Tag Archives: Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Open Facebook Group to All Citizens

Letter to the Editor:

I have a favor to ask of my fellow Burbank residents, and I hope that you read this knowing I am tremendously grateful for the unique relationships that we all have as Burbank residents, parents, neighbors and volunteers. I’ve been here for 20 years, and my kids are enjoying a great life in Burbank.  We have a unique privilege to engage our local leaders on any matter of concern, and we celebrate the successes achieved by our collective voices.

 

So, what is that favor I wanted to ask you?  Well, at least four-thousand of you are members of the closed “City of Burbank” Facebook group- the one run by our mayor, Jess Talamantes, and his son, Scott.  Being among many residents whose requests to join have gone unanswered, I want all Burbank residents to be granted equal access to this group. Mayor Talamantes promotes it as: 

 

“…a virtual community forum that promotes open communication between residents, provides community news/updates and ultimately establishes one more avenue of bringing our community closer! This modern tool of communication enables everyone from B.U.S.D. students and faculty, to Burbank residents and even city officials to exchange ideas, and information in real time. “

 

So, why are many of us unable to join? Why aren’t membership rules clearly stated, and why is membership administered by our Mayor, an elected official? Members of our City Council, City Staff, School Board and Superintendent, as well as the founder/editor of MyBurbank.com have joined this group.  I have participated in a few BUSD committees and groups, from PTA to GATE to LCAP, so joining this group seems like a great way to stay in the loop. I sent my Facebook concerns to City Council, who then forwarded them to City Staff, but after Vice Mayor Rogers dismissed my concerns and suggested I start my own Facebook group, I submitted a letter to the Burbank Leader, and I started a Moveon.org petition, to appeal to City Council and Staff to formally ask the Talamantes’ to open up membership, so that more of us can connect with each other.

 

So, for those of you who have been granted membership, I’m asking you to reach out to Jess and Scott, or even post a message on the City of Burbank group page, asking them to post the membership rules, and to allow more of us to join. Short of that, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for me to ask that they change the group name to something less official, and change the group description so that it doesn’t give the misleading impression that all Burbank residents (ie. taxpaying voters) are welcome to join. There are plenty of other special interest Facebook groups which are clearly identified, but this one appears to be city-endorsed, so what gives?

 

This might be an awkward request, as some of you may be friends or neighbors or members of the same organizations, but I want to assure you, this is not personal, not partisan, and there’s no hidden agenda. In fact, if group membership needs to be controlled to minimize cyber-bullying, then let me assure you that I am all in favor of enforcing rules of decorum- but outright censorship should not be policy on a site named “City of Burbank”.

 

Thanks for reading my humble request, and I will harbor no ill-will if you choose to stay out of the fray.  In the meantime, here’s a link to my letter in the Burbank Leader, and my Moveon.org petition.
I hope that you will share my concerns, help me get straight answers, and sign the petition.

 

Your friend and neighbor,

-David Hunter

 

Burbank Leader Mailbag:
“Cracking closed Facebook sites”
http://www.latimes.com/socal/burbank-leader/opinion/tn-blr-me-mailbag-20170224-story.html

 

Moveon.org Petition:
City of Burbank Facebook Transparency
http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/city-of-burbank-facebook

Letter to the Editor: Rogers Comments on Election Contribution

To the Editor:

I found it ironic David Gordon and Juan Guillen reported receiving campaign donations from developer Michael Cusumano.  The irony was that that Gordon repeatedly predicted the other candidates (other than his slate-mates would likely take cash from Cusumano, and he’d be alone in staying pure.  But here was Gordon reporting quite the opposite.

I don’t object to developer contributions in general.  The decisions have to be made on a case-by-case basis.  And it’s NOT unusual for candidates to receive cash they didn’t solicit and don’t want.  But standard practice has them reporting the revenue, then on the same forms, reporting the cash was returned.  Gordon reported the receipt, but 10 days later still had the donation.

In response to my teasing in a Facebook post, Gordon “issued a statement.”  Others of us say stuff.  Gordon “issues statements.”  Anyway, he confirmed receiving the cash, then offered a convoluted explanation of the simple “Paypal” system.  The implication was that somehow Paypal kept the cash inaccessible, which of course is exactly contrary to one of two reasons Paypal exists.

Indeed, Gordon went on to claim that what mattered was his “intent” with the money.  Of course, actions speak louder than words, which is why forthright people don’t have to convince anyone of their intent 10 days after the fact.  Instead – whether running for council, Assembly or Senate, or any other office – others just return unwanted donations as soon as it’s realized they came in.  But ten days after Gordon’s own statement acknowledges he learned he had Cusumano’s money, he was still holding the cash.

