Tag Archives: School Board

Aghakhanian Announces Candidacy for Burbank School Board

Dr. Armond Aghakhanian, a local community leader and teacher, announced that he is running for one of three open seats on the Burbank Board of Education.

Armond Aghakhanian“I am running for the School Board to guarantee that all of Burbank’s children have access to the best public education leading to a successful career. Together, we can prepare our children for entry-level careers, college, university, and workforce training programs while ensuring the highest level of academic achievement from our schools, small class sizes for individualized learning, and the most professional teachers and staff on all campuses. Furthermore, as a member of the School Board, I will work to implement safe schools for all of our children, technological advancement at all our schools, integrity of the budget process and unite our community through diversity.”

Dr. Aghakhanian has over fifteen years of experience in the field of education & public service, serving on several local non-profit boards, commissions, and teaching. He currently serves on the Burbank School Facilities Oversight Committee & Burbank Parks, Recreation & Community Services Board. He is also a former member of the Burbank Community Development Goals & Civic Pride Committee and the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley Board of Directors. Dr. Aghakhanian earned his Doctorate degree in Education and Psychology from Pepperdine University and his MBA degree from Woodbury University.

“Together, we will implement positive changes on the School Board to better our schools and community. Education must help our youth reach their highest potential. I will be honored to serve my community, using my experience and passion for education.” Dr. Aghakhanian stated.

 

Tangkhpanya Picks Up Endorsement in School Board Race

The Burbank California School Employees Association Chapter 674 (CSEA) announced that it will endorse Jesse “Tangk” Tangkhpanya for a seat on the Burbank Unified School Board (BUSD).

CSEA President Mary Hyman delivered a statement on the endorsement: “Jesse Tangkhpanya has the experience we need to hold the Burbank Unified School District accountable on how it spends our money. Tangkhpanya currently sits on four Local Control Funding Formula oversight councils and that broad based level of experience will be a strong asset as our next Burbank School Board member.”

Tangkhpanya was grateful for the endorsement, citing the need to hire additional support staff to offset the massive layoffs endured over the last seven years at BUSD.

“The fact that I’m a newcomer to Burbank politics sets me apart from the other candidates,”

Tangkhpanya said, “I don’t have the political baggage that comes with years of public office. I owe favors to no one, have no axes to grind, and am uniquely positioned to provide unbiased, unfettered oversight. Voters can select up to three board members this election. One of those members should be the watchdog candidate – the outside, independent candidate that watches the taxpayer’s money and ensures it is efficiently and effectively applied for the benefit of our students.“

Tangkhpanya Announces Run for Burbank School Board

Jesse Tangkhpanya announced that he will be running for a BUSD School Board seat in the upcoming February election.  Here is the statement that he released on Monday:

My family immigrated to the United states in 1979, fleeing war torn southeast Asia. When they got to America they literally had nothing and no one; just the clothes on their backs and the audacity to provide their kids what they never received themselves: a quality affordable education.

Jesse Tangkhpanya

Jesse Tangkhpanya

They built a business using minimum wage money they saved up, created jobs and started their lives all over from scratch. After I was born they never let me forget where I came from, what they stood for, and what it meant to be an “American”.  Those values taught me that everything I am and possess today, I owe to the sacrifices others have paved for me; and now I finally have the opportunity to  give back and pay it forward. For me, giving back begins at the School Board level.

The recent open seats on the School Board will mean a huge loss of experience for the BUSD, and I believe I am uniquely prepared to step into the School Board Trustee role as a fiduciary and watchdog for the public interest. Thus, I am writing to the Burbank Leader to announce my intent to run for a seat on the Burbank Board of Education.

As the Burbank Unified School District (BUSD) looks to the future, we have enormous opportunities ahead of us in taking advantage of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and implementation of Common Core. Focusing our attention on raising academic expectations, providing resources to continue closing the achievement gap, and developing career pathways to success in collaboration with our local colleges and businesses are some of the things I envision for our children.

My background in the LCFF has trained me to actively seek common ground between all education stakeholders to specifically meet the needs of students through parent involvement and pupil achievement. My experience in District costing and budgeting has prepared me to meticulously scour through general funds and ask the tough questions needed by our next leaders. If elected, I will continue the good work of the current Board by holding District officials accountable on budget projections, and I will ensure that the Board’s role as a “check” on the District is safeguarded; thereby protecting the balance of powers.

