Tag Archives: Grant

City Launches Campaign On Youth Vaping

Society is battling many social problems that have become front and center such as the homeless problem and the battle that many have with opioids. Both are important issues but a large issue floating under the radar is teenage vaping and the use of e-cigarettes.

Photo by ShutterStock

Last week, Burbank officials started their campaign to educate and hopefully stem the use of e-cigarettes and vaping among our younger population.  The campaign is a result of a grant that the Community Development Department in the City of Burbank received in 2018. The Building & Safety division oversees administration of the grant.

According to Carol-Ann Coates, Building Administration Manager for the City of Burbank, “The California Department of Justice awarded the City the $104,335 grant in 2018 to support the City’s efforts toward combating the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors. The City applied for this grant because it aligns with goals to educate the community on the dangers of tobacco use by youth and to combat the illegal sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to minors.”

“The City has several program initiatives that will be carried out.  During the two-year term of the grant, the Police Department (PD) will conduct two Shoulder Tap and two Decoy operations.”

Burbank Police Sergeant Derek Green said that the department will be overseeing the decoy operation.

“New laws are focused more on cracking down on retailers selling/furnishing tobacco to people under 21, in hopes of stopping at the source the growing epidemic of tobacco use by our youth,” explained Green. “Anyone who furnishes a minor/person under 21 with tobacco products could be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor in addition to other penalties.”

“Vaping and the use of nicotine falls under new tobacco laws effective in 2016, which raises the age to 21 to purchase tobacco products, including vaping cartridges. The only exception is active U.S. Military, which is 18 years of age,” according to Green.

Vaping or -cigarettes take on so many different looks

While selling the products to anyone under 21 has severe consequences for retailers, there is not much teeth for the police when it comes to possession of e-cigarettes, vapers, cartridges or just lighters and regular cigarettes. Police officers have their hands tied to a point about enforcement.

When asked if a police officer can confiscate any items from a minor if they are in possession, Green stated, “Mere possession of a vaping device (without cartridge) is not illegal. Tobacco products in possession of a minor could be confiscated by officers as evidence, depending on the circumstances.”

It would be up to the City to come up with an ordinance to assist police.

Beverly Hills is trying to stem the problem by outright banning all tobacco products, not just those in possession of minors. This does not mean minors can not possess products or smoking is illegal by adults but it makes it harder to get tobacco products unless they drive to a different city.

Burbank City Councilmember Jess Talamantes is a strong supporter of limiting Burbank’s youth from vaping and smoking in general. “The state has recognized that there is a problem, by first classifying e-cigarettes as tobacco products and than raising the legal age to 21, they are on the right track.”

“The Beverly Hills city council went one step further by banning the sale of almost all tobacco products within city limits. At this point, I’m not certain that a total ban is right for Burbank, but I would like to meet with our City Attorney, Police Chief, Chamber of Commerce and PTA Council to identify the potential benefits and pitfalls of such an ordinance for Burbank.”

Of course he also recognizes that you can draft all the laws and ordinances that you want, but then they will need to be enforced, which will take additional manpower and resources.

“Let’s not forget a vital aspect of the existing laws and any future ordinances In Burbank, is enforcement! I have no doubt that Burbank P.D. is ready to enforce the laws already in place and any potential ordinance in the future, but we have to make sure the PD staffing levels will allow for it,” Talamantes added. “After all, as the Beverly Hills city council said ‘that any potential revenue lost by local businesses is outweighed by the public health benefits.'”

There is already an ordinance in Burbank banning any type of smoking, including vaping, in the Burbank Downtown area. Police are responsible for enforcement.

“Under Business & Professions Codes, vaping falls under California’s Smoke Free Laws and makes vaping illegal anywhere that smoking is prohibited. Under our local smoking ordinances in Burbank (e.g., Downtown Burbank no-smoking), vaping would be prohibited as well,” according to Green.

According to Coates, another part of the grant allowed the City and Burbank Police Department to work together on an educational campaign, “Our Police Department and our Public Information Office (PIO) recently released an educational video on social media targeted to youth and retailers on the dangers and illegality of purchasing e-cigarettes. Community Development is working with PD and PIO on outreach and licensing of tobacco retailers. The City Attorney Office provides legal support as necessary.”

