Tag Archives: City of Burbank

House of Secrets Celebrates its 26th Anniversary

Photo By: Kelsie Hernandez

House of Secrets, the comic book shop located at 1930 W Olive St., is celebrating its 26th anniversary this week. The shop was moved to Burbank, by owner Paul Grimshaw, from its original location in Montrose, CA. It has since seen more than a decades worth of comics and people pass through its doors.

Having been located in Burbank for so long, Paul’s partner, Erik Warfield, said the city has “a great demographic. We’ve got customers who are probably in their 60’s or 70’s, and have been collecting for years. We have new families, younger, the next generation so to speak. Some of them are customers we’ve had since they were ten years old, and now they’re thirty-something and have their own kids. That’s probably been the funnest thing to see, having kids myself now, it’s easier to measure time by them. You have these little kids, then they’re going to high school, they’re going to Burroughs down the street, coming here after school, then they’re twenty-five years old, then they’re thirty years old and they’re bringing in little babies – we’ve been here long enough to see that, and see the the growth of the industry and community around us.”

To mark their anniversary, the shop is planning a sale for both Friday and Sunday. On Friday, October 13th, House of Secrets is offering 40% off everything in the store, except for supplies. This includes trade paperbacks, new comics, old comics, and artwork.

On Sunday, House of Secrets is holding a special sale from 12-5PM. On this day, they’ll be opening up their storage space located behind the shop. Included in this sale will be old toys, marked down trades, and more dollar books.

Erik explains that they love what they do, and the shop is able to run because the people in Burbank have the luxury to spend money on comic books. “We can sell old comic books, we can sell dollar books, we can sell cheap new stuff, regular new stuff, trade paperbacks, artwork, and the old books are good to see. Any silver age or golden age books that we get, there is another level of clientele that want pricy books. We’ve sold $4,000 books, we’ve sold $1 books. It’s a wide, wide range, which keeps it steady all the time.”

Burbank Faces Large Budget Cuts Following Rising Deficit

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson) 

There’s a financial storm heading toward the City of Burbank that’s expected to be here sooner than we think. To be clear, there is not one simple answer pertaining to the creation of Burbank’s rising deficit, however, a large factor is due to CalPERS and the 2008 recession. The city will also be losing its General Fund Revenue and Street Lighting Fund Revenue, which totals to $11.7 million dollars. A call to the City Attorney’s office regarding this loss was left unanswered. We will update this story should the City Attorney provide a comment.

Financial Services Director, Cindy Giraldo, gives the Council an overall budget forcast (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

With the rising payments, and an abundance of infrastructure repair and maintenance work needed throughout the city, Burbank’s city leaders and citizens face some tough questions.

Burbank’s forecasted annual deficit is equal to 27.4 million dollars and will arrive in the year 2022-2023. In order to combat this, city departments were asked to submit “options” in trimming the city’s budget. The following information is described as “options” and should be treated as such. The budget meeting held at the community service building near City Hall did not confirm any of the cuts.

Lastly, there are proposed budget cuts across playing field. Below are the proposed cuts that would have the largest impact on day-to-day life for Burbank’s citizens.

Fire Department

  • Option 1: Close Station 14, located at 2305 W Burbank Blvd, Burbank, CA
    • Annual Fire Savings – $1.6 million
    • Admin Support Overhead Savings of $144K
  • Option 2: Close Stations 14 and 16. Station 16 is located at 1420 W Verdugo Ave, Burbank, CA 91506
    • Annual Savings of $3.2 million
    • Admin Support Overhead Savings of $288K

Closing one or two fire stations would presumably increase emergency response time, which currently sits at 6 minutes, 7 seconds. This action would also theoretically jeopardize Burbank Fire Department’s Class 1 certification.

Police Department

Option 1:

  • Contract Out Jail Program ($380K)
  • Contract out Parking Control ($110K)
  • Eliminate Crossing Guards ($465K)
  • Contract Animal Shelter Services ($1.45 million)
  • Eliminate Air Support ($1.2 million)
  • Eliminate 9 Sworn Positions ($2 million)

Option 1 would provide an annual savings of $5.6 million and Admin Support Overhead Savings of $504K.

Option 2:

(*$7.5 Milllion)

Option 2 would provide annual savings of $11.3 million dollars and $1 million in Admin Support Overhead.

Parks & Recreation

  • Maintain contracted meal services at Joslyn Senior Center ($680K)
  • Eliminate Home Delivered Meals Program ($475K)
  • Reduce Senior Services including Recreation Program, Information, and Assistance Program, and Human Services Program ($575K)
  • Forestry Services changing their pruning cycle from 6 to 8 years ($225K)

The Parks and Rec department also submitted the option to close the following facilities and all associated programs:

  • Gross Park
  • Stough Canyon Park
  • Stough Canyon Nature Center
  • Starlight Bowl
  • Miller Park
  • Maple Street Playground
  • Johnny Carson Park (southern side)
  • Verdugo Park and Rec Center
  • Creative Arts Center
  • Verdugo Pool
  • McCambridge Pool
  • Valley Skate Park
  • Tuttle Senior Center
  • Mariposa Equestrian Bridge and Horse Trail

The closure of these parks would provide a savings of $3.9 million dollars.

