Tag Archives: Emily Gabel-Luddy

Ribbon-Cutting Is Perfect, Los Angeles Kings Ice At Pickwick Gardens Reopens

By Rick Assad


Pickwick Ice has been a landmark in Burbank since 1961, three years before The Beatles arrived in the United States.

Venerable and hugely popular, on Wednesday afternoon and before a large and appreciative crowd that included dignitaries such as Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, master of ceremonies and current Los Angeles Kings radio analyst Daryl Evans, and Kings left winger Kyle Clifford, the building had its grand reopening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and will now be known as the Los Angeles Kings Ice At Pickwick Gardens.

Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy (white hat) is beaming inside the L.A. Kings Ice At Pickwick Gardens. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Eight months ago, the Kings and American Sports Entertainment Company announced the acquisition and operations of the facility, and agreed to a long-term partnership with Ron Stavert, the CEO of Pickwick Gardens, who cut the red ribbon with several young hockey players, both boys and girls, standing nearby.

“This is my grandfather’s dream. To have this stay in the family and be an important part of the community for generations,” Stavert said after the 45-minute ceremony. “The ice rink started off as a plumbing project. He was in the plumbing business, because it was pipes and tubes and refrigeration and it’s turned into an amazing facility with the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club and youth hockey with the Bears and adult hockey.”

Stavert said that the former Pickwick Ice has been popular in Burbank and the surrounding areas for years and hopes the new partnership with the Kings and ASEC will last for at least half a century.

“Not only does it build community in the city itself, but it draws from other communities outside and people come here and see how wonderful the area is and how safe it is,” he pointed out.

Everyone is showing off their certificate of recognition, including Bailey, the Los Angeles Kings mascot. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Stavert thinks the future appears promising.

“That’s the goal,” he noted. “We have about 10 acres of land here. We have bowling, banquets, conferences, ice, weddings. We have the ability to do a lot of different things. The ice is a big part of it and it’s going to be a big part of it in the future.”

Because of the prohibitive cost to maintain the building, Stavert said there was a real possibility Pickwick Ice could eventually go under.

“It’s a very expensive asset,” he said. “We’re just a single operator and have been. There’s not 20 Pickwick’s out there. There’s only one. Capital is scarce and expensive and there was always a concern that there might come a day when the money’s not there. Our partnership now is secure for years to come. There’s a buzz now about Pickwick. The Kings are putting the name out there on radio and TV. I have friends all over the country who have heard about it.”

The 58-year-old facility was rebranded on the inside and outside with the Kings logo.

The Kings brand is everywhere in the former Pickwick Ice arena. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Clifford, a member of the two Kings Stanley Cup winners in 2012 and 2014, spoke to the crowd and said it’s nice to see so many youngsters attend the event.

“I came out 11 years ago to L.A., kind of a little bit before we made our big runs and just to see the impact of those two Stanley Cups, it’s had a huge ripple effect on youth hockey out here,” he said. “It’s great to see youth hockey. You’ve got a lot of young girls and a lot of young boys, and they’re with their teammates. It’s a lot of fun.”

Clifford was there along with his wife Paige, a onetime figure skater, and their three sons, who like hockey and attending Kings games.

A five-foot tall bobblehead of Bailey, the wildly popular Kings mascot stands in front of the ice rink.

For Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, a real-life Bailey, a cute and cuddly lion, walked around and took pictures and slapped high fives with excited fans.

Young hockey players took the ice after the ribbon-cutting ceremony. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“Any time that you brand a facility like the Kings have here at Pickwick in Burbank, it’s historical, it’s monumental,” said Evans, who played for the Kings, the Washington Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs over a career that began in 1981 and ended in 1991. “There’s a big commitment from the Kings. It’s a great message that goes out to the community that they’re committed to not only keep what they have here, but to expand and grow it.”

Evans, who had one of the most famous goals ever for the Kings in Game 3 of a best of five playoff match with the Edmonton Oilers on April 10, 1982, dubbed “Miracle on Manchester” when he knocked in the game-winner in overtime after trailing 5-0 entering the third period and won 6-5, which is the largest deficit in NHL postseason history, then added:

Even the little tikes wanted to have fun on the ice. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“With the direction that the game is going, with girls’ hockey, our L.A. Lions program taking off, I’m sure one day we’ll have a full girls’ program coming out of here, our high school program, our college teams, the American Hockey League is settled in California now, it’s going to continue to keep growing,” he said. “The NHL two years ago made a commitment to go to China. So the Asian community is getting very involved in hockey. And we need rinks. So I can see here at Pickwick in Burbank, that this is one of the nicest property facilities you can have. Opportunity for growth is incredible. I expect it to expand in the years to come.”

