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2015 Burbank General Election endorsements

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Burbank election 2015 sign

The ballots for the April 14, 2015 Burbank General Municipal Election have begun arriving in the mailboxes and mail slots of the city’s registered voters.  In the city council race there’s a run-off involving incumbent Emily Gabel-Luddy, Will Rogers, Juan Guillen, and  Chris Rizzotti.

Development is still the hot topic as we head into the final weeks of the campaign. Recently, the long simmering controversy surrounding overbuilt homes or McMansions came to a head at City Hall. Residents showed up in force at two city council meetings to support the hire of an architectural firm to come up with a set of design guidelines for single family homes and a temporary moratorium on mansionization.  No surprise, among those speaking in support of both measures, city council candidate Juan Guillen.

All of the 2015 city council candidates answered this question on Media City Groove: “What are the biggest concerns of residents? What do you think the city council should do to alleviate those concerns?”

Guillen said: “While resident concerns may change from day-to-day, at the heart of the concern is always the quality of life in our community. Traffic, street repair, mansionization, overdevelopment, and other issues should be approached proactively with effective outreach to residents that ensures that their voices are heard and they are actively included in the solutions.”

Guillen doesn’t just talk the talk — he takes action. You gotta wonder where were Rogers and Rizzotti during the public debate over McMansions at city council meetings on March 3 and March 10. One City Hall watcher suggested they were hiding out somewhere waiting to see which way the political winds were blowing.

It takes courage and leadership to stand-up on a controversial issue. Guillen has demonstrated this ability on numerous occasions.  The Burbank Leader endorsed a council candidate with an “arrogant demeanor” and who is likely to fight with  a “blowtorch or pickax” for what he believes. Guillen has more finesse. Also, Guillen is not a pompous candidate enthralled with the sound of his own voice. Instead, he’s a passionate and relentless fighter for the interests and rights of residents.

Burbank City Council race — Two open seats

1. Juan Guillen gets the endorsement of Media City Groove in the general election.

2. No endorsement for a second candidate on the city council, however, a recommendation for Emily Gabel-Luddy

In the past few weeks, council member Gabel-Luddy appears to have finally heard voters’ outrage about overdevelopment and the need to protect neighborhoods. Recently, Gabel-Luddy voted “yes”on the new single-family home design standards as well as for the IDCO — Interim Development Control Ordinance .

Those who did not vote for Gabel-Luddy in the primary because of her pro-development views should give her a second look before marking their general ballots. She’s a better choice than Rizzotti or Rogers.

Burbank School Board race:  One open seat

Dr. Armond Aghakhanian is a dedicated educator who has been involved in the community for a very long time. This kind of experience will be an asset to the Burbank School Board. Media City Groove endorses Aghakhanian over his less experienced opponent, Greg Sousa, who touts himself as a parent and district outsider.


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11 Responses to 2015 Burbank General Election endorsements

  1. Lisa Marie Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

    Hello Media City Groove:
    Well I went to the debate last night at Buena Vista Library and it was very interesting. I was born in Burbank, so I have been here all my life and thought it was time to get involved in politics a little bit. I really had no opinions going in..I am wondering why you are endorsing Guillen, some specifics. Because out of all 4 candidates I thought he was a little smug, he made some errors about things even I knew about, and worse of all he brought a big group with him that was heckling the others. Like I said I came open minded but your endorsement of him and the Leaders is very interesting.

    For the other candidates, I thought Emily Luddy was very smart and knew her stuff. She is a politician though, no doubt. Chris Rizzotti was very articulate and stuck to facts, he knew his stuff. Will Rogers was very dramatic and not so cut and dry. Based on last night both my husband and I said, we would vote for Rizzotti and Lundy because both of them knew what they were talking about.

    Overall, it was a great meeting and very civil. I felt proud to have been brought up here and raising my children in Burbank.

    Your thoughts would be appreciated.

  2. Fronnie Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    Lisa Marie,

    I will agree with you on that it “was a great meeting.” In fact, several people came up to me and said it was the best forum so far for these city council candidates. I would agree with that, too. All the candidates came across well.

    As for Juan Guillen, tell us what “errors” he made that you say “even I knew about.” Also, how do you know “he brought a big group with him?” There were supporters for each of the candidates in the audience. And who got heckled? When?

    Why did I endorse Guillen? Ah, you left a comment on this post, which explains my reasons for it. Oh, by the way, the Leader did not endorse Guillen. The Leader endorsed Will Rogers. I hope you’re not getting the two candidates mixed up.