In the video, Know the Risks – E-Cigarettes & Youth, which features Green discussing e-cigarettes and vaping, he states that according to the National Youth Tobacco survey in 2018 tobacco use is up 78% among high school students. He also said that 21% of high school students are using e-cigarettes regularly as well as 5% of middle school students.  No mention was made of elementary students but no doubt as younger kids see their older siblings using vapers, they will follow.

With one vape pod equaling the same amount on nicotine as a pack of traditional cigarettes, it is important to not only work on enforcement, but on the education.

Dr. Matt Hill, Superintendent Burbank Unified School District, is also quite concerned about this epidemic overtaking the youth of this country, “The BUSD takes this epidemic seriously. We are working closely with students, parents, the City, BPD, and the community to educate individuals about the harms of vaping. We all need to work together to protect our youth. On July 18, 2019, the BUSD will be discussing this topic at their Board meeting.”

They can not just come out with a blanket uniform education or enforcement because students range from 5 to 19 years old so many factors need to be taken into consideration. When it comes to discipline, Dr. Hill reiterated, “Regarding discipline  – it depends on the situation (possessing, using, how many times, etc.) The discipline can range from suspension, to in school suspension, Saturday school, parent conference, etc.”

Obtaining the grant the City is using is only a first step to helping parents in this fight.

It is up to parents to monitor their kids. Vaping is not only done by fringe students, but some of the best and smartest. By having so many flavors available, it has become a social thing for kids to try different flavors and share with their friends. Vaping instruments have also been designed to sometimes look like computer jump drives and other routine items.

Parents need to be on the lookout not only for these devices, but also their children’s spending habits. Some of these cartridges can run $30 and $40 dollars each besides the delivery system, the e-cigarette, which can also be expensive.

It is going to be up to the Burbank City Council down the line when it comes to the laws and how they will be enforced. At this point most of the laws only really apply to the retailer or supplier of the tobacco products and not the user, no matter the age. While the grant was a great first step, “one of the program initiatives is to evaluate our existing regulations and policies. The results of that study will be presented to Council in the future. The subject of smoking and vaping by minors is a concern to the City,” said Coates.

Talamantes put it best when he said, “The health and well-being of Burbank residents and more importantly our youth, is a priority for this Councilmember!”

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Editor’s Notes:
Here is a link to the tobacco law amendment voted in during 2016.

Here is the video produced by the City and the Burbank Police Department. PLEASE watch it, watch it twice, talk to your kids. This will only get worse unless everyone takes a stance to make it better!

BPD Receives $100,000 Grant From Office of Traffic Safety

By Timothy Mably

The Burbank Police Department has received a $100,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety to fund a year-long program intended to prevent road deaths and injuries by enforcing awareness and educating the public.

The grant will contribute to presentations on traffic safety, DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols, bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement, motorcycle safety enforcement, distracted driving enforcement, and seatbelt and child safety seat enforcement.

“This grant supports our mission to continue educating the public through various enforcement campaigns throughout the year in order to reduce the number of injuries and deaths attributed to traffic collisions and unsafe driving habits,” said Chief of Police, Scott LaChasse.

Following a decade long low in 2010, the amount of people killed in car accidents has grown to 17% across the country. In 2015, there was a record total of 3,429 fatalities from traffic related incidents. Almost a quarter of fatalities involved pedestrians and bicyclists.

According to OTS Director Rhonda Craft, unsafe behavior causes about 94% of accidents, whether it is the result of texting or the influence of drugs.

“While alcohol remains the worst offender for DUI crashes, the Burbank Police Department supports the new effort from OTS which aims to drive awareness that ‘DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze,’” said Sgt. Derek Green in a press release. “Prescription medications and marijuana can also be impairing by themselves, or in combination with alcohol, and can result in a DUI arrest.”

This grant comes after an elderly man was struck and killed while crossing the intersection of Glenoaks Boulevard and Lincoln Street at the beginning of the month. A Disney employee was also killed by an inattentive driver while crossing Alameda Avenue and Lincoln in September.

Funding for the program comes from OTS through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Grant Will Help Firefighters Communicate at Emergencies

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank residents and firefighters will be safer thanks to another grant awarded by DeWitt Stern and Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company. The $15,000 grant allows the Burbank Fire Department to purchase new radios, enabling firefighters to better communicate with each other – and with other responding agencies – at the scene of an emergency.

Burbank City Council member Bob Frutos speaks during a Check Passing Press Conference at Burbank Fire Headquarters.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank City Council member Bob Frutos speaks during a Check Passing Press Conference at Burbank Fire Headquarters.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

When firefighters can clearly articulate instructions and commands, the community is better served. In addition, this grant helps improve firefighter safety, as poor communication is one of the leading causes of firefighter injuries and deaths.

