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Save Magnolia Park supporters speak out at Burbank City Council

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Photo: FLLewis / Media City G -- City council meeting City Hall Burbank July 31, 2018

Photo: FLLewis / Media City G — City council meeting City Hall Burbank July 31, 2018

Still some chatter in town about what happened when Save Magnolia Park supporters spoke out at the city council last Tuesday, July 31. Most of the talk is about Councilman, Jess Talamantes’, response to their case.

The supporters asked for council assistance in preserving the unique flavor of the Magnolia Park Business District. Also, they got council to agree to send staffers to listen and learn at the August 13 town hall meeting at Geeky Teas & Games, 2120 West Magnolia Blvd., 7 pm.

The supporters presented their case well, but one got the facts wrong about two major events in Magnolia Park. Tenant activist/Magnolia Park Merchants Association board member, Ashley Largey, claimed Ladies Night Out and Holiday in the Park “began as a result of (failed) PID.” Many who know better choked or worse, when Largey made this erroneous  statement.

Photo: Magnolia Park Merchants Association board member, Ashley Largey, spoke to the city council on Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Photo: Magnolia Park Merchants Association board member, Ashley Largey, spoke to the city council on Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Ladies and Gents Night Out

Actually, the Ladies Night Out event was started by an enterprising retailer/merchant in 2010 and really caught on in 2011. The MPMA says this on its Ladies Night site: “Ladies Night Out started in January 2010 when Encore Nouveau ( a female retailer in Magnolia Park) came up with the idea to create a monthly night of fun for their faithful customers. In April of that year, Mindfulnest and other neighboring stores joined up to create a community event that would get people onto the streets for years to come.”

Holiday in the Park

As for Holiday in the Park, it’s a long running tradition. Merchants have been opening their doors to share the holiday spirit with customers, friends, and visitors for years, some say it goes back several decades. Over the past few years, the poorly managed MPMA has taken control of both free events and now is constantly begging, badgering, and bullying merchants for more money… even from those who have paid membership dues! It’s time the association worked within a budget and gets back to the community spirit of these events. The trucked in snow and all the frills are not necessary for folks to have a good time. Also, the association should stop being such a “Grinch” with its threats to cancel the events and the suggestion that if it doesn’t get more money, it will be the “end of Magnolia Park.”

Photo: FLLewis /Media City G -- Burbank City Council member Jess Talamantes at city council meeting 073118

Councilman Jess Talamantes responds to Save Magnolia Park supporters

Talamantes began his response by complimenting the supporters for bringing forward “some good ideas.” However, he went on to say: “We just need players that are willing to participate. We can’t just have the city willing to participate and nobody else.” He spoke about the “three ps, public, private, partnerships…” and then pointed to the now defunct Magnolia Park P-BID as a shining example of this and called it “very successful.”

Well, there are a lot of folks who would call it a huge failure. After five years, the P-BID was voted out by the Magnolia Park property owners back in 2011. Among those voting “no,” small business owner/then Council member Dr. David Gordon. In an article written back in September of 2011, Gordon is quoted as saying: “The P-BID didn’t provide what it promised. It was defeated because the merchants were very upset.” Adding, “I enjoyed the events, but they didn’t benefit my business.”

The article, which appeared on the predecessor website to MyBurbank, went on to state “… the P-BID was touted as a way to attract new businesses, such as cafes like those on San Fernando Blvd. As one merchant put it, ‘We were promised restaurants, new businesses, and landscaping — and all we got were events.’ ” The city staff administered the P-BID and must share in the responsibility for its failure. In light of this disaster, staff should be working to bring in the promised restaurants, new businesses, and landscaping.

Also, Talamantes complained about “… the lack of membership from the businesses themselves.” It’s pretty clear to most, the extremely low membership in the Magnolia Park Merchants Association has a lot to do with its inability to connect with those it claims to represent.

Talamantes did offer a solution: “Let’s try to do something that is creative that the businesses can buy into…” Excellent suggestion! How’s about a Magnolia Park Neighborhood Association, which would include representation from all the stakeholders, businesses, property owners, concerned citizens, and residents? Similar to neighborhood associations like the Valley Glen Neighborhood Association , but more focused on preserving the Magnolia Park business district.  Oh, there would need to be an advisory panel of experts and city staff to help the new Magnolia Park association avoid the pitfalls and errors of past groups like the P-Bid and the MPMA. We need to move forward, not keep stumbling backwards.

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