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Quick-bits: News, Sports, and Features

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Catching up on some items from the past few days.

Fire Service Day in Burbank

Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Crowds turned out for the salute to Burbank Fire and Police Departments on Saturday, May 8, 2010

The streets surrounding the Burbank Police and Fire Headquarters in Downtown Burbank were blocked off for the “Fire Service Day” celebration from around 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. yesterday.  Burbank Police joined in the festivities in honor of National Police Week, which kicks-off today.

I dropped by just before noon and discovered a colorful street festival at Third Street and Orange Grove Avenue. There were fire and police vehicles on display, along with a helicopter, demonstrations, information booths, a rocking band, fire house tours, food, and free balloons for the kids.

Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — The Burbank and Glendale Police helicopter was a favorite stop at yesterday’s “Fire Service Day” event in Downtown Burbank.

Mingling in the crowds, Burbank Police Commissioner Claudia Bonis, 43rd State Assembly Democratic Candidate Mike Gatto, and 43rd District Field Representative Suzy Jacobs. They were smiling and greeting folks; so were Burbank firefighters and police personnel. It was nice to see considering all the tension, turmoil, and controversy rolling through Burbank these days.

I missed the pancake breakfast, but caught Santoro’s submarine sandwich lunch. It took some patience to buy one of their famous sandwiches. I think I was in line for 20 minutes. Despite the wait, Santoro’s pastrami sandwich (yikes, I had it with onions) was quite tasty. Definitely, I would recommend trying one of their subs. Santoro’s is located at 1423 West Burbank Blvd, in Burbank  91506.  Check out their cool website

The Burbank Leader calls out city council for snub of Gordon

Photo from Burbank city website: Councilman Dr. David Gordon

In an editorial published late Friday night on its website, The Burbank Leader took some Burbank City Council members to task for repeatedly, and most recently on Monday, May 3, passing over their colleague Dr. David Gordon for mayor or vice-mayor. The Leader did this in a backhanded manner with a few jabs at Gordon, but I believe it’s the overall message that counts here — and that was straight-on target.

Also, what about the well-known criticism of some of the other council members, such as inattentiveness in council meetings, insensitivity toward the public, inexperience …etc  None of these shortcomings stopped the present mayor and vice-mayor from being elected, so why the double standard for Gordon?

Earlier in the week, the council’s snub of Gordon created a storm of protest and condemnation on Jim Carlile’s site and on this blog as well. I’m glad the Leader decided to take a strong stand and join us in calling out the city council on this matter. Read the Leader editorial here.  

One more thing. Why is Gordon the only council member without a bio on the city website? What’s up with that? It’s not like he’s new in the position.

UPDATE: I’ve heard Gordon’s bio will be posted on the city website soon, perhaps by the end of the week.

Sex offender Burbank teacher sentenced


Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Burbank courts building on Olive Avenue in Downtown Burbank

The strange saga of that Burbank middle school teacher, who confessed to having sexual affair with one of her male students, came to an end in a Burbank court last Friday. In March, 33-year-old Amy Beck pleaded no contest to charges of having unlawful sex with a minor for several months last year. The victim was 14 at the time.

On Friday, Judge Patrick J. Hegarty sentenced Beck to two years in prison. Beck has been in jail since quitting her job at David Starr Jordan Middle School, and walking into the Burbank Police Department where she reportedly confessed to the crime. Beck’s attorney, Michael Williamson, says she could get out of prison in as little as 10 months. However for the rest of her life, Beck must register as a sex offender. Beck, who has three children, is married to a Los Angeles police officer.

Another grand slam for Dodger Slugger Andre Ethier  


Photo: Jill Weisleder/LA Dodgers — Slugger Andre Ethier arrives at home plate to a crush of happy Dodgers who were there to celebrate his walkoff grand slam and 7-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers Thursday, May 6, 2010 at Dodger Stadium.

Andre Ethier’s bat is red hot!  Last Thursday, the Dodger outfielder belted his second career grand slam this season and it’s only May.  Also, it was the first game ending walkoff grand slam for the guys in L.A. blue since Russell Martin hit one in the win against Pittsburgh, back on April 21, 2007.  Coincidentally, the score of that game, Dodgers 7 and Pirates 3.

