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Tag Archives | government

Burbank City Council and those lingering controversies

Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Burbank City Hall In the course of business as usual at last night’s meeting, the Burbank City Council made some decisions involving issues which are continuing to generate debate and controversy. During public comments, Jose Sandoval, a volunteer coach for the Burbank Parks & Recreation Department for 16 years, returned to speak to the council members again. Sandoval coaches five teams and about 80 kids, mostly from low income and single parent homes. Some of the baseball players are physically challenged as well. On May 18, 2009,... Read More →

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Did the Burbank City Council do the right thing?

Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove —Burbank City Council, David Gordon, Dave Golonski,  Anja Reinke, Jess Talamantes, and sitting, Gary Bric  There were speeches. There was debate. Still, it came as no surprise that four members of the Burbank City Council chose to oust newly-appointed Police Commissioner, John Brady, at their meeting last night.  Again, Council member David Gordon tried various tactics to persuade his fellow council members to allow the civil rights activist to serve out his four year term. Nevertheless, the vote was four-to-one in favor of kicking Brady off the police commission and... Read More →

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Burbank City Council to revisit police commission appointments

Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Burbank City Hall The controversy surrounding the new Burbank Police Commissioners is about to come up again at tomorrow’s city council meeting. Today the issue is listed as item 13 on the agenda and is described as “Reconsideration of the Police Commission Applicants,” according to the agenda forecast posted on the city of Burbank website. At the center of this stormy drama is newly appointed Police Commissioner and civil rights activist, John Brady. Two weeks ago on June 2, the council voted 4-to-1 to reconsider the appointments of... Read More →

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Former Burbank Official Marsha Ramos speaks out on hot city issues

Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Ex-Burbank City Council Member/Mayor, Marsha Ramos A few weeks ago, Marsha Ramos stepped out of the public spotlight and back into private life after two terms on the Burbank City Council and twice serving as mayor. Also, Ramos has worked on numerous city committees, boards, and panels, including the police commission, over the years. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that Ramos has been watching the dramas and controversies swirling around Burbank with particular interest. Earlier this week, on Tuesday June 9, Ramos answered some questions for me... Read More →

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Police commission controversy flares up again at Burbank City Council meeting

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…” ... Read More →

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Debate and controversy at Burbank City Council meeting

Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Burbank City Hall That discrimination lawsuit filed by five members of the Burbank PD last Thursday, popped up several times at the Burbank City Council meeting last night. First, it was on the written agenda as having been discussed with legal counsel earlier in the afternoon during the council’s closed session. Also seven, yes that’s right,  potential cases against the city were brought up in that behind-closed-doors discussion as well. The present lawsuit alleges a pattern of discriminatory hiring and promotional practices, harassment, retaliation and other offenses in... Read More →

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Both sides in that Burbank Police lawsuit speak out today

Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Burbank Police and Fire Headquarters A controversial lawsuit filed by a Burbank police Lieutenant and four officers last Thursday is the talk of the town. In fact, the story is still getting a lot of exposure across the Internet and in the media. Today, the lead lawyer, whose firm filed the lawsuit, reiterated the allegations of widespread discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other misconduct in the Burbank PD at a news conference.  Attorney Solomon E. Gresen accused the Burbank PD of giving preferential treatment to white males... Read More →

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Mixed blessings on this Memorial Day holiday weekend

Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Burbank The economy is still struggling. Job layoffs by the thousands continue. Gasoline prices at the pumps are up. On Thursday, May 21, I paid $2.60 a gallon at a gas station in Burbank. A month ago at the same station, I paid $2.30 a gallon.  And food prices are still outrageously high; why is that the case? On the plus side, President Obama signed sweeping credit card reform into law yesterday. You can still catch a flick for around 10 bucks or so.  Some... Read More →

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President Obama speaks at the U.S. Naval Academy graduation

   Photo: Lawrence Jackson/White House — President Obama shares a fistbump with a proud young graduating Midshipman at the U.S. Navy Academy commencement today. President Obama kicked off the long Memorial Day holiday weekend today with a speech to the graduating class of 2009 at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland: “After an era when so many institutions and individuals acted with such greed and recklessness, it’s no wonder that our military remains the most trusted institution in our nation. (Applause) And in a world when so many forces and... Read More →

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More controversy in Burbank

  Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Burbank City Council  (from left to right) Dr. David Gordon, Dave Golonski, Anja Reinke, Jess Talamantes and seated, council member/Mayor Gary Bric Suspicions are growing that something troubling is brewing behind the scenes in Burbank that involves the police department and legal matters. Officials are trying to keep it hush-hush, but all that has done is fuel rumors and concerns among residents as well as city employees. Last Tuesday, May 19, at the city council meeting, long-time resident Mike Nolan encouraged council members to address a number of issues... Read More →

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California voters turn thumbs down on five budget propositions

Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Burbank Polling Place/Joaquin Miller Elementary School California voters didn’t just reject five of the propositions championed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and other legislators as fixes for the financially-strapped state budget, they slammed them to the mat in yesterday’s special election. Propositions 1A through 1E were soundly defeated by huge margins. STATEWIDE RESULTS Proposition 1A  “Rainy Day” Budget Stabilization Fund          34.1% Yes   65.9% No Proposition 1B   Education Funding Payment Plan                37.4% Yes    62.6% No    Proposition 1C   Lottery Modernization Act                           35.4% Yes    64.6% No Proposition 1D   Children’s Services... Read More →

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President Obama greets a crowd as he rallies support for credit card reform

