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NEWS
February 19, 2003
J.D. Walker (Feb. 12 issue) asserts that there "has not been one iota of proof" that the current school board violated the Brown Act by making decisions in illegal meetings, held without public notice and agendas. This assertion is contradicted by a preponderance of evidence -- much of it cited by the L.A. County District Attorney in a letter sent to the school district Sept. 5. In the letter, District Atty. Steve Cooley cites five separate occasions in which the current board violates the Brown Act. On two occasions, board president Elena Hubbell's own incriminating statements make violations of the act practically a truth.
NEWS
September 25, 2002
Aside from ceasing and desisting from all future violations of the Ralph M. Brown Open Meeting Act, the BUSD should review its choice of counsel, or at least verify that Richard Currier has malpractice insurance in place. First, I wasn't aware that the district attorney had to allow suspected law breakers to "review the allegations" being made against them. I've looked, but I just can't find anything in the California codes that requires such a thing.
NEWS
September 18, 2002
AS IF YOU ASKED The Public Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has issued a letter to members of the Burbank Unified School District that cites board actions and statements chronicled in this space in recent months, alleging the facts described constitute five violations of the Brown Act, the body of state law that compels public officials to do the public's business in public....
NEWS
May 23, 2001
I join other citizens who speak freely about Burbank City Council actions in open and closed sessions. It is our right. We may not always agree with each other, but our free speech rights are protected by the U.S. and the California Constitutions and reinforced by court decisions. Citizens may not take the oath of allegiance required by the California Constitution, but council members Dave Golonski and David Laurell, City Manager Bud Ovrom, Airport Commissioner Charlie Lombardo and other city officials sure do. The oath says, "I (Name)
NEWS
By Chris Wiebe | July 21, 2007
CITY HALL — The City Council on Tuesday chose not to partner with the charitable arm of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, due in part to disagreements over the framework of its governing board. The proposal was designed to combine the resources of the city and the Burbank Community Foundation, which would "create an additional platform for building a stronger community and would potentially expand funding possibilities," said Gabriela Flores, community resources coordinator for the city.
NEWS
April 24, 2002
I said it before, and I'll say it again: If Will Rogers really thinks the school board violated the Brown Act in the way it handled Dave Aponik, it is incumbent upon him, as a Burbank resident, to personally file an official complaint with the county district attorney's office. It's time for him to either put up or shut up. Of course, it's one thing to state a case, and another to actually make one. Having seen these kind of charges before, I doubt whether the authorities are going to be much interested in the allegation that a school board had a "serial" meeting in order to read and sign a letter intended for public consumption.
THE818NOW
By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene@tchekmedyian@latimes.com | April 5, 2013
Burbank plans to press state officials on laws that prevent newly elected candidates from attending City Council closed sessions in the lead-up to them taking office, arguing the ban forces a steep learning curve that can hinder city business. The City Council on Tuesday decided to reach out to the California attorney general for insight on the practice, and to lobby legislators for a remedy that would allow council-elects to observe closed meetings and be protected by attorney-client privilege.
NEWS
May 19, 2001
There is need for an oral communication period during City Council meetings. It is logical for it to take place at the beginning of the meeting. It could be three or five minutes in duration. Free speech is protected by the 1st Amendment, but there are legal obligations and moral limitations. The mayor should be more diligent in limiting speech to city business. I do watch the broadcasting of council meetings regularly, at least until the end of council member and staff responses, to learn more about city business.
NEWS
By Chris Wiebe | October 25, 2006
BURBANK — Burbank Community Foundation board members are objecting to a city proposal to take over management of the group because it would make their meetings subject to the Brown Act, among other things. Under the terms of the Brown Act all city business must be open to the public, City Manager Mary Alvord said. In other words, if the foundation were to be placed under the city's umbrella, no committee discussions could be private in nature. On Sept. 26, the City Council approved a city staff recommendation to give Community Development Department staffers the duties of an executive director of the six-year-old nonprofit organization, green-lighting negotiations between the foundation and city staff to work out the details of the proposal.
NEWS
By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com | March 26, 2013
For years, City Council members-elect have been invited by Burbank officials to sit in on closed-door meetings prior to being sworn in. But City Atty. Amy Albano has issued a memo saying that the practice violates state law. Even so, the City Council next week is slated to discuss bringing Bob Frutos - who won election outright during the February primary - into the fold for closed-door meetings prior to his swearing in. In her memo, Albano said meetings cannot be “semi-closed,” citing that “interested members of the public may not be admitted to a closed session while the remainder of the public is excluded.” She added that people “without an official role in the meeting should not be present.” At a council meeting last week, Councilman David Gordon - who on March 5 initially proposed inviting Frutos to a closed meeting - said Albano's opinion differed from what Burbank has done in the past, when elected council members were invited to observe the meetings before being sworn in. In closed-door meetings, the council may discuss pending litigation, performance evaluations or labor negotiations.