Pickwick Ice has been the home to the L.A. Figure Skating Club and the California Golden Bears youth hockey team.

ASEC was founded 13 years ago and is the largest owner and operator of ice skating and indoor sports facilities in the nation, with a total of 21 located in California, Arizona, Texas, North Carolina and New York.

ASEC also owns the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, which is the practice ice for the two-time Stanley Cup winning Kings.

Now it seems that the Kings, ASEC and the Stavert family will have a long and fruitful relationship.

Mayor Gives Optimistic Outlook During State of the City Address

Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy presented her State of the City address to a packed house at the Airport Marriott Wednesday in the annual event sponsored by Burbank’s Chamber of Commerce.

Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel Luddy. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Since 2008, other Mayors have had to go in front of the local business community and try and sound positive about the downturn of 2008, although the theme was usually about some budget cuts that would have to be made to balance the budget.

Finally in 2013, Gabel-Luddy was able to not only the business leaders that things were looking better, but that the City of Burbank now has a projected balanced budget through 2018.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Her presentation was split into three sections and moved quickly while giving out the necessary information.  The first part was in the form of a speech where the Mayor talked about the previous year and some of the turmoil that was beginning top end.  The hiring or a permanent Police and Fire Chief, as well as Community Development Department Head.

“Burbank’s financial status is strong, with Standards & Poor’s giving the City a AAA Rating”, said the Mayor, “and that is something that is earned and not just given”.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

City revenue’s are also on the rebound with home prices in Burbank helping.  The average home price in Burbank is close to $530,000 compared the average in Los Angeles County which is $377,000 and unemployment in Burbank is currently at 8.4%.

She also went on to talk about the improvements in Burbank’s infrastructure including the money earmarked for repaving streets, Johnny Carson Park, Northwest Library, and Verdugo Park’s Pool as well as the Reservoir #1 which is just about complete.

Mayor Gabel-Luddy with City Manager Mark Scott. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mayor Gabel-Luddy with City Manager Mark Scott. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

After a short video, she then asked a few questions to attendees including a not so surprised City manager.

Newly hired City Manager Mark Scott showed that he already fees at ease in his new position and his experience shows. Not only did he seem comfortable talking to the movers and shakers that make up the Burbank business community, he was able to inject a little humor when it came to his surprise at being picked from the crowded room.

Mayor Gabel-Luddy interviews President of The Downtown Business District Michael Cusumano (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mayor Gabel-Luddy interviews President of The Downtown Business District Michael Cusumano (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Scott commented about the small city feel of Burbank and commented that his has realized that everyone in Burbank went to one of the schools here and that people have a deep concern for the  City.  He also stressed that he looked to help businesses maintain their employment levels and stressed how he wanted to work with the many small businesses in Burbank.

Developer Michael Cusumano also spoke on the Downtown Businesses and their recent successful events as well as the future.  The members Downtown Burbank Partnership have been working tirelessly to attract business to the downtown area for years.

Gabel-Luddy showed that in her term as Mayor, it is all about the flow of information that can make a successful State of the City address, not the length that some would lose interest in.

Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy gets a high-5 from Planning Board Member Kimberley Jo a former City Council Candidate herself. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy gets a high-5 from Planning Board Member Kimberley Jo a former City Council Candidate herself. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

State of the City-8

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank’s Mayor Responds to Crash Tragedy

The following is an official statement issued by Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy on behalf of the Burbank City Council regarding Saturday’s early morning car crash that claimed several lives on San Fernando Boulevard:

“Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the young people who lost their lives so tragically Saturday morning. Our thoughts are also with the young woman who survived and her family and friends, as this is an especially painful time for them.

A tragedy of this magnitude affects the entire community, particularly one as close knit as Burbank. Due to the young age of the victims, it is important that we pay close attention to their peers as they navigate the grieving process. The Burbank Police Department is partnering with the Burbank Unified School District, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and Family Service Agency of Burbank to ensure that the necessary resources are available for those in need.