What made this a true Gordon experience was the next section of his “statement.”  He had the money, it came in through Paypal, and he somehow held it because it’s his intent to eventually send it back – certainly now that we all know about it, eh?  But in closing, Gordon offered more explanation.

“…  certain members of the community, including Vice Mayor Will Rogers and Council Candidate Sharon Springer, have pounced upon the reporting out of this entirely legal contribution…”

Gordon’s woes are partly my fault because I noted how his publicly-filed report contradicted his frequent claims and his implicit smears of others?  It’s Springer’s fault that his public report prompted her to recall Gordon’s repeated claims that he and his slate-mates would probably be the only candidates NOT to receive developer donations,

Gordon then closed by declaring his confidence that Cusumano meant well, and he of course cleared himself.  So, the only miscreants named were Will Rogers and Sharon Springer, though we had absolutely no control over the cash, Gordon’s reports, or his bank account.  And to ,think, people keep wondering why I see so many points in common between David Gordon and Donald Trump.

The proof of hypocrisy is already clear.  The usual handful of well-known Gordon promoters are congratulating Gordon and Guillen for returning the cash, as if 10 days after-the-fact they wouldn’t have seen them assembling the cross to hoist any other candidate who did precisely and exactly the same.

I hope Ms. Springer has learned her lesson.  Speech isn’t so free in Burbank that one is permitted to question David Gordon.  His supporters will teach her that lesson during public comments at an upcoming council meeting.

Will Rogers

LETTER: Councilman Frutos Gives Thanks

I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving Holiday.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends we give thanks for the blessings and the freedom s we enjoy every day.  I am very appreciative of the great opportunity you have given me to serve as one of your Council Members in our great city.

I am thankful that we live in a city with so many caring residents who are involved in our community to help those who are less fortunate.   I’m also thankful for all of our City employees, our Police and Fire Departments who are dedicated and work hard every day to provide all residents with great services.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Bob Frutos

Letter to the Editor: Mayor Frutos Spreads Well Wishes

“HAPPY THANKSGIVING”

On this Thanksgiving Day it seems more important than ever to count our blessings especially as we watch local or world events.   

Today I am thankful for my health, my family, friends and neighbors.  

I want to wish you and your family Peace, Love and Happiness.   

Bob Frutos
Mayor, City of Burbank

LETTER: Burbank Councilman Reports Out to Citizens

Letter to the Editor:

When I took my seat on the Burbank City Council in May I said I wouldn’t engage in the council’s recent practice of using the “Reporting Out” period to announce events attended since the previous council session.  Among other reasons, I said – and still believe – the often lengthy readings offer more benefit to the council members than to citizens waiting for the council to get down to business.

The public is entitled to know what elected officials are up to in the city’s service when not at the dais.  But I’m certain there are means to accomplish that without adding to the wait for those watching meetings to see city business being done, and to be heard on those issues.

It’s taken me too long to create an alternative, and I can only apologize and blame the crush of putting a council schedule atop work and home schedules.  But I can now offer access to all the information every council member announces when Reporting Out, and a bit more.

Every month or two I’ll try to post on-line my calendar of city-business activities for the period since the last calendar was published.  These listings also offer a bit more information than we’re accustomed to getting.  To see the first example, just point your browser to www.WillRogersBurbank.com.

Thanks for checking it out and, as always, please contact me with comments or questions about this or any other city business at 818.238-5750, or by email at WRogers@burbankCa.gov.

Sincerely,

Will Rogers
Member of the Burbank City Council

LETTER: New Bikeway Unifying Factor for Community

The new Western Channel Bikeway Phase II pathway planned along Burbank’s Western Flood Channel will be a much greater unifying factor for this community than the new Caltrans I-5 HOV lanes currently being built over Burbank.  When completed, the pathway promises to greatly improve active mobility access for those who travel in Burbank by making walking and riding a bike safer and easier, especially for seniors, women, children, disabled-users and families.

Final approval for completion of this totally-funded new section of pathway comes before the City Council at Thursday’s special meeting.

It’s encouraging to see city leaders moving forward with the plans approved some time ago by the Burbank Bicycle Master Plan, completing important pedestrian and bicycle connections to Burbank’s transit hubs and working/living locations.  Developed with community input, this final section of pathway is a well-conceived project that helps unify a neighborhood and a city, while providing viable transportation choices to many more people.

Victory Boulevard and Lake Street are the current main arterial streets in that area connecting people to housing, jobs, goods, services, and transit hubs, but neither are well-suited for making those connections on your bicycle.

By completing this project, the City will be taking a step closer to realizing the vision set forth in the Bicycle Master Plan to integrate a unified network for safe, easy biking in Burbank connecting to regional bike routes and local transit.

Active-transportation infrastructure is more than a practical, cost-effective solution to many municipal challenges. It’s an opportunity to make our community a vibrant destination for residents and visitors alike — a place where people don’t just live and work, but thrive.

