Photo:FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove
At Burbank City Council meetings most of the face time goes to the council members and the staff. They’re the ones who are supposed to be handling city business, therefore, they get to do a lot of the talking. Still, I get a kick out of the public comment segments where we get a chance to hear what’s bugging some of the citizens of Burbank.
At last Tuesday’s city council meeting, Mayor Gary Bric called up more than 15 people to the podium to speak for five minutes or less on city business during the first public comment period. A young group of male BMX bike riders asked the council to allow them to take their favorite set of wheels to the city’s skate park. One skater spoke out against the arrangement saying BMX bikes would damage the park and might cause accidents with skaters. Later the city council (minus Vice- Mayor Anja Reinke who is on vacation) would vote four-zip in support of Option One, which would expand the the skate park by 1,400 square feet and allow for BMX bikes. The council members requested staff come back with some ways to fund the project.
Also, some business owners spoke out about how their street curb parking on South Victory Boulevard near West Alameda Avenue vanished with very little notification recently. The shop owners of GH Shower Doors, Burbank House of Hobbies, and Dav-Tech were among those complaining about being blindsided. The reason behind the red-lining of that section of Victory Boulevard was due to traffic lane changes at the intersection, which included a new left turn lane onto West Alameda.
Burbank City Traffic Engineer Ken Johnson admitted his department had “dropped the ball” by not giving the business owners adequate notice about the street parking change: “I do apologize to the property owners.” Also, the shop owners got quite a bit of sympathy and promises to try to help ease some of their parking headaches from councilmen Dave Golonski, David Gordon, and Mayor Gary Bric.
A number of the regulars took to the mic as well Tuesday night, most notably Esther Espinoza and Mike Nolan. Mrs. Espinoza made a heartbreaking emotional plea for help from the city and surprisingly, got no response from the city council. Oh, a staff member did offer Mrs. Espinoza some tissues to wipe her tears. Sure, her family issues may not be city related, but someone on staff should be able to help this Burbank resident get the aid she needs through the right agency. The city should really forget past grudges, step up and show some compassion in the case of Espinoza family.
As for Mike Nolan, the Burbank City Attorney’s office provided him with a list of 10 law firms, which have billed the city for police-related matters since 2004. Nolan had been asking for this type of information for weeks. The bottom line cost, $524, 005.35. Yes, a cool half-million bucks. Copies of the list were available to the public at the city council meeting.
Nolan pressed the city to reveal to the public what the reasons are behind those legal costs. Nolan said it’s “…time to tell us what’s wrong…” in the police department. Many others agree with him, still we’ll have to wait and see if the City Attorney’s Office provides any background data on the list.
Also, Nolan held up a document he said was from former Burbank Police Detective Chris Dunn’s personnel file and that it had been leaked to a local newspaper. Nolan asked, “How did that happen?” Nolan pushed even harder for answers during the second public comment section at the end of the city council meeting, but he didn’t get very far in his quest.
Now, Chris Dunn and his attorney, Solomon E. Gresen, have taken up the issue of those suspected leaked documents. Yesterday, Dunn filed a claim for damages against the city of Burbank. The claim alleges: “On or about July 16, 2009, Claimant Christopher Lee Dunn’s private personnel file and documents contained in that file were disclosed to Christopher Canelago of the Burbank Leader and other members of the press and general public.”
The claim goes on to say that “… the public employee or employees causing his injury, damage or loss include, without limitation, Dennis A. Barlow and Carol A. Humiston of the Burbank City Attorney’s Office, among others.”
You might remember that on July 16, Dunn became the sixth former or current Burbank Police Office to file a discrimination lawsuit against the city. On Jim Carlile’s blog there’s a press release from Dunn’s law firm with more on both legal actions.