It’s just my opinion…
November 8 is not only a big day in this country with the midterm elections, but it is an even larger day if you think about what you are deciding here in Burbank.
Let’s look at what you are voting for:
With Jess Talamantes and Bob Frutos both stepping down from the City Council, so is their shared experience. Sharon Springer is seeking reelection after serving since 2017.
If Springer is reelected, she will be the senior member of the council. Both Konstantine Anthony and Nick Schultz were elected two years ago, and both still have two years left on their term.
So the one thing you need to ask yourself when voting is if you want some experience on the Council or if you basically want a new, fresh start. The potential to have five Councilmembers with two years or less will be a learning curve. Luckily, all the candidates seem to be qualified, and there is no reason they cannot hit the ground running.
They will have to deal with a few things on the coming agendas: gun stores, drive-throughs, negotiations with city workers (currently the firefighters union), and the future of a possible community town center/new library. Not only issues such as this, but they will need to make decisions on long-term topics such as the homeless and low-income housing.
If something radical is not done soon to solve the housing situation and get Burbank off the SB 35 list, more and more ruthless developers will be circling the city like vultures. Tuesday night (November 1), the City Council was forced to approve a seven-story, 148-unit low-income apartment complex on Empire that has a total of seven parking places and one handicapped space. Why, because that is all State law dictated, and Burbank has no choice but to approve it. Why no parking, the developer used a clause that it was located near a major transportation hub which is a bus stop across the street. Our grandchildren will have to live with that mess for years to come.
Let’s also remember, however, that our previous City Councils have put us in that situation by not working to establish housing needs during the past ten years plus, the same way city councils of 20 plus years ago left taxpayers paying huge pension debt now.
You elect them, they make decisions, then they leave, and we all have to answer for it with the changes to our quality of life here in Burbank.
That is why your vote is so important for our future!
While the school board race is a little more under the radar, it is still extremely important to all voters, even if you do not have a child in the district.
To start with is the District’s financial situation. Twice recently, they have voted to put a parcel tax on the ballot, and both times it has lost. While recently, they have been using a windfall of Covid-19 relief money supplied by the State, which will soon dry up. What are they going to do about financing, then? Also, with all the increased housing that may be built in Burbank, will they be able to place all these potential new students in local schools without overcrowding?
Recently, the board also voted for retroactive raises for all the top administrators, in essence, ripping up the Superintendent’s current contract, which was to expire next year, and also giving him a new, longer contract with a 5% retroactive raise.
There are two of the five seats open, and the one incumbent running for reelection (Charlene Tabet, who voted yes) was a deciding vote since the Board voted 3 to 2 for the new contract. Yes, the money is there now, but what about in a year or two? Which art, PE, and music programs will be cut then because you know the raises will not be cut?
Of the seven candidates running, six have been responsive, with one candidate (Harutyun Ketikyan) not responding to all efforts to contact him and try and get his views. While I am not going to tell you who to vote for, I will tell you not to vote for him since he seems very unresponsive.
Whoever is elected to the City Clerk position will have large shoes to fill. The currently elected City Clerk, Zizette Mullins, has thrown in her hat for a run on the City Council. She has done a great job during her tenure, including starting a passport service that has become a large, efficiently run operation. A city clerk is basically a record keeper for the City. They handle elections and are responsible for minutes to meetings as well as any record requests asked for by citizens.
So there you have it. There is no excuse for you not to vote. If you don’t want to go to the poll on Tuesday to cast your vote, you can drop it in the mail. Think of it like paying your utility bill, except, in this case, you don’t have to pay for a stamp!
You also don’t have to vote for any proposition or State candidate if you don’t want to (although you should!). If you only want to vote for Burbank issues, you have that right, and your ballot has the same weight as everyone else.
But here’s the thing, don’t talk about how things suck or what they should be done or complain about traffic or anything else if you don’t cast that ballot. When you cast your vote, you are now invested in the outcome and have the moral right to ask questions.
I invite you to review the answers to the questions below to form your own opinions. We came up with what we thought were the tough questions that the candidates were not asked or talked about in some of the forums. And yes, we will review the winner’s answers down the line and keep them accountable for their statements!