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Happy Fourth of July!

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Dodger Stadium festivities

The guys in blue kick-off a four game series against the New York  Mets tonight.  Also, fans will be treated to fireworks and tributes to our military. Gates at Dodger Stadium open at 3:40 p.m.

Fireworks and more at the Starlight Bowl

A July 4th tradition continues tonight at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank.  A spectacular fireworks show is planned along with entertainment and surprises. The U.S. Air Force is joining in on this “Salute to America.”  There are only 100 tickets left to this event, according to the Starlight Bowl website this morning. Tickets must be bought in advance — none will be sold at the door.

Burbank viewing parties

The Starlight Bowl fireworks are huge and can be seen for miles. Fireworks viewing parties are held in yards, on porches, and even in the streets throughout Burbank, especially in the hillside area. Watching these fireworks have become part of the July 4th celebration in many neighborhoods. And you don’t have to buy a ticket.

Fireworks illegal in Burbank

There are places in the SoCal where they allow you to set off your own fireworks — Burbank is not one of them.  The Burbank Police Department sent out a press release reminder recently stating: “… that it is illegal to manufacture, sell, possess, or discharge fireworks in the City of Burbank.”

The Burbank PD has patrol units out cracking down on fireworks violators. The public is asked to report violations by calling the Burbank Police at (818)  238-3000.

Keep your pets safe

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All of this celebrating, particularly the fireworks, can really freak out dogs, cats, and other pets. On July 4th and the day after, animal shelters across the nation get the greatest number of reports of lost dogs and cats, according to a community alert from the Burbank PD.

It is recommended that you keep your pets indoors on Independence Day. Make sure the little critters are wearing proper identification. If by chance your animal becomes lost, call the Burbank Animal Shelter (818) 238-3340 and leave a message — and then follow-up in person to file an official lost pet report.

Burbank buzzing over that bonus pay report

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Burbank City Hall at 275 East Olive Avenue.

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G — Burbank City Hall at 275 East Olive Avenue.

Throughout the long holiday weekend, B-town has been buzzing about the release by City Hall of that controversial report detailing who got those merit bonuses and how much did these perks cost taxpayers.

For months the City Attorney’s Office, with the support of the  city council majority and City Manager Mike Flad, fought the release of this data.  The Los Angeles Times/Burbank Leader sued to get access to the information.  On May 20, 2011, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ordered the city of Burbank to turn over the merit bonus data to the newspaper.

Last December, I joined the newspaper in requesting this bonus data  by delivering a written public records request to the City Attorney’s Office. I haven’t seen the report yet —  but others have studied it. The Semichorus blog had a report last Friday.  The Leader had a story about the merit pay for city employees on the same day and a more extensive report yesterday.

The Leader reports city employees have received $4 million in merit pay from 2007-2011.  Burbank Water and Power General Manager, Ron Davis, reportedly got $79,000 in bonuses during that period . You might remember, Davis and his executive crew at BWP got raises after city officials jacked up utility rates last summer. Davis is fleecing the taxpayers with the approval of the city council majority. Last year, Davis’ salary topped out at $263,028.

By the way, not only did city officials squander thousands of taxpayer dollars on fighting the newspaper lawsuit — now the city of Burbank has to pay legal fees for the L.A. Times/Burbank Leader, which are at least $37,000. Could that money, along with those bonus millions, have been better spent? Oh yeah, on city services and programs that benefit the citizens of Burbank.

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