Tag Archives: Burbank

Treasurer Candidate Profile: Krystle Palmer

Editor’s Note: myBurbank will be highlighting the upcoming election. We will run a new profile each day.

 

Where are you from originally?

I grew up in Manila, but spent most of my summers in Los Angeles. I moved to New York to attend Columbia University. After graduation, I lived in Manhattan and Connecticut for several years while working for a management consulting firm and a fund of hedge funds before making the move to Burbank.

What was the most memorable or character-building part of your upbringing?

I lost my mother to cancer when I was 16 years old. It was an extremely difficult, yet character-building, experience that made me more resilient and helped me realize what really matters most. It motivated me to live my life without taking anything for granted and to look for ways to make a difference in the world.

How long have you been in Burbank?

My husband and I moved from Connecticut to Burbank in 2014 when he accepted a job at Walt Disney Animation Studios. We rented an apartment near McCambridge Park for the first year, but were able buy our very first home in Magnolia Park in 2015. It took us a while to buy our first home – we were saving for years before and wanted to wait to find a place where we could put down roots and raise a family. We found that in Burbank and we are really happy we are here!

What drew you to the City of Burbank?

We love the small-town and family-friendly feel of Burbank despite its convenient proximity to the rest of Los Angeles. We really love the sense of community here and how friendly and welcoming everyone has been to us. We were also impressed with Burbank’s reputation as a full-service city that provides quality services, with its own electric and water utility, police, fire department, parks, libraries and first-class school system.

What are some of your interests/hobbies?

I really enjoy trying new foods and different restaurants. I always tell visitors that the Los Angeles area is probably one of the best places in the world for foodies given its melting pot of cultures and cuisines. I find myself doing a lot of research just trying to understand the different variations of a certain dish, for instance. From regional Mexican cuisine to the nuances of various Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, there is always something new to discover. Before the current pandemic, I also enjoyed getting out of house when I could, whether it was taking a local class in yoga or pilates, or taking the family to the beach or up to the mountains for a long weekend.

What motivated you to run for office?

I took some time away from work when we had our twin boys (they just turned 3), but I knew that I wanted to go back eventually. If I was going to take time away from home, it had to be for the right opportunity. The City Treasurer role resonated with me because it combined my passion for finance and investments with the civic impact of improving people’s lives in a concrete way. As a Burbank resident and mom, I constantly think about what kind of city I want my children to grow up in and I realized that the best way to help was by leveraging my strategy and investment experience to make sure our City’s finances and services are safe and strong.

Is there anything else you’d like Burbank residents to know about you?

As your City Treasurer, I pledge to continue to keep our City’s investments safe and ensure that we will always have adequate cash and liquidity on hand. We will continue to offer the City services our residents deserve and build an even better Burbank for future generations. I am a full-time working mom of twin boys and a newborn daughter and recognize that we have a childcare crisis that is putting immense financial and emotional pressure on parents in our community. We are struggling to find the best path forward for our children, taking into account their safety, health, and overall development. Between juggling online classes and needs at home plus the demands from work, busy parents are under a lot of stress and we need to find sustainable solutions to these challenges. As your representative in our government, I want Burbank residents to know that I will be a strong advocate for families and working parents.

For more information about my qualifications and vision, please visit www.Palmer2020.com

School Board Candidate Profile: Armond Aghakhanian

Editor’s Note: myBurbank will be highlighting the upcoming election in two areas, first candidate profiles to give you some background on each candidate, and second will be a series of questions on each issue. We will run a new profile each day and the question/answer part will run after the profiles are completed.

 

Where are you from originally?  

Over 13 years ago, my wife and I moved to Burbank from Glendale to raise our family. We love our city and believe in its excellent public education system.   

What was the most memorable or character-building part of your upbringing? 

At the age of 13, I had to leave my country alone, meaning everything I knew and loved. My home, friends, family, school, and community were left behind. Eventually, I moved to Germany and spent time in refugee camps where I was finally reunited with my mother first and father later. I spent two years in a small village in Germany, leading to my migration to the U.S.  

I believe that my personal experience with revolution, war, injustice, and the harsh realities of political and social discrimination, has made me a better and stronger person. Within all the chaos and uncertainty, I have experienced the human spirit’s beauty first-hand. For instance, the unconditional love and friendship I received from three young African brothers I met at the refugee camp in Germany. They saw me crying one Sunday as I waited hours for a phone call from my family (this was before cell phones and emails). They had just lost their parents and were struggling with horrible injuries from the ongoing civil war they had escaped. Despite all the pain and suffering they had been through, they embraced me as one of their own and brought me comfort when I needed it the most. 