Burbank has always been different. Burbank has also been resilient. When school districts across the state endured deep cuts to their general funds, slashing services and staff on the backs of students; the BUSD refused to succumb to pessimism and malaise. Instead, the BUSD worked hand in hand with parents and educators to stem the fiscal bleeding and hold the line on cuts and spending. That level of collaboration and fortitude in the face of a great recession was a testament to OUR values as a model city and proud community; and If voters give me a chance on Primary Election Day, February 24, 2015 and again on the General Election Day April 14, 2015, I intend to carry on that legacy for our kids.

Tablet And iPad Testing Begins In Burbank Schools

Tablets and iPad testing is underway in Burbank Unified schools as the Technology Task Force works with teachers to determine their next recommendations to the Board of Education.

The Tech Task Force recently put forth two items, an interactive white board and a document camera, as integral components of the 21st Century Classroom BUSD plans to roll out district-wide in the coming years.

Luther Middle School students in Stefanie Enokian's 7th grade Social Studies class work on iPads alongside traditional pen and paper. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Luther Middle School students in Stefanie Enokian’s seventh-grade Social Studies class work on iPads alongside traditional pen and paper. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Funds for the selected device(s) will come from the Measure S Bond allotment. The task force is also having teachers try out and compare Microsoft Office and Google Docs as an interactive response solution.

“We are currently working with Amplify to receive two class sets of tablets and software at Jordan Middle School and Miller Elementary,” said Bob Martin, BUSD’s Teacher on Special Assignment for Instructional Technology. “We are testing an iPad cart at Luther. We are also working with other companies to see about testing other one-on-one devices.”

Testing with the Amplify tablets begins April 14 at Jordan and Miller, added Martin.

“We are hoping to put forth a recommendation at the end of this school year,” Martin continued. “If needed, we will continuing testing devices into the start of the 2014-15 school year. The important factor is to find a device that works for the students and provides the best solutions for the schools.”

Vivian Iniguez and Alexa Garcia work on a visual project about stained glass artists in the Middle Ages. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Vivian Iniguez and Alexa Garcia work on a visual project about stained glass artists in the Middle Ages. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Seventh-grade Social Studies teacher Stefanie Enokian has been using iPads with all of her students throughout the day at Luther Middle School. Various paid and free applications are employed for teaching, testing and special projects.

Using the iPad in class takes extra effort by to manage the kids and keep them on task, Enokian said. But, she has been impressed with the level of engagement from the students using the one-to-one technology.

“I could give them an assignment where they have to use pen and paper to write their answer and they will hardly write anything,” she said. “But if I give them the same assignment and have them type their answers using the iPads, they beg me for more time and every kid is engaged and typing away. It’s amazing!”

Teacher Stefanie Enokian works with two students on their visual project about jobs in the Middle Ages. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Teacher Stefanie Enokian works with two students on their visual project about jobs in the Middle Ages. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Enokian’s students use the iPads for research and to create poster presentations using the ComicLife app. They can word process documents via the iPad’s Pages feature and use the NearPod app for notes, imbedded video and quizzes. Students can also easily create video presentations.

“It’s a great teaching tool for kids to have non-fiction text at their fingertips and make connections with what we are studying,” added Enokian.

In-class use begins with students logging in to an individual iPad with their student number and then accessing the learning app with a class-specific code. As each class moves through the material, the app remembers which parts of the lesson were covered in class and the next day, the teacher can pick up where individual classes left off, if a lesson was not completed.

Student tech director Jay Vassaux highlights some text for the seventh-grade Social Studies class. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Student tech director Jay Vassaux highlights some text for the seventh-grade Social Studies class. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Enokian has one student act a tech director in each class. The tech director projects the day’s lesson on a screen in front of the class and may zoom in on a specific item to highlight as the teacher talks.

Enokian walks around the class with a master iPad and controls the pace of the lesson and the motion of the instructional slides. She can see each student log in and track their answers and responses to questions and quizzes.

If a student exits out of the app the class is using and opens another app, Enokian can see that immediately and correct the issue. Whatever students draw is visible, so if a student draws a doodle, instead of the specified activity, Enokian can see that too and get the student back on task.

