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Police commission controversy flares up again at Burbank City Council meeting

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Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Burbank City Hall

More fuel got tossed onto the controversy burning around the Burbank Police Commission at last night’s city council meeting.  First up, Councilman David Gordon made a passionate plea to his fellow council members to release that confidential memo that prompted their decision last week to re-consider at least one appointment to the police commission.

Dr. Gordon said it was in the “…interest of fairness and due process…” that the memo be made available “…to the individual and to the public…”  Ah, but the four other members did not see it that way. They decided to keep the memo shrouded in secrecy. Dr. Gordon made a motion to release the memo, but because no other council member would second it the motion died.

Last week, the council did not mention the name of the newly elected commissioner who’s DUI was reported on in that memo from the City Attorney, Dennis Barlow. However last night, Councilman/ Mayor Gary Bric referred to the commissioner as “Brady” at least twice. Apparently, some council members felt it was okay to mention civil rights activist John Brady by name, since the Burbank Leader had recently used his name in a story about background checks being required of all police commissioners as a result of that memo.

During public comments, long time Burbank resident David Piroli observed that a large number of comments on a Daily News blog and A Writer’s Groove  were from people confused about what the police commission does, when it meets, and where to find information about it. In response, City Manager Mike Flad noted the  police commission meets quarterly and the announcements are posted at city hall and the library. Still, Flad offered to do “a better job” in the future of getting the word out about the police commission and when and where it meets.

Then, there was the appearance by former Burbank Police Commission Chair Joe Gunn. During public comments, Gunn went into a rant about his eight years on the police commission, 50-year record in law enforcement, and called Councilman Gordon a “bully” for “…publicly accusing me of committing a crime.”  Gunn was so upset that he stormed out of the council chamber immediatedly after speaking.

Later, Councilman Gordon said he had made reference to an “apparent violation of the Brown Act” in connection with Gunn’s infamous May 13 e-mail sent out to all the police commissioners asking them to “… refrain from asking City Council members and the City Manager…” about “… a major investigation going on within the Burbank Police Department.” Basically, the California Brown Act states that public bodies must hold public meetings and they are not allowed to take actions in secret.  

By the way, the next Burbank Police Commission meeting is this evening at 5:30 p.m. in the community room of the Burbank Police and Fire Headquarters at 200 North First Street.

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28 Responses to Police commission controversy flares up again at Burbank City Council meeting

  1. Tim R. Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 4:37 pm #

    5:30 PM today ? That sure is convenient for people that get off work at 5:00 PM. Have any of those people looked at all the traffic they created with their over building ? Let me get this right you overbuild so traffic sits and sits and then you put meetings at 5:30 ? I wonder if you got a speeding ticket trying to get to their meeting if they would forget the ticket and accept the fact they require reckless driving to attend their meetings ? It is all a shell game and these people are all scam artists.

  2. Snoopy Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 4:48 pm #

    On the ‘rant’ I felt the old line ‘the lady doth protest too much’ more or less said it all last night, as for the 100% customer satisfaction with the police commission statement it is rather hard to have an opinion of satisfaction or disatisfaction with something many never even knew existed until recently.

    On another note I felt the refusal to even consider the release of the ‘secret document’ to the individual it is claimed to be all about was telling.I feel that if it is factual and accurate there should be no fear of allowing the person to see it and respond to it. If however it is less than completely factual and accurate then it would give fuel for the person to dispute it with proof and then question its real motivation. I suspect the suggestion or redacting parts of it indicated it is less than factual and accurate and therefore there is fear of allowing the individual to see it and respond to it. Unfortunatley some council members fail to see that a failure to be open in these matters is at the very heart of all the issues right now, and as for civil rights this certainly doesn’t look very good when they use something to judge a person in public but refuse to allow the person to even see the document relied on when they made their judgement.

  3. Disgusted Citizen Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 4:59 pm #

    Since when have they needed information to make decisions in Burbank ? These council people need to go.

  4. Fronnie Lewis Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    Tim R,

    You are right, 5:30 p.m. on a Wednesday is not the most convenient time for the general public to be able to attend a meeting.


    I agree, the council’s decision not release the “secret document” suggest there is something in it they want to hide.

    Disgusted Citizen,

    These are difficult times for Burbank and its citizens. The city council members are supposed to be our representatives, however, many are starting to wonder if that is really true.

  5. Marie E Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:02 pm #

    I think some of them really only represent themselves. The vice mayor Reinke always says I about everything. She is all about what she does and what she thinks and what she wants and that is all she is about. It is so much I I I I I with her. The mayor of Burbank doesn’t really know what he wants he just looks confused all the time. The only one that really talks about people is Gordon. I like him because everything is not about him. When Golonski started saying this doesn’t fly with me and that doesn’t fly with me I laughed because he found a new word for I. We need people that care about more then themselves and not selfish people like what we have.

  6. Reese Pl Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    The vice mayor A Renke represents the establishment. She has never acted like she represents anything else. It’s disgusting how self satisfied she is being the vice mayor like anybody really cares except for her.

