City Council Candidate Question #8 – Motivation for Running for Burbank City Council

By On October 1, 2020

Editor’s Note: myBurbank sent eight questions out to the eight different candidates running for Burbank City Council. myBurbank will run a different question each day for eight days (except for weekends). We have in no way edited any of the responses that we have received and have come directly from the candidates. We gave them no limits to the amount of space they wanted to use for their answers and have rotated the order of the candidates each day so no one has an advantage. After reading these questions and answers, myBurbank hopes that the voters of Burbank will have an informed opinion before casting their votes. Remember, you can vote for two candidates and every vote is valuable!

Question 8 of 8:

What is your main motivation for running for a City Council seat? What is your vision for the City and what experience do you bring? What is the first thing you would like to see accomplished if elected? Have you been involved in the City in the past on any Boards or Commissions and how long have you called Burbank your home?

Candidate Responses:

Konstantine Anthony:

I fell in love with Burbank after moving here in 2004, because it reminds me of the small northern California town where I grew up. Three years ago, I ran for city council immediately after the election of Donald Trump, because I knew I had to do everything I could to help protect the city I call home. My progressive platform was unapologetically bold and

far-reaching, from homelessness to housing justice to community policing. That year, our campaign reframed the conversation around working families and our city’s most vulnerable residents. I am running again, because many of the policies I proposed in 2017 have yet to be implemented. Since that council race, I have continued to work tirelessly to help the people who need it most.

As a founding member of Mobile Workers Alliance, I have worked for fair pay and employee benefits for Uber and Lyft drivers. I fought the LA County Board of Supervisors’ attempts to legalize the unconstitutional imprisonment of our unhoused residents suffering from mental health issues. I personally collected thousands of signatures from Burbank voters to put a rent regulation measure on the ballot and to block the construction of yet another luxury hotel, all while raising my disabled son.

These aren’t just political issues to me – they’re personal. As an Uber driver, I’ve watched my wages fall with no union to protect me or negotiate on my behalf. As a formerly homeless Burbank resident, I know the anguish of sleeping in a car every night. Many employers won’t hire me because I’m autistic, and those that do rarely make accommodations. For these reasons, I have always been behind the eight ball, struggling to keep up. If not for a helping hand when I needed it most, I easily could have fallen through the cracks.

My political advocacy is based on paying that help forward: From my early days of protests against forced institutionalization to working as Community Manager at Disability Action for Hillary in 2016, I have always put my talents toward helping others.

I believe in the power of organizing. I’ve been a SAG-AFTRA member since 2006, and I’m also a member of SEIU 2015. I was appointed to the Burbank Transportation Commission in 2017 and now serve as its Chair, and I’ve been a member of the Burbank Advisory Council on Disabilities since 2018. It is through these networks of advocacy that I will tackle the issues facing our fair city.

My vision for Burbank is an affordable and sustainable city with good jobs and good schools, where people can walk and bike in comfort. I believe in a future where small businesses thrive, our air and water are clean, and no one is left to languish in the streets. I will work towards a future here in Burbank where diversity is celebrated through inclusion and equity.

In my first 100 days as council member, I will prioritize a 20% affordable housing requirement on all new multi-family construction with a 55-year deed restriction. This will increase the affordable housing stock our city has needed for well over a decade.

Tamala Takahashi:

I have lived in Burbank for 21 years. We raised our three kids here – ages 22, 19, and 16. Our 16 year old attends Burroughs High School as a senior. I currently serve on the Infrastructure Oversight Board for the city. I have also served on the Library Board of Trustees, as well as the Civic Pride Committee. The Civic Pride Committee is now called “Our Burbank” and is a non-council committee with the Public Information Office. I also serve on the Magnolia Park Merchant Association Board and the Friends of the Library Board. 

I have been in the non-profit sector for over 10 years, and currently, I own a small business consulting for non-profit leadership development. Before running for office, I was an administrator for a non-profit learning center in Valencia. In addition to my professional background, I have also volunteered for many years in non-profits in various positions of leadership, including having served as District Director for the Los Angeles/SFValley/SCValley district of Toastmasters. And I also founded and am the president of the “Knerdy Knitters”, an artist guild in Burbank. 

Our family loves Burbank. The city and its offerings have been a wonderful place to raise our children. Over the years, I’ve become more and more involved with local organizations and the city itself, and the more people I meet, and the more connections I make, the more I realize how unique we are here. We aren’t perfect, just like any community has its issues. But our city is special. We are the gem of the valley. 

During the last decade or so, it’s been more and more important to me to be involved in making our world a better place. As we have been watching our kids spreading their wings and looking at their future, I believe it’s our duty to do what we can to improve our world for them. The city of Burbank is where my world is, and this is where I am working to make things better. 