 

Patrick Dickson
Burbank

Letter: Councilman Looks for Better Communication Routes to Public

Letter to the Editor:

I want to thank MyBurbank.com for covering the recent Joint Session of the Airport Authority and the Burbank City Council, and especially for providing readers direct access via links to materials detailing the Airport Authority’s most recent proposal.

Regardless of whether one soundly rejects the proposal, fully endorses it as the outline we must pursue, or withholds any conclusion until some questions are answered, I believe the proposal is patently and objectively superior to the terms unanimously, formally and publicly supported by the Burbank City Council just five months ago.

I will not presume to speak for my City Council colleagues, but as we continue in this process I am convinced all of us believe it’s urgent that Burbank residents keep themselves informed, and monitor as much as possible the discussions and exchanges of information between the government bodies involved.

To that end, I’m looking for public input on an intimately related question, and that is what is the most reliable, convenient and useful means to provide residents notices of the various meetings and exchanges of documents?

Obviously, the City will not select a single outlet.  Rather, I expect we will continue with a combination of announcements found on the City web site, heard and seen on BTV6 – whether conveyed via cable television, or streaming on-line.  There will be efforts to see local newspapers and news web sites like MyBurbank.com advertise upcoming events, and to report on those as they take place.  There will likely continue to be paid public notices appearing in local papers and news web sites, along with notices included within BWP bills and other sorts of municipal newsletters.

But premised upon public turnout at airport-related events I’ve attended in the last 18-24 months, those familiar methods are simply not working to inspire Burbank residents to tune in or turn up.  At public meetings with the potential of setting a course that can have incredible impact on the traffic, noise, health and business interests of Burbank residents, both for next year and decades into the future, I’ve seen public attendance as low as two people, and at a maximum of a dozen or slightly more.  It’s my understanding that it’s considered “big numbers” if 200 view our council meetings on-line, and the average numbers are much lower.

Especially as the next municipal election now on the distant horizon begins to loom, I have no doubt we’ll soon begin to hear from the ubiquitous candidates or campaign supporters.  Indeed, they’re occasionally heard from already.

I don’t read minds, so I cannot claim to know their agendas and intents.  I can only observe that the sort I’m referring to routinely and solemnly assure members of the public that they DO know the secret thoughts and plans of anyone who refutes their claims.  And typically, the tent-pole, keystone and otherwise pivotal point of all those claims is that only THEY will tell you what is secretly taking place, only they have amassed the disparate puzzle of facts and assembled them into a clear picture of what others are REALLY doing and why.  And finally, only they have the courage, intelligence and stamina to protect you from the inherently destructive and corrupt agendas they perceive.

Rather than seeing voters and other residents once again misled by one or more purveyors of fear and conspiracy, I think it’s vitally important Burbankers get information for themselves, ask tough questions of ALL sides, and apply both common sense and a full dose of accurate history in the process of forming their opinions and conclusions.

But to do that, to get there, we have to get residents into the room to see for themselves what’s going on.  And that’s where this city seems to have failed time and again.  City Hall obviously cannot take each resident by the hand and walk them into these important sessions.  We can’t assign reading material like homework.  But there must be more we CAN do that we’re not doing.

What are YOUR ideas for notifying the public?  Even if it has nothing to do with the airport – perhaps City Hall wants to notify you about a project proposed near your house, or an upcoming street project – what more do YOU think we should be trying?  We find lots of people open their utility bills and reflexively toss the inserts before reviewing their bill.  Notices mailed to homes are chucked into junk-mail piles without being opened.  There aren’t enough employees to send door to door, and we couldn’t afford to hire the numbers necessary.  The local newspaper has a small fraction of the readers it once did.  Sometimes local outlets are attentive for a week or two, then ignore ongoing events for weeks running.

Please, contact me directly at wrogers@burbankca.gov to tell me what we could be doing that we’re not to get the public attending meetings and reading documents.  If you’d prefer, you can send the same message to all five council members simultaneously by writing instead to CityCouncil@Burbankca.gov  You’re also welcome to write a good old fashioned letter, or to make a phone call, and that contact information will be given below.

Thank you in advance for your suggestions and ideas.  And again, thank you to MyBurbank.com for helping to get the word out.

Will Rogers
Burbank City Council Member

City Hall Mailing Address:
275 E. Olive Avenue
Burbank, CA  91502

(818) 238-5750

Will Rogers Thanks Voters for City Council Seat Win

Letter to the Editor from Will Rogers…

That it’s now tradition for candidates to write a post-election “thank you” makes mine no less sincere, and I do have so many to thank.  But before my thanks, let me take care of one bit of business.

