When 18-year-old Kate Platten heard that she had been named the victor of the Role Model Teen program for the Royal International Miss pageant, she was so overwhelmed with joy that her mind went blank. “The moment my name got called, I don’t remember anything,” she said in a phone interview. “It was such a state of shock, and I was so excited that my hard work and determination had culminated into my goal.” The UC Irvine student and 2019 John Burroughs High School alumna had spent months being interviewed, working on community service projects and, of course, strutting across the stage in lavish dresses. So when her efforts led to her win on July 11 in Orlando, Florida, where the final decision came down to her and one of her close friends, she was understandably somewhat overcome.
After years of dogged pursuit, the city of Burbank is finally getting a park where pups can run free. The city recently accepted a $150,000 donation from the Kari and Dick Clark Foundation, which will go toward creating a dog park section at Johnny Carson Park. The dog park project is estimated to cost between $500,000 and $700,000, according to a staff report submitted to the City Council for its Tuesday meeting, at which it voted to accept the donation. Parks and Recreation Director Marisa Garcia, who presented the report to council members, said in a phone interview that her department will continue to look for funding sources, including grants and additional donations. “We’re fortunate, especially during these economic times, that we’ve had a great sponsor who wants to come in and help us meet these goals,” she said. “Especially during this current pandemic, we know that it’s extremely important for individuals to be outdoors and recreate in a really safe manner.”
The City Council divvied up federal grant funds to several projects Tuesday, including programs for the homeless and the local Boys & Girls Club. But the project that received the most comment from residents was the Burbank Youth Center’s solar panel installation, an initiative council members referenced frequently as they shuffled funds around, trying to determine where to allocate portions of the federal Community Development Block Grant. In nearly all cases, project managers received less money than they requested — funding all the projects in the amount applied for would have put the city more than $350,000 over the line. “Everybody’s in need. Everybody would like to have more money,” Councilman Jess Talamantes said during the panel’s meeting. City staff members recommended that the council not issue any funds to the solar panel project for the BYC, an organization formed by the Armenian Cultural Foundation, believing the money could be better used for housing and homelessness initiatives. But after about a dozen callers asked council members not to divert the grant from the BYC during the meeting’s public comment period, the council agreed to find funding elsewhere for the causes advocated by the staff.
Ramping up efforts intended to mitigate the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic to tenants, the Burbank City Council has voted to extend the municipal eviction moratorium and further defer rent payments. The latter measure, which was passed unanimously on Tuesday, gives residential and commercial renters six months after the eviction moratorium is lifted to repay the rent they owe. That moratorium, which was first issued in March, was extended to Sept. 30, lining up with a similar countywide ordinance, but could be extended again. An ordinance giving residents and businesses extra time to pay rent was already in place, setting the deadline at Nov. 30. However, City Attorney Amy Albano and Community Development Director Patrick Prescott noted in a staff report that renters may not have the financial means to pay their debts by then. Landlords are also not allowed to charge interest for unpaid rent during the moratorium and six-month grace period. Between 10.8% and 12.1% of local renters either deferred their rent payment or entered a payment plan in May and June, according to a city survey of local apartment owners. Between 2.4% and 3.3% did not pay rent at all and are not on a payment plan. Andrea Ureno, a Burbank renter and single mother who explained that she takes care of her mother and daughter, called the council in support of the moratorium extension during its Tuesday meeting. Her rent, she said, has increased by $150 every year — but her wages haven’t.
Burbank saw a marginal increase in its homeless population since last year, according to a countywide count, but officials said statistics are likely understated. A count released Thursday by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority said Burbank’s total homeless population in January was 291, only a few more than the 282 people counted in 2019. It was a noticeably less severe jump than in the prior year; from 2018 to 2019, there were 82 additional homeless people recorded in Burbank in the authority’s annual point-in-time count. However, LAHSA’s executive director, Heidi Marston, cautioned in a news release that the count was made before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has likely caused more people to fall into homelessness as legions of workers throughout the nation lost their jobs. The statistic for Los Angeles County’s homeless population, which increased 12.7% from the previous year to a total of 66,436 — meaning that roughly 7,500 more people were homeless this year than in 2019 — is also likely an underestimate for that reason. Additionally, the city figure excludes some groups, including unsheltered homeless individuals ages 18-24, and people in domestic violence shelters. Though the total homeless population of Burbank has increased and most of it remains without shelter, city Housing Development Manager Marcos Gonzalez pointed out that, according to the LAHSA count, the number of unsheltered homeless individuals actually decreased by three persons to roughly 207.