Today, I continue to receive the same unconditional love and support from my Burbank community. This is what keeps me going every day! Serving our children, families, schools, and community is the least I can do to give back to a country and community that has given me so much.  

How long have you been in Burbank? 

Over 13 years. 

What drew you to the City of Burbank? 

  • Excellent Schools 
  • Family Friendly environment-Burbank is a quite family-friendly town with a small-town feeling where everyone takes pride in their city and neighborhood. It is a great place to raise a family and we love the fact that we know most of our neighbors. I am the DJ of The Burbank Social Distance Block Party, which was originated from my block. This event was created by our North Griffith Park Drive neighbors and friends five months ago. This venue has allowed us to show our appreciation for all our front-line heroes and try to make the best of the current situation by bringing much needed positive energy through music.
  • Parks and kid-friendly attractions-Our local parks offer everything from swimming pools and sports fields to quiet places for relaxation or family outings. Our home is half a block away from the Chandler Bike pathway, which we love! I proudly served on the Burbank Parks, Recreation & Community Services Board. One of my proudest projects is the Verdugo aquatic family center with kid-friendly pools, slides, and attractions. 
  • Great City Services-Our city has its own fire, police, and water and power departments with excellent and reliable services. In addition, the city is kept clean and safe.
  • Vintage shops and family-owned restaurants and businesses-Whether you are shopping or dining at Magnolia Park or downtown Burbank, the city of Burbank offers unique shopping and dining experiences with locally owned businesses. 

What are some of your interests/hobbies? 

Listening to and playing music (wind instruments mostly), scuba diving, poetry, philosophy, DJing, and Kendo, which is a Japanese form of fencing with two-handed bamboo swords. I also collect world instruments, mostly traditional wind instruments and bagpipes.     

What motivated you to run for office? 

I am a proud Burbank resident, parent, and teacher. I have invested interest and time in giving every Burbank Unified School District student the educational opportunities they need to succeed. I live in Burbank with my wife, Dr. Gayane Gasamanyan, a local pharmacist, and our son Arameh, a third grader at Joaquin Miller Elementary School. I am re-running for the Burbank School Board because I want to build on the progress we have made in delivering equal opportunities and first-rate educational programs to our students and stakeholders. Furthermore, I want to guarantee that all of Burbank’s children have access to the best public education and career preparation opportunities. I am the current President of the Burbank Unified School District Board of Education, where I have been serving for the last five years.   

Because we are facing challenging and uncertain times, we need leadership with experience.

My Priorities:  

  • Covid-19. California/local public health and educational professionals, not politicians, determine when and how we open schools and keep everyone safe.  
  • Equity. As the co-founder and Chair of the Burbank School District’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, I ensure that our District’s workforce will grow in professionalism and diversity.  
  • Funding. Because the coronavirus pandemic and economic crises will impact our budget, we must expand health safety tactics while securing equitable educational funding.  
  • Career Readiness. It is necessary to continue programs that ensure the highest academic achievement level and prepare our students for the future, including providing:  
  • Mental health resources  
  • Career technical courses  
  • STEM  
  • Technology advancement  
  • Workforce training  
  • Community College & Four-year College/University preparation and counseling  
  • Climate. Transition the district into 100% clean and renewable energy

Is there anything else you would like Burbank residents to know about you? 

As the current President of the Burbank Board of Education and a board member for the past five years, I am proud to say that together we have:  

  • Expanded our mental health partnerships and resources  
  • Formed a strong relationship with community colleges for dual enrollment classes  
  • Received competitive grants which have increased career technical education courses  
  • Increased STEM education opportunities  
  • Reduced suspension and chronic absenteeism rates
  • Earned the California Exemplary Arts Education award for four of Burbank’s elementary schools in 2020  

Furthermore, I am the co-founder and the current chair of the Burbank School district’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, co-founder of the Burbank districtwide multicultural appreciation initiative. I also secured a buddy bench at Joaquin Miller Elementary, where our son attends school.

I earned my bachelor’s degree in Political Science from California State University Northridge, my Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Woodbury University, and my Doctorate from Pepperdine University.  

I am a current member of the Burbank Noon Kiwanis Club, former member & chair, Burbank Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission, former member of the Burbank School Bond Oversight Committee, the Burbank and Greater East Valley Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors, City of Burbank’s Community Development Goals Committee, Burbank Civic Pride Committee, YMCA Board, former President of the Armenian American Chamber of Commerce, and many other non-profits boards and commissions. 

