Tag Archives: Mayor

Burbank City Council Searches for New Member in Special Meeting

On Monday, May 7, applications were due for those who hope to be considered for the Burbank City Council. The vacancy comes in light of the passing of Burbank Mayor Will Rogers.

A total of 31 applications were turned in and 28 applicants have qualified to begin the interview process.

During a City Council meeting on May 10, council members were given an introduction and presentation of 27 applicants interested in continuing the process. Applicant Davida Frieman withdrew prior to the meeting.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Council members voted for three candidates and determined the final eight candidates. The City Clerk conducted a draw of the finalists and placed them in order for the process to continue: 1. Robert S. Brody, 2. John Bwarie, 3. Chris John Rizzotti, 4. Carolyn Elizabeth Jackson, 5. Linda Helen Muchamel, 6. Barry Gussow, 7. Timothy Michael Murphy, and 8. Paul Richard Herman.

A City Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 14 at 5:00 p.m. during which a question and answer session will take place. Council members will have fifteen minutes per applicant to ask five pre-determined questions that will allow candidates to elaborate on their qualifications.

Following the interviews, council members will continue the process and vote in a ballot for the top candidate of their choice. Afterward, the City Clerk will collect ballots, conduct another random drawing, and read the names of the top candidates with a maximum of four applicants.

After the announcement, there will be a time for public comment. Once council members have heard from those in attendance, they will deliberate on the final candidates. Then, the City Clerk will take a vote of the Council in the traditional vote used for Boards, Committee, and Commission appointments. A majority vote is required for an appointment.

The new Council Member will be appointed on May 19 or possibly before. Formal seating of the new council member and the Oath of Office recited by the City Clerk will occur during a City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 22 at 6:00 p.m.

Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast Continues An Annual Tradition

Dr. David Gordon, Burbank’s new Mayor, faced a large morning audience for the 39th Annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast last Thursday at the Pickwick Banquet & Entertainment Center.  He shared a story about a WWII prayer that has become an enduring part of history:

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Torrential rains were pelting Germany in the days immediately before the Battle of the Bulge, a crucial WWII offensive against the Nazis. One of the Allies’ most brilliant generals, “blood and guts” George S. Patton, was worried that mud and ruts would frustrate his drive into the remaining Nazi strongholds.

On December 8, 1944 General Patton sent a Christmas greeting to his soldiers. He included a prayer that Almighty God “grant us fair weather in battle” that his soldiers “may advance from victory to victory and crush the wickedness and oppression of our enemies.” (It was like General Patton that he didn’t pray to avoid the fight, but instead to have a fighting chance.)

And indeed, the torrential rains ceased. The Allies went on to win the Battle of the Bulge. The following spring, Germany surrendered.

“Did the prayer matter?” asked Mayor Gordon, putting his finger on a question that believers and non-believers alike have wrestled with.  But most, if not all, of the morning’s listeners have come to believe that prayer has changed their lives and, at times, can change the fate of an entire nation.

The Annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast is a local version of the Presidential Prayer Breakfast held annually in Washington, D.C.  Christian Leadership groups in the House and Senate inaugurated this event in 1952. By then, Russia and China had the bomb and the specter of nuclear war drove many to seek divine assistance to avert it. It’s part of a wider tradition of prayer that includes Lincoln declaring a day of Thanksgiving while the Civil War was still raging, and Washington praying on his knees at Valley Forge in the darkest days of the Revolutionary War.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Ross Purdy (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

First Presbyterian Church Pastor Ross Purdy welcomed the attendees, which included County Supervisor Michael Antonovich; Council Members Gary Bric, Vice Mayor Bob Frutos and Emily Gabel Luddy; City Treasuer Debbie Kukta; School Board Members Ted Bunch, Dave Kemp and Vice-President Charlene Tabet; and School Superintendent Jan Britz.

Village Christian School Headmaster Tom Konjoyan gave the Invocation, followed by a special a cappella performance from singer Shyvonne Johnson.  Ross Purdy followed with introductions, followed by Mayor Gordon’s welcome. Master’s Men member Darrell Taylor introduced Guest Speaker Douglas Howe, whose topic was “4 Prayers We All Can Pray” (see companion article.) Master’s Men member and Pastor Wade Mikels concluded the event with the Benediction.

