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.

Continue reading “Tinhorn Flats Removes City’s Padlocks from Doors”

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.

Continue reading “City Sues Tinhorn Flats, Revokes Permit”

Discussion of Police Officer Presence at Schools Continues

In response to a recent joint Burbank City Council and Police Commission meeting that included a discussion about law enforcement presence in schools, the Burbank Unified School District invited Sgt. Stephen Turner to explain the roles of school resource officers in a board of education meeting on Thursday.
Turner, who works in juvenile detail for the Burbank Police Department, provided an update on the SRO program and informed the board of education that the officers respond to high-risk or criminal activity in or around schools. Most of their time is spent investigating suspected child abuse reports and performing student wellness checks. SROs are also cognizant of bullying, victimization and students with suicidal or homicidal tendencies, and work closely with staff and mental health professionals to resolve each situation.
“I want to be clear: we’re not armed sentries at every campus,” Turner said. “We wear many hats as an SRO.”
Continue reading “Discussion of Police Officer Presence at Schools Continues”

City Council to Consider Recognizing Artsakh

Following a letter from a local Armenian group, the Burbank City Council will consider a proposal to recognize the disputed territory of Artsakh as an independent state.
Councilman Nick Schultz, who requested the item from city staff members at the end of Tuesday’s meeting, also asked for an option to terminate Burbank’s friendship city relationship with Hadrut, a city in Artsakh. The two municipalities declared that relationship in 2014.
An estimate for when the items would be presented to the council was not available this week.
Schultz’s requests were made after the Burbank chapter of the Armenian National Committee of America sent a letter to the City Council last week. The letter notes that, following last year’s fighting between Turkey-backed Azerbaijan and Armenia, Azeri forces now occupy Hadrut.

Continue reading “City Council to Consider Recognizing Artsakh”

Council Projects Optimism Despite Gloomy Budget Outlook

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
A woman enters municipal headquarters, where the Burbank City Council was reminded this week that the General Fund will be in the red by the end of the 2021-22 fiscal year unless measures are taken.

The Burbank City Council appeared confident this week that the municipality would find ways to address a projected General Fund deficit caused by the pandemic, though it is not yet clear what a budgetary response would look like.
The city does have some time to figure out its next steps; as staff members reminded the council on Tuesday, the recurring General Fund balance is not expected to be in the red until about June 2022, that fiscal year’s end. At that point, recurring expenses are projected to surpass revenues by $4.1 million.
The annual deficit, according to city projections, will then shrink to $1.9 million in fiscal year 2022-23 and $2.8 in 2023-24, before widening again to $4.3 million in 2024-2025.
“Even though the five-year projections show recurring deficits,” Councilman Jess Talamantes said during this week’s meeting, “it’s not 10s and 15s and 20s [of millions].” He added that it was up to city staff members to determine a budgetary course of action.
Councilman Tim Murphy also pointed out that other cities have announced layoffs due to the economic impacts of the coronavirus.

Continue reading “Council Projects Optimism Despite Gloomy Budget Outlook”

Local Restaurant Defies Dining Ban

Dozens of patrons sit at the outdoor patio of the Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill in Burbank

Baret Lepejian, owner of Tinhorn Flats Saloon & Grill in Burbank, said he loves the city’s Police Department. But the only way he’s closing his restaurant, he added, is if officers drag him away at gunpoint.

Lepejian is no stranger to controversy; his Facebook posts declaring that his business would not enforce face covering requirements for customers earned him condemnation from many local residents and praise from some others in October.

But the restaurateur’s decision to reopen Tinhorn Flats’ patio on Thursday despite a statewide health order banning in-person dining — a defiance not shared by most of Burbank’s businesses — seems to echo some of the growing desperation felt by many eateries’ owners.

“What have I got to lose? If it stays this way, I’m going to lose the restaurant anyway,” Lepejian said. “I would rather go down with the ship than close.

Continue reading “Local Restaurant Defies Dining Ban”

Konstantine, Schultz Win Council Seats

Nearly a month after Election Day, the final ballot results from Los Angeles County are in: Konstantine Anthony and Nick Schultz are expected to join the Burbank City Council in December.

Anthony soared into first place early in the ballot count process, with 17,529 votes as of Monday, Nov. 30 — when the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk certified the results. Schultz maintained a consistent lead for the second open council seat, with 13,105 voters having cast a ballot for him. The pair will be sworn in to the City Council at a reorganization meeting on Dec. 14.

Continue reading “Konstantine, Schultz Win Council Seats”

City Signals Support for Condemning Past Racism

Mayor Sharon Springer holds a proclamation, issued Tuesday, it denouncing all forms of prejudice and committing Burbank to the pursuit of equality and diversity.

After issuing a proclamation denouncing prejudice, the Burbank City Council indicated its support for a nonprofit organization’s recommendation that the panel formally acknowledge and apologize for racist aspects of the city’s history.
Early in the council’s Tuesday meeting, Mayor Sharon Springer presented a proclamation condemning “all forms of prejudices” and embracing “inclusivity, equality and diversity.” The decree also affirmed Burbank’s commitment to promoting equity and diversity in city programs and services, though it did not announce any new initiatives.
But what could be new, if council members approve, is a formal recognition and apology from Burbank for its previous “sundown town” policies that discouraged people of color, particularly African-Americans, from living in the city.

Continue reading “City Signals Support for Condemning Past Racism”

Challengers Lead in Council, School Board Races

Anthony Surges, Second City Seat Contested

Days after the election, Konstantine Anthony and Nick Schultz continued late this week to be the front-runners for two seats on the Burbank City Council, though Tamala Takahashi added suspense to the race by hovering in third place.
Anthony’s expected presence on the council would be only the latest development in his complicated relationship with the city: If he clinches victory, the disability services provider will have gone from suing Burbank this year to joining its lead panel in December.
As of the most recent update from Los Angeles County on Thursday evening, Anthony had 15,222 votes, or 20.7% of the total of votes counted, while Schultz had 11,328 votes, or 15.4%. If their leads hold, the two will sit on the council for the next four years.
Takahashi was not far behind, however, nabbing 10,862 votes, or 14.77%, in the Tuesday election in which eight candidates vied.

Continue reading “Challengers Lead in Council, School Board Races”

Anthony, Schultz Take Early Lead in Burbank City Council Election

With millions of votes counted in Los Angeles County, some local candidates have appeared to take the lead in their races, while a controversial rent regulation measure faces steep opposition so far.

The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office last updated figures at a little before 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13. The office said Tuesday night that there was an estimated 142,715 ballots left to count, not including votes postmarked by Election Day and received through Nov. 20. About 69,500 of the ballots left to count were mail-in ballots, including those deposited in a drop box.

Continue reading “Anthony, Schultz Take Early Lead in Burbank City Council Election”