Congressman Discusses Potential New Stimulus With Council

Congressman Adam B. Schiff

More federal funds addressing the economic impact of the coronavirus may be on the way, Congressman Adam Schiff said during the City Council’s virtual meeting Tuesday.
Schiff, D-Burbank, joined the meeting to announce the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, a potential follow-up to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the coronavirus stimulus package known as the CARES Act. The $3 trillion legislation would give about $500 billion to states and $375 billion to cities for their coronavirus responses, with the largest portion of the latter provision awarded to bigger cities like Burbank.
Councilmembers expressed support for the bill, which additionally provides more money for COVID-19 testing. However, Schiff also said that the federal government has been slow to increase its testing capacity.
“Much of the issue in terms of testing is that the administration got such a late start in prioritizing this. The early test that was rolled out by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] was a flawed test, and that cost us precious weeks to get a good test out, and even then I think the response has been very slow to ramp up the capacity,” he said.
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Mayor Addresses COVID-19 Pandemic

By Sharon Springer
City of Burbank Mayor

Mayor Sharon Springer

Hello Fellow Burbankers. L.A. County began reopening golf courses and trails along with some retail businesses that are offering curbside pickup. In Burbank, DeBell Golf Course is now open. Stough Canyon was closed this week for a few days of maintenance. Wildwood Canyon and its parking lot are open and will remain open.
While out on trails, please wear facemasks and follow all posted guidelines. Children older than age 2 are also required to wear facemasks at trailheads, in parking lots and destination points. We must continue to practice social distancing and regular hand washing. These are simple things we can do to ensure everyone’s safety and hopefully not have restrictions again in the future. Thank you for being kind. Many are stressed during this difficult time and a kind word or thank you can help.
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Starlight Bowl Concerts, Youth Camps Canceled

Photo courtesy City of Burbank
The Starlight Bowl concert series has been canceled due to COVID-19 health orders.

Several city-run summer outdoor events, including the Starlight Bowl Summer Concert Series and the Tot Summer Daze camp, have been canceled due to the coronavirus.
The cancellations were announced during the Burbank City Council meeting on Tuesday. Marisa Garcia, the city’s Parks and Recreations director, said during the meeting that, while some facilities are tentatively planned to reopen over the summer, certain events would not be resumed.
The canceled events will save the city about $300,000, she noted.
While the Starlight Bowl concerts, including the July 4 celebration, have been canceled, private organizations may be able to rent the venue for their own concerts between August and October, depending on COVID-19 health orders from Los Angeles County officials.
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BUSD Projects Dour Budget Revisal; Considers Senior Celebrations

Photo courtesy Ryan Hirsch
Burbank Unified School District is considering ways to celebrate senior graduates.

Burbank Unified School District Superintendent Matt Hill expressed concern on Thursday about how Gov. Gavin Newsom’s revised state budget, taking into account economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, will impact local schools.
With a projected $54.3 billion deficit due to effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdown, Newsom proposed a $203.3 billion budget on Thursday that would significantly cut school funding.
“If this budget is implemented, it will drastically impact BUSD,” Hill stated in his weekly letter to the BUSD community. “The California School Board Association has made it easy for us to stress the need to protect education funding.”
Hill encouraged community members to follow the CSBA’s online link —p2a.co/lY0Zw5J — and email legislators about protecting educational funding.
The BUSD Board of Education will convene for a special meeting to “discuss budget scenarios and fundraising priorities” on Tuesday, May 19, at 7 p.m.

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City Council Projects Steep Revenue Loss on Pandemic Recession

Burbank City Councilmembers discuss a potential new coronavirus relief package with Congressman Adam Schiff, who briefly joined their virtual meeting Tuesday to answer questions about the $3 trillion bill.