Sponsoring Club Presidents were Glenn Taylor of Master’s men, Gary Oseransky and Terry Scott of Optimist, Dr. Bruce Lily of Noon Kiwanis, Lee Stacy of Sunrise Rotary and Barbara Howell of Noon Rotary.


Dr. David Gordon Appointed Burbank Mayor

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Dr. David Gordon accepts his new position and welcomes the approval from former Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Overlooked numerous times, but not forgotten in 2014, Dr. David Gordon was elevated from Vice Mayor to Mayor at the annual Council Reorganization Meeting held each May 1.

Councilman Gary Bric nominated the longtime Councilman, and after a pause, received a second from Bob Frutos, who also gave some words of advice and caution to the new mayor. It was Frutos, elected last year to the City Council, who promised to make strides to be inclusive as he was sworn in and lived up to that promise.

Frutos then received a 5-0 vote to become the City’s next Vice Mayor.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank’s City Council (left to right) Emily Gabel-Luddy, Vice Mayor Bob Frutos, Mayor Dr. David Gordon, Jess Talamantes, Gary Bric (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Mayor Dr. David Gordon



Reader Weighs In On Next Burbank Mayor

On Thursday Burbank’s city council undergoes its annual “reorganization,” the five choosing from among themselves one to serve as Mayor.

One local contingent argues the decision has “always,” with only extreme exceptions, been premised upon a formula that weighs placement in the most recent election. Others insist using only seniority and the record of who has not yet been Mayor is the way it has “always” been done, save for the occasional boycott of supposed trouble makers.

There have been many battles over the Mayor’s seat, with a council majority and their respective camps occasionally declaring that whomever was next in line couldn’t be named, warning of disaster and municipal humiliation. Among those denied a “turn,” only to later be given the chance by new regimes, were Mary Lou Howard and Dave Golonski. Others were blackballed and left office never serving as Mayor, including Tim Murphy, Susan Spanos, Ted McConkey and, to date, David Gordon.

The pearl-clutching dramas make some forget the job is entirely a figurehead position. With it comes wielding the gavel at council meetings, and use of a larger office. Otherwise, the job is as Burbank’s ceremonial representative, the “privilege” of the center seat at the dais, and signing proclamations. Burbank’s Mayor has no button to push to let the missiles fly, nor even a weighted council vote or veto. In 25 years of watching Burbank’s Mayors, I don’t recall one incident wherein residents were abandoned, an employer closed, or a thriving business fled because of the Mayor. All of these have happened, of course, but who was or was not Mayor at the time played no role.

Our neighbor, Glendale, has repeatedly named as Mayor one of the most erratic, self-centered and “out-of-round” pols I’ve ever known. While that’s led to occasional flaps, some of which even roiled international wags as he rambled irrationally and blundered, I don’t believe his being Mayor has ever had more negative impact on the city than his simply being a councilman.

I’m no fan of councilman David Gordon, and can document many incidents that reflect badly on his claimed integrity and honesty, qualities for which supporters give him credit. But he was elected, and even the well-founded contempt some of his colleagues and constituents is not cause to engage in a petty effort to block him from the Mayor’s seat he longs for.

As a journalist I’ve certainly reported on the sentiments of those who opposed one potential appointment, or supported another, just as I’ve covered the “:horse race” aspects (i.e. “Three out of five council members now say there’s no way they’ll ever agree to make – fill in the name here – Mayor on May 1.”).

Still, as long as the time in office and the rotations allow it, my personal opinion has always been that everyone who wishes to serve as Mayor should get their turn. That was my position when Tim Murphy, an amiable, respected and dedicated councilman was shoved aside in the 90s, and when the belligerent demagogue McConkey was raging from the dais in the 2000s. It’s no different for Gordon.


Will Rogers

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.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame – Burbank Style

Photo By Ross A. Benson

It was Burbank Night at Dodger Stadium and hundreds of Burbank citizens turned out to watch the Dodgers beat the World Series Champion Cardinals on a walk-off walk in the bottom of the ninth.  Mayor Dave Golonski threw out the first pitch and everyone after the game was treated to a fireworks show.






