OPINION: Mayor has Earned Our Forgiveness

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2006

A couple of weeks ago, I, like many of you, saw the video depicting the mayor being spanked by a drag queen. My initial reaction was, “ Uh oh, that was a mistake.”

While it wasn’t offensive to me, I just thought it was a bad moment, especially when I started to see the multiple posts stating the City of Burbank and the Burbank Mayor. The next day, while I thought it might have been an ambush post, the mayor then changed his X handle to “Mayor Spanky”, meaning to me that not only did he approve of it, but he was doubling down on it.

As Burbank’s news source, I had first decided not to report it for multiple reasons. One was that it did not happen in the City of Burbank, no crime was committed, and it was put on his personal social media account. While I thought it was in questionable taste, it was still his right.

However, at the next City Council meeting, many residents and council members were extremely upset, and he made a couple of statements also. At that time, it became Burbank news because a City’s public meeting had now become a venue for the discussion.

I was disappointed at that time that he did not have an apology for the Burbank residents by putting them in the spotlight nationally for a political stunt he did at a political fundraiser.

I will give the mayor credit, however, because he did not hide. We invited him on our podcast, did a special episode, and talked about the incident where, once again, I asked for an apology. He did not supply one there, but he did give his reasons, and he was very honest to us during the entire podcast. I truly believe that everybody is entitled to their own opinion and that we need to respect other people’s opinions even though we disagree with them. At the time, I did not agree with him, but we respected his right to say his truth.

At this week’s City Council meeting, there was an agenda item by Councilmember Zizette Mullins to discuss the mayor’s conduct. At that point, the meeting had gone a long period of time, and it was after midnight, but the issue still had to be addressed.

This time and probably with some time to think and dwell on the situation, Mayor Anthony did offer an apology to anybody in Burbank who had been offended and to his colleagues as well as the city staff who had been caught up in the situation. The apology came from his heart and sounded very sincere.

Over the next hour, he took a severe scolding from several council members and respectfully replied to each one of them. They had allowed him to leave the room while they discussed it, but he decided to stay and answer for his actions, which is applicable. In the end, no actions were taken, although an agenda item will come back, so there is a safety valve in place for the council to act as a body against another council member. They can discuss whether to expel a member or sanction a member, but at this time, there is no avenue for discipline. After the Stacy Murphy incident years ago, the council at that time should have initiated a procedure so it would have been in place for the future, but they did not and were not proactive.

Let’s remember that the mayor did not commit a crime, nor did he embezzle money, take bribes, or make any threats. His only crime was probably making a bad decision. He now realizes that as long as he wears the Mayor’s hat, he is considered the Mayor of Burbank 24/7 and not just when an official function takes place.

I am sure that there are still those out there who are utterly disgusted and want to throw the book at him. It must be so nice to know there are so many perfect people out there who have never made a mistake or made a lapse of judgment. Everybody makes mistakes or sometimes does not realize the ramifications of their actions, even though they are innocent in their thought process.

Yes, this was embarrassing to Burbank, embarrassing to some of our staff and fellow council members, along with staff members from the city. I get it. We have now given him his public reprimand, and he has been humble in his response and asking for an apology. I am more than willing to grant that.

Yes, he is not a conventional Mayor nor a conventional person. He does run the meeting a little differently, but the results are a bit of fresh air after the stagnancy of the council in recent years. This council is not afraid to ask questions, disagree with staff reports and not rubber stamp everything they hear.

And no, I don’t consider myself some kind of liberal, just a lifelong resident of Burbank who tries to see the good in people and takes them at their word. I can only judge by what I hear, not by what I think. I don’t have to agree with him, but I do have to respect what he says.

It is too easy to just ‘cancel’ someone out instead of asking for and receiving an apology and then moving on to more important matters.

We have the capacity to forgive, and this has been shown time after time in American history. We have forgiven many celebrities as well as many athletes for their missteps, and now it’s time to forgive our Mayor. Yes, he does have a lot to do to regain trust, and you do that by actions, not only words. But you have to start somewhere, and he has.

Now it is up to us to take the next step.

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