Although students can log on to specific apps, another app allows Enokian to push programs and tests to student iPads. Scores from the tests and quizzes are sent immediately to her iPad and she can then send the grades to her grade book.

Students work on a lesson about feudal power structure utilizing both pen and paper and iPads, in preparation for a quiz. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Students work on a lesson about feudal power structure utilizing both pen and paper and iPads, in preparation for a quiz. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Enokian has 40 iPads on the lockable cart in her classroom, allowing for a few spares if a device should have unresolved technical issues requiring support.

Other Luther teachers have borrowed the cart for specific lessons. One science teacher recently used the iPads to teach about the human eye, related Enokian. Students could see inside the eye and three-dimensionally and perhaps understand more clearly the structure of the eye.

Vivian Iniguez and Alexa Garcia, both 12, collaborated in class on a visual project about work in the Middle Ages. They found examples of stained glass windows online and added them to their poster presentation about work as a stained glass artist.

“Using the iPads just makes it more interesting,” said Garcia. “I remember what I do more.”

“Taking the quizzes are better on the iPad than on paper,” added Iniguez. “We get to look at the words we are learning and then can take the quiz right after.”

Students work in project groups using the iPads. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Students work in project groups using the iPads. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The iPads connect with a wide range of students and differing styles of learning. For students, many of whom have grown up with access to technology, one-to-one tablets are familiar and easy to use.

“Reading on an iPad is more fun than reading a textbook,” said 12-year-old Maki Salvador. “There are videos.”

“We don’t have to write a lot and learn from the textbooks,” added 12-year-old classmate Hermine Keshishyan. “Textbooks are boring. Since we’ve been using the iPads for a few months now, learning about social studies is more exciting.”

Students take a quiz on the iPads. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Students take a quiz on the iPads. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Gordon, Talamantes, Applebaum and Tabet Win Seats, Golonski Denied

After serving the citizens of Burbank for 20 years, voters decided on Tuesday to enact their own term limits and denied Dave Golonski, the current mayor, another four year term on the City Council.

Councilman David Gordan addresses guests at a victory party following the primary elections which he was reelected to another 4 year term. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Councilman David Gordan addresses guests at a victory party following the primary elections which he was reelected to another 4 year term. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Dr. David Gordon, who has long been seen as the nemesis of Golonski, was re-elected as the leading vote getter in the general election. Along with Gordon, Councilman Jess Talamantes was also given another four year term.  Both were also elected to their first four year terms in 2009.

Gordon arrived at City Hall around 10 p.m.  Gordon saw his re-election as vindication of his positions that often are at odds with the other council members, especially defeated councilman David Golonski.

It was apparent from the first returns of the night that both men were established as early favorites with only the early vote having Talamantes over Gordon until about the half way night when late votes dropped off Tuesday then put Gordon on top.

Burbank Councilmen Jess Talamantes is joined by his wife and kids watching the results at DeBell Clubhouse. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Councilmen Jess Talamantes is joined by his wife and kids watching the results at DeBell Clubhouse. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Talamantes arrived at City Hall from the Club House Grill where he commented on the attack ads against him that were sent out by the United Food Workers Union. “The UFW messages were seen as ‘outside’ interests trying to influence our election,” said Talamantes, adding, “Burbank people don’t like those kinds of tactics.”

It would appear that the ads backfired.  Instead of turning voters against the incumbent councilman, they may have caused a backlash that got him more votes.

Challenger David Nos, gained ground after the Primary election, but still fell short, falling just 202 votes behind Golonski in a strong fourth place showing.

Unlike the Primary Election, City Clerk Zizette Mullins ran this election since she was not involved, having been elected outright during the Primary.  Results from previously mailed ballots started to come in right after 7 pm and results came at a much quicker pace then before, where all precincts were first put together, verified, and then counted, which took close to 2 am.

The winners of Burbank's Primary Election L/R David Gordon, Char Tabot, Jess Talamantes and Larry Applebaum. (Photo by Ross A.Benson)

The winners of Burbank’s Primary Election L/R David Gordon, Char Tabot, Jess Talamantes and Larry Applebaum. (Photo by Ross A.Benson)

In the school board race, Larry Applebaum, who just nearly missed outright election in the Primary,  easily won re-election to the Board.  The current School Board President fought hard to return to the Board, after helping to champion the recent Measure S Bond Measure which passed during the recent Community College election..

