Letter to the Editor: Diversity Voter PAC Wants to Clear Up Confusion Over Dinner Event “Burgers and Burbank”

2
396

Letter to the Editor:

Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center

This letter is in response to all the confusion at the April 11th City Council meeting regarding the acceptance of Zizette Mullins and Nick Schultz to a dinner event “Burgers and Burbank” hosted by Diversity Voter PAC at Morrison’s Restaurant on April 26th. We’d like to clear up the misunderstanding that the Council Members were personally charging the community to hear about the “hot topics” in Burbank. That is incorrect. They were invited by Diversity Voter PAC to speak at a dinner event, and they graciously accepted. Their acceptance to our invitation is a testament to their professionalism. Calling out councilmembers publicly and saying they should be ashamed for accepting such invitations is simply unfair to them. Especially as they are donating their time for the betterment of the community. They would do the same for non-profit community events such as the BTAC fundraiser, or political events for their respective political parties that all charge money to cover event expenses.

We understand there was some concern about the cost of the event. The $35 covers the cost of your dinner, gratuity, and expenses for running the event. Of course the public can come for FREE to participate in discussion if they do not wish to eat. However, we highly recommend honoring the local restaurant with your patronage. We have made some necessary edits to the event flyer to honor this clarification.

Diversity Voter PAC is non-partisan committee who does not support, endorse, or oppose any candidate or legislation. Our mission is to get everyone in Burbank to vote and get involved and be informed about Burbank City issues. The voter turnout in Burbank is currently abysmal- about 20%, and is particularly low among minority groups.

We would like to formally thank Mr. Schultz and Ms. Mullins for caring about everyone in the community by accepting invitations to speak and hear from their constituents. Mr. Schultz contacted us with a scheduling issue and had to gracefully decline the invitation. We especially thank Ms. Mullins who did not back out even under public pressure.

We want to encourage everyone to be more respectful to the City Council Members during public comment. And we want to thank everyone for the free advertising. Visit diversityvoterpac.org for more info.

April Fangio
Diversity Voter PAC

    2 COMMENTS

    1. Ms. Fangio, I had a number of concerns with the flyer and your organization.

      1) This event was a fundraiser for Diversity Voter PAC. According to both Council Member Schultz and Council Member Mullins they were not told there would be a fee to attend, nor were they told it was to raise funds for your group. This in and of itself is deceptive.
      2) According to your flyer, criticism was not welcome. I find this to be anti-free speech.
      3) The majority of the donors to your group do not live in Burbank. I find this to be problematic. According to California Form 460 they live in Los Angeles, Glendale, Rosemead, and Diamond Bar.
      4) According to California Form 410 your group chooses to do business with America’s Christian Credit Union and according to their website they have a very clear agenda, quoting at least 4 bible verses.
      5) I never said or suggested the Council Members themselves were charging a fee for their profit or attendance. I was suggesting they should do a better job of vetting any group they should choose to associate with so as to understand that groups true agenda.
      6) My comments were based on the original flyer you posted. A fee of $35.00 to attend was mandatory.
      7) One of the topics to be discussed was homelessness and I wondered just how many homeless people would attend with a fee of $35.00.

      I encourage participation…and transparency.

    2. “The voter turnout in Burbank is currently abysmal- about 20%, and is particularly low among minority groups.”

      While I am open-minded, I am skeptical that you are correct here since you did not support your statement with data of any kind or cite your source. Would you please quote your source of information supporting your claim that minority voter turnout in Burbank is particularly low with minority groups? I would like to see this data. My data comes from the County, read further.

      I have owned a business in Burbank since 1989 and I have been a resident since 1991. I speak with many residents about elections. There are voters registered in Burbank whose heritage spans the globe, yet so much time is spent focusing on very few ethnic groups such as Spanish and Armenian speakers, I am informed by friends this contributes to the issue of a lack of voter interest. The subject is far too complicated to make summary conclusions however and I would prefer to survey voters rather than assume anything.