 

School Board Candidate Profile: Steve Ferguson

Editor’s Note: myBurbank will be highlighting the upcoming election in two areas, first candidate profiles to give you some background on each candidate, and second will be a series of questions on each issue. We will run a new profile each day and the question/answer part will run after the profiles are completed.

 

Where are you from originally? 

I was born and raised here in Burbank. 

What was the most memorable or character-building part of your upbringing? 

I would say volunteering in my church and for city working groups and committees brought some of my most memorable moments. Through volunteerism, I made lifelong friends, gained a wealth of experience and connected with incredible causes I believed in. 

How long have you been in Burbank? 

Over 31 years and counting. 

What drew you to the City of Burbank? 

I am lucky that I was born and raised in this community, and it’s the people and small-town charm that have kept me here. Burbank is one of a kind! 

What are some of your interests/hobbies? 

I’m generally interested in world history, pop culture, US politics and education policy. My hobbies include taking road trips, reading memoirs, binge-watching Netflix cooking and home improvement shows, and going to pug meetups with my partner, and our pug Winston. 

What motivated you to run for office? 

I’ve been advocating on behalf of young people in this city for nearly 20 years and the school board has always been filled with phenomenal advocates for young people. I first ran to offer a new perspective in district governance and to offer all students, whether they be college or career bound, the best start possible in Burbank schools. 

Is there anything else you’d like Burbank residents to know about you? 

Over the past 5 years on the Board of Education, I have: 

  • Fought to preserve vocational/career technical education courses, after the county eliminated funding 
  • Sponsored and passed the District’s Suicide Prevention Policy, mandating suicide prevention training for all staff, and established annual reporting requirements on student hospitalization statistics to ensure resources can be better focused moving forward
  • Worked with city leaders to have secondary student ID cards double as public library cards, exposing students to municipal library resources and programs, and ensuring they have access to the internet 7-days a week 
  • Moved board meeting start time from 6PM to 7PM to increase engagement and allow for more working parents to participate in board meetings 
  • Established monthly EdWalks to improve board member accessibility, and where constituents could engage board members on the Chandler Bike Path during a morning walk 

If re-elected, I plan to work to: 

  • Manage a safe return to schools for staff, families and students. 
  • Attract and retain highly qualified educators and staff to our district 
  • Preserve and expand graduation pathways 
  • Drive issues of equity 

I am running for re-election because, in these uncertain times, we need experienced leaders who will place our children’s health and education first. Our schools are the backbone of Burbank, and I will continue working hard to ensure our schools remain safe and prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow. I am proud to be endorsed by State Senator Anthony Portantino, School Board Vice President Steve Frintner, School Board Clerk Charlene Tabet, School Board Member Dr. Roberta Reynolds, the Burbank Teachers Association, and California School Employees Association (CSEA), Chapter 674. 

For more information email me at SteveFergusonforSchoolBoard@gmail.com or visit my website at www.SteveFerguson.org

School Board Candidate Profile: Emily Weisberg

Editor’s Note: myBurbank will be highlighting the upcoming election in two areas, first candidate profiles to give you some background on each candidate, and second will be a series of questions on each issue. We will run a new profile each day and the question/answer part will run after the profiles are completed.

 

Where are you from originally?

I was born in Chicago and moved to Los Angeles when I was about 14 years old. My whole family is from Chicago, on both sides, but everyone has now made the permanent move to Southern California. 

What was the most memorable or character-building part of your upbringing?

While there have been many moments that have defined who I am, I would say that the move from Chicago to Los Angeles was extremely impactful. Growing up in the midwest, I was not prepared for what a different world I would find in California. Not only did I have some serious culture shock, I was also ending my 8th grade year, and struggling to navigate the final months of middle school surrounded by people I didn’t know. The teachers who helped me through those months made a huge impact on me. They took the time to make sure I felt included, involved and heard in moments when I was struggling. Their kindness, and willingness to go the extra mile at the end of what was already a long academic year, shaped who I am as an educator. You never know how much that extra minute you spend with a student will affect them, or how much a “how are you doing” means to a young adult who doesn’t feel seen. This is certainly something I’ve taken with me into the classroom, and would bring with me should I be fortunate enough to serve on the school board. 

How long have you been in Burbank? 

I have lived in Burbank for about seven years. 

What drew you to the City of Burbank?