Check out more great photos by Ross A. Benson

BTAC Fundraising Event Honors Two

Mayor Awarded BTAC's Top Award for Citizenship.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Temporary Aid held their yearly dinner and fundraising event Friday at the Castaway Restaurant.

This year they honored Burbank’s Centennial Mayor Jess Talamantes, along with President/CEO Mark Goldstein of Entertainment Partners.   Burbank’s Chamber of Commerce CEO Gary Olson was Master of Ceremonies, and a long time supporter of BTAC.

The evening started out with a silent auction, cocktails in the Valley View Room, then s sit down dinner was served with the program following.  The who of who’s of Burbank was in attendance.


Burbank's Mayor Jess Talamantes along with Mark Goldstein, President/CEO of Entertainment Partners, were honored by BTAC Friday evening. Also pictured is Barbara Howell, BTAC's CEO. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

City Hall Christmas Tree Makes Its Appearance for 2011

Every tile in the City Hall fountain gets cleaned up for the arrival of Santa & Mrs Claus & Mickey & Mini Mouse. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank City Hall is getting all decked out for The Mayor’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony this Thursday.

Although Burbank’s City Hall isn’t as old as Santa and Mrs Claus, having been built in 1941 and completed and occupied in 1943, it did need a little touching up in places.  This week City crews were preparing for this year’s event. The fountain, for instance, has grout between every tile and needs cleaning.  The fish that squirt water not only get cleaned but the brass around the fish’s mouths get a good brushing.

Forestry Division's Javier Vasquez strings some of the thousands of light that are on this years City Hall Christmas Tree. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Park and Recreation and Community Services division are responsible for getting the tree and making sure it arrives on time. Their crews not only assisted Castella’s Trees to put it into place, they then decorated it.  This year forester Javier Vasquez made sure the star that sits atop the tree properly faces North.

Joining Mayor Jess Talamantes will be Santa and Mrs Claus.   Mickey and Minnie Mouse will make an appearance.  They will all be entertained by the voices from the Burbank High’s award winning choir.  Master of ceremonies for the event will be Galan Gering from “Days of our Lives.”  The fun all kicks off in the street in front of Burbank City Hall at 6 p.m. this Thursday.

The tree might appear to be smaller but the decorations are huge. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Parks & Rec's Forestry Crew gets the City's Official Tree all ready for Thursday's Tree Lighting Event. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Even the fish that sprout water get their teeth brushed before Thursday's big day. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)


The City Hall Christmas Tree is all decked out for Thursday's Tree Lighting Event where Santa & Mrs Claus along with Mickey & Minnie Mouse will preside. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mayor Talamantes Pronounces Burbank ‘Healthy’ in State of the City Speech

Over 350 City officials and Burbank business leaders gathered at the Burbank Airport Marriott to hear Mayor Jess Talamantes talk about the State of the City (Photo By Ross A. Benson)


Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes gave Burbank’s annual State Of The City Address Wednesday morning at the Burbank Airport Marriott . The large crowd of over 350 business owners, Chamber of Commerce Members, and City employees were in attendance to hear how Burbank is doing during these rough economic times.  Mayor Talamantes presented his address that Burbank is healthy and presented a differently presentation than previous years.

This year, beside a video presentation, he had a panel of Burbank Business Administrators tell their story of how healthy Burbank’s business Community really is.   Don St. Clair of Woodbury University spoke on higher education, while representation transportation, Dan Feger, Administrator Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena Airport, addressed the current climate.

Speaking for one of Burbank’s Major Studios, Lisa Rawlins, Sr. Vice President at Warner Bros., gave the perspective from the entertainment industry and Julie Sprengel, Chief Operating Officer of Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, spoke on their growth while Burbank Board of Realtor President, Alexandra Kelly, addressed that homes sales in Burbank continue to rise.


Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes called upon the leaders of the Burbank business community to give their perspective on today's business climate and the future ahead. (Photo By Ross A. Benson)