Responding to being the highest voter getter in the election among all the candidate for both School Board and City Council, Applebaum said, “I’m honored and feel privileged that the community has given me a third term.”

Charlene Tabet won election to the Board and will replace John Dilibert, who was appointed to the Board when the City Council appointed for Board Member Debbie Kukta as Treasurer.

Tabet credited her experience with PTA, as having prepared her for her new post.  “Dealing with parents, teachers and students through PTA has given me a head start on what to expect as a school board member.”

Reelected School Board Member Larry Applebaum is join by newly elected Char Tabet, and current School Board member John Dilibert. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Reelected School Board Member Larry Applebaum is join by newly elected Char Tabet, and current School Board member John Dilibert. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Dilibert, who has done a solid job on the Board and was not a candidate in the election, will now continue his career as a Burbank Police Letiuent, came by City Hall to show support and watch the final results.

“I’m very pleased the with results.  Larry Applebaum is an outstanding choice, as is Char Tabet.  The voters looked at all the choices and elected two people who can continue on in the fine tradition of service and looking out for the best interests of the students in our school district.”,said Dilibert.

Current board member Ted Bunch expressed his approval of the selection the voters made, citing the qualification of the both Applebaum and Tabet.  “I’m pleased with the selection the voters have made.”

Bunch’s term on the board expires in 2015, and he does not plan to run again.

Counting the last of the ballots the clock shows 10:00 a bit quicker than the General Election, and finished hours earlier. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Counting the last of the ballots the clock shows 10:00 a bit quicker than the General Election, and finished hours earlier. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Measure S, a 2% tax on refuse and sewer services to provide discounts for senior citizens and disabled residents was rejected by Burbank voters by a margin of 44% to 56%. The initiative required a 2/3rd majority to pass.

Final results, including provisional ballots cast, and others requiring verification by the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters, will be tabulated and available from the City Clerk later this week.

Councilman Elect David Gordon and Newly elected Councilman Bob Frutos address and thank  supporters following the Burbank Primary Election Tuesday nite. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Councilman Elect David Gordon and Newly elected Councilman Bob Frutos address and thank supporters following the Burbank Primary Election Tuesday night. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The two Council winners will join Bob Frutos, who was elected outright in the Primary, May 1 when they will be sworn in and a new Mayor and Vice-Mayor will be chosen.

myBurbank’s Managing Editor, Stan Lynch, contributed to this story

 

 

 

Preliminary Results for the 2013 City of Burbank General Election: City Council (two receiving most votes)

Name                                       Votes

David Gordon                          5,411               Elected

Jess Talamantes                      5,268               Elected

Dave Golonski                         4,557

David Nos                               4,355

Burbank Unified School District Board of Education (two receiving most votes)

Name                                       Votes

Larry Applebaum                    5,858               Elected

Charlene “Char” Tabet            4,955               Elected

Steve Ferguson                      4,595

David Dobson                         2,809

Measure S : Special Tax to Fund Refuse and Sewer Customer Assistance Programs (66.67% required to pass)

Yes                                          3,795

No                                           4,910               Measure Fails

City Councilman David Gordan is congratulated by Interim City Manager Ken Pulskamp   and Justin Hess at City Hall. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

City Councilman David Gordan is congratulated by Interim City Manager Ken Pulskamp and Justin Hess at City Hall. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

 

City Councilman David Gordon answers the media's question following his reelection to the Burbank City Council for 4 more years. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

City Councilman David Gordon answers the media’s question following his reelection to the Burbank City Council for 4 more years. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Showing her spirit is Lee Paysinger at the home of former Mayor Mary Lou Howard. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Showing her spirit is Lee Paysinger at the home of former Mayor Mary Lou Howard. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Bob Hope Airport Commissioner Frank Quintero joins Councilman Jess Talamantes with a thumbs up looking at the results at The DeBell Clubhouse. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Bob Hope Airport Commissioner Frank Quintero joins Councilman Jess Talamantes with a thumbs up looking at the results at The DeBell Clubhouse. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

 

Campaign Worker Sentenced For Sign Theft

Scott Trinidad, the volunteer campaign worker for School Board candidate Steve Ferguson, pled no contest in Burbank Superior Court today to  a charge that he stole signs for another candidate.

