This past Tuesday, December 8th, was the last city council meeting for longtime member, Emily Gabel-Luddy, who took seat on the Burbank City Council in May of 2011 and has used her time to help build and transform Burbank for a better future. She built her campaign on being practical with practical solutions and ran for office to have a positive impact on Burbank’s citywide growth. “I made a commitment when first elected to earn the trust of those who did not support me. I hope I met that,” says Gabel-Luddy, “We cannot always solve the problem but we must listen as we represent all in the community.”
After almost 10 years, Gabel-Luddy has decided to step away from her position on the Burbank City Council. “The Pandemic really focused me,” says Gabel-Luddy, who considered her service to Council to be her primary focus of her life and now hopes to spend more time traveling and spending time with her husband. “Quarantine has helped me appreciate the small things like kindness,” adds Gabel-Luddy, “let’s have more tolerance for one another.”
Gabel-Luddy’s background in planning and design and experience on the Planning Board helped shape her role on the City Council. Through her years as a council member, Emily Gabel-Luddy has been involved in many important moments from Burbank’s history that she feels proud to be a part of. While her time on council, she was able to help resolve the Airport Terminal after decades of dispute, securing Burbank’s financial future in a sustainable way and encouraging implementation of lasting benefits resulting in contextual neighborhood design and affordable housing. “We helped build Burbank neighborhoods not just buildings, and encouraging the goal of 12,000 new housing units while protecting single family neighborhoods,” adds Gabel-Luddy.
Her accomplishments of her time on council are many but a few that stand out the most to her are getting the state to return approximately $50 million in redevelopment funds to the city, placing the city on a solid financial future through a sales tax initiative, successfully funding school-based counseling with Family Service Agency and BUSD for 6 consecutive years, adopting a Homeless Services Plan in 2017 and securing and distributing pandemic-related funds to low income residents and small businesses.
While being on the Burbank City Council is tireless work, there are also lots of fun memories that Gabel-Luddy will miss participating in as a council member including the Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremonies, Burbank on Parade, Fire Service Day, Turkey Trot, Road Kings Car Shows, National Night Out and many more community events. “I will still see you there,” says Gabel-Luddy.
With the highs comes the lows, and Gabel-Luddy reflects on the saddest moment of her time on council which was when mayor Rogers got ill and passed away while in office. “He was a constructive influence when he entered the council. He was entertaining, made you laugh, and helped us all develop a better sense of humor,” adds Gabel-Luddy.
“I am proud to have personally helped people,” says Gabel-Luddy who used her time on council to help provide resources, helped people with planning, and always made sure to listen. “When people are angry about issues, I try to see between the lines and see what the real needs are,” says Gabel-Luddy. While her work has shaped Burbank and its communities, the council has also helped to shape her as a person. “I was pretty much a solo act until I got on Council. It took years, but I see the value of team work and respectful disagreements or even arguments.”
We will miss Emily Gabel-Luddy’s presence on the City Council but she leaves us with this message: “Our City is one of remarkable strength and services. The pandemic has shown our best instincts: continuing services, helping seniors, neighbors and others. In the face of anger, angst and oppositional viewpoints, I trust Burbankers’ sense of community will continue that respect and generosity of human spirit.”