I am an autistic, formerly homeless Burbanker, and my policy platform is shaped by my lived experiences. I moved to Burbank in 2004 to work in film and television. Since then, I’ve focused my time on disability advocacy, housing justice and workers’ rights, all while raising my disabled son. Burbank’s challenges are rising housing costs, homelessness, vanishing small businesses, traffic and speeding, unfair wages and outdated environmental policy. Our solutions must include more affordable housing, increasing homeless services, protecting small businesses and improving failing transportation infrastructure. We must also return to our roots as a union town with high-paying jobs. Lastly, it’s time for aggressive action against climate change. These issues aren’t just political — they’re personal. I’ve watched my wages fall with no union to protect me. As a formerly homeless Burbank resident, I know the anguish of living in my car. Employers won’t hire me because I’m disabled. If not for a helping hand when needed, I might’ve fallen through the cracks. Now my life’s work is advocating for people who aren’t afforded the same privileges I benefit from. If I win a seat in this race, I would be the only renter, the only parent with school-age children, the only millennial and the first-ever graduate of Leadership Burbank on our City Council. I would also be the first openly autistic elected official in California’s history.
The League of Women Voters of Glendale/Burbank Unit and Burbank Council Parent Teacher Association will host a candidate forum for the Burbank Unified School District Board of Education race. The forum will be held virtually on Wednesday, Sept. 30, from 2:45-3:55 p.m. The event is free and open to all. The forum will be broadcast live on the Burbank Television Channel and the Burbank Channel on YouTube and will be replayed until the election on Nov. 3. The public is encouraged to submit questions for the candidates. To submit your question(s), visit Burbank Council PTA’s dedicated web page: burbankcouncilpta.org/candidate-forum. Due to time constraints and the number of candidates, not all questions will be asked. Questions should be on the issues and applicable to all candidates. No personal attacks or biased questions will be accepted. The candidates (in ballot order) are: • Armond Aghakhanian, incumbent • Steve Ferguson, incumbent • Emily Weisberg, middle school teacher • Roberta Reynolds, incumbent Burbank Council PTA President Wendi Harvel said, “The Board of Education makes decisions that affect all of our students, and they are our elected representatives. Our community has a voice when it comes to educating our children. Our voice is our vote. Both LWV-G/B and BCPTA believe that offering opportunities for community members to learn more about their candidates both empowers voters and encourages voters to show up at the polls.” To learn more about the League of Women Voters-Glendale Burbank, visit my.lwv.org/california/los-angeles. For information about the Burbank Council PTA, visit burbankcouncilpta.org.
After much discourse and explanation from Burbank Unified School District staff members, the Board of Education approved — with some apprehension — the memorandum of understanding between teachers and BUSD during Thursday’s virtual meeting. The motion to adopt the 15-page document passed, 4-1. The lone dissenting vote came from Charlene Tabet, who echoed parents’ concerns regarding the schedule that includes four days of mixed live classroom instruction and independent learning — Monday through Thursday — and a “pupil-free” workday on Friday. Community members expressed worry that children would not get enough interaction with teachers, especially on a Friday that does not require students to check in. Tabet said she wasn’t so sure students would take advantage of that time with their instructors, and also expressed concern for those in special education and English-language learning.
School districts across California scored a big victory on Monday when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced an agreement with the Legislature on a 2020-21 state budget that will avoid the drastic cuts in school funding that initially were proposed in May, allowing the Burbank Unified School District Board of Education to sigh with relief Thursday as it adopted a budget for the next fiscal year. Continue reading “BUSD Spared From Big Budget Cuts for Now”