Tag Archives: Letter to the Editor

Letter: Councilman Wishes All a Happy Holiday Season

Letter to the Editor:

“Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays.” 

“It is time to reflect on all of the blessings for which I am thankful.  

I am thankful for another good year of health for myself and my family.  I am continually honored and blessed to serve as your council member of our great city.   I am also thankful for so many residents who care for our community and get involved in our local government.  It is because of your love and dedication that makes this a great community.  

I am thankful for the dedicated employees that work hard, especially our Police and Fire Departments for keeping our city safe.   I am thankful for the men and women who sacrifice so much to keep us free.  

I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving and a Happy and safe Holiday Season.

Bob Frutos “

 

Letter: Council Member Springer Explains Rancho Vote

Letter to the Editor:

The following is in response to questions regarding my Tuesday night City Council vote.  I was opposed to the 34 lot proposed development on Mariposa because I believed it to be too dense and incompatible with the surrounding residential area in the Rancho.  Actually, an appropriate density might be about half that, if residential use were to ever be approved.  Of this I am sure: each member of City Council wants what’s best for the Rancho and all our neighborhoods. I believe each City Council member believed their vote was for an acceptable resolution and outcome.   

Before I reviewed our City Council packet, I thought we would be voting on a 34 lot subdivision, when in fact, the following is what City Council was considering: “whether an application can be submitted to study changing the General Plan land use for 814 S. Mariposa from commercial to residential.”  The following provides further clarification:  “The authorization to proceed does not suggest Council supports the proposed Planned Development, the number of units or the layout of the project. The number of units and layout could change as the project proceeds through the entitlement process as required by the Burbank Municipal Code.”  We were not voting on a certain zoning change; in the end, the zoning could have been unchanged from M1.  Nor were we voting on a 34 lot development, although that’s what the developer would like to have had approved.  These facts were confirmed multiple times during and after the City Council meeting with Patrick Prescott, Community Development Director and City Manager, Ron Davis.

Although there are many in the Rancho who want the zoning to remain M1; there are also residents who support very low density R1H horse keeping residential, consistent with what’s on Morningside and Dincara. They believe large lot R1H residential use to be more stable, safer for equestrians using Mariposa, and that residential use would preserve property values and is value enhancing, versus the potential negative impacts to existing homes proximate and adjacent to commercial or industrial uses.  It’s daunting for many residents to speak publicly, especially when they face jeering and heckling at Rancho Review Board and City Council meetings.  I applaud the courage of the brave young soul who spoke up affirmatively on Tuesday night.  The R1H zone, with appropriate lot size requirements, could be approved to run with the land, whether or not this developer stayed in the game.  I felt the proposed application process to study changing the General Plan land use would be fair to everybody and in the end, the Rancho Review Board and City Council would vote on any proposed land use change.  The site would remain M1, or be very low density residential.   

Just like all of our neighborhoods, I believe the Rancho is a treasure and should be protected.  Not many cities in the world have a Rancho and I feel like it should be protected from being “chipped away.”
Sharon Springer
Burbank City Council
SSpringer@BurbankCA.gov

Letter: Burbank’s Budget Problem Discussed

Letter to the Editor:

Burbank faces a financial crisis over the coming years. It’s a crisis 20 years in the making, and one that is going to require difficult decisions to address.

But these choices need not be nearly as draconian as the “dystopian” cuts presented to the City Council at a recent Study Session, and outlined in a recent MyBurbank article [LINK: https://myburbank.com/10/sections/city-of-burbank/burbank-faces-large-budget-cuts-following-rising-deficit/]

Quite the opposite, in fact.

This crisis provides an opportunity to affirm what makes Burbank such a wonderful community in which to live. And it provides an opportunity to enshrine a long-term commitment to good and responsible governance.

First, how’d we get here?