My best friend has lived here for a long time, and I spent a great deal of time hanging out at her place, or in one of our countless amazing businesses over the years. Something about Burbank clicked for me almost immediately. I loved the quiet, small town feel along with all the amazing shops, parks and restaurants. I was lucky enough to find a place to live that I love. I continue to be inspired by our community’s spirit and motivated by the openness of our non-profits, local elected officials and organizations; all of whom have made it easy for me to get involved and make a difference in our city.

What are some of your interests/hobbies?

I’m a middle school teacher, so I don’t have a ton of down time! But when I do, I enjoy hiking, reading (historical fiction is my favorite!), watching movies, and making sure to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the world around me. I’m also a huge sports fan, so more often than not, I’m cheering on my Dodgers, Lakers, Sparks and Kings. 

What motivated you to run for office?

I’ve been a teacher, and in the world of education, for close to twenty years. I never thought about running for office! But the longer I lived in Burbank, the more motivated I became to help make positive change. In the many conversations I’ve had with students, parents, teachers, classified staff and others, it became clear that my background and training could be real assets in making our schools truly feel like home, and making sure Burbank Unified continues to be one of the top districts in the state. At the encouragement of many of our community’s most passionate leaders, and district parents, I decided my perspective could help make positive change for our schools. I’m motivated by the stories I’ve heard, the concerns that have been shared with me, and the pride that students, teachers and staff express when talking about their time in BUSD.

Is there anything else you’d like Burbank residents to know about you?

If I am fortunate enough to be elected to serve on the school board, I will make transparency and communication top priorities. I truly believe that good leadership starts with listening. I’d love to hear from Burbank residents about the issues in Burbank Unified that are important to you! I want to encourage people to reach out to me at emily@emilyforschools.com and let me know your priorities, concerns and wish-list for our amazing schools and students!

 

 

School Board Candidate Profile: Roberta Reynolds

Editor’s Note: myBurbank will be highlighting the upcoming election in two areas, first candidate profiles to give you some background on each candidate, and second will be a series of questions on each issue. We will run a new profile each day and the question/answer part will run after the profiles are completed.

 

Where are you from originally

While I have lived all of my life in Burbank, I was actually born in Fargo, North Dakota.  My parents had moved to Burbank in the early 1950’s, where they both worked for Lockheed, but my father believed that it was important for my mother to be with her mother at the birth of her first child.  My grandmother and great grandmother lived in a very small town in Minnesota, right across the river from Fargo.  So, my parents traveled to that small town in Minnesota just before I was born, and they brought me home to Burbank at the age of 6 weeks.  

What was the most memorable or character-building part of your upbringing?

When I was in elementary school, my parents were able to buy a home in Burbank, after years of apartment rental, by purchasing a small run down house near the airport with two small units in the back.  The rent from the units helped to pay the mortgage. My father, who was raised on a farm in North Dakota, was very handy and committed to doing all work to fix up the property himself.  While my parents spent evenings and weekends working on the property which was constantly in need of something, I took responsibility for cooking the evening meals and looking after my sister, who was six years younger than myself. During this time, I learned the importance of hard work, self sufficiency, and care for others.  

How long have you been in Burbank?

I have lived in Burbank all of my life.  I chose to commute to local schools for college, attending California State University, Northridge to earn my Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and attending the University of Southern California to earn my Doctorate in Pharmacy.  After I graduated from Pharmacy School, I got married, settled in a house in Burbank, and raised my two daughters in this community, attending Burbank Schools.

 What drew you to the City of Burbank?

Although I had no choice in where my parents chose to live and raise me, I chose to remain a resident of Burbank and raise my two daughters here. My parents remained in the home I was raised in until the day each of them died.  My sister and her husband made the same choice to remain in Burbank and raise their two sons in the community of Burbank Schools.  Currently my daughter and son-in-law live in Burbank and my grandson is in the first grade in a Burbank School.  Home is where my family resides.

What are some of your interests/hobbies?

Since I spend most of my waking hours in my work as the Director of Outpatient Pharmacy Services at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, where I provide Bedside Medication services to hospital discharge patients and Long Term Care Pharmacy Services to elderly and vulnerable patients, along with my work as a current member of the Burbank Board of Education, I have limited time for my hobbies; however, I have a long list of interests, starting with my grandsons.  In my precious spare moments, I enjoy dabbling in photography, painting and re-purposing wood furniture, cooking, sewing and raising native plants.   

What motivated you to run for office?

