Burbank City Council Candidate Profile: Tamala Takahashi

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When Burbank City Council candidate Tamala Takahashi first moved to the city in 1999, she knew “nothing about Burbank.” Now, over two decades later, Takahashi says she is “so happy” to have arrived in the area due to the lively local events and exceptional small businesses in town. Advocacy is a passion of Takahashi’s, and she has contributed to several nonprofit groups as a board member over the years. In her spare time, Takahashi reveals in her candidate profile that she loves frequenting Burbank restaurants and coffee shops, going on neighborhood walks, and gaming.

Burbank Chamber

How long have you been a Burbank resident? What first brought you to the city?

I have lived in Burbank for 23 years. We moved here in 1999, when our oldest was 1. Before that, we were living in a small apartment in El Cerrito (just north of Berkeley) right next to the BART station. At the time, we didn’t know what our next step would be, and then my husband received a once-in-a-lifetime job offer from Disney. I knew nothing about Burbank and what kind of city we were moving to even though I grew up on the Westside in Culver City. Due to lucky timing on our bid, we barely squeezed into a small house in Mag Park, and the rest is history. It was pure randomness that we ended up here, but I am so happy we did. 

What do you enjoy most about Burbank?

Burbank was a wonderful city to raise our three children. We loved the parks, pools, recreation facilities, sports, hiking trails and nature center, libraries, schools, neighborhoods, and the feeling of “this is home.” I enjoy the small businesses in our city, with their unique flair and personalities. Our city is clean, chill, and friendly. Some say that the streets roll up at 10 p.m. here, and I like that. I also like that there are fun events year round. And it’s impressive that we are a full-service city with pretty much everything we need right in our “urburban” jurisdiction – BWP, libraries, police and fire, recycle center, school district, landfill, airport, metro stations, hiking trails, buses, and so much more. Not many smaller cities have all that we have. 

Where is your go-to place to have a good time in Burbank?

My idea of a good time is pretty low-key 🙂 I enjoy hanging out at our local coffee shops. Mag Park and Downtown Burbank are wonderful areas to walk around and enjoy the vibe. I particularly like treasure hunting at Goodwill. There are some great restaurants in town as well. We rarely have to leave Burbank to enjoy a date night. 

I look forward to the various events around town. It’s great to see friends there and make new friends while enjoying the activities. I also have found myself lost in the stacks at the libraries fairly regularly. And while it’s not a “place” per se, I enjoy (most of) the online groups where we share support, resources, and ideas with each other. One of my favorites is the generous Buy Nothing Burbank. 

Tell us a little bit about your background leading up to your candidacy. 

I have been in the nonprofit sector for 10 years and have a small business as a consultant. During the pandemic, I decided to move my career to the mental health industry, and I have been working towards my LPCC and LMFT. If I am elected, I plan to pivot completely to working as a pre-licensed therapist (in another city) while serving on council. 

I also ran in the 2020 Burbank City Council election, coming in a very close third for two seats. I enjoy being a community advocate and contributing when I can. I have served on several city commissions and nonprofit boards. I have trained in Toastmasters for both public speaking and leadership to earn my Distinguished Toastmaster. My first board position was in 2006, and since then, I have participated in dozens of nonprofit boards of various sizes and impact, then later working as a consultant with leaders who want to make a difference. This work is extremely satisfying and consistently interesting, and I’m confident that if I am elected, the work on city council will be even more so. 

We have three children who grew up in Burbank and are now all in college: CSUN, Cal Poly SLO, and San Jose State. Our youngest graduated from Burroughs during the pandemic. That makes us recent “empty nesters,” which we are still getting used to. We hope that one day our kids will be able to come back to Burbank, if they so choose, to raise their families here as well.

What is a fun fact about yourself that you’d like to share? 

My friends know this well, but it’s not something I talk about much on the campaign trail – I’m a gamer. We have a collection of about 50 board games (that we try to keep at no more than 50!). One of our favorite family outings is to attend the gaming conference in L.A., where, for three days straight, we try out new games and play our favorites with friends. Right now, our go-to genre is “roll and write.” We’re currently playing Corinth, which is a great two-player game, and Cartographers, which any number of folks can play. Both are solid choices for game night and are fairly easy to pick up while also being interesting for all experience levels. I also offer game recommendations if you’re looking for something new to play. 🙂

Note: Some answers have been edited for clarity. All answers are provided by candidates and do not denote verification on behalf of myBurbank.