Scott Trinidad, idientified as a campaign volunteer for  Steve Ferguson, is shown on surveilance video taken February 11.

A man identified as a campaign volunteer for Steve Ferguson, is shown on surveillance video taken February 11.

Trinidad, 30, was caught on surveillance video on February 11, when he took two signs from of a business located in the 1200 block of W. Magnolia Blvd.   The video, which was published on BurbankNBeyond.com, led to Trinidad being identified as the person taking the signs.

After an investigation by the Burbank Police Department, the Burbank City Attorney’s office filed a charge of theft with a value of less than $50.  Campaign signs cost roughly $4 each.  The crime is an infraction, with a maximum fine of $250.  Trinidad was fined $200 by the judge, plus penalty assessments.  The total of the fine and penalty totaled approximately $950, according to Senior Assistant City Attorney Denny Wei.

Candidate Steve Ferguson was not charged in this case, and has publicly denied any knowledge of Trinidad’s actions.  Ferguson further apologized to fellow school board candidate Char Tabet for the theft.

The School Board and City Council election is currently underway as mail in ballots have been sent to Burbank voters.  The last day to vote is April 9, before 7 p.m. when ballos not mailed in must be dropped off at designated locations in order to be counted.

 

Original Story HERE

Armenian National Committee of Burbank Announces Endorsements

The last ballots for Burbank’s all-mail General Election were mailed on Thursday, March 21, according to the City Clerk’s office.  This means voters should receive their ballots by Saturday, or at the latest Monday.  Watch for this big white envelope, if you live in the city, advises the ANCA-Burbank.

“Everyone is watching our community since our votes put two candidates over the top, getting them elected in the primary.  That doesn’t usually happen in Burbank,” said Gaidzag Shabazian, Armenian national Committee of America—Burbank Electoral/Political Chair.  “Our votes also helped put two City council candidates into the lead positions going into the April 9 all-mail election.”

Burbank adopted the mail-in ballot system a decade ago.  This makes voters’ lives much easier because they don’t have to go to a polling place on Election Day, which is Tuesday, April 9.  All ballots must be RECEIVED in the City Clerk’s office by 7:00 pm that day.  Otherwise they will not be counted.  A postmark with that date is not valid.

The Burbank ANCA’s endorsed candidates are:

City Council: David Gordon and Jess Talamantes

Board of Education: Larry Applebaum and Steve Ferguson

Voting is easy.  Just fill in the bubbles next to the names of the candidates endorsed by the ANCA. (See the accompanying picture of the completed, two sided, ballot).  Then, tear off the top stub of the ballot and insert the ballot in the secrecy sleeve.  Next, put the ballot/secrecy sleeve in the yellow envelope provided.  Sign the envelope.  Drop it in the mail.  This year, for the first time, the envelope is postage-paid, so voters don’t have to put a stamp on it.

See the accompanying picture of the envelope in which the ballot and voter pamphlet were mailed for the February, so you know what to expect.

“Our Burbank voting system is easy because we all vote from the comfort of home,” said Hagop Hergelian, ANCA-B activist.  “Please be very alert and watch for your ballot.  But, voters often mistake the large white ballot envelope for junk mail and throw it out.  Then, they have to get a replacement, wasting time and effort.”

Participation by the Armenian community is very important.  It demonstrates the concern everyone shares for improving Burbank and gets people elected to office who are most sensitive to the Armenian community’s needs.

If you have any questions, please call the Burbank ANCA at 818/562-1918 or e-mail at: Info@ancaburbank.org

Charlene Tabet Has Earned the Opportunity

A Letter to the Editor authored by very well-known community members in January discussed the importance of the school board election. The letter stated our schools are “in need of strong, mature leadership from people who understand how to work within a budget, people who have worked with parents, and have personal experience in working with children and their needs”. The letter went on to call for someone “who makes and keep commitments and bring real work experience to the role”.

I have had the privilege to serve our schools twice as an interim school board member and nearly twenty years working as a volunteer in the district. I have come to learn that it takes more than just saying what one can do or citing a resume, one must really be able to back it up by “walking the talk”. This election comes down to one incumbent and three other candidates vying for two seats. While the community knows the incumbent and his quality service, the voter should analyze the remaining three candidates’ true backgrounds in-depth and compare it with the needs called for in the letter. For me, Charlene Tabet best fits that role.