Originally I ran for the Board of Education as a natural progression of my leadership positions in parent/teacher and other parent booster organizations. I developed a passionate commitment to developing an inclusive and engaging environment for all of our parents and students. During this time I actively advocated for the English language learners in our Adult School, many of which were parents of our students, during a period when the program was struggling for many reasons.  I also focused my efforts on the inclusion of our student and family members in the LGBTQ community through the founding of a Burbank Chapter of PFLAG, an organization which provides support, education, and advocacy for family and friends of the LGBTQ Community.  While these issues are still important and ongoing concerns for me, I am currently also motivated because the economic and healthcare challenges in the State of California are presenting the need for experienced leadership.  With more than a decade of experience in Board Governance and three decades experience in hospital pharmacy management and patient healthcare services, I feel that I am uniquely qualified to serve our students and community during this Pandemic.

Is there anything else you’d like Burbank residents to know about you?

I think your questions were pretty inclusive. Thank you for this opportunity to share my story.

 

City Council Candidate Profile: Tamala Takahashi

Editor’s Note: myBurbank will be highlighting the upcoming election in two areas, first candidate profiles to give you some background on each candidate, and second will be a series of questions on each issue. We will run a new profile each day and the question/answer part will run after they are completed.

 

Where are you from originally? 

I was born in Las Vegas in 1971, while my dad was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base during the Vietnam war. When the war ended, we moved to Culver City, where my dad took on the family business, as the owner of a tire store. I grew up in that store, and my dad worked 12-14 hour days, 6 days a week. He worked hard so I could be the first in our family to receive a college degree, and I’m still the only woman in my family to earn a graduate degree. I ended up working in education, computer support, and then non profits. My brother went into the Air Force. But I still have a strong affinity for small businesses, especially family owned businesses, and the communities that they serve. 

What was the most memorable or character-building part of your upbringing?

I’ve had many character building experiences, such as working two full time jobs while going to college, living abroad, and having three wonderful kids. But there are two key events in my life that really shaped who I am. 

When I was 15, my parents divorced, at a time when it wasn’t very common. I was a latch key kid, living at my dad’s who spent most of his time at the family business, and my mom was absent. Those years mostly on my own, working as many hours as I was allowed, taught me a resilience, strength, and work ethic to be able to handle anything. I did have to get over the “I can do it all by myself” attitude I learned at that time. My later career especially, working in non-profits and in the community, has taught me a lot in that regard. Through many mistakes, I learned that working together, in collaboration with others, is the only effective way to get things done. The “I’ll do it myself” attitude is a survival technique that has its place, but working with others yields much better results. 

The other event was at the age of 43, where completely from left field, I was diagnosed with cancer. What was supposed to be an “easy” round of chemo and radiation turned into a month long touch and go hospital stay at St. Joe’s and several more months of difficult recovery. It was the most challenging thing I’ve gone through. I was also witness to others who were suffering even more than I was. It changed my attitude towards life, friends, and family. I became more patient, more appreciative, and frankly, happier. My family and close friends were amazing during this time. This difficult year was also one of the reasons I am running for office – you never know what tomorrow will bring. I decided to stop hemming and hawing, and just do it. 

How long have you been in Burbank?

21 years

What drew you to the City of Burbank?

My husband and I moved to El Cerrito (San Francisco – East Bay) when I graduated, and we had our first child while renting an apartment there. This was in 1998, and at the time it wasn’t looking good for us to buy a home, as the cost was far beyond what we could afford living month to month. Then, my husband was fortunate enough to receive a job offer at Disney, that allowed us to squeeze into a small house in Burbank. We knew nothing about Burbank or the valley, but we quickly discovered opportunities to connect with other families through Park and Rec, Burbank Adult school, and our local neighborhood. Through the years we’ve grown to love the city more and more, and build a wonderful network of friends. We had two more children, and all three grew up here. Burbank is the gem of the valley, and more than anywhere we’ve lived, it feels like home. 

What are some of your interests/hobbies?

Outside of my work with non profits and community improvement, where a lot of my interest lies, I am also an artist. I founded a fiber arts guild in Burbank in 2011, called the “Knerdy Knitters”. The group meets several times a week, offers workshops, trips and events (before COVID), and we have lots of activities for our members to improve their craft and meet other artists. I also dabble in designing and teach knitting and crochet.  

I am also an avid reader and gamer. Our kids grew up at the library and playing board games as a family, and we still play together regularly (especially now during COVID when they are all home) and give each other books as gifts. 

