with the city of Los Angeles.
The effort to "consolidate" Burbank with Los Angeles all started
when J.W. "Joe" Fawkes organized the Burbank Consolidation Committee.
The Burbank Consolidation Committee managed to collect the signatures
of 432 people on a petition calling for an election on whether
Burbank should join Los Angeles. This effort triggered an explosive
debate within the community that Los Angeles voters have recently
The annexation petition, as it became known, was submitted to Mr.
Rouscup, Burbank's city clerk at the time, on Sept. 14, 1920. Rouscup
was so upset by the petition that he threatened to burn it. He,
however, being a dutiful public servant, submitted the petition to
the City Council that same night. The City Council took no action
that night and instead waited until the following week to authorize
the city clerk to verify the signatures on the petition. It would
take the city clerk three weeks and $42.75 to verify the signatures,
a task Fawkes said could have been done in a week for $10 by the Los
Angeles County Registrar's Office. Fawkes used this time to build
political support for the effort to consolidate Burbank with Los
The reasons Fawkes gave to Burbankers to join Los Angeles were
based on water rights, public safety, education and the delivery of
efficient city services. Today, the same issues were used by those
for and against secession in Los Angeles.
Fawkes argued that Los Angeles' recently acquired water rights
would provide a cheap and endless supply of water. In fact, he
computed that Los Angeles residents would pay 14 cents per thousand
cubic feet of water while the city of Burbank charged 60 cents for
the same volume. Fawkes reasoned that by joining Los Angeles in 1920,
Burbankers would immediately reap the benefits of a new water works
infrastructure, including sewers, that Burbank would never be able to
afford without substantially raising taxes.
Fawkes argued Burbankers would be safer from crime and fires if