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A civil council race so far

Two incumbents and four newcomers campaign for spots on the dais with a less attack-heavy tone than the contest in 2007.

April 12, 2009|By Christopher Cadelago

“If people really look at community involvement and sincerity of heart — if that shines through — I think it gives me some hope at this point,” she said.

Golonski, a councilman since 1993, culled $19,380 in contributions, including $1,100 in loans, while Gordon collected $33,210, including $20,144in loans.

Gordon, for the second consecutive week, missed the filing deadline. His filing was last updated on March 28.

Burbank places a $250 limit on contributions from one individual.

A property manager, Golonski said his first goal would be to take care of next year’s budget.

The city manager’s office this year asked department heads to cut their budgets by 5%.

An optometrist who captured his council seat three years ago in a special election in which he narrowly defeated Bill Wiggins, Gordon continues to warn about steep water rate hikes and wasteful spending on the part of the city.

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In a debate last month, the only joint forum of the election, Golonski accused Gordon of failing to work in concert with fellow council members, exploiting fear of water rate hikes and using the winter shelter at the National Guard Armory as a wedge issue to shore up neighborhood support at the expense of the homeless.

Gordon said the mayor’s charges against him were unwarranted.

“All of it’s untrue,” Gordon said. “I’ve never gone out and attacked Mr. Golonski.”

Gordon, who filled Councilwoman Stacey Murphy’s vacated seat in 2006, has said his biggest accomplishment has been to restore public trust in the office.

Despite the spat, observers and candidates characterize the race as remarkably calm. A weak economy and general lack of involvement from political action committees have been key factors, said Vice Mayor Gary Bric.

“The stuff gets expensive,” he said. “I think the people appreciate a good, clean fight.”

Bric, first elected two years ago along with Councilwoman Anja Reinke, said he knew this race would be different when months passed without an attack or hit piece against any of the six candidates.

“With a mail-in ballot, if things don’t go out early, there really isn’t much potential,” he said.

In 2007, a string of mailers attacked Bric for, among other things, serving alcohol at his restaurant. Reinke, a lawyer, was called out for defending those accused of violent crimes.

Husband-and-wife candidates Philip and Carolyn Berlin woke up one morning and found signs reading “Married Couples for Burbank Council,” encircled in red and crossed out with a diagonal stripe.

The election had a such a chilling effect on the couple, who had spent decades serving in the community, that they retreated almost entirely from public life. Reached at her home Friday, Carolyn Berlin said she and her husband were so disgusted by things said and done in the race that they stopped tuning in to council meetings on Tuesday nights and even refrain from taking local newspapers.

“I have decided to do what the rest of the people do,” she said.

“Which is to only get involved when things come into our neighborhood.”


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