What motivated you to run for office?

I am not a politician and in fact, I used to have a phobia of public speaking. But, over the years, it’s become clear the need to have more diverse voices at all leadership tables, with more women and more cultural representation. I wanted to make a difference where I could, and Burbank is where I can. I know the city well, I believe we have a special community here, and I want to see it continue to be resilient and maintain our high quality of life for our current residents, for our kids, and for our kids’ kids. With my more than 10 years of experience in the non profit sector, my leadership experience, and the work I’ve done in the community, I want to roll up my sleeves even farther to serve the city that has given our family so much. 

Is there anything else you’d like Burbank residents to know about you?

I own a small business, offering non profit leadership development. Some of the trainings include public speaking and presentations, conflict resolution, consensus and collaboration building, and customer and membership engagement. 

In Burbank, I currently serve on the Infrastructure Oversight Board for the city, the Magnolia Park Merchant Association Board, the Friends of the Burbank Library Board, and the OurBurbank volunteer committee with the Public Information Office.

My three kids are 22, 19, and 16. My 22 year old will be graduating from CSUN in December with a major in Sociology and minor in Political Science. The 19 year old is studying Food Science and Agriculture at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. And the 16 year old is a senior at Burroughs high. 

 

 

City Council Candidate Profile: Nick Shultz

Editor’s Note: myBurbank will be highlighting the upcoming election in two areas, first candidate profiles to give you some background on each candidate, and second will be a series of questions on each issue. We will run a new profile each day and the question/answer part will run after they are completed.

 

Where are you from originally?  

I was born in La Mesa, California, and I was raised in Gresham, Oregon. 

What was the most memorable or character-building part of your upbringing? 

I am the first to graduate college from my working-class family. I was raised largely by my grandparents and a single mother, and they made me into who I am today. My mother worked so hard to give my brother and I every opportunity available to succeed. I think about that every day. The example that my mother set for my brother and I is the very reason I decided to dedicate my life to public service and to doing what I can to assist others in gaining access to opportunities for success.  

As a Deputy Attorney General for the State of California, I prosecute human trafficking and public corruption cases. I consider it an honor to go to work every day fighting for the people who don’t have the ability to fight for themselves. I am ready to put my legal knowledge, creative thinking, and passion to work for everyone here in Burbank.   

How long have you been in Burbank? 

For years, my wife and I have been involved in the Burbank community, and we’ve always known that Burbank is the place that we want to raise our family. Because of the schools, the unique neighborhoods, our amazing small businesses, and our incredible community spirit, there’s no other place that we can imagine growing our family and settling down.  For years, my wife and I worked hard and saved every penny until we could afford to buy a home in the Rancho neighborhood earlier this year.     

Since announcing my candidacy, I have been so honored to speak with hundreds of residents who have shared similar stories about how Burbank was always their dream destination, and about how important it is that we do what we can to help those who are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage so that they can stay in Burbank.

What drew you to the City of Burbank? 

As stated in my previous answer, there is no other place my wife and I want to raise our family. Burbank has always been our dream destination. We cherish the historic neighborhoods, vibrant small businesses, excellent public schools, and our passionate friends and neighbors who make Burbank such a special place to live. 

What are some of your interests/hobbies? 

In my free time I enjoy reading, hiking, and playing chess. On the weekends, my wife and I enjoy spending time at our local restaurants and coffee shops downtown and in Magnolia Park, as well as going for walks around our neighborhood and in nearby parks, such as Johnny Carson Park. 

What motivated you to run for office? 

I’ve decided to run for Burbank City Council because I want to help restore what we have lost as a result of this pandemic and to create good-paying jobs with benefits for every Burbankian. As a city we need to get creative and find ways to help our neighbors pay the rent or mortgage, access quality healthcare and childcare, keep their jobs, save our small businesses, and build back better and stronger. 

If I am elected, I would work to convene a Burbank Economic Recovery Taskforce (BERT) within my first 100 days in office. I believe that it is crucial that we bring all experts and stakeholders to the table to inform the Burbank City Council on the best strategies for comprehensive economic recovery that fits the needs of Burbank. Accordingly, I would like to see the BERT be comprised of leaders from the entertainment industry, small business owners, entrepreneurs, retailers, organized labor, community leaders, and representatives from the food & beverage and hospitality industries. 

Is there anything else you’d like Burbank residents to know about you? 