The following programs are to be eliminated along with their associated park closures:

  • Youth Sports
  • Youth Leadership Program (YLP)
  • Adult Sports
  • Counselor in Training (CIT)
  • Aquatics
  • Teen Events

The Boards and Commissions impacted would be the Cultural Arts Commission, the Burbank Athletic Federation, the Senior Board, and the Youth Board. The School Joint Use Agreement would also be terminated, saving $441K.

Furthermore, Parks & Rec may also cut:

  • Day Camp and Afterschool Program ($120K)
  • Family Service Agency School Counseling Funding
  • Boys and Girls Club after school Care Funding
  • All Holiday Events
  • Burbank Volunteer Program ($228K)

The total annual savings equal to $6.9 million dollars, with an admin support overhead of $625K.

Library Services

  • Close Central Library ($2 million)
    • Some staff to be relocated
    • Eliminates 18 FTE positions
    • Reduces 63 hours per week of service
    • Eliminates 40% of the library collection; 38 public computers; 150 seats for studying
    • Eliminates adult literacy services and the Burbank in Focus local history project
    • No library service in the downtown core/north of the freeway.

Admin Support Overhead Savings – $180K

Management Services

  • Eliminate Youth Employment Programs ($366K)
    • Includes STEP, CREST, and BEST
  • Eliminate Workforce Connection ($39K)
    • Eliminates resources provided to approximately 6,000 unemployed or underemployed clients annually.
    • Program is 73% grant funded

 

The above-proposed cuts, along with cuts to Community Development, Labor Cost Efficiencies, and Transportation Services, equate to $28,961,000. When putting that against our deficit of $27,441,000, the remainder equals to $1,520,000.

Burbank Mayor Will Rogers wants to find new ways of generating revenue instead of cutting city services (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

During the meeting, Mayor Will Rogers had this to say about the potential cuts: “When I looked through this list of proposals, the word that came to mind, for me, was ‘Dystopian.'” Other members of city council seemed to share the same sentiment as some of the proposed cuts would likely have an effect on the safety and well-being of all Burbank residents. Rogers went on to say, “I strongly support looking at the other means of generating revenues that are available to us. I know they’ll be angry with us, and I know they’ll hold us responsible for it, but I think it’s what the people of Burbank tend to want, instead of settling for less.”

Along with budget cuts, the city is looking at other options to generate new revenue. One such option is taking a hard look at overturning the ban on medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits. As medical marijuana is set to become legal in the state, the city of Burbank has an opportunity to impose a tax on all sales and generate an entirely new revenue source.

Other revenue plans deal in increasing taxes for residents, businesses, and non-residents. As the plan becomes sorted out, we can expect more concrete details as to what the city needs, and how our city leaders plan on bringing Burbank out of a potential financial mess. To watch the full meeting with our Mayor and City Council, you can click here.

All seats were filled as members of the public wanted to hear about the City’s budget problems (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

LA County Public Works to Perform Maintenance on Burbank Debris Basins

From a press release:

In preparation for winter storms, LA County Public Works will perform maintenance at flood and debris control facilities affected by the September 2017 La Tuna Fire to provide increased protection to local communities.

The facilities are located within burned canyon areas that have the potential to release large amounts of sediment and debris when it rains. Removal of this sediment and debris is necessary to maximize storage capacity prior to the storm season, and following each significant debris-producing storm.

You may experience a visible County presence in your community, especially after storms. Public Works will monitor the facilities and perform sediment removal activities as necessary. The affected debris control facilities are:

Brace Debris Basin
Bracemar Debris Basin
Haven Way Debris Basin
Irving Debris Basin
Stough Debris Basin
Upper Sunset Debris Basin

County crews should be in Burbank the week of October 9th or the 16th.  The debris basin cleaning activity in Burbank should only take about a week to 10 days.  Crews will work from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and after 8 a.m. on Saturdays as needed during the storm season.  

Residents in the area are asked to avoid parking vehicles or storing materials on streets near these facilities during hauling operations. Parking restrictions (if  necessary) will be posted 48 hours in advance.

It is important that County crews have unobstructed access to these facilities. Trucks will follow the haul routes shown on the maps here:

City of Burbank Warns of Hepatitis A Virus Among Homeless

Release provided by the City of Burbank:

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) has declared an outbreak of Hepatitis A virus (HAV) among populations who are homeless and/or use illicit (injection and non-injection) drugs.  Please see below for more information.