  3. Al in SoCal Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

    ” he brought a big group with him that was heckling the others ” – unfortunately this is a staple of Burbank politics. Childish and lame – yes, but a staple nonetheless.

    It’s unfortunate this was brought up because I was changing my mind about Mr. Guillen .. perhaps he’s not ready for prime time if hecklers are who he chooses to bring to the table.

  4. Lisa Marie Friday, March 27, 2015 at 10:52 am #

    Oops sorry about that you are right, Will Rogers and Emily Lundy are endorsed by the leader. I knew the hecklers were with Guillen because they were all around him at the beginning of the meeting and then we were sitting right in front of them and they were saying stuff under their breath.

    When he would speak a big group of about 8 men would cheer and clap and then when the other 3 would speak they would say things like oh right, yeah,very high school comments. When the battery on Rizzotti’s mic went out they said under their breath, comments about how they had planned the mic failing. Everyone in our row, looked at each other and commented how it was obvious how those guys were with. It was very immature.

    I guess his comments on how he had a private donor for the soccer fields is what I am talking about, it seemed very interesting, and then when pressed he couldn’t name the donor. It seemed to me, it was a statement without backup, very car salesman.

    I am just stating my general feelings about the meeting. I don’t have any feelings either way but I, like most people are sick of politician speak. I want to hear intelligence and solutions. I heard that from Lundy and Rizzotti, not the other two.

    I am still confused why this blog is supporting him, you didn’t state any specifics. I am asking to hear your opinion.

  5. Fronnie Friday, March 27, 2015 at 2:11 pm #

    Lisa Marie,

    I’ll say this once more. My reasons , and they are specific, for endorsing Juan Guillen are in this post. READ IT. If you are still “confused” I can’t help you.

    Also what you described in the audience was definitely rude behavior and you and rest of the folks on your row should have spoken up and told the offenders so! Yeah, told those talky folks making all the annoying comments to “be quiet.” Rude yes, but not heckling. Also, since you and the others on your row were making comments about the rude commenters, I just gotta say, there was a lot of talking by a lot of folks in that area. Makes me wonder how well you were really listening to what the candidates were saying.

    By the way, when a speaker is interrupted by someone in the audience, or someone in the audience starts yelling something at the speaker that is heckling. It’s not really consider heckling when someone makes a comment under their breath. That’s why when I asked others if they saw any heckling of the candidates and they said “no.”

    Glad you found the two candidates you want to vote for. So go ahead, mark your ballot and send it in. Thanks for commenting.
    Also, the candidate’s name is Gabel-Luddy not Lundy.

  6. Debbe C Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

    Hello Fronnie. We met briefly in 2011 working with OFA ahead of the 2012 election. Glad to see you are still maintaining your work and your passion for politics.

    I have to jump in here too as I was very impressed with Chris Rizzotti and I think you’re reference to “wondering where he was” and then offering an answer to your own question was a bit unfair.

    My take on Rizzotti at the debate was that he had clearly done his homework. While he wasn’t the smooth guy in the room, he seemed to be the most prepared and most knowledgeable. He definitely earned my trust.

    I agree with the statements and observations made by “Lisa Marie” above. My take on Guillen was that he clearly had cheering committee present, and there is nothing wrong with that, but their comments were distracting from the debate to those around them. I wouldn’t necessarily hold Guillen responsible for what an immature group of supporters did though, anymore than I would hold the Dodgers responsible for fights that the fans get into. But these folks did tarnish the experience.

    That being said, Guillen did come off as the “slick” one of the bunch, in my opinion. I understood that he had concerns about over-arching topics, some of which you mention above, but I didn’t feel as though he had any solutions with substance. I would’ve liked fewer talking points and more plans. I was also put off by two things; 1) his inability to understand the discussion around “exceptional projects,” and 2) he seemed to be muttering disrespectfully under his breath when the other candidates spoke. I guess I can just chalk that up to passion, but given the political atmosphere nationally, and incredible disrespect shown by our “leaders,” I don’t have much of an appetite for those kinds of antics. That said, Guillen might be an adequate council member, but it seemed like he would be learning on the job, and I didn’t get enough from him to give him my vote.

    My remaining vote is still up for grabs, but I’m leaning toward Gabel-Luddy. The other vote will definitely Rizzotti.

    Thank you.

  7. Roger Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    Hi Fronnie – I am a 30+ year Burbank resident, property owner, and product of the Burbank school system. I was in attendance at the debate, and I have to concur with much of Lisa Marie’s and Al’s comments as to my impression both of the debate and of the impression I received from the 4 candidates.

