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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Council Approves Vaccine Mandate for City Employees

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

Despite concerns that employees could quit over the policy, the Burbank City Council approved vaccination mandates for municipal workers and some contract laborers.
The mandate that the council approved by a 3-2 vote on Tuesday will eventually require city employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face termination. A separate policy for contractors, which passed with unanimous support, will require businesses to prove that their employees who come onto city property or interact with the public are vaccinated.
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Burbank Police Department Gets Traffic Safety Grant

First published in the Oct. 9 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank Police Department will receive a $100,000 grant for overtime costs associated with enforcing traffic laws.
The reimbursement grant, from the California Office of Traffic Safety’s Selective Traffic Enforcement Program, will allow an increase in patrols and checkpoints for DUIs, according to a staff report submitted to the Burbank City Council. Some of the funds will also go toward purchasing four radar devices that will allow officers to track vehicle speed.
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Former Mayor Stamper Dies at 86

First published in the Oct. 9 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Rev. Larry Stamper, who served as Burbank’s mayor in the ‘80s and was a longtime pastor of a local church, died this week at the age of 86.
Stamper was on the Burbank City Council between 1981 and 1985, holding the seat of mayor from 1983 to 1984. He was the pastor of Burbank First United Methodist Church for more than 30 years, retiring in 2004, the Leader reported at the time. Stamper was also regularly involved in various local charitable events, such as collecting donations for the Burbank Temporary Aid Center.
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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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Mixed-Use Development Approved for Former Fry’s Site

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

The Burbank Planning Board this week approved a project that is expected to bring offices, restaurants and hundreds of residential units to the site of the now-defunct Fry’s Electronics.
The mixed-use project at 2311 N. Hollywood Way, dubbed Burbank Aero Crossings, will feature two seven-story buildings with a total of 862 apartments ranging from studio rooms to three-bedroom spaces, with 80 units designated for very low-income tenants. A restaurant will be located on the ground floor of one of the residential buildings, while another will stand on its own. A five-story office building is also planned for the space.
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Police, Fire Unions Open to Vaccine Policies

First published in the Sept. 25 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Local police and fire labor groups say they will abide by vaccine and testing requirements affecting their respective personnel, including a rule the city recently passed for municipal workers.
The Burbank policy, which the City Council approved on Sept. 14, requires all city staff members to be tested for COVID-19 weekly unless they are fully vaccinated. The testing mandate is tentatively expected to go into effect on or around Oct. 11. New hires must be vaccinated unless they have a valid medical or religious exemption. Continue reading “Police, Fire Unions Open to Vaccine Policies”

BWP’s Stricter Water Use Rules Approved

First published in the Sept. 18 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Burbank residents will only be able to water their lawns with sprinklers once a week between November and March, the City Council decided Tuesday, a restriction aimed at conserving water during a statewide drought.
Besides limiting irrigation to 15 minutes on Saturdays, the City Council’s unanimous vote to approve implementation of the second stage in Burbank Water and Power’s water-use ordinance also bars residents from using non-recycled water to refill artificial or ornamental bodies of water. BWP officials said they intend to return to the City Council in about two and a half months with a plan to fine residents who violate the restrictions and a request to add a drought surcharge to water rates. Continue reading “BWP’s Stricter Water Use Rules Approved”

City Workers Must Be Vaccinated or Tested, Council Says

First published in the Sept. 18 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Burbank city employees will soon have to choose between submitting to regular COVID-19 testing or getting the vaccine, with new hires required to be vaccinated.
The City Council voted 3-1 to implement the policy during its Tuesday meeting. When the requirement begins, tentatively on Oct. 11 but potentially later, municipal workers will have to undergo weekly testing for COVID-19. Those tests will be provided free of charge and during work hours, and employees who show proof of vaccination are exempt from the requirement.
The requirement for prospective employees to be vaccinated in order to be hired is a new addition to the policy, which City Council members first discussed about a month ago. The rule allows exemptions for those with valid religious beliefs or medical conditions. Continue reading “City Workers Must Be Vaccinated or Tested, Council Says”

Housing Controversy: Senate Bills 9 and 10, Explained

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

It’s easy to agree that California is experiencing a housing crisis. What’s far more contentious is what to do about it.
On Aug. 30, the California Legislature presented a couple of plans. It approved Senate Bills 9 and 10, which are aimed at boosting the state’s housing supply but have attracted stern opposition from many cities. Gov. Gavin Newsom received the bills on Sept. 3; he must sign or veto them by Oct. 10, or they will go into effect.
To explain the conflict over SB 9 and 10, the Leader has summarized key details about the bills and who supports or opposes them — and why. Continue reading “Housing Controversy: Senate Bills 9 and 10, Explained”