The entire Burbank community feels the grief over this accident and we stand ready to assist. Burbank is a resilient community whose strength will help all of us to weather this trying time.”

The City Council will observe a moment of silence during Tuesday night’s Town Hall meeting to honor the victims of the crash.

Burbank Mayor Shares Her Vision for the Future

As I begin my term as Mayor, I want to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues on the Council for giving me the honor to serve our community in this role. While I feel a sense of both pride and humility, my strongest feeling is a sense of urgency. Twelve months is not a long time and there is much to be done as we tackle the important issues ahead.

Mayor Emily Gabal-Luddy. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank’s reputation as “Media Capital of the World” was built by creativity, skill and innovation on a solid foundation of good management and sound fiscal policy. Clearly, hiring a top flight city manager and passing a balanced budget must be our top priorities in the short term and I am confident that we have the systems in place to make sound decisions regarding those issues.

As I consider my goals as Mayor over the next year, I believe we will all benefit by tapping into our Creative Community for new resources of people and ideas to help strengthen and improve our community. One of our key strengths is the level of civic participation from the many outstanding men and women serving on our boards and commissions. To take full advantage of the skills of these talented volunteers, I propose to hold three working sessions with the chairs and vice chairs of these boards and commissions to share thoughts for ways to creatively achieve the City’s broader goals for the benefit of all Burbank.

I believe the same approach can work with our colleagues and partners at the Burbank Unified School District. Therefore, my second goal will be to hold a joint School District and City Council meeting.  The historically close partnership between the City and the School District has been mutually beneficial in helping build the outstanding reputation of our schools, one of our most valuable community assets. Maintaining constructive dialogue will be important for our commitment to the future of our children, who are the leaders of tomorrow.

Both of these initiatives must be undertaken in conjunction with our active engagement of  the entire community through regular town hall meetings. Leaving the Council chamber and bringing the meeting to your neighborhood helps raise the awareness of new issues and challenges and ultimately benefits the Council, and the community.

I believe that an early topic for these meetings  can be the opportunity we have to improve our neighborhoods through the adaptive reuse of city property.  An example of this would be to consider what new community-serving uses, such as pocket parks or community gardens, could be made of Burbank Water and Power property currently used to locate electrical substations.  As the electrical equipment is replaced with smaller hardware requiring less space, more open land will be freed up.

Creative thinking will help us better utilize City land. And it’s important that we engage our neighborhoods to consider new open space initiatives that will benefit the residents. It is equally important to engage our boards and commissions, and partners at Burbank Unified School District in our efforts to develop new initiatives that serve the community.

These goals represent ideas that I would like to accomplish in the coming year, but there will be no shortage of milestones marking the completion of numerous projects during that same time.

In the next few months we will open the remodeled Verdugo Aquatics Facility, and a retro-fitted and improved Northwest Library. We will also witness the final design and groundbreaking on the Johnny Carson Park project.

Those items were years in the planning. Conversely, we must be planning now for projects in the years to come. For instance, we must develop a financial plan for infrastructure, like repaving streets, and other public works projects.

None of this will be possible without our consistent and coordinated commitment to maintain a financially healthy city, now and into the future. We need both economic and administrative stability to be successful.

After so many changes during the past months, stability is returning to City Hall. And while we have much to do, we have the people and the fortitude to do it.

Seeing what we, as a city, are putting into place in terms of financial planning and cost containment, both now and in the future, makes me as proud as I can be, to be part of this great city, and confident that this city will continue to serve as a model for our region.

I would rather be a resident of Burbank than any other city in California. This does not mean what we’re facing will be easy or without discomfort. Our goal must be, to do what we can, with in our financial means to protect the services that our citizens expect and deserve. We as a council and staff will do our very best, and as Mayor, that is my commitment to you. I invite feedback from the community:  everyone is encouraged to contact me with their thoughts about what’s important this year – either email me at egabel-luddy@burbankca.gov or call me 824-1594.

It’s going to be a great year!

