The Burbank Primary Nominating Election is coming up fast. Only two weeks to that February 22 election and there’s a lot at stake for the city and its residents. Most of the attention is focused on the two seats available on the city council and the four candidates campaigning hard for them.
On the ballot, City Councilman Gary Bric and three challengers: Emily Gabel-Luddy, Bob Frutos, and Jackie Waltman. Over on the popular Semichorus blog there’s been a lively discussion of the candidates, their qualifications, and who will bring real change to the city.
Gabel-Luddy’s endorsements and record on city planning have been debated along with Bric’s term on the council. Candidates Frutos and Waltman’s views have been evaluated by commenters, too. It is well worth the time to check out some of these posts and the comments, especially the post titled, “Bric, or Waltman?” It had nearly 50 comments when I checked last night.
Sidewalk controversy returns to City Council
City Councilman Bric will be on the hot seat tomorrow, when the council reconsiders the highly charged issue of sidewalks for the a block of North Screenland Drive. At the December 7, 2010 meeting, Bric joined Councilmen Jess Talamantes and David Gordon in voting to remove this street from a sidewalk project, at the request of more than 30 residents who live on North Screenland Drive.
However, after that meeting, Bric had second thoughts. Last month, he asked to have the issue brought back for reconsideration and that is set to take place Tuesday, February 8. Many of the North Screenland residents who oppose sidewalks on their street are livid.
One of the homeowners on that street, Janet Strong, phoned me last week to express her outrage at what some see as a “flip-flop” by Bric. Strong was one of the North Screenland residents who collected 36 signatures from folks who live on the street and are against the sidewalks. There are reportedly around 40 homeowners on that stretch of North Screenland Drive.
I walked that section of North Screenland Drive on Saturday afternoon, February 5. Wilbur Centeno stopped washing one of his vehicles to talk to me about the sidewalk controversy. Centeno is just as upset as Strong about Bric reviving the issue. He believes the claim of it being a safety issue for children is a “…bunch of baloney.” Centeno suggests: “It’s really about money.”
For more on how many residents on North Screenland Drive feel about the sidewalk controversy — here’s a letter Janet Strong has sent out to some in the media:
THE CITY OF BURBANK HAS ALWAYS BEEN A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO LIVE. WE HAVE A GREAT POLICE AND FIRE DEPARTMENT. WE MAINTAIN A WELL-KEPT AND SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD, EVEN WITHOUT SIDEWALKS. WE HAVE HAD NO REASON TO BE OVERLY CONCERNED FOR THE RARE PEDESTRIAN THAT WALKS ON OUR STREET.
I HAVE LIVED IN BURBANK ALL MY LIFE IN THIS CLOSE KNIT COMMUNITY. MY PARENTS BOUGHT THE FIRST HOUSE ON THE 1800-1900 BLOCK OR NORTH SCREENLAND DRIVE. THE RESIDENTS LIVING HERE TAKE PRIDE IN THEIR PROPERTIES. WE HAVE NEVER ASKED THE CITY FOR ASSISTANCE OR CAUSED THEM ANY EXPENSE.
IN MAY OF 2010, TO OUR SURPRISE, WE FOUND A BURBANK CITY EMPLOYEE MEASURING OUR DRIVEWAYS IN PREPARATION FOR SIDEWALKS. WE WERE NEVER NOTIFIED IN WRITING PRIOR TO THAT DAY. INSTALLING SIDEWALKS ON A STREET THAT HAS VERY LITTLE FOOT TRAFFIC, SEEMS A WASTE OF TAXPAYERS MONEY.
IF THERE IS MONEY ALLOTED FOR SIDEWALKS IN BURBANK, THEN, THEY SHOULD BE INSTALLED ON A DESERVING STREET WITH VERIFIABLE SAFETY ISSUES. BY PROPER POLLING AND NOTIFICATION.
THE COUNCIL DISCUSSED THIS ISSUE, ON DECEMBR 07,2010, WITH A 3-2 VOTE AGAINST THE INSTALLATION OF SIDEWALKS . THE SCREENLAND NEIGHBORS FILLED THE CHAMBERS. WE LEFT FEELING RELIEVED AND JUSTIFIED WITH OUR VOTE.
YET, WITHIN A MATTER OF A FEW WEEKS, CITY COUNCILMAN GARY BRIC DECIDED “HE MADE A MISTAKE” IN VOTING “NO SIDEWALKS” AND FOR THE WILL OF THE 90% MAJORITY. WE ARE VERY DISAPPOINTED WITH YOU, GOING BACK ON YOUR WORD. YOUR DECISION TO IMPACT OUR STREET (WHERE YOU DO NOT LIVE), TO FORCE SIDEWALKS IS NOT ABOUT SAFETY INVOLVING PEDESTRIANS.
MR. BRIC IS RUNNING FOR THE COUNCIL SEAT AGAIN. SINCE HIS CHANGE OF MIND REGARDING HIS “NO SIDEWALKS” VOTE. MR. BRIC HAS FREQUENTED OUR NEIGHBORHOOD DURING THIS CURRENT COUNCIL RACE. WE QUESTION HIS MOTIVES, AS TO WHY? HE WANTS TO GO AGAINST THE NEIGHBORS AND BRING IT BACK?
IS THIS A POLITICAL MOVE ON MR. BRIC’S PART, NOT TO BE VOTED OUT OF OFFICE?
PERHAPS, IT IS BUSINESS AS USUAL, WITH: “STAFF” AND THE SAME FEW, CALLING THE SHOTS. NO ONE MENTIONS THE MANY LAWSUITS AGAINST THE CITY FOR INJURIES CAUSED BY SIDEWALKS OR DRIVE-WAY APRONS LEFT UNREPAIRED.
THE DESIRE FOR GRANT MONEY, FOR PROPOSED SIDEWALKS, ($125,000.00) IS CREATING A POLITICAL WAR. RETURN THE MONEY! AND LEAVE US ALONE.
YOUR CAMPAIGN STATES: “YOU WANT TO REACH OUT TO THE RESIDENTS AND VOTERS OF BURBANK ASKING OUR SUPPORT, FOR YOUR VOICE ON COUNCIL.
WE ASK THAT YOU RE-CONSIDER YOUR VOTE: “NO SIDEWALKS” ON OUR STREET. AND REPRESENT THE PEOPLES WISHES. SHOW YOUR INTEREST AND SUPPORT IN THE MANY, INSTEAD OF THE FEW. RESTORE OUR NEIGHBORS EMPOWERMENT.
WE THANK DR. DAVID GORDON, AND VICE-MAYOR JESS TALAMANTES FOR THE STRENGTH OF THEIR VOTES ON OUR BEHALF. THE BALL IS IN MR. BRIC’S COURT.
MAYBE, YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD WILL BE THE NEXT TARGET.
FROM: SCREENLAND DRIVE NEIGHBORS