  1. What is it?

    1. Hepatitis A is a viral liver disease that can cause mild to severe illness.    
    2. The hepatitis A virus (HAV) is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and water or through direct contact with an infectious person.
    3. Almost everyone recovers fully from hepatitis A with a lifelong immunity. However, a very small proportion of people infected with hepatitis A could die from fulminant hepatitis.
    4. The best prevention against hepatitis A is vaccination and soap and water hand hygiene.
  2. Who is most at risk?

    1. The LA County Department of Health Services recommends a vaccine for persons who are homeless and/or who use illicit drugs and to persons who have frequent close contact with the homeless or drug-using populations. This includes those who handle or serve food or who provide personal care, janitorial, maintenance, or sanitation services to these populations. 
  3. Sources for more information

    1. http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/Diseases/HepA.htm

    2. COB MSD Hepatitis A Flyer Ver 1 170925

    3. HepaAInfographic-Eng

    4. Hep A vaccine

Bed Bugs Have Burbank Library Cards Revoked

Photo Courtesy City of Burbank

Burbank’s Buena Vista Library has been declared free of bed bugs after extensive work to have them removed.

Photo Courtesy City of Burbank

According to Elizabeth Goldman, Library Services Director for the City of Burbank, the library was declared completely free of any signs of bed bugs following an inspection by the bug-sniffing dog on Thursday, September 21. The Public Works Department was also credited  for their assistance in resolving the situation.

Inspectors brought in a specially trained dog to search through the library and nothing was found in the latest search.

Bed Bugs were reported at the library beginning last Fall, when an employee first reported them. Another report came from a customer last May. Library officials and the Public Works Department worked while the Buena Vista branch was closed at night to exterminate the bugs.

The library put the following on their website:

  • Several locations within the Library have been treated on two occasions after bug-sniffing dogs detected the presence of bed bugs. At least two follow-up treatments will be scheduled.

  • All treatments will take place during closed hours, and the Library will be safe for use during regularly scheduled hours. If you would like information on the specific products being used in bed bug abatement, please ask at any service desk.

  • Bed bugs are everywhere (hotels, public transit, doctor’s offices, hospitals, nursing homes, movie theaters), and libraries are probably less likely to have issues with bed bugs than any of the aforementioned locations.

  • Bed bugs are not a problem related to people experiencing homelessness; they are a traveling population problem. It is just as likely (if not more so) for a traveler to bring bed bugs home with them from a trip than it is for a person experiencing homelessness to be the source of the introduction.

  • Bed bugs do not carry or transmit diseases. Extensive research has been done on this, and there is no evidence that bed bugs transmit diseases from one host to the next.

  • Bed bugs are a nuisance but are not dangerous. While some people react more strongly to insect bites than others, a bed bug bite will cause no more than minor itching for a few days.

  • Both Burbank Public Library and Public Work Department staff are receiving additional training in identifying bed bugs to ensure fast containment and treatment in any future incidents.

    Photo Courtesy City of Burbank

    Photo Courtesy City of Burbank

 

Authorities Recover Dead Bobcat in Resident’s Backyard

Officials at the Burbank Animal Shelter recovered the body of a dead Bobcat in the rear yard of a Burbank residence.

According to the Burbank Animal Shelter, a resident on the 500 block of Birmingham called them about the death.

At this time, there is no cause of death because the body of the Bobcat had been there for a while and the body had started to decompose. There is no suspected wrong doing on anyone’s part and it was not known how long the Bobcat’s body had been there or if there were any connections to the recent fire.

Residents for the past couple of years have had many sightings of Bobcats in the hill areas of Burbank and residents are advised to keep their pets inside during the night.

Warner Bros. Studios Breaks Ground on New Sound Stage

Earlier this week, Warner Bros. Studios broke ground on their 36th soundstage. Its development marks a shift in the entertainment world as Warner Bros. is showing it isn’t afraid to invest here in the City of Burbank. The studios are already booked at max capacity with numerous films, sitcoms, and other television shows. The supply and demand for a new stage is great news, both for everyone in the entertainment industry and especially for Burbank. The Mayor, along with city council members, were on hand to celebrate and mark the occasion.

Photo By: Ross Benson

The 18,000 sq soundstage symbolizes the strength of production returning to our backyard. Stage 29 will feature numerous amenities, including a silent air conditioning system, 110-kilowatt solar panel system, and will be furnished with industry-leading equipment and gear to handle sitcoms or reality television.

(Photo By © Ross A Benson)

Its existence will also pave way for new jobs. The entirety of the project is expected to create hundreds of new jobs for the city, in addition, millions of dollars in revenue, all of which will stay here in California. Stage 29 is expected to be completed by June 2018.

