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Making the list

City Council names six problems that are priorities to work on.

May 08, 2010|By Christopher Cadelago

During a special goal-setting meeting Thursday, the City Council took the unusual step of expanding the list of five governing priorities to include a sixth item — reforming the troubled Police Department.

While each of the council members presented similar topics relating to budget efficiencies and economic development, traffic and transportation, and sustainability and community involvement for the coming year, Mayor Anja Reinke and Councilman David Gordon included the Police Department in their top-five goals. The item eventually took the top spot on the list.

“I know we’re working on that, but I think it’s really important for public perception that we state that as a goal,” Reinke said. “Because that is really the hottest issue that we have going on in the community.”


Gordon said it was imperative that the council restore and enhance the Police Department internally and externally by providing whatever was needed as quickly as possible.

“I have always been amazed with our Police Department in Burbank, but we really need an extreme home makeover,” Gordon said.

Councilman Jess Talamantes implored officials to continue their efforts to spur economic development — a deep-rooted goal of the council.

“I’m not coming up with new ideas here,” he said. “Let’s keep moving in the same direction. Let’s keep the aggressiveness. Let’s get business in here by partnering with the chamber [of commerce]?.?.?.?to spread the word that ‘Burbank is the place for you.’”

Talamantes cited empty storefronts and vacant big-box chains downtown, and called on officials with the city’s new business development team to explore public-private partnerships and leverage the slow economy to maximize resources.

Council members called for a realistic budget through creative solutions that bring labor groups to the table. Other common council goals include a repeated focus on traffic, transportation and parking, and establishing new ways to address crumbling infrastructure.

All of the measures would be tied together by strengthening the way the city communicates with the public in real time through surveys and information disseminated through its press office, Councilman Gary Bric said.

Bric said conservation of water should be a priority, because “we’re still years down the road before we see any changes.”

Piggybacking on one of the council’s top-five goals for 2009-10, Councilman Dave Golonski turned his attention to conservation and ways to weave sustainable practices through each city department.

“We go through economic cycles, and sustainability is not really an economic cycle issue,” he said.

The fuel budget for the Public Works Department, he said, has decreased dramatically with the inclusion of natural gas.

“That was a sustainability measure that saved a tremendous amount of money,” he said. “And I believe that there are a number of other departments that have the ability to do that.”

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