Letter to the Editor: Resident Says City Council Lacks Civility and Decorum

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Letter to the Editor:

Imagine following all of the obscure rules of asking questions in a proper and professional manner, only to be slandered by a member of the city council.

The lack of civility of being labeled in this manner should only be fit for a reality TV show because to the uninitiated it can be shocking. But this isn’t fiction—this is a Burbank City Council meeting.

Tuesday’s council meeting was charged with strong emotions on several issues. A vocal group demanded the city condemn the war in the Middle East, while others voiced their concerns and support over a proposed ordinance on rents. This ordinance would be significantly more restrictive than the state’s mandated rent control, costing an estimated $6 million per year to operate a rent registry, rental governance board, and attorney review panel. It’s only natural to question why such measures are necessary and to ask which services would be cut to fund this or who would bear the financial burden—renters or housing providers?

Amidst this tumult, it was disappointing to witness a council member lash out and accuse a member of the public, who had made a public records request of their actions during a publicly noticed board meeting, which, under the Brown Act, is governed by strict transparency requirements.

According to Government Code § 54950, the Brown Act ensures that the actions and deliberations of public agencies are conducted openly. It mandates that any person attending such meetings must have access to the communications and activities of council members, commissioners, or board members. If these officials are making notes, texting, or using devices during a meeting, the public has the right to inspect these activities to ensure transparency and prevent secretive communications.

The conduct of the council member was a stark deviation from these principles, raising serious concerns about their ability to represent our community effectively. As one public commenter aptly put it, “You are gaslighting us,” and I couldn’t agree more.

It is vital for city council meetings to uphold the principles of the Brown Act, ensuring free and open deliberations. Any deviations from this, especially personal attacks on public commenters, undermine public trust and the integrity of the democratic process.

There is a lot, as always, at stake in this November’s election from adding thousands of more housing units with little to no parking, to road diets to impede vehicle traffic.  Let’s not forget  Metro’s request to  remove  2 lanes on Olive Avenue.

Your vote matters.

David Donahue
Burbank

    BurCal Apartments8715

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