Charlene is a life-long resident of Burbank. Professionally, she has worked as a teacher and businesswoman. She has twenty years experience working within our schools, serving in the PTA at the elementary and middle school levels and currently is the PTA President at Burbank High. She additionally has worked alongside teachers, staffs, and parents on school site councils and other related projects. Through these efforts, she has consistently been involved and made aware of the issues that our schools are facing This includes budgeting, changes in academic testing, and strict oversight of the Measure S bond to name a few. All while not compromising the quality service our staffs are delivering to our children. For those reasons, she is in the best position of the three remaining candidates to provide a shared vision and balanced leadership from the proper perspective.

Charlene has put her three children through Burbank schools. She is committed to doing what is right because it is right and making the right decision, not the popular one with the best interest of the district in mind. Charlene will follow through on her assignments and not walk away from unfinished business where others may have. I am convinced she is not looking for the next office nor carrying any special agenda. Lastly, she is not for the privatization of our campuses in any way. She is here to learn from our past, work with the present, and help guide to the future.

John Dilibert
Current School Board Member

Reader Takes Issue With Ferguson Campaign Strategy

I am writing to share my concerns with the recent actions of BUSD School Board candidate Steve Ferguson. In mid February it was reported by on-line social media that a member of Mr. Ferguson’s election campaign was caught on video stealing an opponent’s election signs. Apparently, the culprit was readily known to Mr. Ferguson as he ruefully admitted that this childish and illegal act was, in fact, tied to his campaign.

It was also reported that Mr. Ferguson would relegate the sign thief to a ‘greatly diminished role” in his campaign. Stealing of signs is illegal and accordingly, a report was filed with the Burbank Police Department. The obvious question here is this: why wasn’t this individual, immediately known by Mr. Ferguson, fired? Surely someone who is seeking public office would want to distance themselves from the perpetrator once they had knowledge that illegal acts were being committed on their behalf. This failure to act and do the right thing is even more egregious when one considers that the position he is seeking creates local policy and has influence over our children. What is the message being sent to our kids?

Well it now appears that Mr. Ferguson may have been less than sincere in his original statement. As can be seen in the attached video frames one individual appears to be in both images. The problem is, the color image was taken last Friday. Based these images it is apparent that Mr. Ferguson has not re-assigned the individual responsible for the theft. Rather, this person is actively engaged in campaign planning efforts.

So, was Mr. Ferguson’s statement on how he was going to deal with the thief within his campaign a lie? Or, is this an example of an immature action that one might expect of someone just four years out of high school? Either way, Steve Ferguson is not ready for a seat on the Burbank School Board. We deserve and can do better.

Helen Martinez
Burbank

(Editor’s Note: Picture sent in can not be verified and has not been published)

Two Elections Down, One to Go – But Do You Really Care?

It’s election season here in Burbank.  In February, we went through our Primary, March saw us vote on a school bond and April will see us finally fill the two remaining seats on the City Council and two open School Board seats.

In most cities this is an exciting time, in Burbank just a handful of people really seem to get excited.

Let’s examine some issues.

First is this all mail election that we have instituted here in Burbank.  Of course, the thinking is that people are just too busy to leave their house on election day and actually go and vote for something that will effect their daily lives.  Now of course, we are far ahead of the thinking in Washington that still makes people travel to a polling place on a certain day and actually physically cast their vote.

But wait, they also have this thing called an absentee ballot, so that the truly lazy (and maybe some who actually are not available election day) can fill out a ballot and be counted from the comfort of their sofa at home.

In Burbank during the Primary, 9,869 voters actually took the time to fill out a ballot – or about 16% of the 61,170 eligible voters (including my father who passed away over a year ago who still received his ballot).   That was up from the Primary two years ago when only 8,106 voters out of 56,239 (including my father who was alive and did vote) equaled only 14%.  So are we now excited that 16% cast votes?

Let’s break it down even farther.

