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Two candidates jump into the Burbank City Council race

Local election 2011 graphic

As of  last Friday morning, two eager candidates, both with experience in city government, are off and running for two seats on the Burbank City Council. The first to sign up on the candidate’s list on Monday, November first, the first official day of the nomination period , Planning Board Vice-Chair,  Emily Gabel-Luddy.

 Burbank Police Commission Chair, Bob Frutos, signed up on the same day right behind Gabel-Luddy. Both Frutos and Gabel-Luddy took home nomination papers, which require the signatures of 50 registered voters supporting their candidacy.

I’ve heard about other contenders preparing for the city council race, too. So expect to see more names mentioned here, on this blog,  as the deadline for pulling and returning nomination papers to the City Clerk’s office nears. The deadline is Monday, November 29, 2010 at 5 p.m.

The Primary Nomination Election is February 22, 2011, followed by the General Municipal Election on April 12, 2011.

For a countdown to the February election check the far right column of this blog.

Controversial bike lane in Burbank gets a reprieve

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- A cyclist rolls along in the bike lane on Verdugo Avenue in May of 2010

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G — A cyclist rolls along in the bike lane on Verdugo Avenue in May of 2010

A hot issue that gets folks in the Media City riled up almost as much as the Burbank Police mess — is the bike lane along a stretch of Verdugo Avenue. This bike lane has a passionate group of haters as well as a peddle-power group that loves it.

At last Tuesday’s city council meeting, a number of cycling enthusiasts turned out to encourage council members to make the bike lane permanent. The six month project was up for review. Despite the vocal support, council members decided they did not have enough data to fairly access the project, so they voted unanimously for a six-month extension for it.

The vote came as a surprise to the bike lane supporters as well as opponents like Ken Fesperman. A long time Burbank resident, Fesperman lives on a side street near Verdugo Avenue. Fesperman says the outrage over the bike lane from his neighbors and others he knows, prompted him to circulate a petition to have it removed. That’s when he ran into trouble.

Last month, Fesperman was collecting signatures for his petition at the Buena Vista Library when a cyclist confronted him. Fesperman says he was assaulted during the altercation and it left a scar on his face. Fesperman filed a police report, but the incident dampened his spirit for community involvement. However, Fesperman did turn in his petition to city hall, which he says had 330 signatures of folks wanting Verdugo Avenue re-striped back the way it was — two traffic lanes in each direction.  There is now one lane in each direction with a yellow turn section in the middle, from Hollywood Way to Olive Avenue.

Fesperman complains the change never should have been made without informing residents on the side streets. He says that since the bike lane went in, more motorists are zipping down his street –sometimes at “..55 to 60.. ” miles per hour in a zone where children frequently play in the area. “You’re creating more traffic,” Fesperman insists. He believes a powerful few are pushing the bike lane project. “I heard it’s a special interest group. Handful of the city insiders…”

Maybe that’s why the city survey found little traffic change on Verdugo Avenue  –the overflow is pouring into the side streets. Another survey, with a wider scope, should be done.

Another problem is the alarming number of  bicyclists who ignore traffic rules. The violators got a scolding from outspoken activist, Eden Rosen, at last Tuesday’s council meeting. I’ve seen it myself. Bicyclists blowing through red lights and stop signs,  or riding two or three abreast with a line of traffic behind them.  Even cops I know complain about these arrogant cyclists who don’t follow the rules of the road. Oh, and we’re not talking about school children — most often — the culprits are adults.

In the coming months, city officials have opportunities to work on easing the traffic problems around Verdugo Avenue and to address other concerns of nearby residents. Oh, it wouldn’t hurt to pass out some of those bike safety pamphlets to the cyclists. I hear they have a good supply of the pamphlets over at the Burbank PD.

First flu case confirmed in Los Angeles County

It’s that time of year again. Los Angeles County has its first confirmed case of the seasonal flu. It’s the influenza strain A H3N2, which is rolling across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This year’s flu vaccine will protect against that strain and two others, including H1N1.

In a press release, Los Angeles County Health Official, Jonathan E. Fielding, declared now is an excellent time to get that flu shot: “We cannot predict how severe or how mild a flu season will be. Flu is a serious illness and should be treated as such. Ample vaccine is already available in LA County in a variety of locations, including pharmacies, supermarkets, community clinics and doctor’s offices.”

Last Friday, I stopped in at the CVS Pharmacy on Hollywood Way and got my flu shot. It was a breeze. Only a few people were waiting, including a mother and her two young children, so the process did not take long. The cost around $30 and they accept most insurance plans. For information on free flu shots at single day vaccination clinics and or at Public Health Centers go here. Flu shots are now recommended for everyone six months and older.

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