Letter to the Editor:
There is a long debated English phrase: “may you live interesting times.” Central to the argument is the question as to whether it’s intended as a blessing or a curse. I feel little is more representative of where we are in this moment right now.
Just over six months have passed since COVID-19 first rushed in to our city limits, grinding our flourishing community to a halt.
We all know that Burbank is facing a public health and economic crisis, which appears to have no end in sight. Our small businesses have been hit hard. This is what initially inspired me to action and is a large part of why I am running as a candidate for Burbank City Council. The impacts of this pandemic on our businesses have been unprecedented, which calls for us to mount an unprecedented response.
We can do it. Our community is in fact one of the best equipped to respond to this crisis: we are the center of a global powerhouse that is the entertainment industry; a city with a rich history of entrepreneurship and strong small businesses; a town that built the planes that helped us win World War 2; and a city with a hardworking, skilled, and talented workforce.
Since the start of this campaign I have proposed the creation of a Burbank Economic Recovery Taskforce (BERT). I believe that it is crucial that we bring together our tremendous assets, experts, and stakeholders to the table to inform the Burbank City Council on the best strategies for economic recovery. I would like to see the BERT be comprised of leaders from the entertainment industry, small business owners, entrepreneurs, retailers, organized labor, community leaders, and representatives from the food and beverage and hospitality industries.
There are significant barriers to starting and maintaining a small business, including the financial costs and paperwork required for proper licensing and registrations with the City of Burbank. I would like to explore ways to make it easier to do business in our city so that we have new home-grown employers ready to offer good-paying jobs for our workforce.
We need to get creative. We also need simple changes such as offering concierge-level customer service in which any business, including locally owned small businesses, could obtain one-on-one assistance from a seasoned staff member in the City of Burbank. This concierge service could help our businesses navigate permits, licensing, and connect them with community resources. It’s a simple fix that wouldn’t cost a lot of money. A simple fix we could do right this very moment.
We are certainly in interesting times. This moment has been challenging, and it will be for potentially years to come. But we also have so much opportunity, so much we can do, and the talent and spirit to get it done.
I believe the City of Burbank needs to roll up our sleeves and be proactive in exploring ways to enhance small business formation and retention.
With bold proposals like the one outlined above, I have no doubt that the City of Burbank can overcome the challenges that we’re facing and help to save our small businesses!
You can read more about my economic recovery proposals here: www.nickforburbank.com/economic-recovery.
Burbank Resident, Candidate for Burbank City Council