Springtime treatment for roses 


Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Nursery Professional Emilio Telles trudges out a rose bush for the show-and-tell portion of the “Rose Care for Beginners” class at Armstrong Garden Center in Glendale on Saturday, May 8, 2010

In my pursuit of gardening and yard care tips, I attended the “Rose Care for Beginners” class at the Armstrong Garden Center at 5816 San Fernando Road, Glendale 91202. Nursery Professional Emilio Telles explained and then demonstrated the proper technique for giving rose bushes a light pruning in the spring. Telles gave the group a lesson in fertilizers, soil amendments, regular and organic,  as well as instructions on how to handle bad bugs and disease.

After our very rainy winter, a big problem is that white stuff on rose bushes — powdery mildew.

Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Armstrong Gardens Rose Expert Emilio Telles points out powdery mildew and then gives the class some tips on how to get rid of it.

The one-hour class whizzed by very quickly. A lot of really good information for growing everything from your roses to trees, lawns, and whatever.  Another plus — the class is free.  If you’re an orchid grower — on Saturday, May 22 at  9 a.m. there’s a class on repotting at the Glendale Armstrong Garden Center. Also, there are a lot of great tips and guides for all levels of gardeners on the company website. Or you can drop by the Glendale location, which has been expanded and looks terrific, and ask Telles or any of the staff for advice.

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16 Responses to Quick-bits: News, Sports, and Features

  1. Dr. Freud Sunday, May 9, 2010 at 8:21 pm #

    I can only wait for the conspiracy theories about Gordon’s bio.

  2. DixieFlyer Sunday, May 9, 2010 at 11:24 pm #

    How about a straight answer.

    Let’s see what happens with all the City Staff Defenders prowling the Blogs. Maybe this time we’ll all get a straight simple answer.

    No referral to the City Attorney, no tap dancing, no requirement of a Freedom of Information Request.

    What a golden opportunity for the Staff to START giving straight answers!!

  3. Fronnie Sunday, May 9, 2010 at 11:35 pm #


    A lot of things were changed and or revised with the transfer from the old website to the new one. I don’t know what the situation is exactly, but I have heard the bio will be going up sometime this week.

    I put that update in my post.

  4. Jim C. Monday, May 10, 2010 at 4:35 am #

    Sadly, my understanding about the Amy Beck situation is that her kids have been placed out-of-state for the time being with relatives. It’s all very sad. A little tidbit, too: as a mandatory reporter, the husband was required by law to turn her in the minute he suspected something had been going on, or get prosecuted himself. He was between a rock and a hard place so she really had no choice but to surrender ASAP.

  5. Fronnie Monday, May 10, 2010 at 12:00 pm #


    I’m not surprised Amy Beck’s children have been moved out of the area. It will give them a chance at a normal life — away from the place connected with their mother’s conviction. Interesting tidbit about the husband; explains why Beck went to the Burbank cops and confessed. Since the husband is apparently standing by her — says a lot for their relationship.

  6. Edward Monday, May 10, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    Not sure it is a conspiracy to ask why there would be no Gordon bio. It sure shows what the problem really is in Burbank tho, ask about something and get attacked fast because Burbank employees never make a mistake. Even if the question asker is just asking the mode of rezponse is attack at all costs from Burbank.

    If only they spent half as much time doing things right as they do attacking people maybe the city would be run half way right.

  7. Rod Monday, May 10, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    For those of us who use the computer to access information the Burbank web site is pathetic. It is hard to navigate and most of the time is missing what I am looking for.

    Why would I be surprised that Councilman Gordon would be missing from the site ? Could it be a time crunch or could it be that the site is under construction ?

    Hell no! It’s more petty behavior from the childish nimrods who run this city. Do they honestly believe that we don’t all see the petty behavior of this council and city manager ?

    Give me a break. It’s no conspiracy at all it’s just business as usual in Burbank.

  8. Mando Monday, May 10, 2010 at 6:19 pm #

    That colorfull street festival made it impossible to get to downtown Burbank. I planned to eat and see a movie and after the traffic jam from a festival blocking the street changed my mind and went to Hollywood for a dinner and movie. Traffic was not as bad and parking was easy to find. Not sure who thinks blocking streets off is a good idea but all I can say is it’s a very bad idea. Why didn’t they stik this into the parking lot like they do the farmers market every week ?

  9. Rosey Monday, May 10, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    If this doesn’t more or less say it all, maybe it took them 17 years to write this glowing report of how Golonski took us from properity to poverty in just 17 years.

