Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove —Burbank City Council, David Gordon, Dave Golonski, Anja Reinke, Jess Talamantes, and sitting, Gary Bric
There were speeches. There was debate. Still, it came as no surprise that four members of the Burbank City Council chose to oust newly-appointed Police Commissioner, John Brady, at their meeting last night. Again, Council member David Gordon tried various tactics to persuade his fellow council members to allow the civil rights activist to serve out his four year term. Nevertheless, the vote was four-to-one in favor of kicking Brady off the police commission and opening up a 30 day application period to fill the seat. Gordon was the lone dissenter.
During public comments, a number of people stepped to the podium to praise Brady’s character, experience, dedication to human rights, and commitment to the Burbank community. They included former city council candidate, Garen Yegparian and Burbank School Board Member, Larry Applebaum. Brady’s supporters pleaded with the council to keep him on the police commission. Also, Brady delivered a passionate defense, in which he declared the DUI the best thing that could have happened to him, because he got treatment and has not had a drink in two years.
Later during the discussion of the issue, Anja Reinke, Dave Golonski, Gary Bric, and Jess Talamantes all insisted it was not Brady’s DUI that’s the problem. They claimed the fact that Brady is on probation is the reason he would not display the right image on the police commission. Reinke said it “…sends the wrong message…”
Even though, the police commission application did not ask about criminal background, these council members chastised Brady for not alerting them to his probation and causing the controversy about it. The most adamant, Talamantes, slammed Brady repeatedly with statements like, “…you didn’t put it on your application…” and “…you did it to us…” and ” …you’ve put us in this position…”
These four council members did not question the motives of Police Chief Tim Stehr for bringing forward the information about the DUI and probation after the council had appointed Brady to the police commission. No, these council members were narrowly focused on blaming the victim for the situation they found themselves in. Did they do the right thing? I don’t think so. I believe the council’s handling of the Brady controversy has done more damage to the police commission and the city than whatever difficulties his probation may have presented to his position as police commissioner.
In another controversy, Amy and Jim Roach, the owners of that now famous Himalayan cat, “Kitty Pants,” asked for the council’s help in getting their pet back. Recently during a mix-up at the Burbank Animal Shelter, “Kitty Pants,” who had been reported missing, was adopted by a new family. Once the mistake was discovered, city officials tried to get the new family to return “Kitty Pants.” In a callous and heartbreaking decision, the new family has refused to give up “Kitty Pants,” even in exchange for $650 and a new kitten.
The city council members Reinke and Golonski offered their help, but said the city could not go in with a SWAT team and retrieve “Kitty Pants.” Okay, the SWAT team might be a bit much. However, the city should join with the Roaches in a legal battle to get their pet back. I know there are lawsuits and investigations hanging over the city of Burbank. If there are settlements for these cases, more than likely they will be in the millions of dollars.
Yet, I think the city needs to do the right thing in the “Kitty Pants” matter. The right thing is to take whatever legal action is necessary now to get that beloved pet back to its rightful owners.