Tag Archives: Burbank City Council

Burbank City Council Elects Sharon Springer as New Mayor

(L to R Standing) Council Members Jess Talamantes, Vice Mayor Bob Frutos, Tim Murphy and former Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy all surround new Mayor Sharon Springer (sitting) after the Council Reorganization Ceremony held Monday morning. (Photo By Ross A. Benson)

What had been a May tradition is now becoming a new December tradition as the Burbank City Council held their reorganization meeting Monday, December 16 in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

Vice mayor Sharon Springer was selected by her fellow council members to serve as Mayor for the next year with Council Member Bob Frutos tabbed as the Vice Mayor.

The one year term is mostly a ceremonial position that is rotated every year by a vote of the council members. All five council members are elected by the public to serve four year terms. While the Mayor has no real power over other council members, she will chair the meetings as well as appear at many events to represent the City.

According to press release issued by the City, Springer worked as a commercial real estate appraiser and earned the Member of Appraisal Institute (MAI) designation. She later started her own business and developed and marketed five patents that she designed. She also worked in nonprofit administration establishing programs in senior communities. She earned a B.S. in Geography and a M.S. Degree in City and Regional Planning.

Springer was first elected to the Council in 2017 after spending time on the Sustainable Burbank Commission and in 2015 moved to the Burbank Water and Power Board and served as a liaison back to the Sustainable Burbank Commission until her election to city council. She’s is also the Burbank Farmers Market Board and was recently appointed to the California Senior Legislator.

She is a Certified Master Gardener with the University of California Cooperative Extension and is at the Burbank Farmers Market the first Saturday of every month with other Master Gardeners helping residents grow fruits and vegetables.

City Manager Ron Davis Set to Retire September 30

It has been 20 years since Ron Davis left the private sector to become the General Manager of the Burbank Water and Power Department. He remained in that role until June of 2016 when the Burbank City Council chose him to become City Manager.

Burbank Manager Ron Davis will step down September 30

September 30 Davis will call it a career.

Burbank’s City Manager is responsible for the day in and day out operation of the City. He only answers to the City Council and has authority on who to promote and which department heads are selected.

According to his bio on the City’s website, during the his 17 years with the BWP,  it evolved into a model organization recognized internationally for innovation and dependability, while delivering some of the lowest water and electricity rates in all of Southern California.

He is married and has two sons.

Davis has appointed Assistant City Manager Justin Hess to work full time as the Acting City Manager while Park and Recreation Director Judie Wilke has been appointed as the Assistant City Manager. An acting Park and Recreation Director will be named later.


Downtown Burbank’s “The Rink” Officially Opens at Ribbon Cutting

On Friday, December 14, the City of Burbank hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the popular seasonal ice rink known as “The Rink,” located behind City Hall at 275 E. Olive Ave.

(Photo Courtesy Scott Talamantes)

The outdoor ice skating rink is 4,100 square-foot and can hold up to 165 skaters per session. For the next six weeks, it will be open for everyone to enjoy, with fundraising events, scheduled performances, and public skating.

Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy cut the ribbon after giving a short speech, stating that she hopes Burbank residents skate into the new year.

During the ceremony, young talented figure skaters from Pickwick Ice performed on the rink, skating to songs such as Christmastime, It’s Not Christmas, Winter Dreams, and a track from The Adams Family.

Among the skaters was Aubrey Ignaco who recently competed in the Pacific Coast Sectionals and won first place for the novice level. She will be advancing to compete in nationals this January.

“Hopefully she’ll go from there to the Olympics. At this point she can be invited to compete internationally,” said her father proudly.

(Photo by Tim Mably)

Shoko Tokuda, whose son skated as a part of an “Adams Family themed” trio, is excited to return to The Rink throughout the rest of December.

Conveniently located near the recently remodeled Burbank Town Center, locals have a festive activity to look forward to after buying presents.

For interested skaters, costs include $12 unlimited skating with no re-entry. Skate rentals are also provided for $5, and skating aids are $8.

The Rink is open from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. It will continue to stay open to the public until Sunday, January 6, 2019.

