Will Rogers Second to Throw in Hat for Burbank City Council

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Although it is still months away from when nominating papers can be taken out from the City Clerk, it is never to early for hopeful candidates to get a start.

There are going to be several key local issues of impact that will be facing Burbank for the new Council including a vote to allow Bob Hope Airport to relocate the terminal.

While there are two seats available this cycle, it has been known around private circles for a while that one Councilmember will not be seeking re-election. Longtime local resident and award-winning investigative journalist Will Rogers is the second to publicly has announced he will be running for election to the Burbank City Council. Chris Rizzotti announced back in March his intent for a seat.

Will Rogers
Will Rogers

“I look forward to an opportunity to serve this city and its citizens in a way the last 25 years have prepared me for to an almost absurd degree, and at a time when I think my skills and knowledge are especially needed,” Rogers said. “I’m certain my qualifications and record of service to the community far exceed those of known or expected candidates, and the immediate challenge is to get those details out to voters.”

“Scandals of the Bell city council exemplified the danger of electing council members not skilled in everything from reviewing budget line items, to being able to distinguish between staff’s best technical advice, and staff engaging in cheerleading and advocacy,” Rogers said. “I don’t imply any association to the corruption and self-enrichment seen in Bell, and strongly reject any hint of those in Burbank. But that city’s debacles demonstrate what can happen with council members not up to the task.”

Rogers is known locally for an investigative newspaper column he wrote for almost 15 years, including columns for the Los Angeles Times and the Burbank Leader. He then continued that work for several more years in an on-line version via the web site “WillRogersHome.com.” His earlier work also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, and several newspapers in the Times Community Newspapers group. He’s won nearly two dozen first and second place awards for his explosive, ground-breaking stories from the California Newspaper Publishers Association and the Greater Los Angeles Press Club.

The record of those following up Rogers’ work run the gamut, from the Public Integrity Division of the LA County District Attorney’s office that initiated investigations premised on Will’s stories, to the reporter for a competing newspaper who submitted a blanket records request to Burbank’s City Hall simply asking for copies of whatever Rogers asked to see.

“I doubt there was a significant story, revelation or debate tied to municipal government, as well as all the state and congressional office holders representing Burbank and its neighbors, that wasn’t either first broken, or, at the very least, covered more in-depth in the space below my name,” Rogers said. “I know when city government works, when it doesn’t, and on both counts, why.”

Rogers, 57, has worked in Burbank for 25 years, and lived here since 1997. He and his wife, Nancie, who will serve as his campaign treasurer, have raised two children here. A former Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Greater Los Angeles Press Club, he’s also served more than a decade on the Board of Directors for a Burbank-based charitable nonprofit, including a term as Chair.

Rogers’ Campaign Manager is former Burbank Councilman Tim Murphy, who left the council at the end of his first term to serve as a Commissioner in the Los Angeles County Superior Courts. Today he’s an attorney practicing locally, a founder of Burbank’s Boys & Girls Club, and he’s active in several non-profit charitable organizations.

Rogers said, “City Hall has always been more important and most interesting to me because it’s the one government entity that has a daily, even hourly impact on every person in the city. From the water coming out of our tap, to the traffic we confront, to the home or business built down the street, to the police expected to show up when we call for help, what a city council does or does not do can make our lives significantly better or worse. And unlike most elected offices, council constituents literally live alongside and interact with their representatives every day.”

Rogers notes neither his Treasurer, nor his Campaign Manager will speak for him – only he is authorized to do that. “Voters deserve to talk directly to the person who would represent them, and shouldn’t have to wade through layers,” Rogers said. “It’s exactly why municipal government is so appealing and important.”

On Sunday, August 24 a campaign web site will go “live” at Rogers4Council.com. In addition to information about Will, voters will find lengthy and detailed “Issue Papers” spelling out his positions on some local, long-running debates, a Q & A, and even a list of promises he will and will not make to voters.

Burbank elections are held primarily via mail-in ballots, though there will be last-minute opportunities to vote in-person at a limited number of polling places. Burbank’s Primary Election will conclude on February 24, 2015, followed by a runoff General Election concluding April 14, 2025. If any candidate gets 50% plus one vote in the primary, he will be elected with facing the runoff.

“Virtually every election season in the last 20 years I’ve been urged to run for office, but for a variety of reasons I’ve always declined,” Rogers explained. “This time around I’m convinced there’s an urgent need for the experience, institutional memory and abilities I can provide on the city council.”

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