Letter to the Editor:
Happy New Year Burbank! I know it goes without saying, but 2020 was a very difficult year for our community. However, today we have awoken to a bright new day. A new year brings with it a fresh start and new opportunities. While we will continue to face many of the same challenges that were before our community last year, I believe that a new year requires new priorities from our local government to address these issues. Moreover, I am optimistic that 2021 will be a successful year for our great city.
Our small businesses and the working class continue to struggle from the economic consequences of this pandemic. Last year, our city council took a crucial first step of creating an Economic Recovery Plan for Burbank. In this new year, I look forward to working with the community and my colleagues on the City Council to revisit that plan and to find opportunities for greater community stakeholder participation and input in navigating this crisis together. We will need to tap into our community’s innovation, industriousness, and drive to help our small businesses survive this pandemic by re-evaluating the existing obstacles to starting or maintaining a small business in Burbank.
At our last City Council meeting on December 15th, I asked for an update from city staff on our Economic Recovery Plan and raised the prospect of creating a taskforce that would involve community stakeholder participation. With the creation of a Burbank Economic Recovery Taskforce to supplement our economic recovery plan, we will be positioned to bring bold new ideas forward to help restore and revitalize our local economy.
Additionally, the housing affordability crisis predates the pandemic, which has only exacerbated it. My colleagues and I will continue to work this year on updating the Housing Element of the Burbank 2035 General Plan, which is a State-mandated policy document that identifies Burbank’s existing and future housing needs and establishes clear goals to inform future housing decisions. Together, we will tackle our lack of affordable housing options in Burbank by:
- Conserving and improving existing housing.
- Providing sites for a variety of housing types.
- Identifying and removing governmental constraints to housing development.
- Promoting equal housing opportunities.
Furthermore, we have seen firsthand the devastating impacts of this pandemic on our society, and yet this is merely a drop in the bucket compared to what we could be dealing with in connection with the climate crisis. This year is an opportunity to seriously address the global climate crisis with local solutions. A critical first step will include the scheduled update to our city’s greenhouse gas reduction plan (GGRP), which is a tool that many cities in California are using to quantify their share of statewide GHG emissions and establish action steps toward achieving a local emissions reduction target. I also believe that we will need to invest in our future by retaining a Sustainability Coordinator and pushing to move our local utility (BWP) to a 100% renewable energy portfolio by the end of the decade. These won’t be easy tasks, but it’s imperative that we act now with local solutions to address our climate crisis right here at home.
There is much more to accomplish in 2021 in terms of investments to our transportation infrastructure, fighting to save our local schools, and addressing the systemic inequities and discrimination that continue to pervade our society. However, I know that we are all up to the task and I sincerely look forward to addressing these challenges together. It is an honor and privilege to represent you on the Burbank City Council. I wish you, your loved ones, and our community a safe and prosperous new year!
Councilmember Nick Schultz
Note: Photo of Council member Schultz taken by Media City Groove during the reorganization of the council and the swearing in of new officials at Burbank City Hall, December 14, 2020