By Craig Sherwood
Executive Editor, BurbankNBeyond.com
ED NOTE: After first appearing in the Wednesday Leader, then being relegated to the back of the Sunday News Press, then having about a third of each column cut by the editor before then ultimately being fired completely, I decided to bring back the column on a ‘when I feel like writing it‘ basis. Now that it is back here, maybe someone will actually be able to find it and read it.
Wow! I have to admit that I am astonished with this one. I guess that since I did grow up here in Burbank, that I am naiveté to what politics really are, even in the City of Burbank.
We just got finished with our election cycle, and granted, there were not that many contenders compared to the last election since not many people want to take a council job just to eliminate jobs or services.
It came down to two strong candidates with opposing view point with Emily Gabel-Luddy barely defeating Robert Frutos by less then 100 votes. It was generally a clean election, but hard fought between two newcomers.
Now that Councilwoman Gabel-Luddy is in place, one of the first jobs of the new council is appointing, or reappointing members of the public to different commissions.
Robert Frutos was the Chairman of the Police Commission and was up for reappointment, which he applied for. He had done a good job and the Police Commission was moving forward in many areas. Add to this that Frutos is also a LAPD officer and has a law enforcement background.
When his name came up for a vote – he was voted OUT. The vote went 3-2 with only Councilmen Gary Bric and Dr. David Gordon giving him a yes. Councilwoman Gabel-Luddy voted him out.
Nothing like being a gracious winner when you can strike a man when he is down. What a petty, embarrassing vote by this Council. Most losing candidates stick their tail between their legs and hide for a year. Frutos wanted to continue to serve the City that he lives in and stay with a job that is critical right now.
In the past few years I have attended many events and interacted with Council members. I have always respected them and they have always been cordial with me, at times giving me small exclusives, asking me to hold on to them until they give their permission for its release.
After this slap in the face tonight, I wonder how genuine and sincere they are. It’s seems we have slipped into slime ball politics, Chicago style. They should be embarrassed. This was vindictive and you have to wonder if this attitude will now carry over to other areas when someone from staff or a member of the union disagrees with the Council.
Yes, it could be nothing and maybe I am over reacting, or maybe it is the start of some high handed politics that could lead to much more serious overtones. Only time will tell.
I am going to try and stay optimistic and hope that this was just a gaff by well meaning individuals, but I am not going to stick my head in the sand also.