Long time activist and political strategist, Steve Ferguson, has kicked off his campaign for a seat on the Burbank School Board. Ferguson first announced his intentions publicly on this blog last month, following his controversial defeat for the appointment by the Burbank Board of Education to fill the remaining term of Debbie Kukta — who stepped down to take the interim position of city treasurer. That appointment went to Burbank Police Lieutenant, John Dilibert. That sparked a lot of chatter in B-town; some felt Ferguson was the best candidate and was passed over only because he’s gay.
Since then, Ferguson has been busy gearing up his campaign. In a press release sent out late yesterday — Ferguson touted some major endorsements.
Read it here:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELASE 9/12/2012
Contact: Phillip Kent Knight
Steve Ferguson Announces Campaign for Burbank School Board
Steve Ferguson Announces race to be Youngest, First LGBT Member of Burbank Board of Education
BURBANK, Calif. – Steve Ferguson announced on Wednesday that he will seek election to the Burbank Unified School District Board of Education. Ferguson, if elected, will become both the youngest and the first openly LGBT person to serve the board in Burbank history.
Steve Ferguson has already earned several strong endorsements from community members as well as current and former Burbank Officials. Ferguson’s endorsements include former Burbank Mayors Mary Lou Howard and Marsha Ramos, as well as Burbank Police Commission Chair Elise Stearns-Niesen.
“I am supporting Steve Ferguson for school board because he believes in the Burbank standard and has the commitment to work for our students and our community.” Said former Mayor Mary Lou Howard, who continued “Steve Ferguson will bring desperately needed new ideas to the Burbank School District that better meet the needs of our children and our community.”
Steve Ferguson’s campaign announcement has been much anticipated since a controversial August 5 School Board meeting where Burbank Police Lt. John Dilibert narrowly won appointment to fill a recently vacated seat, after an initial vote tied. Board President Larry Applebaum broke the tie by withdrawing support for Ferguson and voting for his second choice, Dilibert. President Applebaum noted earlier in the meeting that Dilibert had indicated he would not run for election to the seat in the spring, citing the Lieutenant’s first sworn duty to the police department as being too time consuming.
“Like many school districts, our schools here in Burbank will face disastrous deficits if we don’t work to find a new, innovative, and collaborative approach to our district’s budget problems. This is a community that is proud of our public schools and I will fight to preserve the Burbank standard of education. I have the experience to hit the ground running, and I will provide a new perspective as part of the next generation of leadership here in our hometown.” Mr. Ferguson said during the official announcement of the formation of his campaign committee.
A familiar face in Burbank government, 23 year-old Steve Ferguson has served on 18 civic and nonprofit boards since the age of 12, including notable service as Chairman of the Burbank Parks Recreation and Community Services Board where Mr. Ferguson lead the fight to prevent cuts to senior meals, youth programming and maintain overnight park patrol services.
More information about Steve Ferguson can be found online at www.FergusonForSchoolBoard.com
Paid for by Ferguson for School Board 2013
Councilman Gordon gets some praise
Burbank Councilman, Dr. David Gordon, is also getting some kudos. I got this brief statement from a citizen representing a group of residents on North Screenland Drive.
“The residents of the 1800-1900 block of North Screenland Drive, would like to acknowledge Dr. David Gordon and thank him for serving the Burbank Community with integrity and genuine interest for everyone’s concerns. In spite of all the difficulty he endures for many issues while dodging arrows from his colleagues. His effort to maintain the tradition of Burbank and our small town atmosphere has not gone un-noticed by many other Burbank residents and small business owners as well.”
I’ll have an update on the North Screenland Drive sidewalk controversy later on in this column.
Councilman Gordon’s term, along with those of Councilman/Mayor, Dave Golonski, and Councilman Jess Talamantes, expire early next year. None has officially announced campaigns for re-election so far. Rumors have been bouncing around that Golonski, and even Talamantes, might seek other offices or positions. We will have to just wait and see who announces or pulls election papers this fall.
Now, the latest on the North Screenland Drive sidewalk project
Despite a bitter battle and strong opposition from most residents on the 1800-1900 stretch of North Screenland Drive, the city council voted in March of 2011 to go ahead with installing sidewalks there. (Dr. Gordon was the only “no” vote).
In answer to my email questions:
“The design plans for the Screenland sidewalk and sidewalk on Hollywood Way have been completed, and we are ready to solicit construction bids. The project is funded by a Caltrans grant, so we need to get their permission to begin the construction. We are awaiting their permission and as soon as we receive it, we will solicit bids for the project. The bid process will likely take 2 to 3 months, so construction will hopefully begin this year. Let me know if you have any questions.”Ken Johnson Burbank Traffic Engineer
“The new sidewalks on Screenland are being funded by a Caltrans grant, which means that Caltrans must review and approve the design before we can begin advertising for bids, awarding the contract, and proceeding with construction. The plans have been submitted for Caltrans review, but due to their staffing limitations, it may not be until later this Fall that we get their approval. After that, we will meet with the stakeholders to go over the project elements and work through any property-specific issues.”Drew Sugars Burbank Public Information Officer
Is the Burbank Central Library closing?
I’ve been asked a few times about this rumor. Got this response from the city manager.
“No truth to the library closing or moving. Preliminary renovation planning has been underway for a little while. No timeline for when work would start and/or a funding mechanism. Initially there was discussion of redevelopment dollars being used, but those dollars are no longer available.”Mike Flad City Manager