Emily Gabel-Luddy Chosen as Burbank’s New Mayor

City Manager Ron Davis presents the photo album of Will Rogers term to his wife Nancie (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

After the death of Mayor Will Rogers in April, Vice-Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy stepped in to finish the term.  On Tuesday, May 1, at the annual Council Reorganization meeting, she was voted in unanimously by her fellow Council members as Mayor for the coming year.

New Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy hugs incoming Vice-Mayor Sharon Springer (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Sharon Springer was nominated by Jess Talamantes to assume the roll of Vice-Mayor and was also voted in unanimously. 

This is the first time that two woman have been named to the top two spots at the same time.

Burbank’s Mayor is a position rotated to different Council Members each year when they meet on May 1 to reorganize.  The position of Mayor is mostly just ceremonial and is basically the face of the council at community functions and chairs council meetings.  The Mayor will, however, set the tone at those meetings.

Gabel-Luddy was first elected to the council in 2011.

According to her bio by the City of Burbank, she “was born in Los Angeles and raised in the communities of El Sereno and Glassell Park where she attended public schools. A graduate of Occidental College, she earned a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Massachusetts.

She began her career working for local government as a landscape professional designing small parks. After two years, she joined the Planning Department in the City of Los Angeles where she gained more than 30 years practical experience working with diverse communities to address a full range of planning and land use issues.

Emily Gabel-Luddy gives Nancie Rogers the gavel from her husbands term as Mayor (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Her service to Burbank began a decade ago when she was appointed to the Planning Board. During that time, she also served the community as a member of the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Affordable Housing and the Sustainable Burbank Commission.”

During the meeting, former Mayor Will Rogers, who lost his battle to cancer a few weeks ago, was remembered by the Council, staff, and representatives of different elected officials who came to speak. The meeting was adjourned in Roger name.

First up for the Council will be to name a new member to take over for Rogers remaining term that will end in 2019 and what may be a very contentious budget battle.

Sharon Springer is shown her new seat on the Coucil after being chosen as Vice-Mayor (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The City Council Reorgnzation CARD 1
(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Process Announced to Fill Vacant Seat on Burbank City Council

Press release from City of Burbank:

On April 24, the Burbank City Council established the process to fill the City Council seat vacated by the recent passing of Mayor Will Rogers. The vacated term currently expires on May 1, 2019. Under the City Charter, the Council has 30 days from the occurrence of the vacancy to fill the Council seat.

The following dates were established by the City Council to execute the appointment process.

  • Monday, May 7, Noon: Applications must be received by the City Clerk’s Office by noon via email, mail or personal delivery. (No Postmark and No Exceptions for late submittals)
  • Thursday, May 10, 5:00 p.m.: Special Council Meeting – Interviews of the candidates by the Council in City Council Chamber
  • Monday, May 14, 5:00 p.m.: Special Council Meeting – Continuation of interviews if needed; selection of new Council Member in City Council Chamber
  • Tuesday, May 22, 6:00 p.m.: Formal seating of the new Council Member

Qualifications for Candidates:

  1. Must be a Burbank resident for at least 29 days prior to applying for position.
  2. Must be a registered voter within the City of Burbank at the time the application is issued.

Applications will be available online at www.burbankca.gov/vacancy and in the City Clerk’s Office located in City Hall at 275 E. Olive Avenue, First Floor.

Beginning at the Special Meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 10 at 5:00 p.m., each qualified applicant will be asked to make a three-minute presentation to the City Council. The applicants may then be asked to respond to questions from the Council regarding their presentation or application. Should additional time be needed to complete the interviews, the City Council may elect to continue the interviews on Monday, May 14 beginning at 5:00 p.m.

The order in which the applicants will make their presentations will be determined by a random draw of the applicants’ names prior to the meeting.

The position is part-time with compensation of $1,289.99 per month, plus benefits. Those applying are encouraged to set up individuals meetings with existing Councilmembers by calling (818) 238­5751. For additional information and questions, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at (818) 238-5851.

City Council to Take Up Open Seat April 24

Burbank’s City Council will have a tough Tuesday ahead.

Besides mourning for Will Rogers, who lost his battle to cancer last Thursday, the Council will take up naming a replacement.  Vice-Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy will now assume the duties of Mayor for the remainder of the term which expires May 1, at which time the Council will hold a special reorganization meeting where it will be fully expected for her to officially be voted in to take on the role of Mayor for the coming year.