I’ve dedicated my career to serving the public, and I am passionate about protecting people. As a Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice, I prosecute human and labor trafficking, public corruption, and various forms of financial fraud. I’ve had tough battles in the courtroom fighting against human traffickers, bad businesses, and corrupt public officials. I know how to tackle tough challenges. If I have the good fortune of being elected as your next city councilmember, I have no doubt that I will be ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work on “day one” to address the issues facing our community. 

 

 

 

 

 

City Council Candidate Profile: Sharis Manokian

Editor’s Note: myBurbank will be highlighting the upcoming election in two areas, first candidate profiles to give you some background on each candidate, and second will be a series of questions on each issue. We will run a new profile each day and the question/answer part will run after they are completed.

 

Where are you from originally?  

I was born and raised right here in Burbank, but I am ethnically Armenian. I really enjoyed growing up in our city’s diverse community where I was able to celebrate my culture and learn about other cultures as well.

What was the most memorable or character-building part of your upbringing?

I remember having a conversation with my dad when I was younger about what I wanted to be when I grew up. He told me that no matter what I chose to do, I needed to be sure I was helping someone and making a positive impact on their life. I’ve carried that advice with me through every aspect of my life, taking on leadership roles in various organizations and volunteering. I hope to take my experiences and apply it on Burbank City Council to improve our city. 

How long have you been in Burbank?

I’ve spent the last 22 years walking up and down these streets. I learned how to ride a bike on Angeleno Avenue, studied for hours at the Burbank Central Library, and spent summers with friends at McCambridge pool. Burbank is the only place I’ve ever known as home.

What drew you to the City of Burbank?

The more time I spend here, the more I understand why my parents chose to settle in Burbank. This city has everything you could ever ask for. The community is friendly and welcoming. The small businesses, like Geeky Teas and Games in Magnolia Park, add a unique charm you really cannot find anywhere else. There are beautiful parks and hiking trails accessible to everyone. I’ve lived here my whole life and there are still new places I’m discovering. It’s just a great place to live.

What are some of your interests/hobbies?

I love hiking and running. It’s usually something I do early in the morning when it’s still cold out and there aren’t a lot of cars. My dad has been an avid hiker for as long as I can remember, so I think that’s where I get it from. We usually go through Wildwood Canyon and the views are always so rewarding. 

In my downtime, my favorite thing to do is read. I’ve always loved reading, but it was my 7th grade English teacher, Mr. DeVirgilis, who really taught us how much knowledge you can gain through novels. I don’t think there’s been a period of time where I’m not reading something since then.

What motivated you to run for office?

I have two reasons for running. First, I have always been an activist for the causes I believe in. From a young age, my parents would take me to civil rights rallies, women’s rights protests, and Armenian Genocide marches. It wasn’t until this past year that I realized the greatest way I could affect change is through policy and political reform. Secondly, I want to increase youth participation in local government. Marching alongside hundreds of young people during our city’s peaceful BLM protests showed me that the youth of Burbank wants to be involved in creating a better society. Currently, there is no youth representation in our City Council. I hope to be that voice and inspire others in my generation to become more involved as well.

Is there anything else you’d like Burbank residents to know about you? 

Burbank needs a fresh, new perspective to local politics – one that I plan to bring. I am young, energetic, and passionate about issues that affect our city. Together, let’s make Burbank’s future brighter. Check out my website, sharismanokian4burbank.com, for more information about our plans for the city.

City Council Candidate Profile: Paul Herman

Editor’s Note: myBurbank will be highlighting the upcoming election in two areas, first candidate profiles to give you some background on each candidate, and second will be a series of questions on each issue. We will run a new profile each day and the question/answer part will run after they are completed.

 

Where are you from originally? 

I grew up on the other side of the hill in Los Angeles.

What was the most memorable or character-building part of your upbringing?  

Without a doubt it was when my mom died of breast cancer when I was 16. It forced me to grow up quickly and not take life for granted.

How long have you been in Burbank?  

13 wonderful years!

 What drew you to the City of Burbank?  

 I was working in Downtown LA and my wife Amy was (and still is) working at Taft High School in Woodland Hills.  Burbank was conveniently located between our respective commutes.  However, since then we’ve come to appreciate the quality of life and sense of community here in Burbank, and feel blessed to be able to raise our kids here.

What are some of your interests/hobbies?  

I enjoy golfing but I’m not much good at it.  I like hiking with Amy and our dog, Bridget. What I enjoy more than anything are Sunday night dinners with my family. 

What motivated you to run for office?

