Tag Archives: Burbank City Council

Council Adopts Citywide Complete Streets Plan – Approves First Phase

After a public hearing held on June 16, the Burbank City Council adopted the Burbank Citywide Complete Streets Plan and approved staff to start to hire a consultant and start construction on First Street.

Approved by the Council is the vacation of N. Bonnywood Place between First Street and the Freeway that will improve pedestrian safety, install high-visibility crosswalks, and construct pedestrian curb ramps. The Council also approved a bike lane project on First Street from Verdugo to San Fernando for an In-street, protected Class IV bikeway with bollards and bus boarding islands.

Bonnywood Place will be closed to improved Pedestrian Safety (City of Burbank photo)

Closing Bonnywood Place to traffic would eliminate the shortcut taken by motorists who enter the I-5 Freeway northbound at the Orange Grove on-ramp and would force all vehicles to enter the freeway via Orange Grove and First Street.

One of the crosswalk improvements at Olive and First would be flashing lights in the crosswalks as brought up by Councilman Jess Talamantes in discussion and confirmed by staff.

Both items are being constructed to improve bicyclist and pedestrian safety, enhance first/last-mile connectivity through Downtown and the Downtown Metrolink Station, and provide transit amenities according to the report presented to the Council.

Design of new bikeway along First Street (City of Burbank photo)

Now that it is approved, staff would complete the final engineering design for the pedestrian improvements and prepare a bid package for advertisement to procure a construction contractor. The project would return to Council at a later date for the award of the construction contract at a later time. The projects have already been funded in the City’s budget. Construction would start in middle to late 2021.

If you would like to see the entire Burbank Citywide Complete Streets Plan, CLICK HERE for the full 281-page report.

New bikeway location (City of Burbank photo)

 

 

Council Directs Burbank Police Commission to Meet Monthly Through December

Burbank’s City Council on Tuesday passed a ‘request (for) the Police Commission to meet once a month through the end of the year and direct the Police Department to develop a roadmap for community engagement with input from Council and the Commission at their Joint meeting on July 14, 2020.’

This was asked for the week prior by Council Member Gabel Luddy who requested a report to discuss convening monthly Police Commission meetings in light of the current tension in the country.

Burbank’s Police Commission has been watered down through the years since its inception in the early 1950’s when it was formed because of a wave of corruption of both the police department and elected officials. While the commission restored the department and the city, which gave the citizens stability and accountability, it started to lose its authority over the years and has been watered down.

In 2019, the Burbank Police Commission, which had seven members and met monthly, was scaled back to five members, and meetings were cut to quarterly by the Burbank City Council. Over the years the Commission has asked the Council for a greater role and increased power. Those members are no longer serving on the Commission.

All the Commission does at this point is receives reports from the Police Department and may ask questions. They have no decision making authority about personal, training, or equipment. They may only present recommendations.

On July 14, the Council and the Police Commission were already scheduled to have a joint meeting. One of the topics was going to be a report by the OIL Group, headed by Michael Gennaco, is an independent audit company that was brought in by Police Chief Scott LaChasse as part of the reforms he instituted in the department during his 10 years at the helm. The OIL Group is one of the most respected in the country. Ther most recent report can be seen HERE.

Under Chief LaChasse, the Burbank Police Department has worked hard to maintain accountability and full transparency to the public. Every aspect of the department’s training, its manual, and Strategic Plan can all be seen HERE.

According to a Staff Report presented to Council Members, it was suggested:

…a detailed review and discussion of the Department’s Use of Force Policy; the Department’s  training curriculum specific to high risk incidents; the Department Discipline procedure/processes; review of departmental contemporary policies established over the past 10 years; community engagement, including town hall meetings and reaching out to different populations such as high school students, to help focus the dialogue, to suggest a few. Depending on the topics to be discussed, a representative from the City Attorney’s Office will be present. Following the meetings and outreach, the Commission could present a report with recommendations to the Council for review and consideration.

While the Council voted 5-0 to approve the monthly meetings for the remainder of the year, they have still given the Commission no new authority to act except to give the Council recommendations.

 

Burbank City Council Actions This Week, Including Buying Salvation Army Site

On Tuesday, May 19, the Burbank City Council decided the following including the purchase of the old Salvation Army site at Angeleno and Third Street.

1. The Council granted an easement of 2.5 feet for the properties at 733 Priscilla Lane and 528 S. Griffith Park Drive for resident improvements after a public hearing by a 5-0 vote.

2. City Council introduced an Ordinance to amend Burbank Municipal Code (BMC) Section 10-1-1114 (Art in Public Places). This is a first reading of the proposed ordinance.

The proposed Zone Text Amendment is intended to provide updates to the City’s Art in Public Places Ordinance that would eliminate outdated definitions and language in the current Ordinance. In addition, the revisions are intended to clarify which development projects are exempt, the quality of public art projects, and maintenance procedures for owners to maintain installed art pieces in a state of good repair.

