City Attorney Albano to Retire in November

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

Amy Albano

Amy Albano, the city of Burbank’s lead attorney for the past decade and the first woman to hold that position, confirmed this week that she will retire in November.
Albano told the Leader in an interview that her last day as Burbank’s city attorney is Nov. 10. Since being hired to the role in October 2011, Albano has served as the top legal adviser to the City Council and, along with her staff, represented the municipality in court. The city has not made an announcement regarding Albano’s successor, who will be selected by the council (city attorney and city manager are the only two positions that the group appoints directly).
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Scrutiny of Proposed Structure Resumes Today at Meeting

The saga of the proposed development at 600 Foothill Boulevard — a three-story, mixed-use structure that would include 47 active senior housing units, 12-non-serviced hotel units, 7,600 square feet of office uses and one level of underground parking containing 107 spaces — will resume at a special meeting today at 6 p.m.

The La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission will continue its deliberation about the controversial project from a previous virtual meeting that lasted nearly five hours. The panel closed that June 24 session with requests for its staff and the applicants, Garret Weyand and Alexandra Hack of 600 Foothill Owner LP, to follow up on issues that included parking spaces and the mitigation declaration’s traffic study.

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At Last, Community Gardens Project Takes Root Today

After more than a decade of discussion and false starts, two empty sites in Burbank are showing early signs of blooming into community gardens, with a nonprofit holding a public planning meeting this morning.

The Los Angeles Community Garden Council is hosting the kickoff event from 9-11 a.m. at 3705 W. Clark Ave. There, council representatives will explain plans for cultivating that site, as well as one at 1141 N. Pass Ave., into community spaces at which residents will be able to rent plots to grow crops, flowers and other plants.

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City Council Approves 2021-22 Budget

The City Council unanimously approved the municipal budget for fiscal year 2021-22 on Tuesday, projecting optimism that Burbank’s finances are beginning to recover from the pandemic.

With businesses reopening and the number of total vaccinations increasing across the county, city officials said they expect tax revenue to recover next fiscal year, which begins in July. Despite that, General Fund recurring revenues are still projected to be nearly $9 million below pre-pandemic expectations.

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City OKs Ordinance Raising Some Store Workers’ Pay

Following weeks of intense disagreement among City Council members, the group approved an ordinance increasing pay for Burbank grocery and drugstore workers on Tuesday.

The hazard pay ordinance, sometimes referred to as “hero pay,” directs affected stores to increase employees’ wages by $5 an hour starting June 18 and will last for 60 days unless terminated early or extended. It will affect workers of large businesses, defined as stores that have more than 10 employees and are either publicly traded or report having more than 300 employees nationwide.

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Utility Rate Hikes Receive Council’s Backing

Despite concerns from residents and its own members regarding the timing, the Burbank City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to move toward increasing utility rates.

The water rate is set to increase by 1.96% in October, as well as in January and April next year. The electricity rate will increase by 1.24% in October 2021 and April 2022, while the refuse rate will increase by 2% in July 2021.

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Tinhorn Flats Removes City’s Padlocks from Doors

Locks on Tinhorn Flats’ doors placed by city workers on Wednesday morning were later removed. Photo courtesy Jarrod Moore

Just hours after the city of Burbank padlocked Tinhorn Flats’ doors this morning, the restaurant announced it had removed the devices.

Baret Lepejian, the owner of Tinhorn Flats, told the Leader on Monday that he was “pretty sure” he was going to open the locks, though he acknowledged the city could push against him harder for defying a temporary restraining order.

But by around 11 a.m. today, the restaurant posted a picture on its social media page showing a metal tab that had attached the lock to the door had been broken and announced it would open as usual.

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City Sues Tinhorn Flats, Revokes Permit

Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill was open on Tuesday, Feb. 23 — illegally — in light of a City Council decision the night before. But customers filed in all the same.

It wasn’t that they were unaware that the council had revoked the restaurant’s operational permit. Several mentioned it explicitly. Some seemed to see ordering a burger and beer as an act of rebellion against what they saw as government overreach: the issuance of restrictive health orders aimed to slow a pandemic that has killed more than 500,000 Americans.

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Council Approves Modified Mylar Balloon Ban

In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the City Council formally adopted a modified version of its metallic balloon ban that it first introduced for review weeks ago.
Starting on Nov. 30, Glendale businesses are barred from selling the balloons — colloquially called Mylar balloons — if they are inflated with helium or any gas “lighter than air.” Further, such balloons inflated with air may only be sold when affixed to some sort of decorative structure, like a post or balloon arch; otherwise, they are to be sold uninflated.
The council adopted the ban at the urging of Glendale Water and Power as well as residents frustrated with power outages and damages to electrical systems as a result of wayward Mylar balloons entangling themselves in lines or equipment.
“There is a really good reason why we’re looking at this kind of a ban,” Councilwoman Paula Devine said, highlighting the importance of some residents to have medical equipment or air conditioning powered consistently.

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