I also had a scary experience in 2015, and I was stricken with a life threatening illness. After I recovered, I decided I wasn’t going to wait to do what I could to make a difference, so I started the process of training to run for public office, and do what I needed to do to become ready to serve. It’s been a wonderful journey, and through it so far, I learned to be in this race not to win, but to serve the community. To use the connection and relationships I’ve built to bring people together who can partner and make synergy. That’s why I’m in this – because giving back to the community makes it better. And I want to be a part of that. 

My vision is for us to become a “smart city” fully integrated into the 21st century, while also keeping our semi-urban “small town in the big city” feel. 

I also envision an even more resilient city, looking at the long term, by diversifying our industries, to include more sustainability tech, R&D, and health related business. This diversity will allow us to weather fluctuations in the economy and to not be beholden to the success of any one industry. This will ensure that our city can continue to thrive for our current residents, our children, and our children’s children. 

Michael Lee Gogin:

What is your main motivation for running for a City Council seat? What is your vision for the City and what experience do you bring? What is the first thing you would like to see accomplished if elected? Have you been involved in the City in the past on any Boards or Commissions and how long have you called Burbank your home?

About 2 years ago, I was paying attention to the council meetings. I listened to the business in the City Chamber. I felt that I could do better and here’s why. My past experiences of working with my parent union SAG as a Board Member are my credentials. As a Board Member of SAG helping my constituency with issues that were present then are similar to our City challenges now. I did not drop out of sight with that responsibility. I am presently a Steering Committee Member of Performers With Disabilities since its inception in the mid 1980’s. All of that Government Union experience does put me ahead of most of my opponents. My constituency at SAG was over 104,000 members.  

Already people know that I am not for defunding the Police Department or Fire Department Safety Teams. I am also in favor of protecting R-1 and R-1H Zoning in Burbank. And something new, I would like to see a Filming Commission developed here in Burbank whereby getting the necessary  work permits to produce projects within our City, becomes easier to get. This does help generate incomes to our city and will make it easier to deal with complaints.

Burbank is home now going on 14 YEARS and I cannot imagine living anywhere else.

Paul Herman:

This COVID-19 pandemic that we are all living through informed my opinion to run for Burbank City Council more than anything. My wife is a teacher and we have two kids in BUSD schools.  To say these last several months have been stressful for my family and my business would be a great understatement.  However, instead of running away from the problems we are facing I feel obligated to run at them head on.  We need good leadership on the Council and through my service to the community, and background in business, I am ready to provide that leadership on day one of my election to Council.  I’m proud to have served our community as Board Member for Burbank Water and Power, Board Chair for the Boys and Girls Club of Burbank and the Greater East Valley, Public Affairs Chair of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, Advisory Board Member for the Woodbury University School of Business, and Board Member of the Burbank Noon Rotary Foundation.

Nick Schultz:

I’ve decided to run for Burbank City Council because I want to help restore what we have lost as a result of this pandemic and to create good-paying jobs with benefits for every Burbankian. As a city we need to get creative and find ways to help our neighbors pay the rent or mortgage, access quality healthcare and childcare, keep their jobs, save our small businesses, and build back better and stronger.  

I love our community and I want to make sure that our children someday inherit a city that is safe, affordable, livable, equitable, and sustainable. If elected I will: (1) develop a plan to safely restart and restore our local economy; (2) fight for a fair, livable wage for our working-class families; (3) ensure our residents and workers have the protections they need in-place to safeguard them from this or any other public health crisis; (4) make our local government more transparent and accessible; (5) work to find long-term solutions to our homelessness problem, inadequate supply of affordable housing, and lack of sufficient transportation and mobility infrastructure; (6) safeguard our natural resources by pushing for compliance with state carbon neutrality targets; and (7) invest in our community parks and recreation areas.

For years, my wife and I have been involved in the Burbank community, and we’ve always known that Burbank is the place that we want to raise our family. Because of the schools, the unique neighborhoods, our amazing small businesses, and our incredible community spirit, there’s no other place that we can imagine growing our family and settling down. For years, my wife and I worked hard and saved every penny until we could afford to buy a home in the Rancho neighborhood earlier this year.

Since announcing my candidacy, I have been so honored to speak with hundreds of residents who have shared similar stories about how Burbank was always their dream destination, and about how important it is that we do what we can to help those who are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage so that they can stay in Burbank.

Sharis Manokian:

Burbank is the only home I have ever known. I was born and raised here, and I am running to ensure that it continues to be a great place to live. I have two main motivations. Firstly, I have always been an activist for the causes I believe in. From a young age, my parents would take me to civil rights rallies, womens’ rights protests, and Armenian Genocide marches. It wasn’t until this past year that I realized the greatest way I could affect change is through policy and political reform. Secondly, there are many young people living in Burbank that share my goal of creating a better society, as seen at the recent BLM protests here. However, there is no youth representation in our local government. I want to be that voice and hopefully inspire others to become more involved. I envision a Burbank where residents can afford to work and live here. A Burbank that is greener, and more sustainable. A Burbank that houses a tight knit community where everyone’s voices are heard.