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THE818NOW
By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene@tchekmedyian@latimes.com | April 5, 2013
Burbank plans to press state officials on laws that prevent newly elected candidates from attending City Council closed sessions in the lead-up to them taking office, arguing the ban forces a steep learning curve that can hinder city business. The City Council on Tuesday decided to reach out to the California attorney general for insight on the practice, and to lobby legislators for a remedy that would allow council-elects to observe closed meetings and be protected by attorney-client privilege.
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THE818NOW
April 5, 2013
Every week many private and public entities across the state welcome new employees to the job. These workers are knowledgeable about the broad scope of the tasks ahead, or they wouldn't have been hired in the first place. Nonetheless, their employers understand they will face a learning curve. Adjustments are made until the worker is up to speed. The same holds true for elected panels, such as school boards and city councils. No one in a community would expect a newly-elected representative to have in-depth knowledge of all the inner workings of such a body, no matter how many public meetings he or she attended prior to being elected.
NEWS
By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com | March 26, 2013
For years, City Council members-elect have been invited by Burbank officials to sit in on closed-door meetings prior to being sworn in. But City Atty. Amy Albano has issued a memo saying that the practice violates state law. Even so, the City Council next week is slated to discuss bringing Bob Frutos - who won election outright during the February primary - into the fold for closed-door meetings prior to his swearing in. In her memo, Albano said meetings cannot be “semi-closed,” citing that “interested members of the public may not be admitted to a closed session while the remainder of the public is excluded.” She added that people “without an official role in the meeting should not be present.” At a council meeting last week, Councilman David Gordon - who on March 5 initially proposed inviting Frutos to a closed meeting - said Albano's opinion differed from what Burbank has done in the past, when elected council members were invited to observe the meetings before being sworn in. In closed-door meetings, the council may discuss pending litigation, performance evaluations or labor negotiations.
NEWS
Craig Sherwood | January 30, 2011
Back in December, I wrote about predictions for the coming year, and here we are only three weeks into January and already two have come true. What's funny was one was tongue-in-cheek and the other serious. As a joke, I said the Burbank Leader and Glendale News-Press would combine and of course, Glendale would demand that their name came first. I guess it wasn't a joke. On the serious side, I said Burbank City Atty. Dennis Barlow would leave his job. While it was really no secret around City Hall that he would be leaving, it was the announcement itself that has me a little baffled.
NEWS
By Chris Wiebe | July 21, 2007
CITY HALL — The City Council on Tuesday chose not to partner with the charitable arm of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, due in part to disagreements over the framework of its governing board. The proposal was designed to combine the resources of the city and the Burbank Community Foundation, which would "create an additional platform for building a stronger community and would potentially expand funding possibilities," said Gabriela Flores, community resources coordinator for the city.
NEWS
By Chris Wiebe | October 25, 2006
BURBANK — Burbank Community Foundation board members are objecting to a city proposal to take over management of the group because it would make their meetings subject to the Brown Act, among other things. Under the terms of the Brown Act all city business must be open to the public, City Manager Mary Alvord said. In other words, if the foundation were to be placed under the city's umbrella, no committee discussions could be private in nature. On Sept. 26, the City Council approved a city staff recommendation to give Community Development Department staffers the duties of an executive director of the six-year-old nonprofit organization, green-lighting negotiations between the foundation and city staff to work out the details of the proposal.
NEWS
By Chris Wiebe | April 15, 2006
CITY HALL ? Though a proposed resolution to modify the format for public comments at council meetings failed on Tuesday, the discussion sparked a new debate about the appropriateness of campaigning for political candidates during city meetings. At issue was whether combining the two separate communication periods into one 5-minute time slot would result in more time-efficient meetings. The current split format offers speakers 2 minutes to comment on city business that is not on the night's agenda and 4 minutes to comment on agenda items.
NEWS
July 2, 2003
Ben Godar After years of tinkering with when and how the public may address the City Council, council members voted Tuesday to again change the structure of the oral communications periods. On a 3-2 vote, the council opted to expand the second period of oral communications, during which speakers can discuss any item under the jurisdiction of the council, from one minute to two minutes. The proposal will also shorten the final period, which follows the same subject restrictions, from three minutes to two minutes.
NEWS
February 19, 2003
J.D. Walker (Feb. 12 issue) asserts that there "has not been one iota of proof" that the current school board violated the Brown Act by making decisions in illegal meetings, held without public notice and agendas. This assertion is contradicted by a preponderance of evidence -- much of it cited by the L.A. County District Attorney in a letter sent to the school district Sept. 5. In the letter, District Atty. Steve Cooley cites five separate occasions in which the current board violates the Brown Act. On two occasions, board president Elena Hubbell's own incriminating statements make violations of the act practically a truth.
NEWS
February 8, 2003
As if you asked Being an incumbent carries certain campaign advantages. The inclination of voters to reelect has always smoothed the way for cash and endorsements. (Why many of the same voters simultaneously insist on term limits is one of life's mysteries.) But the three members of Burbank's school board running for reelection are inventing new advantages. As we saw last month, school district staff can whip up a televised report to refute criticisms of the board being trumpeted by election challengers.
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