Golonski Replaces Talamantes as Mayor of Burbank

Presenting outgoing Mayor Jess Talamantes with his City Council Badge & Plaque is Vice Dave Golonski. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Dave Golonski was elected the new Mayor of Burbank by a 4 to 1 vote at the City Council’s annual reorganization meeting Tuesday. He takes over the helm from Jess Talamantes, who will continue his term as a Council Member.

“I am committed to working with citizens from every corner of our city to bring about economic growth while preserving the neighborhood character that makes us all proud to call Burbank home,” says Golonski.  “I believe meaningful community engagement and having a well-informed citizenry are important goals for this upcoming year.”

A veteran of municipal government, Mayor Golonski has served as Burbank’s Mayor three other times over his tenure, rotating the position with his fellow council members. Known for his passion and commitment to sustainability and protecting our most valued natural resources, he works tirelessly to ensure Burbank is fostering a healthy environment for current and future generations. Since joining the council in 1993, he has served on numerous critical committees tackling issues related to youth, homeless services, housing, and infrastructure. A resident of Burbank for more

New Mayor Dave Golonski listens to Councilman Gary Bric recommending the Vice Mayor. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

than 20 years, Golonski is married to his wife Barbara and they have three children – Randi, Russell, and John. They are also the proud grandparents of Grant and JoAnn.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Council Member Emily Gabel-Luddy was elected Vice Mayor by a 4 to 1 vote with Councilman David Gordon casting both no votes.

Vice Mayor Gabel-Luddy was elected to the Burbank City Council in 2011 but 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. She and her husband Bill have lived in Burbank for almost 20 years.

Each year, the Mayor and Vice-Mayor are chosen from among the five Burbank council members and alternate on an annual basis.

Burbank's new Mayor, David Golonski, sits in the Mayor's chair for his fourth time as his Vice Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy thanks her fellow council members. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Frutos Issues Statement Congratulating Gabel-Luddy

Bob Frutos issued the following statement Saturday…

Bob Frutos, Chair of the Burbank Police Commission, entered the race for Burbank City Council to participate in his civic duty as a contributor to the betterment of the City and its residents.  After a much contested primary election, the voters of Burbank selected Bob and Emily Gabel-Luddy to enter into a runoff election for the privilege of serving the residents of Burbank.

The April 12th runoff election proved to be a contested race as both candidates worked hard to communicate their vision for leadership as future city councilpersons.  In the end, the diligence of both campaigns managed to provide the city with the closest race seen in Burbank.  And after the margin favored candidate Emily Gabel-Luddy, Bob contacted her to congratulate her in a well run race. Bob also indicated to her that he places his support and disposition to her 110% as our next city council member.

Bob’s interest will now be to ensure the success of the council in continuing to serve the residents of the city of Burbank.  “This is the first time I run for public office, and it has been a privilege to have received such warm support from many old and new friends from our great city.”  Bob further stated, “I will do everything in my power to help move the City forward.  Emily will be a great council person for Burbank and I want her to know that I will be a contributor to her tenure as she engages in realizing her vision to make Burbank a city we can all be proud of.”

Final Results Are Tabulated For Burbank’s 2011 General Election

Burbank City Clerk, Margarita Campos, announced that final results are in for Burbank’s General Election held Tuesday, April 12, 2011.  Of the 56,239 eligible voters, 8,866 ballots were cast (8,106 ballots were cast in the 2011 Primary), representing a 15.7 percent return rate.  With all ballots verified and counted, the results remain consistent with those announced last Tuesday evening, although these numbers now include ballots that were pending verification by the Los Angeles County Registrar/Recorder’s Office.

There were two candidates who qualified for the ballot for the City Council seat (in ballot order): Robert “Bob” Frutos (4,316 votes), and Emily Gabel Luddy (4,411 votes).  Emily Gabel Luddy received a majority of the votes cast and therefore is duly elected to office for a full term of four years, ending April 30, 2015.

There was one Measure on the ballot: Measure U – Modernize Utility Users Tax Ordinance, which received the following vote: Yes (5,720 votes), No (2,562 votes).