We are facing unprecedented times. Therefore, my first priority would be creating a recovery plan to help Burbank through the remainder of the Pandemic. This means not only helping renters and homeowners, but creating a support system for our local businesses that have already faced major devastation. Given my background in economics, I believe I am best suited to create financial policies that will navigate us through this crisis.

Tim Murphy:

My main motivation is that, with my qualifications, knowledge and experience, I feel an obligation to finish what I started and that I am the best person for the job. Experience and qualifications matter!

Our Council has performed and functioned as a well-oiled machine and as a team. We don’t always agree but we have the discussion and work together as professionals. We are losing Emily Gabel-Luddy and her eighteen years of service, knowledge and leadership. It will be impossible to replace her and take years for a newcomer to grow into her chair.  We have to choose wisely as to who can and should replace her. The rest of the council and I have been dealing with the major blows dealt to our economy such as the past budget deficit and now we are dealing with the pandemic and the resulting economic devastation.  I have the experience and together with the remaining council members we can mentor one new person.  The City cannot afford for the Council to bring two new members up to speed.  The Council needs to act and react as quickly as possible to re-open our economy carefully and safely and all members will have to be on top of things. We must keep both our residents and our employees safe. THAT HAS TO BE JOB #1!  

I should probably take a moment here to address a concern about an untruth that has been aimed at me and my campaign.  There are people who are spreading a lie that I promised not to run if I accepted the appointed position. Here are the facts: Councilman Frutos asked me at the meeting in public if I intended to run for the position later on. I said quote “I have no intention at this time to run for the position and I am ambivalent about whether I want this position at this time” basing it on my previous experience.  I checked the tape and so can you.  No promises except to do the best job I could. The situation in the City has since changed. Who would have predicted the virus, the staggering amount of  deaths from Covid19, and the economic destruction? I checked with Councilmembers Frutos, Talamantes and Gabel-Luddy before announcing my intent to run. Each one stated they had no problem with it and encouraged me to do so. I am sorry that I could not catch up with Sharon before it was announced. I have worked really well with this council group. I am a team player and sometimes I have acted as a mediator to keep us focused on the issue at hand.  This is what you need during these strange and unnerving times. Qualifications and experience matter!

I was on the Park and Rec Board from 1985-1988, City Council from 1989-1992. I founded the Boys and Girls Club of Burbank during my first council term. 

We were devastated economically twice: first with Lockheed leaving town. My colleagues and I converted our economy quickly from manufacturing to media and retail. We developed the media district specific plan and also developed the 40 vacant acres into the Burbank Town Center. We enticed IKEA to come to Burbank and open their 1st store on the West Coast and we also brought in Bullocks. This mall has been successful and will return to being successful in the future with me as part of the team to help.

In 2018 the budget was in the red and the city had some tough choices. Once again, I studied the situation and discussed options and plans with my colleagues. We devised a plan to  freeze hiring, found a way to regain 10 million dollars from our utility fund, and implemented a ¼% sales tax, the latter two with the vote of the people and would have had our best economic year ever if not for the pandemic. Those moves allowed us to have a rainy day fund allowing the city to weather the pandemic better than any other city I know.  Every voter who votes for city council should ask themselves before they vote for someone else “what other candidate has been involved in successfully guiding Burbank through not 1 but 2 previous economic disasters?” and what other candidate has qualifications and experience better than Tim Murphy?”  So, vote for Tim Murphy and keep Burbank safe and on the right path!

I have lived here for over 50 years although not continuously.

Linda Bessin:

I see a City Council that doing things the way they have always been done and have no interest or even curiosity about new ideas, modern developments or groundbreaking ingenuity shown in other similarly sized cities. As a result, our City is stagnating and our problems are not solved no matter how many study sessions occur. We need new energy, new ideas and a new sense of responsibility and accessibility for our City Council. We need to envision Burbank’s future as not just Downtown development but a collective of vibrant neighborhoods that can thrive by supporting the businesses and services near them. I see Burbank as utilizing data and technology to increase efficiency in services and transparency to residents. There should be a City of Burbank app that provides instant information on incidents, status of services and other City functions, and events going on in the City.

To bring Burbank into the 21st Century, the first thing I would request is a detailed report on how the City collects and reviews data. We must build a solid foundation of information in order to make economic and social decisions that will impact all of Burbank during this turbulent time.

Another priority is to recognize Burbank’s true diversity which has been undervalued by our City Council and by many on our community. The creation of a City diversity, inclusion and equality statement would inspire and give guidance for City staff and citizens as to how to show the value of our entire population. We need to include acknowledgment of diversity in our City events, in planning and discussions regarding housing and transportation, and how the City communicates with our community.

I bought my home in Burbank in 1994. I served as Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary on the Burbank Board of Library Trustees. I am currently finishing up my Master’s Degree in English at CSUN. Unfortunately, my class schedule this spring conflicted with the meeting schedule for the Library Board. As a result, I was forced to resign from the Board that I had served on since 2016.