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City Buzz: Mike Gatto’s pension bill, funds for needy kids to go to camp fall short, and Grand View opens after restoration

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Photo: Mike Gatto Website

Photo: Mike Gatto Website — Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) Assemblyman , 43rd District

Local Assemblyman Mike Gatto  (D-Los Angeles) is very busy these days championing various legislation up in Sacramento.  Yesterday, the California State Assembly passed AB 1369, authored by Gatto. This measure, reportedly passed by a 62-0 vote, would stop criminals from using illegal tax deductions.

Recently, Gatto authored ACA 11 which would raise the threshold for amending the state constitution. And he co-authored ACA 6, which would require any ballot initiative that proposes a new program explain how the program is going to be paid for.

Then on June first, the California State Assembly reportedly passed, by two thirds vote, AB 1184  authored by Gatto. The measure would discourage pension spiking by forcing cities that recruit staff by offering huge salaries to bear the burden for the increased pension costs. Right now, the taxpayers of the previous city where the employee worked picks up more than 90% of the pension costs. More on Gatto measures on his website www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

Contrast this with what the Burbank City Council did last month on a proposal from the City Manager that would have halted the merit-pay bonus plan for city executives and unrepresented managers; while also requiring these employees to begin making contributions to their pension plan. This is a way to start reducing Burbank’s reported $8.7 million budget deficit.  Three of the City Council members, Dr. David Gordon, Gary Bric, and Emily Gabel-Luddy, supported Mike Flad’s proposal  — however, Vice-Mayor Dave Golonski’s opposition prompted the others to back-off and and ask staff to seek alternatives to the proposal. Yeah, Golonski is the real power on that city council.

While  trying to create cushy deals for the most highly paid staff —  this same council-majority has left some underpriviledged kids hanging out on a limb. When the council divvied up $300,000 for some nonprofits last month — the camperships for needy kids did not get one dollar.

Here’s a letter I received from camp organizer Janet Diel this week.

Camperships are a long time tradition since 1936 with Burbank Coordinating Council. We request donations from local organizations, schools, church groups, businesses, and individuals each year to finance camp for our low income children in Burbank Unified Schools. Whatever amount we receive is used to pay for either one week at a resident camp or a week at day camp. Camps run from $135-$450 per child. This year we have applications from over 55 students and money to send less than half that many to camp.

Children learn so many things at camp…..outdoor skills, leadership skills and how to build their own self confidence and self esteem. They come back hot, tired, dirty and smiling, with stories of their fun at camp and new friendships. One girl  was helping her father care for younger siblings following a mother’s untimely death. She went away to camp and came back feeling so much better about herself and her life at home. The counselor said she had visibly changed during the week….walked taller now, spoke louder, and generally looked happier. Camp makes a difference to children who need a break or respite from difficult family circumstances and you can help…..please consider sending a donation to Burbank Coordinating Council, P.O.Box 10126, Burbank, CA 91510 … call (818) 843-3699 or email jrdiel@aol.com
Thank you!

Grand View Memorial Park opens after five month restoration

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- New volunteer who gives his name as only Carter greets a visitor to Grand View in Glendale  on Memorial Day May 30, 2011

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G — New volunteer who gives his name as only Carter greets a visitor to Grand View in Glendale on Memorial Day May 30, 2011

After five months of much needed restoration, Grand View Memorial Park opened its gates to the public on Sunday, May 29 and May 30, Memorial Day.  I was told around a thousand folks visited on Sunday and several hundred more on Memorial Day.

Grand View was shut down and caught up in legal hassles for several years, but now seems to be on the road to recovery. The cemetery will now be open every Sunday from noon until 4 p.m.  Apparently three buyers are negotiating to purchase the cemetery. More on this later

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Newly restored Grand View Memorial Park in Glendale on Memorial Day May 30, 2011

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G — Newly restored Grand View Memorial Park in Glendale on Memorial Day May 30, 2011

A special tribute over the long Memorial Day holiday weekend. Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts placed American flags on the gravesites of veterans at Grand View.

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Flowers and a USA flag on a gravesite of a veteran at Grand View in Glendale on Memorial Day May 30, 2011

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G — Flowers and a USA flag on a gravesite of a veteran at Grand View in Glendale on Memorial Day May 30, 2011

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