The bulk of the looming deficit comes from three sources:

1. A recent court decision ruling a certain tax was improperly structured (COST: ~$11.7mil per year)

2. A decision in the late 1990s to pause funding the City’s pension fund, which was at the time 140% funded, but is now 80% funded. This is cost hitting Burbank now, because CA State recently required cities statewide to re-fund their pension funds. (COST: ~$16mil per year)

3. Years of “deferred infrastructure” spending – an unfortunate side-effect of electoral politics, in which necessary but “boring” spending gets postponed in favor of more visible projects – a problem that seems to plague every level of the US Government. (COST: ~$20mil per year over 30 years)

How do we get back on track?

Fixing the “tax ruling” should be relatively easy through the appropriate ballot measure. The tax in question (“In Lieu Tax”) has been on the books in various forms since the 1950s, but its current formulation runs afoul of more recent CA State legislation. Updating the wording to bring it in line with current regulations should address this situation.

The “pension funding” and “deferred infrastructure spending” decisions are both regrettable, but Burbank is hardly alone in making such decisions. And the funding that should have gone to pensions and infrastructure was by no means wasted – it largely went to provide the quality services that make Burbank such an amazing community.

Over the past 20 years, Burbank City Councils have provided valuable services to their residents – but these services came at a cost. And that cost has now come due.

The good news?

We don’t need to close parks or lay off police officers to balance our budget. The solution to these problems is not nearly as gut-wrenching as it seems. For example, a 0.75% increase to the City’s sales tax (less than one cent on every dollar) would address about 70% of the budget deficit. And a small increase to the “Transient Occupancy Tax”, a tax on hotel rooms, not paid by residents, would cover much of the rest. These two small increases, combined with sensible cuts that increase efficiency without cutting services, would allow Burbank to:

– Meet it’s California-imposed pension obligations
– Steadily fix its aging infrastructure
– Maintain the quality services that make Burbank such a wonderful community

The eventual solution will no doubt be more complex and involved than a simple 1% sales tax. But it shows that the problems we face are well within our ability to manage, without drastic cuts that wreak havoc on our community.

What does it take to do this?

It takes citizens to stand up and say,

“We love Burbank, and we want to preserve what we have. But to do so, we need a City Council that will make a long-term commitment to rebuilding our infrastructure and maintaining current service levels. And if it costs a bit to do that, then we’re willing to invest in Burbank.”

 

I believe this is well within our reach. And I believe it’s a chance for Burbank to serve as a positive example for what good and responsible governance can achieve for a community that believes in itself.

Dr. Simon Lutterbie

Letter: Thanks to Burbank’s Voters

Letter to the Editor:

I want to take this opportunity to say Thank You to the voters of Burbank for your overwhelming support in our 2017 Primary Election. It is a privilege to be able to represent your interests and to continue to serve as your city councilman in this wonderful city that we call home. 

   As residents, and as a city, we are facing several challenges in the coming years that I am confident we will overcome by working together, identifying solutions, and moving forward.

   I am looking forward to the next four years of taking input, building consensus, making tough decisions, and working hard to make Burbank even better. And, as always, please feel free to contact me anytime at: jtalamantes@burbankca.gov or by phone at 818-238-5750.  

   I truly appreciate your vote of confidence, and I will continue to do the best that I can for our city.   

   Thank you, Burbank!

Sincerely,

Jess Talamantes

Letter: To Burbank Citizens From Sharon Springer

Following is a Letter to the Editor:

To Burbank,

I would like to thank our Burbank community for electing me to city council.

Thank you for opening your doors when we knocked; thank you for talking with us outside grocery stores, and schools. Thank you for tolerating my morning campaign runs.  Thank you for hosting my bright pink signs, your financial contributions and your word of mouth endorsements. 

Thanks to my campaign chair person, Elaine Paonessa and my well organized, relentless volunteers for their inspiration, support and belief in me.  Thanks to my organizational endorsements, family, friends and neighbors. 