Photo: Chuck Kennedy/White House Spectators at a town hall meeting in Rancho Rio, New Mexico yesterday eagerly reach out to shake President Obama’s hand or to snap a photo of the Commander-in-Chief.  At the meeting, inside a packed high school gym, the president recounted some horror stories of abuse by credit card companies who have been jacking up rates and raising fees on struggling Americans during these tough economic times. Obama said, “Enough is enough.  It’s time for strong, reliable protections for our consumers. It’s time for reform... Read More →

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Burbank police facing allegations of misconduct and other problems

Burbank Police Chief Tim Stehr  Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove A cloud of uncertainty is hanging over the city of Burbank, the “Media Capital of the World.” The uncertainty is not linked to the prominent entertainment industry in town nor is it fallout from the sluggish economy. No, it’s the city’s police department, which is the focus of this negative energy. For weeks now the rumors and suspicions about allegations of police misconduct, lawsuits, indictments, and other police issues have been swirling around this San Fernando Valley city of 100,000 residents. Earlier this month, the Read More →

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The Obamas celebrate Cinco de Mayo

  Photo: Samantha Appleton/White House First Lady Michelle Obama shared a group hug with some students during a Cinco de Mayo celebration on Monday, May 4, at the Latin American Montessori Bilingual Charter School in Washington, D.C. Later that evening at a White House Cinco de Mayo event attended by Mexican Ambassador Arturo Saruklan, President Obama spoke about the significance of the holiday: “Nearly 150 years ago, a ragtag band of soldiers and citizens, badly outnumbered and facing impossible odds, held their ground on a muddy hill to defend their nation from what... Read More →

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100 days plus: President Obama & the H1N1 flu virus

  President Obama has a new challenge to deal in the next 100 days of his administration; a previously unknown flu virus, which has the potential to kill. Last Wednesday night, the president highlighted efforts being made to handle the two wars, the bad economy, and other problems inherited from the Bush years. The president said: “I am pleased with our progress, but I am not satisfied.” Now we have to add to the country’s list of problems a health issue: a new strain of the swine flu or... Read More →

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First Lady Michelle Obama and the Queen of Jordan

  Photo: Samantha Appleton/White House   First Lady Michelle Obama had another chat with a queen a few days ago. Mrs. Obama held a get together with Jordan’s Queen Rania in the White House Yellow Oval Room on Thursday, April 23, 2009.  Also this week, Jordan’s King Abdullah met with President Obama.   Earlier this month, the first lady and the president had a meet and greet with Great Britian’s Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace in London.  

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State Assemblyman Paul Krekorian campaigns for the upcoming special election

The Burbank Democratic Club threw a backyard BBQ bash with great eats and brew in a neighborhood near the Rancho District, last night. I’m a member and I joined 50 or so other folks for a fun club meeting and social gathering. However, there was a serious message about the state’s budget woes presented by local Assemblyman Paul Krekorian (D) 43rd District. Krekorian had the tough job of trying to rally support for the upcoming State Special Election for six controversial initiatives. In these difficult times, even Democrats aren’t in the mood for more taxes or eager to... Read More →

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Day 86: President Obama travels south of the border to Mexico

Photos: Pete Souza/White House Today President Barack Obama visited Mexico. On his arrival, President Obama received a warm welcome from some of its citizens and Mexican President Felipe Calderon. During the welcoming ceremony, Obama made a pledge: “At a time when the Mexican government has so courageously taken on the drug cartels that have plagued both sides of the borders, it is absolutely critical that the United States joins as a full partner in dealing with this issue…” The White House Blog   Later after their meeting,... Read More →

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Souvenirs from the White House Easter Egg Roll go on sale

Photo: Chuck Kennedy/White House   President Barack Obama and the first family enjoyed a White House tradition with thousands of families from 45 states yesterday. The Easter Egg Roll is a rite of spring event at the White House that dates back to 1878. The theme of this year’s event was “Let’s Go Play.” Tickets were required and had a time limit of two hours. I guess you have those kinds of restrictions when you expected as many as 30,000 families to show up. It was a busy day for... Read More →

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Burbank City Council race down to the wire

Photos: FLLewis/A Writers Groove The heated Burbank City Council race is headed for the finish line with the election this Tuesday, April 14. The campaign mailings have slowed down to a trickle. Still, the last minute push is underway for those voters who have not mailed or dropped off their ballots yet. Six candidates are spending thousands of dollars in hopes of collecting enough votes to win one of three open seats on the powerful council. The contenders are Educator Elise Stearns-Niesen, Technical Research Analyst Garen Yegparian, Incumbent Dr. David Gordon, Associate CIO... Read More →

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The president’s surprise visit with our troops in Iraq

Photos: Pete Souza/White House                                                                                                                      President Barack Obama paid a surprise visit to Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq yesterday, before ending his eight-day foreign trip and returning to the White House early this morning. The president met with U.S. military commanders and Iraqi leaders for an update on the war situation. Then Obama got a wild and enthusiastic greeting from the troops, which included handshakes and even a fist-bump. Also, the president awarded the Purple Heart medal to several brave U.S. soldiers.    The president addressed the... Read More →

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First Lady Michelle Obama tours Notre Dame Cathedral

White House photo/Lawrence Jackson   First Lady Michelle Obama joined the wives of the NATO Summit leaders in a tour of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Strasbourg, France yesterday. Built on the site of a Roman Temple in 1284, the Gothic Roman Catholic church is known for its remarkable architecture and details such as several stained glass windows and distinctive spire. Mrs. Obama is shown in the photo above listening to an interpreter with Hayrunnisa Gul, the wife of the president of Turkey. Two photos of the NATO Summit wives on tour are on The White House Blog. President... Read More →

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