This past election, voters put Bob Frutos onto the council.  From people I talked to, the real issue was the current direction of the council, the money spent on the police litigation, and there were many who really just did not like the way Frutos was treated after the last election, when losing by just 86 votes, was then removed for no apparent reason from the police commission with the person who defeated him, Emily Gabel-Luddy, along with two of the three incumbent challengers (Dave Golonski and Jess Talamantes) both voting to remove him.  Losing by just 86 votes gave him a strong power base that did not go away, but even grew larger.

With that all said, while Frutos received over 50% of the votes cast, he only actually received only a little over 8% of eligible voters.  In other words, just 8% decided our next city councilman, which is just 5% of the population of Burbank (103,340 per the 2010 census).

Here are some more numbers for you as to why it is important to have your voice heard.

We just voted for a $110 million school bond in March.  While the money is needed for modernization, according to the final numbers supplied by the City of Los Angeles, Measure S won by capturing 61.45% of the yes votes, or 4,053 votes out of 6,595 votes cast out of 61,153 registered voters. (Funny how the County says we have 61,153 registered voters and the City of Burbank says we have 61,170 voters – but my dead father did not receive a Measure S ballot, he did receive a City of Burbank ballot).

Break that down and while 61% of voters that day approved it, only 6.6% of the registered voters approved it.  So 6.6% of voters decided to raise taxes on 93.4% of the voters.  For those who did not vote, you can see the results on an upcoming Property Tax bill – coming soon!

Let’s go back to 2011.  We all voted on this great little thing called Measure U.  At that time it passed 5,270 to 2,562 votes cast out of 56,239 voters, or about a little over 9% of the registered voters.  How did that work out and directly affect you?  Take a look at your cell phone bill.  See that nice new item on there called “Burbank City Utility Tax”?  That amount ($3.27 on my current bill) is a direct result of 9% deciding the fate of an entire city.

Make sure you smile when you write your check!

The bottom line is that Burbank people just do not get excited for elections.  Are you upset that so far the City Council has spent over $7.1 million on outside litigation for the police mess (and how much has been spent by our own payed City Attorneys as part of their work day that should also count).  Does it matter that your cell phone bill increased by $3 a month because you did not vote?

I feel that the all-mail elections are a part of the problem.  Even though you were suppose to mail in ballots, the count was held up for hours on election night because they had to verify signatures on about 1,500 ballots received on the day of the election.

With all mail ballots, candidates don’t know where to campaign. If they go door to door, are they wasting their time because the person has already voted?

Another problem is today’s digital social media.  Candidates think the best way to get to voters is on things such as Twitter and Facebook.  They lose the personalization of the campaign process and the human touch and feel of a race.

Whatever happened to good ol’ fashioned campaign rallies.

“So and so will be speaking at a rally today at the park!  Come and listen to him”.  People would get riled up and go home and talk to their neighbors and friends and dialog would start and issues would be discussed.

Now I am not saying we should get on the back of a train and ride the rails like old presidential candidates, but how public really are our campaigns?  They all seem to be small meet and greets with neighbors and nothing big that would create a buzz.

Now they just hoped to be ‘retweeted’ or ‘liked’ by people.

I also miss everyone showing up at City Hall after an election and watching election results come in.  Yes, they used to use an old overhead projector and a grease pen to post results.  Now it is all done over the City’s Channel 6 that you MUST pay for cable TV to get or you can always come down to City Hall and join the few of us (and a couple of candidates) who still believe in the tradition – except now they wheel out a TV and we watch it like others.

BurbankNBeyond was considering endorsing candidates.  After all, we are the ONLY news service that operates on a daily basis that is owned and operated by Burbank people (who DO vote in Buirbank) and have an interest in the election and it’s results (like our cell phone bills) compared to those that do not live in the City or have no financial interest in the City but wants their advertising dollars.  Sounds like an agenda?

Instead, we will send out questionnaires to the candidates and give you their entire answers.  After all, as you have found by this never ending column, the internet is endless and we can give you as much as there is to give.

The bottom line is get off your butt and vote.

I will leave you this to think about:

Everyone goes out of their way to say how much they support our troops (and rightly so).  But what is it our troops, and the troops of many generations have fought for?  It’s our right to be free and hold free elections.  So if you really do support our troops, then get out and vote, that is one direct way that you can thank them, and in most case your fathers or grandfathers, for the sacrifices they made to make this a great country.

Come on Burbank, you can do better.