Letter to the Editor: Groups Explains Why Candidate Debate was Changed to Town Hall

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Letter to the Editor:

Burbank Chamber
On the 23rd of October, local unincorporated nonprofit Civic Duty Media held a Community Town Hall at the Colony Theatre. I thank Councilmember Schultz and Vice Mayor Anthony for volunteering their time and the community for showing up to have an open discussion on issues important to them in the coming year. We look forward to doing more of these events in the future and bringing government to eye level, by facilitating these informal discussions.
 
I wanted to address some questions and comments our team has been getting after the event and clear up some confusion. 
 
First, we were limited by the Brown Act and similar “Sunshine Laws” in the number of members of a voting body we can have in a room at one time. Unfortunately, this was the reason Councilmember Frutos and Mayor Talamantes were not invited. On a personal note, I want to thank them both for their years of service to our community. I grew up in Burbank under their leadership and am eternally grateful for their work and their inspiration to us young people looking to serve our community as well.
 
Second, our team still regularly gets comments about the originally planned council candidate debate being canceled. Some on social media have told us it has negatively impacted their view of the candidates. The candidates communicated to our team that they were simply allocating their limited time to other ways of engagement to better reach you, the voters. Having previously worked on a political campaign, I can attest these kinds of decisions are not at all out of the norm. With a limited number of hours until the 8th, candidates are faced with a tough choice of where to spend their time to most effectively reach voters. And while our team was disappointed with their decisions we ask the community not to think any less of the candidates for making them.
 
As a nonpartisan organization, we don’t make endorsements. But I will comfortably say to all who are willing to listen that the list of candidates we have before us is among the best Burbank has ever seen. They are good, honest, hard-working people who dedicate their time to your service. Having had the opportunity to speak to them throughout the debate’s planning process I have witnessed this firsthand and can attest to the purity of their intentions. So I ask of us all, this election day, to remember the very real people who have surrendered their privacy, and sacrificed their time for the opportunity to serve us. 
 
In that spirit, let’s make the last few days of this election about the issues. Ask the candidates about policies important to you. Read through the myBurbank candidate questions and resources like it. Filter out ‘ad hominem’ attacks on social media. And don’t let a “gut feeling” lead you to make a decision, not in tune with your beliefs and priorities.
 
Voting is a sacred right we should all cherish. As such take some time out of your day, a fraction of the time these candidates have put in, and see what they’re all about. 
 
Decisions are made by those who show up. Show up this election day, and make your voice heard.
 
If you have any comments or feedback about the CDM Town Hall, please feel free to shoot us an email at burbankdebate@gmail.com. For more info on voting see lavote.gov.
 
Andre Dionysian
President – Civic Duty Media
Burbank Resident 
Student 

5 COMMENTS

  1. Andre, simply put: you are wrong.

    This is some of the worst candidates for council and school board the city has ever seen.

    Not one will agree to not raise our taxes.

    Most are proud ‘Democratic Socialists’ that are eager to tax and spend. Eager to invite more homeless to our city to increase our crime rate. Building ‘tiny houses’ are an example. Instead of tough love – like telling people to stop using drugs, stop drinking and get a job, they can’t wait to offer more free things and enable the life of a mooch. Nothing is free, it is our tax dollars.

    By the way, Anthony and Shultz most likely broke the law by stating “meet the presumptive new Mayor and Vice Mayor” indicating how they will be voting BEFORE RECEIVING PUBLIC INPUT. This is proof of collusion and a conspiracy. They used the term “Town Hall” which your event was not. It was not sanctioned by the city or announced on the city website. It was nothing more than a ‘meet and greet’ held on PRIVATE property.

    Andre, how do you think all the candidates felt when Anthony and Shultz posted they would be the new Mayor and Vice Mayor? It was a slap in the face to all the candidates in the race to conclude they would be appointed. Maybe Anthony and Shultz know something we don’t? Is the ‘fix’ in? Such arrogance. Such gall. This type of behavior should not be condoned – it should be condemned.

    Big problems are here. Get a clue.

    Joel Schlossman

    • Hi Mr. Schlossman

      It was good meeting you earlier this evening. My apologies for only now seeing your comment and corresponding email. I thought I’d answer it here in public, so anyone with the same question/comment may benefit.

      Regarding the candidates, I want to be clear that we do not support/oppose any individual running. And we do not comment on policy matters. But as individuals, they have proven to be kind, respectful, and honorable. Their policies may not be favorable to some, but in character, I believe them to be good people.

      Regarding the poster, our team was assuming that the years-long tradition of rotating the titles based on seniority would hold true. We didn’t anticipate anyone taking issue with that language. But as we strive to be nonpartisan, we will take that into consideration in the future.

      But to be clear, our team is solely responsible for the content of our marketing materials, including the posters. As the head of that team, I take responsibility for it. Neither councilmember was involved in the writing of that content/language. And as such, there was no wrongdoing on their part.

      As I mentioned in public comment, a Town Hall is a commonly held category of event. It is not reliant on a government and is often held by nonprofits and community groups. Our only legal limit is that we must abide by the Brown Act and similar “Sunshine Laws”.

      We have taken to heart Mr. Frutos’s words from the council meeting earlier and will strive to do better. Within the limit of the law, we will do our best to make the next such event inclusive to as many members of the council as possible.

      To the community, please bear with us through these growing pains. I give my word we will do our best to absorb all the input the community has for us, so that our events may better serve you.

      Andre Dionysian

  2. It is a positive thing to encourage people to get out and vote. I support the idea. Did you produce the graphic that used the term “presumptive mayor” in it?

    The term nonprofit can only refer to a legally-formed nonprofit organization.

    Civic Duty Media is not listed with the Secretary of State, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk for a fictitious business name, the Burbank business licenses nor the Burbank business tax registrations, yet you are apparently soliciting money.

    The term nonprofit can only be used by a legally-formed IRS tax-exempt organization.

    It would be a good idea to seek a legal opinion directly from the IRS. Unless you know something I do not, there is no such thing as an unincorporated nonprofit. If you receive money and are not a recognized tax-exempt organization, you are for-profit and will be required to file a tax return claiming the income.

    I thought you would want to know.

    • Hi! Thanks for your comment.

      First, regarding the poster, our team was assuming that the years-long tradition of rating the titles based on seniority would hold true. We didn’t anticipate anyone taking issue with that language. But as we strive to be nonpartisan, we will take that into consideration in the future.

      Second, an unincorporated nonprofit association is a group of people who organize for a set purpose that falls within the IRS’s tax-exempt activities. They do so not as an incorporated entity, which means legally speaking the entity doesn’t exist and cannot act as a liability shield like a registered NPO or LCC. This means our team members are personally liable for debts and legal actions. As such, we do not ask for donations to CDM.

      Very clearly, donations have been to individuals (not an NPO entity) crowdfunding for our projects. This has been stated clearly numerous times and is well within the law. Please see this helpful Nolo article: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-an-unincorporated-nonprofit-association.html

      Lastly, our operations are at a deficit. Not only do we not make a profit, our team members contribute our own cash to these efforts. Less than $100 was contributed to pay for the Town Hall, the rest came out of our own pockets.

Comments are closed.