Police came across the body of a man dead inside a vehicle located in a downtown parking structure at about 3 a.m. on Thursday, according to the Burbank Police Department. From the condition of the vehicle, it appeared that the man, who was in his 50s, was living in his car, said Sgt. Derek Green of the Burbank Police Department via email. A parking control officer found the vehicle in the parking structure at 133 E. Orange Grove Ave., located between the Islands and Kabuki restaurants. There were no signs of foul play, Green said. A dog that was also found in the vehicle was taken to the Burbank Animal Shelter. The man’s cause of death remains unknown, pending a determination by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
Burbank police have identified two men who were shot and killed early Tuesday, but the reasons for the incident remain unclear.
After receiving a report of a shooting at about 1:25 a.m. Tuesday, officers responded to a residence in the 900 block of Cambridge Drive and found in the driveway a man who had at least one gunshot wound, according to a Burbank Police Department news release. The man, 34-year old Los Angeles resident Edward Lopez, was pronounced dead at the scene.
While trying to give aid to Lopez, officers heard yelling from inside the home about someone being shot, the department said. They entered the house and found 41-year-old Burbank resident Armen Sahakyan shot in his upstairs bedroom. He, too, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sahakyan’s wife, whom police have not identified by name, was taken from the house to a hospital in critical condition with gunshot wounds. The couple’s three children, ages 7, 13 and 17, were also found in the house and taken to family members. Continue reading “Police Identify Two Who Died at Scene of Shooting”
Burbank expects to receive about $477,000 from the state for housing programs, the city’s staff announced recently.
The funds for which the city is applying come from the California Department of Housing and Community Development and would pay for the costs of new initiatives supporting low-income families and those at risk of homelessness.
For example, the city’s Community Development Department is proposing a pilot program that would give matching contributions to homeowners who convert a garage into or build a new accessory dwelling unit. The unit would need to be rented out to a very low- or low-income household. Funding for the program is estimated at $127,182, enough for an estimated six ADUs.
Another $350,000 is also proposed for a rapid rehousing rent program that would give rental assistance and guidance to households at risk of homelessness. The program would be able to help about 60 households struggling financially. Continue reading “City Seeks State Aid to Bolster Local Housing”
After successfully suing the city clerk for denying his petition, a tenants’ advocate planning a run for City Council is one step closer to putting a rent regulation measure on the ballot in November.
Konstantine Anthony and his campaign manager Margo Rowder, co-founders of the nonprofit Burbank Tenants’ Right Committee, sued City Clerk Zizette Mullins and the council in June. Mullins rejected the plaintiffs’ petition, which included more than 7,700 valid signatures from voters, in May, saying it had not included a “statement of reasons” explaining the necessity of the proposed ordinance.
However, Anthony’s attorney, Fredric Woocher, argued that Mullins and the city attorney had misinterpreted the Elections Code, relying on a version of the law that was changed in 1987 to remove the requirement the clerk cited.
The judge agreed, approving the plaintiffs’ request to require Mullins to approve the petition on Thursday. Continue reading “Council Hopeful, a Renters’ Advocate, Wins Suit Against Burbank”
When longtime customers visited Roz Cannon’s flag store after her death, they came to mourn.
The depth of their sorrow was surprising, according to her daughter Mona — but then again, the 94-year-old woman knew how to develop relationships with people, including her clientele.
Roz Cannon was the president of James E. Perry Co. Flag Headquarters, a flag manufacturing and distributing business in Burbank whose banners have appeared in the film “Independence Day” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, and above many municipal and county buildings.
She was also the daughter of Russian immigrants, grew up burdened with responsibilities at an early age during the Great Depression, and was simultaneously generous and — in the way moms can sometimes be — critical, Mona Cannon explained. But her legacy also was one of kindness and tenderness. Continue reading “Flag Store Was Legendary, Its Late Owner Steadfast”