  I initially got involved in community service to honor my mom’s memory.  She was always very involved in charitable endeavors. However, this Pandemic motivated me to step up to help provide the leadership we need to manage the city through this economic crisis.

Is there anything else you’d like Burbank residents to know about you?

  Those who know me best know that I wear my heart on my sleeve and I genuinely care about helping people.  When elected to the City Council, I will use my education, my life’s experiences, and my leadership skills to serve all our citizens by keeping our city safe, financially stable and moving forward to ensure the quality of life we all deserve. 

 

“Diversify Our Narrative” Students Join Burbank DEI Subcommittee

Following a petition to expand classroom reading curriculum throughout the Burbank Unified School District, two high school students are now members of a district committee with a similar goal.

Burbank students Sophia Moore and Adelina Hernandez are local proponents of the Diversify Our Narrative campaign, which contains guidelines for implementing a required reading list with more novels telling stories from people of color in schools throughout the state. After receiving a heavy flow of petition signatures, the district reached out on behalf of the BUSD Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, offering the two students spots on a subcommittee to tackle the lack of diversity in Burbank educational programs. 

This Curriculum and Instruction Subcommittee consists of discussions between teachers, parents, and other administration personnel in which techniques to structure a diverse and anti-racist school program are being explored.

Moore, now a senior at John Burroughs High School, says that the subcommittee experience has opened up an extensive dialogue regarding how class readings impact the Burbank student body. 

“We talk about…the student experience dealing with the books that we read,” Moore said. “How does that kind of book and the way the topics of that book are dealt with, how does that impact students of color?”

Discussions are set to continue through the year, and May of 2021 is a prospective date for the subcommittee to submit a proposed list of books to incorporate in K through 12 classes, although the timeline is predicted to be ongoing for the group.

Local teacher and subcommittee member Emily Weisberg joined the gathering, which began earlier this summer, in order to gain knowledge on how the BUSD can improve the traditional teachings that reside in California classrooms. Weisberg says she has seen first-hand how static, limited class modules can affect students and notes the value of representation. 

“As a teacher, there is nothing more important for our students than to see themselves in the history we teach, the literature we read, and the scientists, mathematicians and artists we explore,” Weisberg said. “Curriculum and instruction have remained pretty stagnant in regards to what, and how, we teach so this was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the work being done within our district and find ways to deepen, and support that work.” 

Not only is the subcommittee geared towards discovering beneficial additions to curriculum, but also how current teachings can create lasting experiences for students of color.

 “I’ve learned how some books are actually harming children, or the way the books taught have brought on trauma for some students,” said Nadra Ostrom, subcommittee member and BUSD parent.  “The lack of diversity in literature and lack of sensitivity in teaching books with challenging content around race is very harmful to our students.”

Beyond literature, another subject which may be a focus in future talks is history. Like English classes being addressed with novels that display accurate experiences for people of color, classroom history texts often have a narrow point-of-view which subcommittee members hope to broaden.

“In general… the curriculum can do a much better job of teaching accurate U.S. History, showing more perspectives besides the predominantly white male perspective, include more groups of people, include more individuals who have made contributions to our society,” Ostrom said.

BUSD parent TeAnne Chennault became involved in the DEI Committee in 2018 after experiencing personal ignorance and racism within the school district. Chennault initially formed a group with two other local parents raising children of color who shared similar experiences, which later evolved into interactions with BUSD members regarding the best ways to introduce a committee for inclusivity and equity for students of color. 

“So many of us had experiences in the schools where our children were exposed to racist encounters or, at the very least, instances that clearly showed there was an intolerance and an ignorance in how to treat children of color, specifically black children,” Chennault said.

Following BUSD Superintendent Matt Hill’s initiative to create a stronger framework for the committee, which took place at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, Chennault has seen a greater amount of participation in the DEI Committee. Chennault hopes this shift will indicate a move towards equal representation for all children in the BUSD.

I want to make sure my daughter, and all the kids who look like her, receive a well-rounded education within the Burbank school system,” Chennault said. “I also want to make sure their unique identity as black and brown children are respected and they see themselves reflected in materials, curriculum, teaching staff, administration, all touchpoints that help children thrive.”

From a student perspective, being a subcommittee member has shown Moore the differences one can make through sharing their personal accounts and taking real action towards change.

“There [are] things that I can do and say and use my experience as a student to positively impact the things that have been impacting me,” Moore said.

“I think this whole thing has really gotten me to be hyper-aware of how much is lacking and how much power I as a student have to change the fault in our curriculum.”