Letter to the Editor: Resident Wants to See Change in Local Government


Letter to the Editor:

My name is Alissandra Valdez. I am proud to serve on the Sustainable Burbank Commission, but today I am writing as a citizen and fellow community member.

As a young, Latina, working-class renter, I’m ready to see real change in our local government. My neighbors and I are politically engaged, but we are often shut out of politics in favor of corporate interests. In these tumultuous times, we need a representative that will fight for the needs of the many, which is why I’m supporting Nikki Perez for Burbank City Council. Her stances on housing, environmental issues, and transportation make her a clear standout in this race.  

We are a city where 60% of us are renters- yet we are not nearly represented enough in our local government. It’s time we have another renter on city council- and Nikki’s lived experience will bring a valuable perspective to the table. Nikki will fight for the creation of working-class housing units and tenant protections, some of the most important priorities for residents right now. She is also the only candidate to explicitly show support for rent stabilization- as more and more renters are being priced out of Burbank, Nikki has already shown that she will advocate for us.

I feel confident voting for Nikki based on her environmental policy. As a community member, she was at the forefront of establishing a Green New Deal for Burbank. With our climate crisis worsening, we need our policymakers to take this threat seriously and push for effective legislation. Nikki’s environmental goals include having Burbank commit to being at 100% clean energy by 2035, incentivizing environmental innovation, and increasing investment in our traffic infrastructure. With her work on the Green New Deal, Nikki has historically shown that climate advocacy is a priority for her. I trust her to fight for our environment.

Our community has long advocated for the creation of better bike and pedestrian infrastructure. The Chandler Bike Path is beloved by so many of my neighbors- imagine if Burbank had those bike paths throughout the whole city! Nikki is a pedestrian who understands that we need permanent solutions to our traffic safety issues. Her commitment to investing in people-powered transportation is important to building a city that’s green and safer for the community.

Nikki has plenty of other great policy as well, which you can read about here: https://www.nikkiperez.com/issues 

We need a candidate that will vote for rent stabilization, continue to fight for our local Green New Deal, and work to transform Burbank streets. Burbank’s future is an inclusive, forward-thinking city that creates a better quality of life for all citizens. Nikki’s good policy, experience, and commitment to public service will make her an excellent addition on City Council. By electing Nikki to office, we can collectively help Burbank step into a better and brighter future.

I encourage my fellow renters, climate activists, and supporters of open streets to participate in our local election and vote for Nikki Perez for Burbank City Council! And encourage a friend or neighbor to vote for Nikki too!

Alissandra Valdez


    1. This is a very kind, well-meaning post. A City Council has an expansive list of responsibilities and Council candidates must have essential knowledge of all areas of City government and governance.

      The few topic areas mentioned are very focused and limited. While we all have a duty to take care of our community and our planet, a City Council member deals with a long list of areas and these persons must navigate these areas expertly. A Council member, elected “at large” cannot merely represent renters or people who ride bikes. These folks must represent all of us, and do so very well.

      One reason well-meaning people are not successful in becoming Council Members is the lack of clarity on what a Council member does. That’s one reason we see the same people re-elected over and over again. An incumbent looks better to a voter when someone green and unknown comes asking for votes but has a vague, limited list of priorities. Or, in this case, a very small one that focuses on certain groups of people.

      According to the National League of Cities, there is much to do.

      “As local legislators, councilmembers are responsible for and responsive to the citizens who elected them. Depending on the city’s charter and state laws, they may perform the following functions:

      Review and approve the annual budget;
      Establish long- and short-term objectives and priorities;
      Oversee performance of the local public employees;
      Oversee effectiveness of programs;
      Establish tax rates;
      Enter into legal contracts;
      Borrow funds;
      Pass ordinances and resolutions;
      Modify the city’s charter;
      Regulate land use through zoning laws;
      Regulate business activity through licensing and regulations;
      Regulate public health and safety;
      Exercise the power of eminent domain;
      Communicate policies and programs to residents;
      Respond to constituent needs and complaints; and
      Represent the community to other levels of government.”

      We already have state-wide rent control. Many government agencies are already working on the climate conversation. Having more bike paths can be part of a larger conversation, however what about all these other duties? There’s so much to accomplish. Taxes rates keep rising here, we have higher sales tax than our neighbors. If you’re concerned about money, then we need leadership to work on reducing the tax rates in Burbank. Hotel taxes are sky-high here. All these taxes mean less money to pay for rent. Also, not everyone can afford to live in Burbank and there is nothing wrong with that. I know a gardener who owns a million-dollar Magnolia Park home, but he does not garden alone, he operates a gardening business. He was born in Mexico. He multiplies his efforts with employees to afford to live here. He has told me many times, he does not wish to pay higher taxes so someone else can have taxpayer subsidies.

      Our BurbankBus system is virtually unused and costs more than $60 per ride to the taxpayers. Taking a look at these buses you can see they are almost always empty or perhaps there are one or two riders on them. It is not very green to have a big, beautiful bus burning so much fuel carrying a few people.

      City Council candidates should be discussing all of the above items and with some operational details, not simply focusing on a few talking points and promises to get elected.

      I do not know this candidate. She could be the greatest Councilwoman we ever saw, but I will need to see more robust details to be inspired to vote for her.

      Not one single candidate has promised to stop raising taxes. That should bother everyone. Tax rates in Burbank are very high right now.

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