I look forward to your continued engagement, interaction and to serving you in a positive, open, optimistic and inclusive way.

Sincerely,
Sharon Springer

Letter: A Heartfelt Thank You Message to Burbank Residents:

The following is a Letter to the Editor:

I am grateful to have received your strong support and your vote in this General election.    Many of you were there for me four years ago in 2013 and you have shown your trust in me again today. Heartfelt thank you for your vote to get re-elected to the Burbank City Council.

Four years ago, I pledged to you my commitment towards working for you and for our city.  Today, I am more committed and dedicated to continue to work to tirelessly for you.    

My door at City hall is always open to all Burbank residents to listen to your concerns.  Thank you for making my dream of effectively and honestly serving Burbank a reality.  I want to make a positive difference in our city.   I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Sincerely,
Bob Frutos

Letter to the Editor: Open Facebook Group to All Citizens

Letter to the Editor:

I have a favor to ask of my fellow Burbank residents, and I hope that you read this knowing I am tremendously grateful for the unique relationships that we all have as Burbank residents, parents, neighbors and volunteers. I’ve been here for 20 years, and my kids are enjoying a great life in Burbank.  We have a unique privilege to engage our local leaders on any matter of concern, and we celebrate the successes achieved by our collective voices.

 

So, what is that favor I wanted to ask you?  Well, at least four-thousand of you are members of the closed “City of Burbank” Facebook group- the one run by our mayor, Jess Talamantes, and his son, Scott.  Being among many residents whose requests to join have gone unanswered, I want all Burbank residents to be granted equal access to this group. Mayor Talamantes promotes it as: 

 

“…a virtual community forum that promotes open communication between residents, provides community news/updates and ultimately establishes one more avenue of bringing our community closer! This modern tool of communication enables everyone from B.U.S.D. students and faculty, to Burbank residents and even city officials to exchange ideas, and information in real time. “

 

So, why are many of us unable to join? Why aren’t membership rules clearly stated, and why is membership administered by our Mayor, an elected official? Members of our City Council, City Staff, School Board and Superintendent, as well as the founder/editor of MyBurbank.com have joined this group.  I have participated in a few BUSD committees and groups, from PTA to GATE to LCAP, so joining this group seems like a great way to stay in the loop. I sent my Facebook concerns to City Council, who then forwarded them to City Staff, but after Vice Mayor Rogers dismissed my concerns and suggested I start my own Facebook group, I submitted a letter to the Burbank Leader, and I started a Moveon.org petition, to appeal to City Council and Staff to formally ask the Talamantes’ to open up membership, so that more of us can connect with each other.

 

So, for those of you who have been granted membership, I’m asking you to reach out to Jess and Scott, or even post a message on the City of Burbank group page, asking them to post the membership rules, and to allow more of us to join. Short of that, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for me to ask that they change the group name to something less official, and change the group description so that it doesn’t give the misleading impression that all Burbank residents (ie. taxpaying voters) are welcome to join. There are plenty of other special interest Facebook groups which are clearly identified, but this one appears to be city-endorsed, so what gives?

 

This might be an awkward request, as some of you may be friends or neighbors or members of the same organizations, but I want to assure you, this is not personal, not partisan, and there’s no hidden agenda. In fact, if group membership needs to be controlled to minimize cyber-bullying, then let me assure you that I am all in favor of enforcing rules of decorum- but outright censorship should not be policy on a site named “City of Burbank”.

 

Thanks for reading my humble request, and I will harbor no ill-will if you choose to stay out of the fray.  In the meantime, here’s a link to my letter in the Burbank Leader, and my Moveon.org petition.
I hope that you will share my concerns, help me get straight answers, and sign the petition.

