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May 17, 2008

Tight-knit crew at City Hall downright creepy

Years ago, when I first started working in Burbank, I would meet older residents, more than a few, who’d boast to me about how many years it had been since they had physically left the city limits, for any reason. To them, Burbank was the best of all possible worlds, the be-all and the end-all, and there was never anyplace else they needed to go. They were proud of this fact; they were happy with their insularity.

I thought of this a couple of weeks ago as I watched the ascension, in Mayor Dave Golonski’s words, of “the heir apparent” to our city manager position, a job for which the lucky new recipient has been groomed for many years, or so they told us (“Flad tapped as city manager,” May 7). What struck me was that no one at the council meeting seemed to find any irony in the language they used to describe this civic anointment. This included Golonksi, who really should know better.

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While Councilwoman Marsha Ramos may bubble over about the fact that the corporate and business leaders were all there that evening, if anything, these are frightening words. What we need in Burbank these days is fresh blood and a new perspective, not someone whose biggest attribute is that he was born and raised in Burbank and “just loves it here.”

Frankly, I don’t want anyone running Burbank who loves it. I want someone who thinks it has big problems and knows how to make things better. I’d rather have somebody who hates it.

It’s not just me. Look around. It is unheard of for any nearby city to have the kind of incestuous, ingrown management team that Burbank seems to revel in, year after year. And there’s a good reason for this: Such a cozy family entity can become downright pathological, if not easily corruptible. Retirees don’t groom their successors, and they certainly don’t pick them, either.

Only in Burbank is this kind of creepy, kissing-cousin cronyism seen as a good thing. So if you’re happy about the status-quo here in town, you should be very happy about these latest personnel decisions. But for the rest of us, where does that leave everyone else?

JIM CARLILE

Burbank

Need safety along with beautification

It is obvious, as all past articles say, (“Plan aims to ease parking,” April 30) why we need more parking. But not just downtown. Have you noticed Burbank and Chandler boulevards? And I know others are bad too, but those are the streets I am on frequently due to work and day care routes.

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