  7. Gonzalez Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    Do I understabnd this right from what i read here ? One guy wants to let a guy who is getting acused of read the acusation and the other guys don’t want to let him read it ? Then they call the guy who wants to let the acused read the acusation a bully ? That sounds like turning things upside down if I understand this right because I would say the bullies are people that want to accuse and not let you see the proof of what they acuse you of. This is business as usual in Burbank where you are guilty and have to prove your innocent all the time. These people have to much spare time on their hands.

  8. Gonzalez Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm #

    I am confused why do they even get to have secret documents in the first place ? Nothing should ever be a secret that’s how corruption goes on forget secrets.

    I read about the fbi getting in big trouble for keeping secret documents on people. Why would teh city even spend money on secret documents for. Nothing the do is about national security.

  9. boycott Burbank Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:39 pm #

    Burbank is a corrupt little city boycott Burbank. Go outside Burbank to shop and spend your money because money is the only thing these people understand.

    I do all my shopping out of Burbank nowadays I refuse to feed the corrupt beast my tax dollars.

  10. Fronnie Lewis Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 11:12 pm #

    Marie E. & Reese Pl,

    Apparently from your comments some city council members need to show that they are really working for the citizens of Burbank.


    I don’t know why the four city council members voted to keep that “secret document” hush-hush. Only they know the real reasons behind their action. I agree with you, the chances it involves national security are very slim.

    boycott Burbank,

    I see your point, but since I paid taxes in this city I would rather shop here. So I have to hope that the city’s problems will eventually be resolved.

  11. Jim Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 7:04 am #

    I am really tired of the media bias presented in this blog. Fronnie do you even talk to City staff? No, instead you speak with Father Piroli as well as other members of the Gadfly Clan. Your reputation is being harmed by the continued conspiracy pushing that you and the others are a part of.Yes this is a bad time for our City but the sky is not falling…eventually this will all be settled down. I like the four members who continue to keep our City Funded Dr. NO has never voted for a City Budget. But yet earned the Unions edorsements during the campaign don’t they realize HE’S VOTING AGAiNST THEIR PAYCHECK?

    Good grief. This blog is such a dissapointment. FRONNIE THE UNBIASED WAY IS THE BEST WAY

  12. Fronnie Lewis Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 10:35 am #


    Actually, I have spoken to some city staff members and council members as well as local citizens. I have been going to city council meetings since 2007. I have lived and worked in Burbank for many years.

    You stated your opinion in your comments above. That’s okay. We are all allowed to have an opinion. However, clearly if I don’t agree with you than I’m bias or involved in some kind of conspiracy. Hmm. Doesn’t sound quite fair.

    Apparently in your view, the UNBIASED WAY is your way.

  13. Ed Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 2:26 pm #

    Jim you bring up a really good point about the unions. Your theory is that the concilmember they endorsed votes against their pay check. You are right, so what do the unions know that you either don’t know about or don’t want everyone to know about? Don’t you think they just might know more about what is going on then you do? Eventually this will all just settle down ? That makes it sound like you just want to see things mever change for the better. Oh and I like this blog so maybe the unions do too!

  14. Marie Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 2:31 pm #

    TO: Jim
    From: Marie

    Change is good and lots of things really need to change. California is going bankrupt so I think we need change.

    I never read Fronnie call people names when she disagrees with them so her credability is high. You should think about that.

  15. Fuscardo Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 2:41 pm #

    Media bias ?

    Does that mean the media is making up lawsuits and problems that don’t rearlly exist? I don’t think they would do that. How is something a conspiracy when it’s front page news and everybody knows about it and everybody is talking about it everyplace ?

    Are you saying that the Mayor and all of them are saying there are no problems and no law suits and stuff or what ? It sounds to me like Jim is saying that four council people are just sitting back saying nothings wrong and waiting for it all to blow over. I hope they are young because this will take years to blow over from what everybody says.

  16. Fuscardo Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 2:44 pm #

    Hey Fronie i’m with you when you said
    Apparently in your view, the UNBIASED WAY is your way.

    Some people only think about money and forget that people are more important because money can be replaced but people can’t.

  17. h_f Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 2:58 pm #

    I try to watch the council meetings on the television every week just to keep up with what’s going on. It is always educational to see what is said and what is done.

    Often important things are ignored. I know I should go down and tell them what I think but I am lazy and enjoy sitting with my feet up and watching on the television.

    I admire the people who do go and speak up. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I disagree but I respect the fact they are not lazy like I am.

    It is always insulting to me when a person insults a person for speaking up. This is so easy and such a lazy way to do things. Easy as it requires no more effort than to sit in the comfort of home and criticize.

    What a wonderfull world this would be if that effort was made to make suggestions and add to a discussion.
    Attacking people is unbecoming and a lazy use of the intelligence God gave to us.

    How about a round of what we can do and an end to the self defeating and lazy name calling as an answer to serious issues ?

  18. Burbank resident 40 years Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 3:09 pm #

    I wonder what Jim has been doing with those comments he made. It would make me think that the whole mess is a plot by a few people and the writer here and nothing more.

