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No Wal-Mart forces take the fight to City Hall

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- The former site of The Great Indoors at 1301 North Victory Place in the Empire Center Burbank

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- The former site of The Great Indoors at 1301 North Victory Place in the Empire Center Burbank

 In the past few days, a number of media reports have come out about Wal-Mart finally fessing up to plans to move into the site once occupied by The Great Indoors, at the Empire Center over on North Victory Place. Wal-Mart owns the site now — but anti-Wal-Mart forces in B-town aren’t giving up the fight just yet.

The No Wal-Mart on Facebook group has organized a rally for today, on the steps of Burbank City Hall at 5:30 p.m. The small but vocal group is being joined by the politically savvy Burbank Democratic Club, which has urged its members to support the rally and speak out against Wal-Mart at the city council meeting at 6 p.m.

At last Tuesday’s city council meeting, Deputy City Manager Joy Forbes revealed Wal-Mart executives “… want to do a community forum… ” at the site sometime in mid-to-late-October. Well, the site is more appropriate for a P.R. event than a community forum to hear the concerns of  residents.

Clearly, these Wal-Mart suits aren’t really taking the community very seriously. They’re reportedly considering options like including a restaurant or nail salon in that 120,000 square foot building. Hey, there are already plenty of restaurants in the Empire Center and a lot of nail salons in Burbank. I guess the Wal-Mart bigwigs do not need to be very creative, when most of their customers only care about how many cheap products they can stuff into a shopping cart. That location at the Empire Center needs some imagination. Wal-Mart needs to add something different to the mix of  restaurants and retail.  However, that kind of  progressive thinking may be beyond the comprehension of the Wal-Mart executives.

A new Burbank Police Commissioner

The city council majority snubbed former Chair of the Burbank Police Commission, Bob Frutos, once again last Tuesday. Right after Frutos lost a close run-off for a city council seat against Emily Gabel-Luddy — the CCM refused to re-appoint him to his seat on the police commission.

Recently, Frutos tossed his hat in the ring for the commission seat vacated by Jim Etter, who moved on to the Los Angeles County Fish and Game Commission. Frutos got only two votes, Dr. David Gordon and Gary Bric. The CCM voted for former Paramount executive, Tom Bruehl, who has been kicking around in local political circles for a while.

But the CCM is not rid of Frutos just yet. A few weeks back, each council member made an appointment to the Citizens’ Charter Committee. This group will decide if changes are necessary for the city charter, which could open the door for a charter review committee to be set up.

Here’s how the appointments went down: Dr. Gordon named Bob Frutos, Gary Bric — Jackie Waltman, Emily Gabel-Luddy — Carolyn Jackson, Dave Golonski — Lee Wochner, and Mayor Jess Talamantes appointed Victor Georgino.

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One Response to City Buzz

  1. Jim C. Monday, October 3, 2011 at 4:26 am #

    Lee Wochner is a stooge, a PR flack. He’ll add absolutely nothing to the mix.

    He’s also– reportedly– one of their new style dirty tricksters, so it’s no surprise that Golonski has put him in there. He’s very big on “reputation management,” and PR firms are notoriously sleazy in this area these days. They do more than just “promote,” they also try to destroy.

    Golonski has been working with insiders to help fight Burbank’s bad PR, and I have no doubt that Wochner is one of those. It would be interesting to see his client list.

    He’s also one of the inspirations for “Ron daDobby,” everyone’s favorite Burbank transplant.

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