First published in the Jan. 8 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
One week ago today, in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day, as final preparations were being made for the 133rd Rose Parade’s journey down Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard, Tournament of Roses President Bob Miller stood on the front steps of Tournament House.
Looking out to where the 43 floral-covered floats were staged and waiting to make their worldwide television appearance, Miller announced the 24 floats that would be bestowed with awards of excellence. That announcement included the city of Burbank’s entry, “An Unlikely Tale,” which took the Mayor Award for the most outstanding float from a participating city. Continue reading “Floats Bring Rose Parade Back to Life”
First published in the Dec. 25 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
While the celebration was very much in the present, with best wishes being exchanged for the future, it was clearly the past that was highlighted as the Burbank Chamber of Commerce teamed up with the Road Kings of Burbank to present last week’s holiday mixer at the Gordon R. Howard Museum complex.
Festively decked out, and most definitely in the mood for yuletide partying, a gathering of close to 200 mixed and mingled amongst the displays of items chronicling the city’s history, from the eras of Native Americans and Spanish Rancheros pioneers, to those of agricultural development, aviation, aerospace, the California car culture and the entertainment and media industry. Continue reading “Chamber Mingles With Community at Holiday Mixer”
State Sen. Anthony Portantino recently saluted his district’s “women heroes of the pandemic” during a virtual ceremony, and at least five of the honorees have ties to Burbank.
Joyce Powell and Cynthia Triola, longtime nurses at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center; Sharon Springer, a Burbank City Council member;and Simone McFarland, the city’s assistant community development director — all were commended by Portantino. Additionally Burbank resident Marcella Marlowe was recognized as a hero in San Marino, where she is city manager.
I voted “no” on the Zone Text Amendment because I believe it, combined with existing and proposed housing densification laws, would provide another avenue for exploitation by “flippers,” investors, LLC’s,and housing commoditizers and would be corrosive to our community.
Addressing residents’ worries about an incoming popular fried chicken restaurant chain, city officials said this week that they will monitor noise, traffic and trash around the establishment. A facility for Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers is being built at 1750 W. Olive Ave., at the corner of Olive Avenue and Orchard Drive. The close proximity of the location, which will include a drive-thru, to a neighborhood has some residents concerned. Municipal staff members and Raising Cane’s representatives have pledged to mitigate potential issues, actions City Council members pushed for during their meeting Tuesday. Neighbors have rallied against the construction, with a flyer opposing the drive-thru being distributed in the nearby residential area at one point. Several have contacted the City Council during public comment periods, including this week, expressing concern that traffic will spill from the drive-thru into residential streets.
On the same night the Burbank City Council designated February as Black History Month for the first time, the panel heard a commission’s recommendation to establish an annual appreciation day for local police officers. The council quickly moved over the recommendation without adopting it, but some of the nearly 40 people who called during the public comment period for Tuesday’s meeting were frustrated it was included at all, pointing to Black History Month’s significance. It was one of several grievances expressed that night regarding the Police Commission’s recommendations. The meeting, which stretched past midnight — forcing officials to push the planned discussion of homelessness to a future date — served as the culmination of months of work by the Police Commission to generate recommendations for the Burbank Police Department, a task the City Council charged the advisory body with following the death of George Floyd and widespread calls for police reform. But when those recommendations were presented to the council, many residents took issue with their content, particularly with the advice that the school resource officer program — which assigns two specialized officers to the local school district — be retained or expanded. Several callers said they were concerned that the program intimidates and criminalizes students, particularly students of color, with some alumni saying they or their children had bad experiences with the officers.
Following a unanimous vote this week, the Burbank City Council will consider regulating Mylar balloons, which utility representatives said are often the cause of brief power outages. Burbank Water and Power has a 99.99% reliability rate, meaning outages are fairly uncommon, BWP executive assistant Lyndsey Kramer said during the council’s Tuesday meeting. But when outages do occur, there’s a chance that they were caused by metallic Mylar balloons floating away and coming into contact with power lines. Since 2000, Mylar balloons have been the No. 1 cause of outages — 206 of them, accounting for 189 hours of service interruption. Between January 2016 and December 2020, Mylar balloons have been responsible for 36 “momentary outages” — more than any other cause — which last less than 60 seconds.
City Councilman Bob Frutos was appointed this week by his fellow members to serve as Burbank’s mayor for the next year, with Jess Talamantes to hold the position of vice mayor. Frutos, who was Burbank’s mayor from 2015-2016 and has been a council member since 2013, was quickly appointed by his peers — who include newcomers Konstantine Anthony and Nick Schultz — during the council’s annual reorganization meeting on Monday. Frutos was nominated for mayor by Talamantes, who was in turn nominated for the vice mayor position by Anthony. Frutos, a former Los Angeles police officer and Burbank police commissioner, has served for the past year as vice mayor. Former Mayor Sharon Springer, whom he replaced, remains a City Council member. “I know the road ahead of us will be the most difficult in modern history to serve on any council,” Frutos said Monday. “Like so many other cities across our nation, we’re just beginning to see the economic devastation of a sort that we really haven’t seen since the Great Depression. … Our top priority will be maintaining the fiscal health of our city and to continue to work on the economic recovery of our city.”
The Burbank Human Relations Council is asking community members to drop off poster board art to be displayed at an upcoming exhibition as part of “United Against Hate” week. Anyone in Burbank can submit an art piece, which must be made on standard poster board that is no larger than 28 inches by 20 inches. Pieces are being accepted today, Nov. 28, between 9 a.m. and noon at the Geo Gallery at 1545 Victory Blvd. Contributors can schedule other drop-offs by texting or calling (818) 860-2472. The BHRC will then display the pieces, representing the theme “Stand Together Against Hate,” from Monday, Nov. 30-Friday, Dec. 11 at Geo. Only two viewers will be allowed at a time because of restrictions related to COVID-19, but the pieces will also be viewable on the BHRC website and Facebook page.
In the east wing of Burbank City Hall, just off the rotunda, you’ll find a portrait gallery. The gallery isn’t exactly a big draw for tourists visiting Southern California. In fact, it’s probably fair to assume that most Burbankers don’t even know it exists. If you are ever in City Hall, you may want to check out the gallery, which will give you a gander at the official portraits of the 62 men and women who have served as the city’s mayor.