Gabel-Luddy Wins Seat On Topsy-Turvy Night

Emily Gabel-Luddy sits down with Burbank Public Information Officer, Keith Sterling for an interview on Burbank's Channel 6 (Photo By Ross A. Benson)

By Stan Lynch

It was an incredibly close finish to an election that saw the lead change several times before Burbank City Council candidate Emily Gabel-Luddy just barely edged out Robert Frutos by a mere 84 votes.
The two candidates were never very far apart as the results of the vote counting started coming out Tuesday night.  Gabel-Luddy took the lead when results from the first of the City’s 42 precincts were posted on the government access channel (Burbank TV 6).  She was ahead of Frutos by 62 votes with 5 precincts reporting. However, when the next posting with 8 precincts reporting went up, Frutos had taken a 95 vote lead.

And so it went the entire evening.  It was a real “nail biter” as the tally seesawed back and forth between the two candidates.   It was a real “cliff hanger” as the votes came down to the wire.  Gabel-Luddy won by a razor-thin margin of 84 votes, 4,400 to Fruto’s 4,314 votes.   The other item on the ballot, Measure U, passed with 5,264 votes for it, and 2,555 against.

A total of 8,853 ballots were cast in the election.  Roughly 15% of the approximate 58,000 registered voters in Burbank cast ballots.   Of the votes cast, a total of 7,819 were over Measure U, while 8,714 were for the council candidate.  That left 139 votes unaccounted for.

City Clerk Margarita Campos explained the discrepancy in the numbers.  “There were some ballots that were blank, while some people didn’t vote for either of the council candidates.”    Campos noted that they even received some ballots from the primary election.   They were not counted.

With such a close race, the difference between the two candidates being less than 1%, some at City Hall on election night wondered if there might be a recount.  Campos noted that the machinery used to count the ballots is tested before the actual ballots are counted, and again afterwards to make sure the count is accurate.
“Of course a candidate can ask for a recount,” Campos said, adding, “But they would have to pay for the cost of it.”

Perhaps it is the “all mail ballot” which really is akin to everyone voting by absentee ballot, but the excitement of election night just wasn’t there at City Hall this election.  A “crowd” of maybe 10 people showed up.  Police Commissioner Jim Etter, his wife, and two of his adult children were among the first to show up to watch the results. Councilman David Gordon joined them for awhile.  Both candidates were noticeably absent, with Gabel-Luddy only showing up well after all the votes had been counted and she was the unofficial winner.  The election should be certified by Friday and the newest council member sworn into office on May 2 along with incumbent Gary Bric who won re-election in the primary.

Those who watch the votes live saw the following results:

Election Results as posted by the City Clerk during the vote counting

Precincts  Frutos Gabel-Luddy Measure U:  Yes  No

1          172          217                          231  110

5          552           613                         716  325

8          878           783                         955  419

11       1,349        1,267                    1,552  704

14       1,579        1,622                    1,914  859

17       1,930        2003                   2,305  1,128

20       2,102        2,160                        –         –

23       2,495        2,498                  2,935  1,469

26       2,817        2,791                  3,315  1,664

32       3,389        3,339                  3,955  2019

35       3,670        3,736                  4,429  2,176

38       3,951        4,090                  4,823  2,362

42       4,314        4,400                  5,264  2,555

42 out of 42 precincts counted.  Total Votes Cast:  8,853

Burbank General Municipal Election Preliminary Results

With 8,853 total votes cast, the following are the preliminary results from today’s General Municipal Election:

(42 of 42 precincts reporting)

City Council

Robert “Bob” Frutos – 4,314 votes

Emily Gabel-Luddy – 4,400 votes

NOTE: Emily Gabel-Luddy joins already re-elected Councilman Gary Bric on the Burbank City Council.  Bric was elected in the primary election in February.

Measure U

Yes – 5,264 votes

No – 2,555 votes

Gary Bric Wins Re-Election, All Three School Board Members Voted Back In

Candidate Robert Frutos, standing with current Councilman Dr. David Gordan, and Jacqueline Waltman anxiously await all the voter precincts to be counted Tuesday night at City Hall. (Photo By Steven J. Lynch)

Burbank City Councilman’s Gary Bric re-election bid proved successful as he picked up 57.5% of the vote during the Burbank Primary Election.  It took 50% of the votes cast plus one to bypass the General Election in April

Bob Frutos and Emily Gabel-Luddy will compete for the remaining open seat in the April 12 election

In the school board race, all three incumbents, Ted Bunch, Roberta Grande-Reynolds, and Dave Kemp all picked up the needed votes to also bypass the General Election.

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