The Council questioned the one year period of replacement and any obstacles to affordable housing developers in regard to placing art. After deliberation they voted for the ordinance to continue by a 5-0 vote.

3. The Council also listened and approved the 2020 Investment Policy and reviewed the City Treasurer’s Investment Portfolio Report for March 31, 2020.

4. The Council discussed the City of Burbank’s Economic Recovery Plan Goal and Policies.

There was a discussion about how the City can help Burbank residents and businesses during the COVID-19 crisis that has hit the country. According to the Council Agenda, these were the following areas discussed by the Community Development Department.

  • Accessing and sharing information about recovery efforts and funding for residents, business owners, and employees while collaborating with our governmental, non-profit, and business partners.

  • Promoting businesses within the City to residents, visitors, and other businesses.

  • Assisting the most vulnerable members of the community with financial support through the use of Eviction Orders, grants, Federal funding, and partnership with service organizations.

  • Implementing the use of online tools for streamlined project review and permit processing. 

  • Updating regulations and policies to enable business success and home improvements in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.

  • Helping Burbank’s tourism industry recover by promoting and marketing our hotels, restaurants, the Hollywood Burbank Airport, and other local destinations.

  • Collaborating with our government representatives at the County, State and Federal levels to promote economic recovery while directly supporting our businesses and residents. 

Council discussed ways that they were possibly able to help local businesses, workers who may now work from home, and even closing streets for social distancing rules. There was a real concern for restaurants and also how to get help to businesses.

 Patrick Prescott from the City of Burbank says that they are already looking at making some adjustments to the Downtown area to help the businesses. As Council Member Emily Gabel-Luddy said at the end of the presentation “This will be a work in progress”

The Council voted 5-0 to accept the presentation. You may read the Staff report HERE 

5. The Council discussed using block grant money from the CARES Act funding to be used under CDBG funding as support to both renters and small businesses.

The Council voted 5-0 to approve the City to set up both Business and Renter/Landlord assistance programs through the grant money. They expect to have a program in place in early June. A program rollout will be announced at that time.

6. The Council passed 5-0 a proposal to use Community Block Grant Funds to purchase the old Salvation Army site at 300 E. Angeleno. The funding that was originally to be used to build the Boys and Girls new clubhouse a Providencia Elementary School will now be used to purchase the building that the Salvation put on the market earlier this year.

7. The Council also dealt with the Employee Pensions. With the passage of Measure P by the voters, the Council reported that the groups have now held up their share of the pension programs.

Burbank City Council to Reconsider Decision Whether to Extend Expired Eviction Moratorium Tonight

Burbank’s City Council will reconsider a decision made April 21 to let their Eviction Moratorium expire at the end of April. When it expired on April 30, an Order by the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors which included incorporated cities took effect.

According to a staff report prepared for tonight’s meeting, an earlier Urgency Ordinance entitled “An Uncodified Urgency Ordinance of the Council of the City Of Burbank Prohibiting the Eviction of Residential and Commercial Tenants for Non-Payment of Rent Caused by the Coronavirus” passed on March 17 and was due to expire on April 30.

According to the report, “The Urgency Eviction Ordinance prohibited a landlord from evicting a residential or commercial tenant for failure to pay their rent due to a documented loss of income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or by any local, state, or federal government response to COVID-19. The Urgency Eviction Ordinance did not forgive the payment of rent, but rather acknowledged the tenant was still obligated to pay the rent and deferred payment. Lastly, language was added in the Ordinance to afford the tenant with protections that could be used as an affirmative defense in an eviction proceeding.”

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors took the unusual move to amend their own eviction moratorium order to have it apply to incorporated cities who did not have an eviction moratorium. Since Burbank had one in effect until April 30, theirs took precedence over the County’s.

At Burbank’s meeting April the Council voted not to extend theirs and let the County take over. The vote was 4 to 1 with Mayor Sharon Springer casting the dissenting vote.

At last week’s meeting, the Council decided they wanted to revisit their decision and take up the moratorium again. At the tie they voted the first time, Burbank’s staff had supplied the Council with the following memo:

The City’s eviction moratorium is set to expire on April 30, and under the terms of the County Order, the Order’s prohibitions would apply in Burbank starting May 1, 2020. Staff recommends the Council allow its eviction moratorium to expire, as explained in the Staff Report. If Council follows staff’s recommendation, then arguably the County’s moratorium applies in the City. Ultimately, whether this is true will be decided in the courts, once evictions may be processed again. A court will need to determine which ordinance or order applies in the particular circumstance.

If the Council decides to reinstate their expired moratorium, it will be an extension of the Urgency Eviction Ordinance to May 31, 2020, retroactive to May 1, 2020 with a modification that tenants must give the landlord notice of their inability to pay rent as provided in the ordinance.This ordinance applies the eviction moratorium to both residential and commercial tenants.

Tonight’s meeting starts at 6 pm and can be viewed on Cable Channel 6 or their YouTube Channel.

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:

SECTION 900. VACANCIES.

(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.