After several years as a Burbank Police Commissioner, Elise Stearns-Niesen is ready to make the move to the city council. Stearns-Niesen believes her leadership experience and ability to relate to the average resident makes her the best candidate for one of two open seats on the council. Here are her responses to the questions I emailed all of the 2015 city council candidates.
1. Why are you the best candidate for a seat on the Burbank City Council?
I love Burbank and I represent the average Burbank resident ‘s point of view. I’m married, we own a home here, my family is all here and I work here. I believe what matters most to other Burbank residents, matters to me.
I will listen to all sides of every issue and most importantly, listen carefully to what the residents of Burbank have to say. I plan to be very accessible and I will represent every member of the community in the same way I would wish to be represented.
I am a leader and would continue to bring decorum to the dais. One does not need to be adversarial to get things done. I am not afraid to make tough decisions, and I will always be courteous and fair to those with differing opinions. We don’t have to agree on every issue, but I believe better solutions come when everyone involved works together respectfully.
2. What are the major problems facing the city that you can help solve?
The major concerns that I personally have for our city revolves around public safety, drought issues, the preservation of our neighborhoods, and our business community.
I am concerned with the laws recently passed in the State of California, which may cause an influx of crime in Burbank. We are budgeted for far less police officers than we were 10 years ago. I’m concerned that we are only budgeted for one School Resource Officer. I would look at all areas of the budget to try to figure out new ways to better fund our police department.
The drought has major implications on our City. I’m afraid that if we don’t get a significant amount of rain, that a year from now we will be worrying less about water for our lawns, and more about where to get water for our showers. I will keep the conversation alive and current for any alternative ways to bring water to Burbank (more storage, desalination, different water sources). This should be on the forefront of the minds of our City Council.
I love the small town feel that Burbank still has, and I want to preserve that quaintness, especially in our neighborhoods. I think by repairing our streets and other infrastructure needs, easing traffic, being cautious about businesses sprouting up in our residential neighborhoods, and starting a fair review of our Mansionization polices, we can further protect our property values in R-1/R1-H neighborhoods.
So how do we fund the above amenities? We do so by promoting a business friendly atmosphere in Burbank. One in which we attract new and diverse businesses, cut red tape and support media. We need to become advocates for High Tech and other small business owners. My goal would be to strike the balance between good revenue sources while protecting the tranquility of the neighborhoods directly affected.
3. What are the biggest concerns of residents? What do you think the city council should do to alleviate those concerns?
What I’m hearing out in the community are concerns about mansionization, traffic, over-building/density projects, and the drought. I believe the City Council should reevaluate the current guidelines for residential homes and listen to the concerns of the residents with regards to this issue. City Council should also look for ways to mitigate traffic, especially while the I-5 project is underway. New formulas and new strategies for traffic studies should be considered, as the current ones don’t seem to properly evaluate the traffic impact, when common sense tells us otherwise. We need to examine new technologies that would better synchronize our street lights. I think the City Council should look at adding more left hand turning arrows to our traffic lights.
The Burbank Primary is Tuesday, February 24, 2015.
Q & A with other city council candidates