    Dave Golonski is proudly celebrating his 17th year as a member of the Burbank City Council.
    A veteran of municipal government, he has served as Burbank’s Mayor three times over his tenure, rotating the position with his fellow council members.
    Known for his passion and commitment to sustainability and protecting our most valued natural resources, Dave works tirelessly to ensure Burbank is fostering a healthy environment for current and future generations.
    Since joining the council in 1993, he has served on numerous critical committees tackling issues related to youth, homeless services, housing, and infrastructure.
    Dave worked in the information technology industry for 15 years at such prominent companies as Health Net and Sotriss. He earned both an A.B. in Computer Science and B.S. in Political Economy of Natural Resources from the University of California, Berkeley.
    A resident of Burbank for more than 20 years, Dave is married to his wife Barbara and they have three children – Randi, Russell, and John. They are also the proud grandparents of Randi and her husband Nathan’s recent arrival, Grant.
    “I am committed to working with citizens from every corner of our city to bring about economic growth while preserving the neighborhood character that makes us all proud to call Burbank home.”
    -Dave Golonski

  10. DixieFlyer Monday, May 10, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    Dear Mondo,
    Fire Service Day is traditionally celebrated in early May (usually the 1st Saturday).
    To provide easy access to the various pieces of equipment, the streets are closed to insure the safety of the citizens as well as personnel who are preoccupied overlooking the curious and the inquisitive.

    Most of us have learned to navigate the streets of Burbank with at least one alternate route, sometimes we need two! Better luck next time, we need your business!!

  11. Fronnie Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 1:55 am #

    Maybe next year, it might be a good idea for the city to put up signs with directions to alternate routes around the Fire and Police street event.

  12. Jim C. Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 2:08 am #

    The late Bob Etter had some interesting theories about the Dave Golonski family. Not sure if they were true, but they were very colorful– which accounts for Golonski holding a huge grudge against Bob’s brother, Jim.

    It’s a strange setup.

    One of the funniest things in recent Burbank history is the lawsuit brief where Golonski’s wife breaks down and pleads about how terrified she was of Bob Etter– but apparently not scared enough to refrain from chasing him down the street one day, which she testified she did.

    And then Dixie knows the story about what happened one night at Sardos….. just try to get the police report on THAT one!

  13. Shocked Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 3:39 am #

    The city’s web site may get awards for appearance, but the content is certainly lacking. While you can search for information and document results will show up, but all the links are broken so what good is it? Then you have to make public records requests to get information that is supposed to be public in the first place. It seems like just another way to try to know what anyone may be looking for so it can get lost or shredded.

    Here’s an interesting like:

    I heard the staff was busy researching how many times a councilman with one year from his/her election was appointed mayor. They should have been looking for how many times a councilman who had been elected twice was passed over. My recollection is that in recent years the people who were passed over to become mayor or vice mayor only served 4 years and either didn’t run again or were trashed so badly by the likes of Will Rogers and City Hall they couldn’t overcome the attacks.

    Glad to hear the judge saw through what happened to Coach Sandoval. This appears to be just another example of someone the Barlow, Scott, etc., decided to go after someone and press criminal charges. When is the City Manager and City Council going to really do something about the abuse of power in Burbank? It is getting very tiresome.

  14. Jim C. Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 4:58 am #

    Of all the nonsense going on, I think the most serious thing– meaning the one thing that could REALLY get Barlow in trouble, legally– is the way he flagrantly abuses his absolute immunity privilege in order to retaliate against people after they invoke their civil rights.

    Absolute immunity is a standard privilege that’s granted to prosecutors to protect them from legal harm and fear during the course of their important duties, but Barlow hides behind it so he can use his office as the sole enforcer of the law. He knows the cops could be liable if they harass someone unfairly or illegally, and that’s why he initiates these enforcement actions as well as later prosecutes them.

    Of all the things I’m happiest about the last few years, it’s this exposing of Barlow and the city attorney’s office on these abusive stunts. Whether it’s Sandoval, or Muldoon, or David’s Vending Machines, or Dr. Karam, all of these situations involved discretionary enforcement from Barlow only AFTER these same parties had publically complained to the council about something they were unhappy about, and the police had waived their own right to cite them accordingly.

  15. BSF Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    A highlight from the recent selection of mayor and vice mayor in the People’s Republic of Burbank.

  16. Jessica Monday, July 12, 2010 at 11:40 am #

    I really appreciate the various home and garden center’s and nursery’s offering free classes. They are so smart to teach people how to best amend their soil, which plants are best (how to select them), and how to care for them. So many people keep forgetting that we live in a desert in Southern California. Keep up the good work – in keeping people aware Fronnie! 🙂 Jessica

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