Burbank Encourages Sign-ups for Emergency Alert System

Since its inception in 2004, September has been recognized as National Preparedness Month. Originally sponsored by FEMA to increase public education about preparedness following the tragedies of 9-11, National Preparedness Month has become a platform to recognize and spotlight the “Ready” campaign. Ready Burbank is the official preparedness program of the City of Burbank and preparedness information can be found at: www.ReadyBurbank.org.

Burbank residents and workers are highly encouraged to visit the website and sign up for the Burbank Emergency Alert System. In the event of an emergency, enrollees will receive time sensitive information designed to keep them safe via email, phone and/or text.

“We only use this when necessary,” said Eric Baumgardner, the City’s Emergency Management Coordinator. “Someone signing-up for this type of system isn’t going to get bombarded with emails, or texts. We’re very conscious of them opting in for their security and public safety.”

For more information, and to sign up for the Burbank Emergency Alert System, please visit: www.ReadyBurbank.org.

Burbank Gets Through Worst Brush Fire in Over 30 Years

Burbank’s hillsides had not had a serious brush fire in decades until this past weekend when one started near the 210 Freeway quickly escalated.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

City fire engines were first dispatched to the original fire but after a while when it became apparent that the fire may crest the hills and come toward Burbank, they returned to protect their home town.

While the first started at about 1:30 p.m. Friday, it was not until 4:51 in the afternoon that it started to be of enough of a concern that the first brush assignment was dispatched in Burbank.

Units positioned themselves up near Brace Park and Country Club Drive and started the long wait for the fire to crest the hills and start down toward Burbank homes.

Once the fire’s path was imminent, Burbank fire officials gave mandatory orders to everyone basically above Brace Canyon Park all the way over to the Cabrini Villas. The area included all of the private housing off of Castleman Lane.

Burbank police officers began the task of going door to door to advise residents of the mandatory evacuation. They recorded all addresses checked and advised residents. They kept track of each decision because they could not physically force a resident to evacuate. The City of Burbank and the Red Cross set up an evacuation center at McCambridge Recreation Center. About 10 residents were there around midnight.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

During the night, the first concern was the Stough Canyon Nature Center. Firefighters worked hard to protect the structure from the fire. It is unknown how much damage has been done to the trails near there.

As soon as the battle was engaged, the fight to save homes on the hill began. Engines and firefighters from all around Southern California were part of the unified command that was run in the Burbank area by the Burbank Fire Command Staff.

Los Angeles City Helicopters, who only fly at night in extreme emergencies, made water drops all night as the main focus of the fire turned to Burbank. Listening to the pilots on their radio, there was a calm, but confident demeanor as they systematically hit hot spot after hot spot.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

As dawn broke, the houses on the hill were still safe. Firefighters continued to man the streets around the hillside. Firefighters made a series of drops of Phos-Chek fire retardant from Brace Canyon all the way to La Tuna Canyon which helped stop the spread of fire.

Some firefighters were replaced by others after working as many as 36 hours straight in heat over 100 degrees.  Many residents brought water, Gatorade and even ordered up pizzas for firefighters and brought them to the city’s main fire station on Orange Grove.  In fact, there were so many donations from grateful residents that the fire department put up a sign saying that no more donations would be needed.

Officials from the Los Angeles Fire Department have estimate the acres burned at about 5,800 as of 10 p.m. Saturday and as little as of 10 percent of the fire area has been contained.

As of 10 p.m. Saturday evening, fire officials lifted the mandatory curfew and let only residents and members of the media into the fire zone.  Those returning had to show proof of residency.

Fire engines will be standing by in the area for the next couple of days to protect against flare-ups.

Congressman Adam Schiff Receives Key to the City

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

On Tuesday, August 22, 2017, Congressman Adam Schiff  was awarded the Key to the City by Mayor Will Rogers at Burbank City Hall. Congressman Schiff represents California’s 28th district and has been a resident of Burbank for close to twenty-five years.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

As for what the Key to the City means to him, Representative Schiff said Burbank “is a wonderful town. It’s nice to come home and see a lot of friendly faces. I’ve got my home here, I can walk to my office, I can go to the movies, I can eat out, we have great city services, I feel safe, it’s just a wonderful community. To get this recognition from the city that I love is really quite special.”

Currently, Congressman Schiff is one of the key Democrats involved in the Russia Probe. When asked what he would say to any U.S. citizens who may have wavering faith in our elected officials, be it on a local level or national scale, Representative Schiff had this to say:

We have very good governance here in the city of Burbank. We have a council here that works together very well and I think is doing good things. On the national level, we’re going through a very hard time. Congress has been dysfunctional for quite a while, the administration is also dysfunctional, but we’re going to get through it. We’ll have some bumps along the road, but there are good people in both parties who are doing their best to work together. We need to see a lot more of that and I’m confident that there are better days ahead.

For more information on Congressman Schiff, you can visit his website here!

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)