The Burbank City Council approved a tentative budget this week that estimates a revenue loss of $15-$20 million during the next fiscal year of 2020-21 due to economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
The council heard eight different budget presentations on Tuesday during a virtual meeting that lasted nearly six hours, creeping past midnight. Though city officials emphasized that the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic’s financial impact on Burbank remains uncertain, they expressed confidence that the city’s prudent fiscal policies over the past several years have put it in a good position to withstand economic challenges.
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Council Crafts Outdoor Facilities Reopening Amid Social Distancing

The Burbank City Council confirmed the extension of social distancing rules to match those of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and reviewed possible reopening dates for outdoor areas during its virtual meeting on Tuesday.
The confirmation of the social distancing order, first issued by City Manager Justin Hess on April 23, will mirror L.A. County’s extension of its “Safer at Home” order to the same day, which also keeps Burbank eligible for potential state and federal reimbursement and aid for costs brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
After Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state’s transition into Stage 2 of reopening procedures on May 4, L.A. County and Burbank began allowing certain retail businesses to reopen for curbside pickup. In a staff report on Tuesday, Fire Chief Eric Garcia emphasized that though Burbank is working on its own set of initiatives to further reopen, the city will not go beyond the county’s guidelines.
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Burbank’s Firefighter of Year is Honored

Capt. Ryan Cortina

Captain Ryan Cortina, a 12-year veteran with the Burbank Fire Department, has been recognized as its Firefighter of the Year, it has been announced.
“His passion and commitment as a company officer is second to none and may only be superseded by his investment in the Paramedic Program,” a fire department spokesperson said. “He spends countless hours both on and off duty working towards the improvement, innovation and ownership of this program. He always goes above and beyond as a paramedic coordinator by maintaining personnel needs, equipment and supplies. He is a key component in the department’s successful relationships with outside agencies and provides continuing education for the Emergency Medical Services Program.
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BUSD Stands by Grading Policy Despite Backlash

The BUSD Board of Education, which includes (from left) Roberta Reynolds, Steve Frintner, Armond Aghakhanian, Charlene Tabet and Steve Ferguson, backed Superintendent Matt Hill and the Burbank Teacher’s Association’s decision to change this semester’s grading policy to Credit/No Credit after listening to disgruntled parents’ letters.

The Burbank Unified School District stood firm in its decision to go with a “Credit/No Credit” grading policy for the spring semester despite backlash and pleas from parents during the Board of Education meeting on Thursday.
Superintendent Matt Hill and the five board members responded to numerous letters from concerned — and angered — parents regarding the Burbank Teacher’s Association and district’s controversial decision. All local schools closed March 16 because the COVID-19 pandemic and students were given Chromebooks for distance learning.
“I completely understand the passion and advocacy for your children,” Hill addressed parents during the meeting. “The approach we took with our teachers was looking at all of the options and thinking of different scenarios for each option.
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Reynolds Selected Woman of Year By State Senator

Dr. Roberta Reynolds

Dr. Roberta Reynolds, a local resident who has served on the Burbank Board of Education since 2007 and recently completed her third term as its president, has been selected by state Sen. Anthony Portantino as the 25th State Senate District’s Woman of the Year, it has been announced.
Each year, the California Legislature recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding women during Women’s History Month. This year, the ceremony was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reynolds has previously served as PTSA president at Burbank High School, president of Burbank Council PTA, vice president of the First District PTA, and Reflections chairperson for First District PTA. Reynolds has been the recipient of a PTA Honorary Service Award from the Burbank High School PTSA, Burbank Council PTA, and First District PTA.
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Burbank Eviction Ordinance Extended Until May 31

The Burbank City Council has extended its Urgency Ordinance, initially approved on March 17, prohibiting the evictions of residential and commercial tenants for non-payment of rent caused by the coronavirus. The ordinance is retroactive to May 1 and allows both residential and specified commercial tenants to defer rent until Nov. 30.
On April 21, the City Council had voted to not extend the moratorium but adopted another urgency ordinance changing the repayment of back rent due, including late fees and/or penalties and interest, if any, to Nov. 30. This week’s decision reverses the sunset of the moratorium. (The Rent Repayment Ordinance terms adopted on April 21 did not change.)
Additionally, the City Council added restrictions to the applicability of the ordinance to exclude commercial property leased by a tenant that is a multi-national company, a publicly traded company, or a company that is not eligible for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. These types of companies were able to invoke the moratorium in April but will be excluded in the new ordinance currently in affect for May.
The County of Los Angeles also has an eviction moratorium that applies to cities which do not have their own eviction moratorium. With the extension of Burbank’s Eviction Moratorium Ordinance, the L.A. County Moratorium Order does not apply in Burbank.