Daily Archives: March 5, 2012

Caltrans to Close Verdugo Ave. for Construction of HOV Lane

Cal Trans plans on shutting Verdugo Ave between First Street & Fronts St. to work on the bridge of the Northbound I-5 prior to the HOV lane being worked on. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Caltrans is contructing a carpool lane on the Golden State Freeway (I-5) between the Ventura Freeway (SR-134) and Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank.

As part of the improvements, crews will begin pile driving on Verdugo Avenue for the widening of the freeway. This will require intermittent street closures on Verdugo Avenue between Front Street and First Street. See map below for detours.

Caltrans will close Verdugo between Front and First St. starting on March 5 until March 30 from 8:30 am until 2:30 pm Monday – Friday.

For more information –

Toll-Free Hotline

(855) 454-6335



Burbank Coordinating Council Anniversary

Mayor Jess Talamantes

Mayor Jess Talamantes shows off the Burbank Coordinating Council's 79th Birthday cake. Note the misspelling of the name. "Coordinated Council." Oops! (Photo by Stan Lynch)


The regular monthly meeting today of the Burbank Coordinating Council took on a festive air, as the organization celebrated its 79th Anniversary.

Burbank Coordinating Council (BCC) began in 1933, when representatives from various civic organizations and churches in the community decided it would be a good idea to get together and compare notes.  Besides making sure everyone didn’t schedule their group’s events on the same day, the BCC was able to channel the efforts of the various member organizations so that they could do the most good for the community.

At today’s meeting and celebration, BCC President Janet Diel introduced Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes, who gave those in attendance an update on nearly all the important developments in our city.  Although none of those original founding members of BCC are around today, some of the members today have been active with the organization for years and years.

The "Official Exchange of Certifcates"' Eileen Cobos, on left, presents Mayor Jess Talamantes with a certifacate as he presents Janet Diel a City Council proclamation honoring the Coorinating Councils 79th Birthday. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Officiating for the official signing of “Happy Birthday” was also one of the mayor’s duties at the meeting.  With that many candles on the cake, it was a good thing Assistant Fire Chief Tom Lenahan was also in attendance at the meeting that was held in the social hall at the Little White Chapel Christian Church.

The mayor touched on the BCC’s role, along with the Burbank Ministerial Association, in creating the Burbank Temporary Aid Center back in 1974.  He had praises for their good work today, which includes the Holiday Basket program that saw over 500 less-fortunate families receive food and presents at Christmastime.

“The Coordinating Council does a great thing.  It’s a service the community needs,” said the Talamantes, adding, “Its members share results and solutions.”

That cooperative spirit is a cornerstone of the BCC’s success for 79 years.  At the meeting members representing various organizations in Burbank let everyone there know what their group was doing.  The Burbank Civitan Club is having a St. Patrick’s Day Champagne Brunch at the Cataway on March 11.   The Burbank Tournament of Roses Association will be holding their annual banquet.  On April 17, the Burbank Human Relations Council will hold a Community Commemoration of the Holocaust.  Burbank On Parade is coming up on April 14, and the BCC will have an entry.

Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes updates members of Burbank's Coordinating Council during their monthly meeting Monday at Little White Chapel. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Through the mayor’s remarks, those in attendance got an update on what the City of Burbank is doing in number of areas.  Talamantes, a retired Burbank firefighter, talked about extensions to the City ordinance requiring wood shingle roofs to be removed, giving homeowners an addition 2 – 8 years to put on replacement composition roofs.

Talamantes spoke about how the new Memorial Field at Burroughs High looks great.  He told the gathering how participating in the dedication ceremony as mayor was even more special for him personally, since he played football on the field , and ran on the track when he was a student at Burroughs.

Although developments in Burbank are pretty upbeat, the mayor did address the impact to the City’s budget that the loss of redevelopment is causing.   “Redevelopment has been very good for Bubank”, said Talamantes, “Unfortunately some other cities took advantage of it and spoiled it (redevelopment) for all.”

With the unseasonably hot weather the past couple of days, the mayor noted that the Verdugo Pool will re-open — but not until the summer of 2013.

The economy may still be bad, and gasoline prices are going sky-high, but new businesses are coming to Burbank.  Talamantes noted that a new Gap Outlet store is opening where Crown Books used to be on San Fernando Blvd.  And just a few blocks to the south, Story’s Tavern is going into the building that housed Story’s Hardware.  Talamantes noted that Thomas Story, who owned the hardware store, was Burbank first mayor.