As of this writing, I believe every last one of my campaign’s lawn signs has been retrieved.  Further, because of an agreement we came to before the election to share the work, I’m also responsible for picking up those signs of incumbent Emily Gabel Luddy that are south of the 5 Freeway, and outside the Rancho area.  I’m happy to report we believe we’ve picked up all of those as well.

But it’s entirely possible my crew of volunteers and I may have missed a couple.  If you know of one of these signs that still has not been picked up, please send me an email via Will@Rogers4Council.com  Just let me know where the sign is, and I’ll try to make sure that anything we’ve missed is picked up within a few hours.

Now, back to those who I must thank.  According to the final official count, my list includes 5,305 voters who trusted me with their votes.  I’ve been a voter for nearly 40 years, and well know the disillusionment of realizing I picked a bum.  I never want to be responsible for further fueling any voter’s cynicism.

I promise there will be decisions on which we’ll disagree.  It’s an inevitable reality reasonable adults must accept.  But it’s my goal those who’ve voted for me will never have legitimate cause to doubt I’ve zealously stood for the principles championed throughout my campaign and career.

For the thousands who didn’t vote for me, I look forward to opportunities to earn your trust, and perhaps convince you many policies attributed to me before now were not as reliably sourced as you once believed.

I’ve had a small, tireless campaign team, and each member will be thanked by name in coming weeks.  I’m as humbled by their efforts as I have been in awe of their stamina and patience.  Few of us have an opportunity to ever see people outside our families stand behind us, literally and figuratively, then speak on our behalf and commend us to hundreds and even thousands of strangers.  Once one gets past the embarrassment  and discomfort of that, the word “humbling” stops being the stuff of flowery rhetoric, and becomes something tangible and familiar.

Every candidate owes thanks to their family.  But specifics of my campaign, walking door-to-door virtually every day for 7 months, imposed burdens on my family no one imagined back when they said, “Go for it!”  I’ve essentially missed three major holidays, my wife’s birthday, our anniversary, and my son’s birthday.

Yet, not once in those months, not even for a tired, cross instant, did my wife so much as hint there was a chore, a holiday, or simply a meal she wouldn’t take on herself because I was campaigning.  All that, AND she helped campaign!  (She can fold a letter and seal an envelope, or assemble a campaign sign, with an assembly line speed and efficiency that Detroit car makers would envy.)

To each of these and so many more, I offer my unreserved and limitless thanks.  I will do my best to make certain my service is up to your standards.

Sincerely,
Will Rogers

Former Candidate Throws Support to Aghakhanian

When I ran for a seat on the Burbank School Board, I did so primarily to help our community grow the legacy we plan on leaving our kids. I want to see parents empowered in the decision making process by actually implementing the word “Local” in the Local Control Funding Formula. I envision school staff and teachers who feel appreciated and valued as the gatekeepers to our children, which is why I continue to vigorously advocate for strong, respectable compensation and benefits for all employees. I envision a bold and forward thinking K-12 School District proactively engaged in our community affairs and neighborhoods; A place where our kids have access and opportunities that neighboring cities would be envious of and seek to replicate.

After our primary, I humbly vowed to continue working to achieve this legacy under the stewardship of our newly elected and reelected School Board members Steve Ferguson and Roberta Reynolds; that’s why I’m endorsing a man who has given much of his life to our community and education at large: Armond Aghakhanian.

Armond will work to protect the safety of our students and staff, and help shine some badly needed sunlight on our budget processes. He is an educator by trade, and well versed in the nuances of our complicated education system. I also believe he will work well with the current board, but independent enough to go against them if he has to, because he has political courage; a quality not lost on those who’ve grown weary of do-nothing politicians.

Please join me in supporting Armond for School Board, and help Burbank build on its legacy.

Jesse Tangkhpanya

Letter: Attend Airport Commission Meeting

I don’t know how else to publicize this.  The Airport Authority has called a special meeting for Monday morning, February 9 at 9am.  In short, they’re proposing a series of demands that Burbank’s City Council must make certain commitments with regard to a proposed new terminal project and the public vote for that project, and do so BEFORE the new council is seated.

It’s my hope the Mayor will call for a special meeting this weekend ordering Burbank’s commissioners to vote against this proposal.  That may not be sufficient to stop it if ALL commissioners for Glendale and Pasadena vote in favor.

This stunt includes a threat to withdraw the promised “super majority” requirement for any changes to the so-called “Voluntary Curfew” and aspects of the proposed terminal.  I warned last year that yanking this supposed benefit would be used as a cudgel against Burbank residents, but even I hadn’t imagined it would come this soon.

Please consider being at the Airport Authority meeting at 9am on Monday morning.  Parking is validated, and meetings are held in the “Skyroom”

Please help spread the word.

 

Will Rogers