    Guillen appeared immature, inexperienced and was filled with a lot of traditional political catch-phrases that ‘sounds’ like he really cares and knows what he’s talking about, but there was not a lot of ‘meat’ to back up his claims and declarations – the best example being when he was called out to further elaborate on the soccer field comments.

    Rogers appeared pompous and arrogant, convinced that if anything was determined, voted upon, etc without his personal endorsement, then it was the wrong decision. This did not come off as confidence, but rather as aggressive strong-arming. He seems like he would lead as a bull in a china shop.

    Gabel-Luddy and Rizzotti both felt relaxed, prepared and sincere in their approach to the issues we face, and their offerings of potential solutions for those issues. They new their facts, and weren’t just offering typical political rhetoric I would expect on an episode of West Wing or House of Cards, as the other 2 candidates did. Gabel-Luddy and Rizzotti have received my vote.

    Thank you.

  8. Fronnie Monday, March 30, 2015 at 12:34 am #

    Debbie C & Roger,

    Glad you both are going to be voting your choices in the general election. Thanks for commenting.

  9. Incognito Monday, March 30, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

    Thank you Fronnie;

    For ALWAYS reporting and keeping on key. To Lisa Marie, Debbie C & Al. Co Cal it’s to bad you missed a lot of key points. Of most importance the fact that Luddy & Rizzotti where talking to each other and laughing when the other candidates spoke, also that it was them making comments under their breaths about the other candidates, so if you are going to be calling out anyone, you must also, include your choices, no exceptions, no special rules for either of them.

    Juan stated he could not take credit for the Soccer Field information, as this is something that had been shared by another party and the credit belonged to Stacey Murphy, since it was something she had worked on. He did not say, I know the donor, or know all the details, its a big possibility.

    You want people to believe Juan is the politician, which he is NOT!, He is also Not in the pockets of developers or large Real Estate Organization.

    I did not hear hecklers and Fronnie is correct, you should have politely asked them to stop being “RUDE”, I would have, it’s NO place for that type of behavior. Since you were privy to that, you must have seen the conversations with your candidates and the giggling ? Or did you turn a blind eye because it was them?

    If people don’t stand in the front line when it’s important and only when it’s convenient, that is a telling tale of their character and who needs that type of Leadership (really more lack of). Neither Rogers nor Rizzotti have been at council when the hot topics were being discussed to voice their opinion one way or the other. What kind of leader sits in the back and lets the chips just fall where they may.

    Grateful that you at least care enough to vote, but don’t bash a candidate to fluff your own. You need to stay on point, with facts .

  10. Al in SoCal Monday, March 30, 2015 at 6:47 pm #

    I wasn’t saying all that as an affront to Mr. Guillan … and I’ve already voted – my votes went to Will Rogers and Emily Luddy. While they have alternative perspectives, I believe they will compromise and with Bob Frutos and Jess T. they will have a solid level-headed majority moving into the next chapter of Burbank politics. I like Juan G., and I appreciate his service as a fellow vet., that said he was …. almost …. my choice.

    As for Mr. Rizzotti I wish he had cleared up the views of group he is a leader of. It’s unfortunate that he (rather than surrogates) just came out and said he disagrees with their discriminatory practices but wants to continue helping kids (their goal on their own website is to proselytize). That would have made all the difference. Link here so I don’t get bashed: <– it's a fact

  11. Jeffrey Prutz Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    To Lisa Marie and Al in Socal,

    I do recall a particularly irate retired Reverend giving Steven Ferguson and Greg Sousa an earful about the absence of prayer in schools after the debate, and he did come to support Juan Guillen, but hopefully like them you understand that shellbacked veterans of the Second World War that suffer from traumatic brain injuries that went 50 years before being acknowledged by the VA are entitled to their opinions, regardless of how dated they may be. With that being said if the roar of applause to statements made by a candidate who has truly inspired and taken the time to understand the concerns of those whom he aspires to govern is your definition of heckling, there was most certainly an abundant amount of that, but at no time was another candidate interrupted or harassed while making their statements/rebuttals.

    Also in the interest of full disclosure I am a major funder of Juan’s campaign and made the maximum contribution during the primary. If you are still considering your vote, the fact that a 25 year old veteran, native resident, and union plumber made the top 3 donors to Juan’s campaign, while political action committees dominated funding for Gabel-Luddy and Rozzitti should at least give you a very solid indication of where the interests of those candidates lie.

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