Burbank Coordinating Council held their 79th Birthday event during this weeks meeting. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

He added that two major enterprises, KCET and DC Comics, were both moving their offices to the Pointe on Alameda Ave. next to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center.

The meeting ended with an appeal for help with the BCC’s other major project, Summer Camperships.  Each year the BCC provides camping experiences for underprivileged kids between the ages of 8 and 18.  Last summer the organization was able to provide either day camp, or resident camp experiences at accredited camps for 55 Burbank children.  They want to do more this summer — lots more.

Their goal is to be able to offer all the children whose families received Holiday Baskets, a chance to go to camp.  That would be 2,000 camperships.  However, the basket program depleted the organizations treasury. So they are seeking donations.  You can call (818) 843-3699, (818) 216-9377, or email BCCcamperships@aol.com.  Donations are tax deductible.

Rep. Adam Schiff on Partisan vs. Non-Partisan Politics

On 28 February Burbank N Beyond’s John Savageau had the opportunity to interview Representative Adam Schiff from the 29th District, encompassing Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, and surrounding areas, in his Washington D.C. office.  This is the second article in a series highlighting activities and topics of interest to Burbank.

Part 2 – Partisan vs. Non-Partisan Politics

BurbankNBeyond:  You do more bipartisan work than most representatives.  The INVEST Act is one example, where you are working with the Congressman from New Hampshire, Charles F. Bass (R-NH).  Can you tell us a bit about how you were able to work with a Republican on a very important piece of legislation?  Any trouble within the house for that cooperation?

Rep. Schiff:  I’ve been very lucky over the years to form some very good relationships with my colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle, and Charlie Bass shares my strong commitment to education and to get on with competitiveness.   He and I both recognize that this country has been the beneficiary of a brain drain for not only decades, but more like centuries.

The best and brightest have always wanted to come here, and that is becoming less the case.  Part of the reason is we make it very difficult for people to come here.  Cal Tech, which is part of our district, attracts some of the best and brightest from around the world to get advanced degrees in math, science, and engineering – they want to stay and start a business, and we throw them out.

And that’s crazy.  Economically, it’s suicidal.  If we’re not going to grow more scientists and engineers here, which we have to work on, we can’t continue to deter those who come here to study from staying and creating jobs here.  So we’re working together on this.

Most of the legislation I introduce, I try to work on in a bipartisan way.  There’s a lot you can’t get done here given the high partisan environment it is.  I try to keep my focus on the range of things you can get done.  And there’s still quite a lot that can be achieved.

BurbankNBeyond:  The residents of Burbank, Glendale, and Pasadena are pretty insulated from that conflict (the partisan vs. bipartisan conflicts).  How do you get around that on a day-to-day basis?

Rep. Schiff:  I’m very mindful of what Burbank constituents told me when I was first running for office and I walked the entire city of Burbank.  I still have people now, and it’s been 15, 16 years, telling me they remember when I knocked on their door.

I remember them telling me, those who were going to support me, “I’m going to support you, not because you are a Democrat, or because I’m a Republican, but because I want you to do the right thing.  I expect you to do the right thing.”

And I’ve really tried to take that to heart. And I’m not alone in that.  There are a cadre of people here who are much more interested in getting things done than they are in engaging in partisan hand-to-hand combat.

Unfortunately our ranks have thinned.  The primary system has eliminated a lot of the moderates, so it’s harder to find people to work with along those lines, but there still are members like that left  (who work together).

In one of the committees I serve on I find even more opportunity for bipartisanship and that’s the Intelligence Committee.  Interestingly, that’s the least partisan committee in the house, and I think the reason it is, it that it’s the one committee in which almost all of our meetings are in closed session.

So there are no cameras, and there’s no demagogy because there’s no one to watch the demagogy.

So we have a pretty good working relationship where we get things done, and I wish more committees in the house could operate that way.

BTAC Fundraising Event Honors Two

Mayor Awarded BTAC's Top Award for Citizenship.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Temporary Aid held their yearly dinner and fundraising event Friday at the Castaway Restaurant.

This year they honored Burbank’s Centennial Mayor Jess Talamantes, along with President/CEO Mark Goldstein of Entertainment Partners.   Burbank’s Chamber of Commerce CEO Gary Olson was Master of Ceremonies, and a long time supporter of BTAC.

The evening started out with a silent auction, cocktails in the Valley View Room, then s sit down dinner was served with the program following.  The who of who’s of Burbank was in attendance.


Burbank's Mayor Jess Talamantes along with Mark Goldstein, President/CEO of Entertainment Partners, were honored by BTAC Friday evening. Also pictured is Barbara Howell, BTAC's CEO. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)