Burbank Fire Department officials, firefighters, and executives from DeWitt Stern and Fireman’s Fund will come together for a special public event where the grant will be presented and the equipment will be demonstrated:

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The grant is part of a nationwide philanthropic program funded by Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company. This year, Fireman’s Fund celebrates its 150th anniversary. Founded in 1863 with a social mission to support the fire service, Fireman’s Fund today awards grants to fire service organizations for life-saving equipment, firefighter training and community education programs. Since 2004, Fireman’s Fund has awarded grants to more than 1,900 different organizations totaling more than $30 million – including more than $8.5 million in California. The Burbank Fire Department has received more than $400,000 through this grant program, which is more than any other fire department on the West Coast.

Independent insurance agencies and brokers that sell Fireman’s Fund products, like DeWitt Stern, are able to direct these grants to support the fire service. Through this program, DeWitt Stern has directed over $800,000 in grants to fire departments nationwide – including $257,000 to Burbank Fire.

Burbank Fire Chief Tom Lenahan demonstrates how the donation will be used for new VHF radios. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Fire Chief Tom Lenahan demonstrates how the donation will be used for new VHF radios. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“This generous grant from Fireman’s Fund and DeWitt Stern supports my top priorities of enhancing the safety of our firefighters and our community,” said Burbank Fire Chief Tom Lenahan. “We couldn’t be more thankful for all of the support we’ve received from Fireman’s Fund and its independent agencies such as DeWitt Stern. In fact, one of the grants we previously received funded a simulator that teaches firefighters to recognize the signs of a possible flashover – and the training has been credited with saving several firefighters from this dangerous scenario caused by a room superheating to its ignition point.”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“We are honored to support the fire service and the communities they serve in partnership with Fireman’s Fund,” said John Hamby, managing director of Dewitt Stern of California Insurance Services. “Giving back to the community is an important value that we share.”

“Supporting firefighters for safer communities was one the founding principles of Fireman’s Fund back in 1863,” adds Andrew Torrance, president and chief executive officer of Fireman’s Fund. “As we celebrate our 150th anniversary, we must not only reflect on the company’s many accomplishments, but we must look to the future and how we support the challenges faced by firefighters today. This grant does just that.”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Overall rating

Johnny Carson Park Receives $1.7 Million State Grant

The creek at Johnny Carson Park is the focus of the grant (Photo By Craig Sherwood)

Plans to redesign popular, but aging Johnny Carson Park in Burbank will received a significant boost thanks to more than $1.7 million dollars in grant money from the State of California.

The California Natural Resources Agency held a ceremony in Sacramento this past Wednesday (Nov. 28), at which time it awarded $34 million to 33 river parkway projects around California.

Johnny Carson Park will receive $1,780,000 to restore an existing 885-foot storm water channel to a natural creek and create eight acres of habitat with a one-half mile ADA accessible creek side loop trail.

“This money will go a long way in the much needed renovation of Johnny Carson Park,” says Judie Wilke, Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services for the City of Burbank. “Park users will be able to enjoy the parkland’s natural habitat in addition to the other amenities including, the playground, performance stage, picnic area and pedestrian bridges.”

The renovations to the 17.60 acre park that borders Bob Hope Drive and State Route 134 are in the design phase. More information regarding the proposed redesign from the City of Burbank website,


Johnny Carson Park Redesign

Johnny Carson Park is one of the largest and most utilized neighborhood parks within the City. Throughout the park’s history, the site has lost and gained several acres. Currently, the park stands at 17.60 acres and approximately 8.75 acres of the park are City-owned. The park also provides extensive local, regional, environmental and social benefits.

The current amenities offered at this park include: a picnic area; an outdoor exercise course; a playground; a drainage channel (streambed); two pedestrian bridges; a small performance stage; restroom facilities; an abundant amount of mature trees; and vast areas of shaded green passive open parkland. These amenities make this facility quite popular with the community. The park’s topography and potential for streambed restoration provide some very exciting opportunities for sustainability-driven improvements.

In order to operate and maintain the park’s infrastructure in a way that balances the sustainability goals of the City Council, the City is currently undergoing an effort to renovate the interior core of the park. The project will focus on improving energy efficiency, water efficiency, public access and will employ current design practices that are geared toward long-term sustainability, while still serving the community’s recreational needs.

