City Council, Treasurer Candidates Give Statements

There will be eight Burbank residents running for two open City Council seats in November, with three people looking to nab the position of city treasurer. Local voters will cast their ballots on Nov. 3, with the newly elected council members holding their seats for four years and the treasurer holding his or her seat for two years to finish the unexpired term of former City Treasurer Debbie Kukta. Each candidate submitted a statement to The Leader for publication, explaining why he or she should be elected to a city position.

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Council Candidate Schultz Reaped Most Early Donations

Burbank City Council hopeful Nick Schultz raised more than $25,000 in campaign contributions from May 3 to June 30, according to city records, by far the most for any current council candidate for the first period in which donations were reported.
The California deputy attorney general’s campaign gained $7,000 of those funds through a loan from himself and an additional $500 of his own money during that period. Contributions could not be received before May 3.
Among donations of more than $100 — which require identification of the donor — only $550 came from people with Burbank addresses, not including Schultz himself.
Disability services provider Konstantine Anthony had the second-most campaign dollars at nearly $15,500, including a total of $1,000 from himself and his treasurer. He also had the highest percentage of small-dollar donations, with about 27% of contributions he received during the period being less than $100.

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Possible Mask Enforcement to Return to Council Agenda

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
Whether to have police issue citations to those who fail to observe face covering requirements — unlike the men pictured above — is scheduled for discussion at a City Council meeting on Sept. 15.

After hearing from some residents who voiced frustration that the topic hadn’t been discussed, the Burbank City Council will review the possibility of fining people who don’t adhere to face covering requirements.
Council members Emily Gabel-Luddy and Timothy Murphy led the push during the panel’s Tuesday meeting to return a report on the subject to the agenda. The matter is scheduled to be discussed when the council next meets on Sept. 15.
The report, drafted by the Burbank Police Department, had been placed on the agenda before the council’s Aug. 11 meeting after Councilman Jess Talamantes requested it. But when the meeting began, Talamantes abruptly pulled the item, later saying he “didn’t feel it was the right time to discuss it.”

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City Seeks State Aid to Bolster Local Housing

Burbank expects to receive about $477,000 from the state for housing programs, the city’s staff announced recently.
The funds for which the city is applying come from the California Department of Housing and Community Development and would pay for the costs of new initiatives supporting low-income families and those at risk of homelessness.
For example, the city’s Community Development Department is proposing a pilot program that would give matching contributions to homeowners who convert a garage into or build a new accessory dwelling unit. The unit would need to be rented out to a very low- or low-income household. Funding for the program is estimated at $127,182, enough for an estimated six ADUs.
Another $350,000 is also proposed for a rapid rehousing rent program that would give rental assistance and guidance to households at risk of homelessness. The program would be able to help about 60 households struggling financially.
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Burbank Approves Major Street Renovations Plan

Photo courtesy City of Burbank
The Burbank City Council voted to approve the new “Complete Streets” plan during its virtual meeting on Tuesday, reserving extra sidewalk space for outdoor dining and identifying a number of priority streets and focus areas based on several factors, including proximity to community centers, traffic and location in disadvantaged communities.

Councilmembers recently approved a sweeping set of recommendations for the improvement of Burbank city streets, including an initial development being built this year.
The “Complete Streets” plan was presented to the City Council during its virtual meeting Tuesday, with city transportation planner Hannah Woo explaining that the recommendations in the plan are aimed at making streets safer and more convenient for those who use them.
Recommendations include adding bike lanes, road signs and highly visible mid-block crosswalks to some streets, as well as expanding curbs with wheelchair-accessible ramps. Woo said that one of the major goals of the plan, which the city has been preparing since the end of 2018, is to help those who may have difficulty navigating Burbank’s streets, such as the elderly and people with disabilities.
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Protesters Encouraged to Seek Change at Ballot Box

As with demonstrations around the nation, recent Burbank protests have been driven by a serious purpose: demands for racial justice and police reform. But as a Tuesday march through the city highlighted, there can also be an expression of solidarity through music and movement.
“Things like music connect us every day,” said Benjamin Abiola, an organizer the protest. “Everyone feels that soul in their body, and it just shows people that there’s nothing different between us besides our skin color. And if we can both dance and sing to music, then why can’t we stand in solidarity against people who want to oppress us?”
But even as protesters danced the “Cupid Shuffle” in 95-degree heat, the signs they carried bore grim references to the issue that led to their presence in the street: the recent killings of black people. Continue reading “Protesters Encouraged to Seek Change at Ballot Box”

Burbank Council Seeks to Reduce Spending on Overtime

The Burbank City Council this week adopted a “needs-based” staffing policy that staff members said will reduce unnecessary overtime for municipal workers. Meanwhile, multiple residents questioned council members about the city’s finances.
Management Services Director Betsy McClinton said that the policy, which the council unanimously approved during its virtual meeting Tuesday, will give the city the flexibility to hire more or fewer staff members depending on need, or have more staff in communities that require it. The policy is also expected to help cut down on overtime.
It is unclear how much money would be saved by the new policy, according to McClinton, who added that the city spent nearly $7.2 million from the general fund on overtime in fiscal year 2018-19.
In accordance with California law, the city must meet with its labor groups before the new policy can be implemented, she said during the meeting. Her staff report to the council did not mention which employees might be affected by the policy.
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