According to a press release issued by the Public Information Office, “Under the City Charter, the Council has 30 days from the occurrence of the vacancy to fill the Council seat; and if it fails to do so, then the vacancy shall be filled by the Mayor with his or her selection.

As such, the City Council has until May 19, 2018, to fill the vacancy. If the Council fails to act by that day, then the Council Member appointed to serve as Mayor at the May 1, Council reorganization shall appoint the new City Councilmember. Whoever is appointed will serve out Mayor Rogers’ term that currently ends on May 1, 2019. According to the City Charter, the Vice Mayor shall act as the Mayor Pro Tempe through the May 1 reorganization.”

According to the release, the Charter or the Burbank Municipal Code provides specific details to appoint a new Council Member. In a report to the Council, staff says:

The Council needs to select an appointment procedure to fill this vacancy.  Neither the Charter nor the BMC prescribe any selection process. The Council may wish to consider using the appointment process employed in the past to fill vacant elected positions such as done for filling Mr. Kramer’s seat, as well as the City Clerk and City Treasurer in 2012.

If the City Council selects this method during the April 24 Council meeting, the City Clerk’s Office and PIO could start advertising the position immediately through the City’s web page, social media, press releases, newspaper ads and other appropriate methods.  Given the thirty-day requirement, staff recommends that applications be due by noon on Monday, May 7. A Special Council meeting to hold interviews can be scheduled for Thursday, May 10 with Council making an appointment that evening. If, however, the Council needs more time to appoint a candidate another Special Council Meeting can be called for May 17. Whether the appointment is made on May 10 or May 17, staff recommends that a formal swearing-in take place at the May 22 City Council meeting.

Staff is referring to Bob Kramer, who resigned from the Council in February 2002 so that he could take a position with the City.  The City Clerk and Treasurer both resigned in 2012 and were replaced using the formula from above for the unexpired terms that lasted for about a year.

The Burbank Municipal Code does say the following regarding open vacancies on the Council:


(a) A vacancy in the office of Council Member from whatever cause shall be filled by appointment by the Council, such appointee to hold office until the next regularly scheduled municipal election; provided that if the Council fails to agree or for any other reason does not fill such vacancy within thirty (30) days after the same occurs, then such vacancy shall be filled by the Mayor. Should a vacancy occur after the opening of the filing period for election to the office of Council Member, or within thirty (30) days before the beginning of such filing period, then the appointee shall hold office until the regularly scheduled election next following the one for which the filing period is called. Should the appointment be for an unexpired term which has two or more years remaining when the next regularly scheduled election occurs, then the candidate elected who receives the lesser number of votes, shall be deemed elected to the remaining term for which the appointment was made.

(b) If the seats of a majority of the Council shall become vacant, then the City Clerk shall call a special election at once to fill the vacancies for the unexpired terms and the same shall be conducted substantially in the manner provided for General Municipal Elections, and the candidates receiving the greatest number of votes, equal to the number of vacancies, shall be deemed elected.

(c) A vacancy on the Council shall occur if any member of the Council shall fail to attend any regular meeting of the Council for sixty (60) consecutive days without the permission of the Council, or shall fail to qualify, or shall move their place of residence outside the City, or shall cease to be an elector of the City, or shall resign, or be convicted of a felony, or be adjudged mentally incompetent. (Previous Section 26; amended and renumbered by Charter Amendment approved by the voters on April 10, 2007.)

Since the opening comes with a year to go on the term, the City Council will be in charge of picking replacement.  If the opening had come with over two years remaining, Dr. David Gordon would have returned to the Council since he had come in third place in the last election.

If the Council as predicted decides to take applications, any Burbank registered voter who has resided in the City for at least 29 days will be eligible to apply.


Celebration of Life to be Held Monday for Will Rogers

Mayor Rogers’ Celebration of Life will be on Monday, April 23 at 2:30 pm at The Castaway.