Project Update:

For the most recent project updates please contact Jan Bartolo, Park Services Deputy Director at (818) 238-5300.

June 2012 – Update

The City has applied to four sperate grant applications sponsored by the State of California, Department of Parks and Recreation (State) to help offset development costs associated with the redesign of Johnny Carson Park. The City was recently notified by the State that the City’s Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant application has been recommended to receive an award of $265,000 in grant monies.  The City’s LWCF grant still needs to be formally approved by the National Park Services. It is anticipated that the approval process could take up to three months before the City receives a fully executed agreement.

The LWCF grant’s project scope includes enhancing the existing loop trail with interpretative signage, performing Americans with Disability Act (ADA) improvements to the two existing bridges, providing a new par course exercise equipment and creating a secondary trail system complete with benches.

The project is currently on a hiatus for the next 120 days while, staff awaits for the formal award to be made on the LWCF grant along with the notification of awards to be made on the remaining outstanding grants that have been submitted. Furthermore, with the recent dissolution of the City’s Redevelopment Agency, the initial funding earmarked towards this project has been eliminated. The City is currently exploring creative methods to fund this beneficial and worthwhile community project.

Through the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Budget process, the Burbank City Council has approved funding for the removal and replacement of playground equipment at Johnny Carson Park.

August 2011 – Update

Through an ongoing community planning process, the design firm of AHBE Landscape Architects with input from various community leaders, Burbank residents, business and City staff has proposed the following options for the redesign of Johnny Carson Park:

Option A
Design concept based on a site loop walk experience that becomes a journey through spaces representative of southern California landscape typologies. By connecting the northern ends of the existing main walkways, a complete loop walkway presents opportunities for walkers, joggers, strollers, and all user types to be engaged and be in contact with diverse open spatial experiences. The loop takes advantages of the existing topographic conditions, mature vegetation, a stream, and views of the site to create a space for much needed urban reprieves and contact with nature.

Johnny Carson Concept A


Option B
Design concept highlight resource generating elements including an outdoor café, solar panels, and usage of reclaimed water. In addition to all amenities provided by the existing typical passive park programs, this concept design adds Net Zero Energy concept where energy and resource (funding, food production, water) are self-generated at the park site itself. By adding programs such as a café (leased out to a vendor), rentable stage/event spaces, community gardens and orchard for food production and sales, cisterns and/or gray water processing units for irrigation and other non-potable use, photo-voltaic panels for lighting for night use, the park can sustain and operate by little not no supplementary resource.

Johnny Carson Concept B

Option C
Design concept reflects on the historic watershed of the site and reshapes the park to function as a true stormwater mitigation system as well as recreational amenities and habitat restoration site. A large open lawn area in the center is excavated to contain a capital storm flood water. Unique recreational play areas and event spaces are created around this reshaped open lawn. On the existing steep slopes, an adventure play and walkways are connected to the existing walkways.

Johnny Carson Concept C


Johnny Carson Park Creek Design Options

Johnny Carson Creek  Option A

Johnny Carson Creek Option B

Burbank Elk’s Honor Burbank’s Best

Burbank’s leadership and residents gathered at Burbank Elk’s Lodge on Wednesday evening to recognize and honor four of the city’s finest at the 3rd Annual Community Service Awards. The awards are presented to those representing the highest standards of community service through both exceptional job performance, as well as continued contributions to the welfare of Burbank. Receiving Community Service Awards were Burbank Police Officer of the Year, Officer Harry Terrill; Burbank Fire Fighter of the Year, Firefighter Grant Stephens; Burbank City Employee of the Year, Ari Omessi; and Burbank Teacher of the Year, Rebecca Mieliwocki. Deborah Dodge was there to talk to the award winners.

Burbank Elk’s Honor Burbank’s Best

Burbank’s leadership and residents gathered at Burbank Elk’s Lodge on Wednesday evening to recognize and honor four of the city’s finest at the 3rd Annual Community Service Awards. The awards are presented to those representing the highest standards of community service through both exceptional job performance, as well as continued contributions to the welfare of Burbank. Receiving Community Service Awards were Burbank Police Officer of the Year, Officer Harry Terrill; Burbank Fire Fighter of the Year, Firefighter Grant Stephens; Burbank City Employee of the Year, Ari Omessi; and Burbank Teacher of the Year, Rebecca Mieliwocki. Deborah Dodge was there to talk to the award winners.