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Burbank City Council vote on Walmart — was it fixed?

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Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Site of a future Walmart 1301 North Victory Place at the Empire Center in Burbank

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Site of a future Walmart 1301 North Victory Place at the Empire Center in Burbank

The Burbank Walmart controversy just keeps growing. Now there are questions about the fairness of that quickie vote taken by the Burbank City Council at its  February 21 meeting, which cleared the way for Walmart to get the permits it will probably  need to renovate the site of The Great Indoors out at the Empire Center.  Despite  protests and hours of emotional speeches by opponents of the project, the council voted 4-to-1 to accept a staff report that dismissed all those protests and concerns.  The lone “no” vote came from Councilwoman Emily Gabel-Luddy.

Last night, anti-Walmart forces returned to the Burbank City Council meeting with new ammo. Several people raised questions about the council vote last week on Walmart, which came after midnight, but the decision appeared to be reported in the media as early as 10 p.m.  Council members, Dave Golonski, Dr, David Gordon, and Mayor Jess Talamantes insisted their votes to not scrutinize the Walmart project further were on the up-and-up and not part of any back-room deal.   

Here’s the e-mail sent out by Stop Walmart in Burbank on Monday, February 27.

Hi Everyone,

Many of you probably saw the headlines in the media this week – we are sad to report that city council has approved the building permits for Walmart at the Empire Center.

If you would like to see the podcast of the council meeting, you can see it in its entirety here:

In a nutshell, after 7 long hours of waiting for the Walmart issue to be discussed on the agenda, we were disappointed to find that staff did not expand their report, as unanimously requested by council at the previous meeting.  There was little discussion on the issue regarding either (1) the unsatisfied traffic mitigations or (2) the prohibited sales of grocery in sub-area D.  Only Ms. Gabel-Luddy made a concerted effort to further explore these issues, and she was out-voted four to one.  The staff report, which basically gave city leadership an “escape hatch” to avoid properly vetting this store, was approved, rubber stamped, and filed away.

What’s also disturbing, at 10pm (hours before the Walmart agenda even came up for discussion), KTLA reported that the Council gave approval for the Walmart permits to be issued – curious because the vote wasn’t made until well past 1 am.

There will be some sort of recourse for the council’s vote to go ahead with allowing the permits, and further investigation of their vote count that was leaked to the media.  As we know more, we will let you know more.

Thank you for all your support!
Team Stop Walmart


Media City Groove will continue to follow this developing story.

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6 Responses to Burbank City Council vote on Walmart — was it fixed?

  1. DixieFlyer Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    Some of us aren’t as Media Savvy as others.
    Humorously, we’ve watched the Media turn-out for these “Rallies” more than once–and so have you, Fronnie.
    And, as in the days & nights of Protest over the War in Vietnam, activity picks-up when the camera’s & microphones appear–then slow down upon the Media exit.
    With your Media Experience maybe you can explain, better than Parolli(?) did Tuesday nite how our City Council is INNOCENT of the Charges—this time only!!!

    Who ya gonna blame?

    Is it possible the Media goofed?

    Maybe staff made a “prediction”–without prior “authorization”…of course!!?!!

    Simply putting-up their e-mail–without benefit of your “insight” short-changes all the rest of us.

    Picture Dr. Gordon & Dave Golonski at Don CooCoo’s “plotting against” the sorry souls that appeared.

    How about Emily & Brick shmoozing over Sushi–in the NoHo District???

    No Time SOOOOOOOn.

  2. Fronnie Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm #


    I’m working on it. Doing some investigating. Once that is done — I will post another piece on the Walmart vote and include my media insight and any new information.

  3. Resident Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    What’s commical about the channel 5 KTLA report is that the council didn’t give approval to any permits and was never even asked to approve any permits. Staff had already given the approval, and in a city where 75% of the council does whatever staff tells them to do what could you possibly expect. This city has been run by staff that does not live in Burbank for years now and it honestly shows in everything.

  4. DixieFlyer Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    Thanks Fronnie,

    I’m mindful that our humble Mayor has been encouraging ALL of us to do our “fair share” of Due Diligence!!

  5. Tax Negotiator Monday, March 5, 2012 at 2:42 am #

    I have been watching the Wal-Mart issue since the first announcement of their purchase of the Empire Center. Aside from a personal concern about the potential traffic inpact on the area, I am absolutely committed to their right to be there. All of our family (parents, children) shop at Wal-Mart. Now, we have to trek to Santa Clarita. We’d rather give our money to our city while helping the environment – less fuel consumed. As far as all of us in our family – and even our block – are concerned, the sooner they open, the better. In my opinion, the unions are stiring up the controversy. Wal-Mart will bring hundreds of jobs to our city. Be thankful for that – as well as for the influx of sales taxes to help fund our services and schools! Sheesh – enough protesting already. If you do not want to shop there, then don’t!

  6. Burbank Resident Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    The majority of Burbank residents and surrounding cities residents are excited about the new Walmart. Many people came is support of Walmart to show there appreciation earlier in the year. The few local super market employees and Target employees are trying there best to make false accusations about this project. As staff explained, and the city coucil members explained, there is no violation by putting a Walmart in the Empire Center. Target sells groceries just like Walmart. Burbank needs these 300+ jobs and increased revenue from local taxes. Burbank residents are waiting for the day Walmart opens in Burbank!

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