insight about Laurell's motives, the reactions of other officials,
and how the announcement might affect upcoming council races. Or
should I start with some pointless taunting and jokes about Laurell
having gone way over the top by bathing the announcement of his
decision in melodrama and theatrics?
OK, taunting jokes it is.
First, some background for those thousands upon thousands upon
THOUSANDS who probably never knew Burbank has a State of the City
event, referred to by some of the harried folk who organize and plan
it as "The SOTC." It's an annual tradition, a fund-raiser for, and
sponsored by, the Burbank Chamber of Commerce. It's typically an
opportunity to cheer every ongoing, recent or imminent municipal
accomplishment. It's always free of news, save for the fact that a
few hundred of the city's most prominent citizens gather in one
place. There is never a hint of negativity in what is portrayed as
the mayor's report to the community about the community.
The unspoken rule of optimism is so firmly entrenched that, for
example, when Laurell mentioned work on the infamous intersection of
Burbank Boulevard, Victory Boulevard and Victory Place, there wasn't
even a sly reference to the daily miseries endured by those trying to
get through the choke point once known as "five points," today
derided as "four and a half points."
Enormous effort goes into producing the Mayor's SOTC presentation,
which in recent years has come in the form of a video. In another
recent development, count on seeing Laurell's production, like others
before his, replayed often during City Hall's broadcast day on
Charter Communications Channel 6.
This being the media city, it's now traditional for the local
studios to help out. The SOTCs are crafted by the City Hall's public
information office, but typically include a star or two who works
locally, or who have some other local connection. When she was mayor,
Stacey Murphy traded quips with Brooke Shields. Bob Kramer's video
had him doing a driving tour with Gary Owens, the first to speak of
"Beautiful Downtown Burbank." In his last turn as mayor, Bill Wiggins