From Dignity Memorial:

Will Rogers born June 21,1957 in Neenah, WI. Raised primarily in Bloomington, MN. After graduating from the Goodman School of Drama, he moved to the Los Angeles area in 1979 where he continued dual roles as actor and writer. In 1990, Will began writing for the local paper and was soon writing at least four feature columns a week. His work has appeared in virtually every newspaper in the “Times Community Newspapers” group, winning more than 20 1st place awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Assoc., The Greater Los Angeles Press Club and others, including “Columnist of the Year.”

Will was elected to the Burbank City Council in 2015 running on a platform of transparency and community involvement. He was named Mayor by his colleagues in 2017. Will took his duties with the City of Burbank very seriously, though he brought a sense of humor to the meetings, building a strong sense of comradery.

Will was recently honored with the 2018 Burbank Top Award for Citizenship by the BTAC. This award exemplifies the very essence of Will Rogers – who spent his life fighting for the needs of others, whether through writing investigative columns, volunteering or his many personal acts of kindness. Will purchased many items he didn’t need at silent auctions and was happy to attend any function where he could be of service to someone.

Will Rogers was known for his dedication to the service of others, philanthropy, and clever writing skills, but family was his first priority. His family will miss his sharp wit, biting sarcasm and deep devotion. Will Rogers was a much beloved husband, daddy, brother, uncle and great uncle.

Will was proceeded in death by his mother, JoAnne Rogers, Father Kenneth Wege, brother Stephen Wege, niece Susan Heberle and much-loved dogs Lucy and Guinness. He is survived by his wife of nearly 30 years Nancie, children Stephen (& Hailey) and Sarah.

In Lieu of flowers donations may be made to BTAC or Boys & Girls Club of East Valley and Burbank. A Celebration of Life will be Monday, April 23 beginning at 2:30 PM at The Castaway in Burbank, CA.

“LA Kings Sports Center” Roller Rink Vandalized

By Timothy Mably

Last weekend, Los Angeles Kings Burbank Sports Center at Ralph Foy Park was vandalized with oil poured at the center of the roller rink.  Several doors had also been cut off its hinges with a saw. The vandalism comes days before the rink is set to reopen under a new operator on February 1.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Gwen Sam-Indermill, Parks and Recreation services manager, was the first to see the damage, arriving at the park around 9 a.m. on Monday morning.

“There was what appeared to be motor oil, poured on several locations on the surface of the rink. There was also broken glass on the surface of the rink,” said Sam-Indermill.

LAKBSC management announced the vandalism in a post on their Facebook page, stating, “Despite these clear attempts to delay our ability to get everyone playing, we are working our hardest to find solutions that will allow us to continue unabated.”

“There are some cameras on other buildings around the area that point towards the rink so we’re hoping the police can find something useful. That’s all the info we have at the moment, unfortunately.”

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

A meet and greet which is scheduled for Saturday, February 3 at 12 p.m. will go on as planned.

In December, Burbank City Council voted for a five-year agreement that would permit P.I.M. Inc. to take over and renovate the roller rink, formally known as the “Burbank Roller Hockey Facility.” P.I.M. Inc. also owns Los Angeles Kings Valley Ice Center located in Pacoima.

This decision caused controversy within the community as former rink owner Frank Dalessandro was given a 30-day notice that he would no longer be managing the facility. Many who regularly played at the rink were upset over Dalessandro’s departure and the changes that would be implemented.

Several people online are assuming the controversy over new management contributed to the vandal’s motives which are still unknown.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Parks and Recreation and Burbank Police are investigating the case. Anyone who has information on the vandalism is asked to contact the BPD.

Los Angeles Kings Burbank Sports Center is located at 3211 W Victory Blvd.

Burbank Slightly Opens Door on Marijuana, Closes it on Rancho Developer

Tuesday night, the Burbank City Council held hearings regarding an ordinance to the Burbank Municipal Code regarding Marijuana growing by private residences and retail sales along with changing the General Plan land use designation of a 4.7 -acre property from Rancho Commercial (RC) to Low-Density Residential (LDR) to develop 34 single-family homes

The first hearing was on a staff-proposed change to the Municipal Code that would restrict growing Marijuana growing to indoors along with a ban on retail sales.

After much public content supporting fewer restrictions and being able to grow outside, the Council voted 5-0 to adopt the ordinance however they changed it to allow outdoor growing as long as the conditions of State Law were met.

