Christmas Comes to City Hall

First published in the Dec. 11 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The City Council hosted a festive event for the mayor’s tree lighting ceremony at Burbank City Hall on Saturday, Dec. 4. Councilman Nick Schultz, Mrs. Claus, Vice Mayor Jess Talamantes, Mayor Bob Frutos, Councilwoman Sharon Springer, Councilman Konstantine Anthony and Santa himself attended the event, which included musical and dance performances.

City Council Seeks Early Review of Streamlined Housing Proposals

First published in the Dec. 11 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank City Council appears likely to give itself a larger role in determining whether housing proposals are eligible for a controversial streamlined process passed by the state legislature.
The panel voted 3-2 Tuesday to approve an amendment to a proposed ordinance establishing the city’s policy for the California Senate Bill 35 review procedure. If the council adopts the revised ordinance when it returns for a final vote — and it was unclear this week how soon that could be — the panel would review staff members’ determinations regarding whether a proposed development even qualifies under SB 35 provisions.
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Council Wants Final Say on SB 35 Housing

First published in the Nov. 6 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank City Council appears poised to give itself final review authority over housing applications that, through state law, must be approved if they meet city standards.
Council members voted, 4-1, on Tuesday to introduce an ordinance that would give itself final review authority over residential project applications submitted under Senate Bill 35 provisions. The California law, enacted in 2017, allows multifamily housing developments to pursue a review process that effectively bars cities from denying the project unless it conflicts with existing municipal regulations.
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City Council Considers Joe McDougall for Next Top Attorney

First published in the Oct. 30 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank City Council will consider appointing Joseph McDougall as the next city attorney during its next meeting on Tuesday. McDougall currently serves as Burbank’s chief assistant city attorney.
Upon approval, he would replace the current city attorney, Amy Albano, who is retiring from the city on Nov. 13. She has held her position for just over 10 years.
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Proposal Aimed at Reining In Mylar Balloons

First published in the Oct. 16 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank City Council advanced a potential ordinance this week that would severely restrict the sale of metallic balloons, a policy that the local utility believes would reduce power outages.
The potential ordinance, which the council unanimously approved on Tuesday, would ban the local sale of balloons made of “electrically conductive materials” — commonly called by the brand name Mylar — unless the balloon is filled with air and attached to a post or other decorative structure.
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Local Kiwanis Club, With New President, Celebrates 100 Years

First published in the Oct. 2 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Let’s step back in time about 100 years to when President Warren G. Harding made the first presidential radio address, ribbons were cut for the opening seasons of the Rose Bowl and the Hollywood Bowl, and actress and television personality Betty White was born.
In Burbank, a transport from Graysville, Ohio, named James Crawford as the city’s fifth mayor, and a charter was issued for Burbank’s first service club: The Kiwanis Club of Burbank.
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Council Rejects Parcel Tax Idea After Fierce Debate

First published in the Oct. 2 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Following an intense discussion, the Burbank City Council voted this week not to pursue a ballot measure that would tax the city’s biggest parcels to fund the school district and municipal services.
Little information regarding the potential tax was available at the council’s Tuesday meeting, as city staff members had brought only a first-step agenda item to gather input from the group about how — and whether — to craft it. If approved by both the council and more than two-thirds of Burbank voters, it would likely have taken aim at the parcels on which Burbank’s major corporations, such as Amazon and Warner Bros., are located.
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Council Wary of Law’s Impact on Local Housing

A visibly frustrated — and at times, seemingly defeated — City Council dove into the weeds at its meeting on Tuesday as it sought to clarify the requirements of state Senate Bill 35 and its potential repercussions on housing density across Burbank neighborhoods.
Ultimately, however, the council voted 5-0 to resume discussion of the subject at its next meeting, on Sept. 14, after requesting that the city staff provide more details on the bill’s language and key provisions.
SB 35, which took effect in 2018, streamlines approval of housing development project applications that meet specified criteria, bypassing the conditional use permit requirement in cities — like Burbank — that have failed to develop enough residential units as required under the Regional Housing Needs Assessment. The legislation essentially removes local control in the approval process and prohibits the often nuanced decision making through which the council and Planning Commission decide if a proposed development is appropriate for a site or meets a neighborhood’s character. Continue reading “Council Wary of Law’s Impact on Local Housing”

Tallyrand Named District’s Small Business of the Year

Photo courtesy office of Assemblywoman Laura Friedman California Rep. Laura Friedman poses with Karen Ross, co-owner of Tallyrand. Ross and her brother, co-owner Mark Thomas, attended an event in Sacramento this week recognizing Tallyrand as the 43rd Assembly District’s small business of the year.

Praising the diner’s resilience despite pandemic-induced restrictions, California Assemblywoman Laura Friedman recently named Tallyrand the small business of the year for her district.
The longtime owners of Tallyrand, siblings Karen Ross and Mark Thomas, visited the state Capitol this week for a presentation of the award. Friedman, California’s 43rd Assembly District representative, also celebrated the sister-brother duo, who inherited the business from their parents Al and Delores Thomas, in a ceremony at the roughly 60-year-old restaurant last week.

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City Explores Possible Vaccination Rule for Its Workers

Data: City of Burbank

This article was originally published in the Burbank Leader on Aug. 14

The Burbank City Council decided this week to consider requiring municipal employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo regular coronavirus testing.
The council’s unanimous Tuesday decision made no immediate additions to city policy, only directing staff members to bring back options for a potential requirement at a future meeting. If approved, the rule — which would follow somewhat similar announcements in Los Angeles County and Pasadena — must include accommodations for city workers who do not get vaccinated for medical or religious reasons.

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