      Burbank needs voting districts to provide more fair elections and better representation of communities. Voting districts will also reduce the cost of running for office and expand the candidate pool.

      After reviewing your public filings, I did notice that many of your financial supporters are Republicans and perhaps they would consider bringing forward candidates since registered Republicans represent approximately 23% of Burbank’s registered voter base. That number has risen quite a bit in the past four years, according to public records yet we had zero candidates since Bob Frutos who are registered Republicans. A variety of candidates is important in representing all points of view among the residents. Burbank City Council is made up of predominantly Democrats.

      The City is very supportive of Leadership Burbank and they seem like a very nice group of people. The assistant City manager hosted an event for Leadership Burbank at her residence for example and City Council members routinely go to their events. Most of their graduates are Democrats and the organization’s mission statement is quite clear, they are focused on placing candidates on City Council. I do not see Republicans equally represented in the actions of the Council, however.

      Here is the the Leadership Burbank’s mission statement:

      RECRUIT, TRAIN AND CULTIVATE POTENTIAL LEADERS FOR THE BURBANK COMMUNITY. PROVIDE COMPREHENSIVE PROFESSIONALLY FACILITATED NINE MONTH LEADERSHIP TRAINING COURSE FOR THE POTENTIAL LEADERS OF THE BURBANK COMMUNITY. THE GOAL IS TO RECRUIT LEADERS FOR BURBANK CITY COUNCIL AND CITY BOARD AND COMMISSION POSITIONS AS WELL AS BOARD POSITION FOR NON­PROFIT COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS.

      The City, therefore, promotes Democratic values in a powerful way. This is not “diverse” and if there is to be diversity among our elected officials and if we want more participation, these apparent biases should be brought forward and examined, discussed, and a candid review made.

      Joel Schlossman is harsh but he has the courage to raise hard questions. He is one of the few residents who has not only lived here all of his adult life, he is exceptionally knowledgeable about every topic he raises and certain members of the City Council have often dismissed his point of view, interrupted him during his three minute time at podium and have called him names privately that are not so nice.

      “We want to encourage everyone to be more respectful to the City Council Members during public comment.”

      This cuts both ways. Councilman Schultz has, on multiple occasions, used the word “bully” at City Council meetings when referring to the resident who is asking for voting districts. This is not respectful. The resident who brought up the subject of districts has done so using his rights under California statutory laws.

      Long ago, the Supreme Court recognized that maintaining the courts as a setting to resolve questions about defective laws is necessary for a peaceful society. The Court said,
      “[t]he right to sue and defend in the courts is the alternative of force. In an organized society it is the right conservative of all other rights, and lies at the foundation of orderly government. It is one of the highest and most essential privileges of citizenship . . . . Equality of treatment in this respect is not left to depend upon comity between the states, but is granted and protected by the Federal Constitution.”

      Councilman Schultz is an attorney for the office of the California Attorney General and his office initiates legal actions in the judiciary to accomplish their goals. It is not appropriate for him to be referring to a resident as a “bully” who has brought forward a claim under the California Voting Rights Act, asking that the City begin setting up voting districts to provide fairer elections. If Councilman Schultz were to be impartial as he claims to be, then he would simply examine the merits of the situation, rather than pull out the word “bully” which is not respectful. The Charter Committee was asked to work on this and they did not move it forward, so the resident stepped up and activated his rights under California statute. It is up to the judiciary, not Councilman Schultz, to determine if the case has merit.

      So when you ask that people are more respectful, it is important to examine the totality of the facts including the fact that the City Council is something not respectful to the residents. I have more examples but you can watch Council meetings to see this. I contend we have a go-along-to-get-along City Council right now and voting districts will help bring more diversity to the Council which by the name of your organization, would seem to align with your goals.

      It would benefit us all if we had full-time, fairly paid City Council members and elected mayors rather than the current system where the City Council selects the mayor themselves.

    Comments are closed.