While at this time there is a ban regarding the retail outlets, the Council did seem that they wanted to open the door regarding retail sales in the future.

Councilwoman Sharon Springer said that she checked the results from the Prop. 64 election results and said that 61% of voters in Burbank voted to approve legalized Marijuana in California.

While no path has been set up yet to allow retail stores in Burbank, there was strong support to set up a task force or committee to study the best way to start the process however no timeline was given when this process might begin.

The second hearing of the night was the changing of the zoning in the Rancho District for an amendment to the General Plan land use designation of a 4.7 -acre property from Rancho Commercial (RC) to Low-Density Residential (LDR) to develop 34 single-family homes. The property is located in the Rancho Master Plan Area, south of Riverside Drive near the Mariposa Street Bridge.

The developer had wanted to put 34 homes into the area but Rancho residents came out by the dozens to protest during the hearing.  While the Council was not allowed to consider the development itself, or what a re-zoning would mean when the Pickwick property came up at a later date, they were told it was solely to change the zoning on that particular project.

In the end, the Council voted 3 to 2 (Councilmembers Springer and Rogers were in support) to not re-zone the area in question. 

Councilman Bob Frutos and BPD Honored at Luncheon

On the morning of November 3, the Burbank Coordinating Council hosted their second annual luncheon at Burbank Presbyterian Church, in which City Councilman Bob Frutos was honored along with the Burbank Police Department. 

During the luncheon, funds were collected for holiday baskets to donate to needy families. Last year, they collected enough to donate over 500 baskets, and they hope to give even more this Christmas season.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“The selfless efforts and generosity of the honorees give us an outstanding example of the spirit of generosity that made America strong — and that continues to thrive in Burbank,” said Marsha Ramos, MC for the event.

“Bob and the honorable men and women of the Burbank Police Department have dedicated their lives to public service seeking to protect and improve the lives of children and families in our community.”

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Councilman Frutos, a Burbank resident of 25 years, has dedicated his life to public service. Beginning at a young age as a police cadet and later becoming a police community liaison officer, he continues in retirement to serve as a reserve officer. Frutos has been on the Burbank City Council for six years, serving one year as mayor.

“He is a generous spirit that stands out, he attracts good, inspires many and seeks to unite us.  He generously offers his time, talent and treasure in support of many worthy causes such as youth and senior services, our public schools, and many community-based organizations and charitable efforts here in Burbank,” said Ramos.

Councilman Frutos was awarded the “Spirit of Giving Award” by the Khalifeh family, on behalf of the BCC. He then said a few words, humbly thanking the community.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

The BPD also received the same award this year. Following the BCC’s recognition of Frutos’ life-long communal service, Ramos spoke about the police department’s positive impact on Burbank residents.

“The men and women in our police department selflessly service the public with courage, honor, and excellence. From responses to residential house calls to the extraordinary coordination of efforts in response to the LA Tuna Fire, the commitment of BPD to preserve life and property is demonstrated every day, 24-7 and an utmost professional way.”

Throughout the year, the BPD is involved with several programs to grow in their interactions with the community. Around Christmastime, officers make phone calls to schedule holiday basket deliveries, collecting food among other gifts, and giving the baskets to families in-person.

For 22 years, they have also participated in “Operation Chill,” a program that rewards kids with free 7-11 Slurpee coupons for good behavior and abiding by the law. Over 19 million coupons have been given out since the program began.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Ramos listed several other communal activities the BPD have put on, including “Shop With A Cop” and “Coffee With A Cop,” both allowing residents to spend time and have conversations with local law enforcement.

During this time of year, officers partner with the Salvation Army to provide Thanksgiving Meals to families who can’t afford to celebrate on their own. BPD has also raised funds for the Boys & Girls Club, Arts for All, and the National Police Officers Memorial.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“It has been said that a hero is someone who is selfless, who is generous in spirit, who gives as much as possible to help people. The men and women of The BPD fit the description, an exact match for this definition of a hero,” said Ramos.

A few of the sponsors who helped put on the luncheon include Capes4Cures, Cartoon Network, Burbank Water and Power, Burbank Federal Credit Union, and Handy Market.