    Its good he is happy the budget is passed it looks like they will need lots of money to pay all the lawsuits.

    With more lawsuits on the way Jim should check that they approved enough money to take care of all of them.

  19. Boycott Burbank Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 3:21 pm #

    The budget spot on point!

    If you want to fund irresponsible behavior and the settlement after its all over GO FOR IT!

    If you don’t want to fund it then DON’T SHOP IN BURBANK!

  20. rcm Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 3:30 pm #

    Some people deal with problems through denial. Others try to face them and deal with them in an appropriate manner.

  21. El Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 7:06 pm #

    Oh no not those gadflies again!

    Face it Jim I bet the King of England thought of George Washington as a gadfly, but hey we placed him on the dollar bill.

    Moral to the story is the more you scream from the roof tops that people who don’t agree with you are gadflies the more the rest of us tune in and listen to them.

    Mike Nolan is a gadfly to you I guess right ? You know how many people he has helped in Burbank over the years ? He has helped more people than many of the non profits have. How many people have you helped anyway ? If you have maybe you to could be a gadfly.

  22. disgusted citizen Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 7:47 pm #

    Jim likes the 4 council members that keep our city funded goodie for him. Personally I used to be proud when i drove into Burbank. Now the pot holes are as big here as they are in Los Angeles. I honestly hope the 4 don’t keep wasting money on things and start fixing our streets.

    Oh and there sure are a lot of us insane people in Burbank who listen to Mike Nolan. I remember when he was our water commissioner he stoped big increases to our water bills. We need Mike Nolan and the clan of gdaflies.

  23. Modeno Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 8:07 pm #

    Most bullies use name calling to control people. Its a fear thing and it’s a bully thing.

  24. Fronnie Lewis Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 9:16 pm #


    Good point. Thanks for the blog compliment.


    I think change is a good thing,too. Especially when the present system has problems that need fixing.

    Thanks for the high-five on my creditability.


    I agree, when it’s all over the media and folks all over the place are talking about — how can it be a conspiracy to talk about it on this blog?

    And thanks for the support.


    I’m with you — name calling doesn’t really help the discussion of serious issues.

    Burbank resident 40 years,

    Yes, It appears more lawsuits are on the way. If the city settles any of them — the taxpayers of Burbank will be paying the bill. That’s a bummer.

    Boycott Burbank,

    You are right, we all have a choice in where we shop and spend our money.


    I agree with you 100 percent.


    Hey, I never thought of George Washington as a gadfly. But it fits.

    As for Mike Nolan, I too have heard good things about him. I’ve listened to him speak his mind at city council meetings. He strikes me as intelligent and someone who cares deeply about Burbank and its citizens.

    disgusted citizen,

    You know, I’ve noticed more streets in need of repair in Burbank. City officials need to really get on it and fix our streets. That would be a good use for some of our tax dollars.

    Another vote for Mike Nolan and the Gadflies!


    well said.

  25. Burbank resident 40 years Friday, June 12, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

    Gone are the days that only Mrs Espinosa is saying there are problems in Burbank, now it’s police officers and city employees saying it.

    The writer of this blog was told by a reader to talk to staff and to listen to staff. I think you have been because all of this came up when staff (police officers) filed a law suit and said things are really not good here.

    I agree with Jim listen to staff, I am interested in the things they are saying about what has been really going on around our town.

  26. Carma Friday, June 12, 2009 at 5:30 pm #

    Every form of government has “bones in the closet.” The City of Burbank is no different. Many years ago the Burbank Police and Mayor’s office was one of the most corrupt in the county. Famous mafia boss Mickey Cohen ran his rackets and bootlegging from Burbank.

    A brave ex-military officer came in and cleaned things up. For over 70 years, the town became one of the safest, cleanest cities to live in.

    But, with this eutopic era came many years of nepotism and discrimination, that has gone unchecked. This is partly because Burbank is an amazing place to live, right next to Los Angeles which is another world. The citizens love the police, fire and city council.

    Like all dreams this one has come to an end. It is a long time coming, but I believe if confronted now, Burbank will emerge even better!

  27. Danny Saturday, June 13, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    I agree Carma Burbank is great but not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.

    It’s too bad that it will take outside forces coming in to clean up the corruption. We should be a strong enough city to clean it up ouselves but it’s not looking like we are.

  28. Fronnie Lewis Saturday, June 13, 2009 at 12:18 pm #

    Burbank resident 40 years,

    Mrs.Espinosa is a regular at Burbank City Council meetings. I’ve heard her complain about police problems many times.

    Indeed, some city employees are speaking out about these problems.


    Nicely stated. I have heard about Burbank’s shady past. I agree with you totally that “Burbank is an amazing place to live.”

    Generally, folks live here because they dig the town and its services.

    Yeah, the city is having some problems, but I too believe they can be fixed — making Burbank “even better.”


    I’m hoping that city officials will correct the problems. If not, you are right outsiders will come in and do it for them.

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