 

Your friend and neighbor,

-David Hunter

 

Burbank Leader Mailbag:
“Cracking closed Facebook sites”
http://www.latimes.com/socal/burbank-leader/opinion/tn-blr-me-mailbag-20170224-story.html

 

Moveon.org Petition:
City of Burbank Facebook Transparency
http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/city-of-burbank-facebook

Letter to the Editor: Rogers Comments on Election Contribution

To the Editor:

I found it ironic David Gordon and Juan Guillen reported receiving campaign donations from developer Michael Cusumano.  The irony was that that Gordon repeatedly predicted the other candidates (other than his slate-mates would likely take cash from Cusumano, and he’d be alone in staying pure.  But here was Gordon reporting quite the opposite.

I don’t object to developer contributions in general.  The decisions have to be made on a case-by-case basis.  And it’s NOT unusual for candidates to receive cash they didn’t solicit and don’t want.  But standard practice has them reporting the revenue, then on the same forms, reporting the cash was returned.  Gordon reported the receipt, but 10 days later still had the donation.

In response to my teasing in a Facebook post, Gordon “issued a statement.”  Others of us say stuff.  Gordon “issues statements.”  Anyway, he confirmed receiving the cash, then offered a convoluted explanation of the simple “Paypal” system.  The implication was that somehow Paypal kept the cash inaccessible, which of course is exactly contrary to one of two reasons Paypal exists.

Indeed, Gordon went on to claim that what mattered was his “intent” with the money.  Of course, actions speak louder than words, which is why forthright people don’t have to convince anyone of their intent 10 days after the fact.  Instead – whether running for council, Assembly or Senate, or any other office – others just return unwanted donations as soon as it’s realized they came in.  But ten days after Gordon’s own statement acknowledges he learned he had Cusumano’s money, he was still holding the cash.

What made this a true Gordon experience was the next section of his “statement.”  He had the money, it came in through Paypal, and he somehow held it because it’s his intent to eventually send it back – certainly now that we all know about it, eh?  But in closing, Gordon offered more explanation.

“…  certain members of the community, including Vice Mayor Will Rogers and Council Candidate Sharon Springer, have pounced upon the reporting out of this entirely legal contribution…”

Gordon’s woes are partly my fault because I noted how his publicly-filed report contradicted his frequent claims and his implicit smears of others?  It’s Springer’s fault that his public report prompted her to recall Gordon’s repeated claims that he and his slate-mates would probably be the only candidates NOT to receive developer donations,

Gordon then closed by declaring his confidence that Cusumano meant well, and he of course cleared himself.  So, the only miscreants named were Will Rogers and Sharon Springer, though we had absolutely no control over the cash, Gordon’s reports, or his bank account.  And to ,think, people keep wondering why I see so many points in common between David Gordon and Donald Trump.

The proof of hypocrisy is already clear.  The usual handful of well-known Gordon promoters are congratulating Gordon and Guillen for returning the cash, as if 10 days after-the-fact they wouldn’t have seen them assembling the cross to hoist any other candidate who did precisely and exactly the same.

I hope Ms. Springer has learned her lesson.  Speech isn’t so free in Burbank that one is permitted to question David Gordon.  His supporters will teach her that lesson during public comments at an upcoming council meeting.

Will Rogers

LETTER: Councilman Frutos Gives Thanks

I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving Holiday.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends we give thanks for the blessings and the freedom s we enjoy every day.  I am very appreciative of the great opportunity you have given me to serve as one of your Council Members in our great city.

I am thankful that we live in a city with so many caring residents who are involved in our community to help those who are less fortunate.   I’m also thankful for all of our City employees, our Police and Fire Departments who are dedicated and work hard every day to provide all residents with great services.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Bob Frutos

Letter to the Editor: Mayor Frutos Spreads Well Wishes

“HAPPY THANKSGIVING”

On this Thanksgiving Day it seems more important than ever to count our blessings especially as we watch local or world events.   

Today I am thankful for my health, my family, friends and neighbors.  

I want to wish you and your family Peace, Love and Happiness.   

Bob Frutos
Mayor, City of Burbank