BurbankBus to End Fare-Free Service

First published in the Jan. 15 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The city of Burbank recently announced it will once again charge passengers of BurbankBus and BurbankBus Senior and Disabled Transit, after nearly two years of providing fare-free travel.
BurbankBus will reinstate its $1 fares beginning Feb. 1. The BurbankBus Senior and Disabled Transit $1 fare will resume a month later on March 1 to allow for more time to inform senior housing facilities of the change.
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City OKs Mylar Balloon Restrictions

First published in the Jan. 15 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank City Council voted unanimously this week to severely limit the sale of metallic balloons, which electric utility officials said have caused power outages.
The ordinance bans businesses from selling the balloons, often referred to by the brand name Mylar, unless they are filled with air only and are attached to a post or similar decorative structure. The rule, approved Tuesday, will go into effect on Feb. 11.
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Council Backs Initiative for Local Control of Housing

First published in the Jan. 15 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank City Council agreed this week to draft a letter supporting a campaign seeking to give local jurisdictions power to override some state housing laws.
The “Our Neighborhood Voices” initiative, run by a group of California city representatives, aims to place a measure on the November ballot that, if approved by voters, would amend the state constitution to give city and county laws precedence over conflicting state rules on land use regulations and zoning codes. The campaign needs to collect nearly 1 million valid signatures by April 26 to qualify for the ballot.
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Redistricting Reshapes Burbank’s Representation

First published in the Jan. 15 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
Recently finalized political maps separate Burbank from some of its traditional neighbors, a change that could boost Hispanic representation but has angered some members of the Armenian community.
Burbank will also find itself in a different state Assembly district from south Glendale and Pasadena, and a different congressional district than Pasadena and La Crescenta-Montrose. The new maps of the districts, which an independent California commission draws following each U.S. Census, also indicate that this year’s elections will bring Burbank a new state senator.
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BUSD Steps Up COVID Measures

First published in the Jan. 15 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

A winter surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continues to rage through Los Angeles County and the Burbank Unified School District is doing what it can to allay concerns from families and employees.
The district distributed at-home coronavirus test kits to families last week and hosted three testing clinics to keep transmission low at BUSD sites. It also acquired medical-grade masks that are now required for employees and surgical masks for students.
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Burbank Reiterates High-Speed Rail Concerns

First published in the Jan. 15 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Burbank representatives will continue to press the California High-Speed Rail Authority on their apprehensions regarding the project, the City Council decided this week.
Council members voted 4-0 Tuesday to approve a comment letter to the authority ahead of its Wednesday, Jan. 19, meeting. The letter lists multiple issues city officials have with the state’s high-speed “bullet train” project, most of which are reiterated concerns they say the authority has failed to fully address.
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Portantino Bill Links Extra School Funding to Enrollment

First published in the Jan. 8 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

State Sen. Anthony Portantino announced a bill this week that would provide supplemental funding to K-12 schools based on student enrollment numbers.
California is one of only six states that does not consider student enrollment figures for determining state aid to school districts. Continue reading “Portantino Bill Links Extra School Funding to Enrollment”

COVID-19 Cases Skyrocket as Omicron Dominates

First published in the Jan. 8 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

County data appears to show that more Burbank residents are testing positive for the coronavirus, on average, than during any previous surge.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported that more than 370 Burbank residents tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, by far the most the city had ever seen in one day. The seven-day average for cases was also record high of about 243 per day on Wednesday, the county’s most recent reporting day as of the Leader’s press deadline. Officials recorded similarly record-breaking numbers for L.A. County as a whole.
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Schiff Recalls Jan. 6 Assault on Capitol

First published in the Jan. 8 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff stood on the floor of the House of Representatives Thursday, the same spot where, one year prior, the congressman observed a surreal insurrection occur on the Capitol.
Schiff, a Democrat from Burbank, said in an interview with the Leader that he still remembers the sound of glass shattering. He recalls shouts from Capitol police and his fellow representatives as a mob tried to force its way into the chambers, aiming to overturn the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory.
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