become an eco village. The rewards are magnificant!
    http://www.ecoclub.com/news/089/index5.html

  32. Al in SoCal Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    Fronnie,

    In your article you ask “Who made that rule that certain decisions by a council member means he or she gets disqualified from holding the office of mayor or vice-mayor? Is that in the city charter?”

    Why do you consider the other council member’s giving their opinions as “a rule”. Nobody made that a rule – they were just explaining why they wouldn’t support Dr. Gordon. Then you ask “Is that in the city charter?” Well – is voting for a city council member based on length of incumbency in the charter?

    The answer is no – it’s not.

    I’m not debating the actual decision, but they were well within their rights to make it.

  33. Taz Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

    Man Al you should watch this group on television sometime. Week after week they do make what they say into some stupid rule. Who cares about a charter or even the constitution when you have them there to open their mouth and utter some more important rule.

    They make the rules up as they go along and their rules contradict each other but who cares they just gotta be stupid.

    Talking about stupid the eco airport is the most stupid thing I have ever seen. What’s next houses made out of recycled beer cans in Burbank ? STUPID!

  34. Al in SoCal Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 6:56 pm #

    I’m not debating the choice they made. I’m simply saying there is nothing in the charter about who or for what reason the the council chooses the mayor and vice-mayor.

    Also – I think saying it’s discriminatory isn’t right either. If you were on the city council and all of you agreed – except for one person – would you think disregard your differences and vote that person to be in charge – even if you completely disagreed with him / her? Doubtful. Think about it as Republican / Democrat – is it discriminatory to pass up Republican chairmanship on committees when the Dems are in control or vice versa?

    >>Who cares about a charter or even the constitution >>when you have them there to open their mouth and utter >>some more important rule.
    >>They make the rules up as they go along and their >>rules contradict each other but who cares they just >>gotta be stupid.

  35. Shocked Friday, May 7, 2010 at 3:43 am #

    The City Council position is supposed to be non-partisan without all the partisan politics found in Sacramento and Washington D.C.

    In recent years the only people who have been passed over to become mayor were those who were more open-minded and responsive to the residents and small businesses in Burbank. My memory goes back to Tim Murphy who was constantly marginalized by the pro-developer council, Susan Spanos who had her own issues but she definitely could not be controlled by the staff, Ted McConkey who was independent and now Dr. David Gordon. Frankly, as far as I am concerned Dr. Gordon is better off not being vice mayor or mayor because he will be able to more freely express his opinions without having to wait until the others have spoken. As mayor he would have greater responsibility to try to mediate any differences making it more difficult to express his own concerns. It is comforting that Dr. Gordon won’t be muzzled for the next 2 years when we know there are some big issues coming. Obviously from these posts there is going to be a BIG push to build a huge new airport terminal and try to sell it by calling it “green” despite the pollution being spewed out on the community from increased air traffic, noise and vehicular traffic. People need to gear up for that one pretty quickly if this is Reinke’s goal for “sustainability.” I suspect it is Dave Golonski who is behind this project but he will use Ms. Reinke as he used Stacey Murphy and Marsha Ramos to further his agenda. Both of them realized it after it was too late. The other big issues are the budget that appears to be in shambles from the disastrous economy, and the millions being spent on the horrible mess created by the staff and former police chief and his ‘lieutenants’ along with Barlow and Juli Scott. Barlow and Scott need to be sidelined along with Stehr in order to reach some sort of accord to stop the hemorrhaging of tax dollars. We simply cannot afford to continue paying millions to attorneys and still have all these cases hanging out there. We wouldn’t be in this place if the people in charge had listened to all the warnings and stopped the coverups and illegal actions and retaliation. Lastly, the utility and water rates need to be frozen, not increased. Apparently no one knows how crazy they all look increasing utility rates while simultaneously spending millions on attorneys and the lawsuits keep coming in! Is there anyone down there who could just pretend for a moment they were writing all these checks out of their own personal checkbook?

  36. Mark Friday, May 7, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    It looks more and more to me like they are spending all the money on lawyers because they have so much to hide and they have done so many bad things that they feel the need to get lawyers to protect themselves. No way do I believe they are protecting the rest of us, the rest of us need protection from them.

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