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City Buzz: New Burbank City Council, traffic commission, and controversy over Measure “S”

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City council reorganization meeting

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.

Important meeting at Burbank City Hall tomorrow morning. Officially, it is called the reorganization of the city council. To many voters, activists, and concerned citizens it is considered a changing of the guard and the ushering in of a new era in local government. The leader of the old guard, 20-year veteran City Councilman/Mayor, Dave Golonski, will be stepping down and after being voted out in the General Election, earlier this month.

Newly-elected City Councilman, Bob Frutos, will be sworn in along with re-elected members, Dr. David Gordon and Jess Talamantes.  A new mayor and vice-mayor will be selected by the council members. Who is picked for those positions will say a lot about this new council. Stay tuned.

The re-organization meeting is in the city council chambers at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

Kudos for the Burbank Traffic Commission

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Chair of Burbank Traffic Commission, David Carletta, spoke out at the city council meeting about the need to widen on Victory Place under the rail crossing bridge April 16, 2013

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G — Chair of Burbank Traffic Commission, David Carletta, spoke out at the city council meeting about the need to widen on Victory Place under the rail crossing bridge April 16, 2013

Four concerned citizens and members of the Burbank Traffic Commission took their plea for some action on a critically congested section of Victory Place straight to the city council on April 16, 2013. The commission members, Brian Malone, Kevin Harrop, Linda Barnes and Chairperson, David Carletta were clearly frustrated by apparent efforts by certain city staffers to derail their proposal from reaching the city council.

Rather than give-up, these dedicated commissioners, took their concerns directly to the city council during public comments. For over two years, the commissioners claimed they have been voicing their concerns to staffers like the Traffic Engine Ken Johnson and Public Works Director Bonnie Teaford. Anyone who has driven Victory Place to get to Costco or the Empire Center knows what a traffic bottleneck that is.

This is where Councilman Golonski shines. While some council members easily buy the excuses and scare tactics of the staffs, Golonski is skeptical. The mayor said he was “disappointed” it took so long for the commission’s recommendation to reach the council. Also, he observed: “… when staff doesn’t support something it’s hard for it to get a fair hearing.”

Golonski proposed bringing in an independent consultant to come up with a solution to that traffic nightmare at the Five Points intersection and the nearby underpass on Victory Place. The council voted 4-to-1 to have the staff bring back a cost assessment for an outside traffic consultant. A clear victory for the traffic commissioners.

Fallout from Measure “S” ballot  failure

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Wheelchair bound Burbank resident, Penny Proctor, gave a passionate speech to the city council about the hardships facing some citizens due to the failure of Measure "S" in the recent General Election April 16, 2013

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G — Wheelchair bound Burbank resident, Penny Proctor, gave a passionate speech to the city council about the hardships facing some citizens due to the failure of Measure “S” in the recent General Election April 16, 2013

To most voters, Measure “S” on the April 9, 2013 ballot, was just another tax. To add to the measure’s negative vibe, it supports a program run by the Burbank Water and Power, known to jack up residents utility rates while handing out fat raises to top officials ant dropping bundles of money on pet projects.

However, resident Penny Proctor, put a face on the measure when she spoke to the city council at the April 16, meeting about what it is like to struggle to pay those high utility rates if you’re low income. Proctor is one of about 1,900 residents on the Burbank Water and Power Lifeline Program. Measure “S” would have continued the discounts for sewer and refuse rates for those on the Lifeline plan, by a special tax on utility bills for all other users.

On April 22, I got an email response from Burbank City Clerk, Zizette Mullins, saying: “…  Mrs. Teaford, Public Works Director spoke with Ms. Proctor last week and clarified the issue with her.’ Well, that’s not quite the case. I’ve spoken with Proctor twice and she told me the issue, “… has not been resolved.” Penny believes the voters did not realize what they were voting against and wants to see the measure “put back on the ballot.”

Meanwhile, the Lifeline benefits for many disabled and low income residents are scheduled to go away in July. Proctor was told the city staff is going to go before the city council in May with some “alternatives.” She plans to keep up her quest until some relief is found for these needy residents. Three cheers for Penny.

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4 Responses to City Buzz: New Burbank City Council, traffic commission, and controversy over Measure “S”

  1. Burbanker Friday, May 3, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    The sad thing here really is the misperception and bad information this lady was provided by it appears non other than our own Burbank City Hall. The Measure S ballot measure has nothing to do with electric rates or water rates or Burbank Water and Power. Measure S has to do with Burbank Public Works and sewer rates along with refuse rates. The passage or failure of Measure S has no effect on electric rates what-so-ever.

  2. Fronnie Friday, May 3, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    Burbanker,

    Yes, but Penny Proctor has been told failure of Measure “S” will effect the Lifeline program she and hundreds of other low-income residents are on. Perhaps this is an issue our new city council should get involved in and clear-up for the public.

  3. DixieFlyer Friday, May 3, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    There has been an expression used in Burbank–“Electric Bill”.

    Another is “Power Bill”.

    Another is “Utility Bill”.

    You pay them to the same Outfit, at the same address.

    Burbank Water & Power issues the Bill$ and collects the Money$ for Sewer, Electric, Trash and Water.

    Our staff can do a much better job when contacted by the Customers.

    It’s called Customer Service, D-U-H!!!

  4. Fronnie Friday, May 3, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

    Dixie,

    Well someone needs to come up with a clear answers and a solution to this issue — and be able to back it up with facts and figures. Penny is probably not the only resident confused and troubled by all of this.

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