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NEWS
By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com | December 31, 2013
City officials this month denied allegations contained in a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a former public works employee. The employee, Dale Wagner, 61, sued the city in September for alleged age discrimination and retaliation, claiming that he was forced to retire after health problems caused work restrictions for him, according to his lawsuit. Wagner, who said he worked for the city for more than 30 years as a public works inspector, accused the city of having a pattern of discriminating against employees over 40 years old. Wagner said he became “seriously ill” in August 2011 with back pain that was too severe for him to work a full day. He had surgery and went on medical leave a month later, after which he developed an infection which elongated his recovery time, the lawsuit stated.
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NEWS
By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com | December 24, 2013
Burbank city attorneys have filed a response denying the allegations set forth in a lawsuit in which a Burbank resident accused the city of making illegal wire transfers from its utility to the city's General Fund, according to court records. In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court in September, Burbank resident Christopher Spencer argued that the city's long-standing practice of transferring utility funds to the city's General Fund, which pays for most public services, has illegally hiked up water rates to the point where they “exceed the reasonable costs” of providing the service.
NEWS
December 20, 2013
The Hall of Liberty at the Forest Lawn in Hollywood Hills is the venue this weekend as the all-volunteer and newly-minted Burbank Community Theater presents its first offering, the charming stage musical, “Annie! ” While an amateur production might not seem like a big thing in this city that so many theater and film professionals call home, it is nonetheless a proud moment for Burbank. With only a couple of months of preparations, the cast of more than 70 characters and countless behind-the-scenes hands are triumphantly demonstrating that with pluck and determination - and a few singing lessons - people of all ages can come together to create a terrific experience for their audiences and have plenty of fun while doing so. The nonprofit group was the brainchild of Julia Swanwick, who hopes to see the Burbank Community Theater thrive.
NEWS
By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com | December 17, 2013
Burbank's top executive declined to reinstate a former Burbank police officer despite an independent arbitrator's advisory ruling that the former officer should get his job back, records show. Mike Reyes, who joined the Burbank Police Department in 2000 after five years with the Los Angeles Police Department, was fired in June of 2010 after city officials accused him of failing to disclose a use-of-force complaint reported to him by a robbery suspect tied to the 2007 Porto's Bakery robbery, and of subsequently lying to investigators a year and a half later to cover up the alleged misconduct.
NEWS
December 13, 2013
For the past few years, states and cities across the nation faced with ballooning pension obligations for their government workers have been overhauling pensions as a way to curb costs. The city of Burbank has been aggressively addressing the pension issue here . Even though its unfunded pension liability is significantly higher than it was a year ago, the city did invest $13.4 million last fiscal year to tamp down the liability growth, a move that is expected to save the municipality $720,000 annually.
NEWS
By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com | December 10, 2013
Volunteers are working “frantically,” putting in long hours, six days a week to construct the Media City-inspired float for the 125th annual Rose Parade, according to Burbank organizers. The city's float, with the theme “Dreams Do Come True,” depicts a movie scene in which a damsel in distress, on the verge of getting run over by a train being steered by a villain, is rescued by a hero wearing a white hat and riding a white horse. “We would like to think that dreams come true in Burbank through the art of moviemaking, so that's what our float celebrates, the movie industry,” said Steve Edward, vice president of the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn.
NEWS
By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com | December 10, 2013
A Burbank man who is a witness in the federal corruption case against a Burbank police officer, along with members of his family, has filed a government claim against the city of Burbank alleging that he was threatened by the officer and falsely arrested. In the claim, Jeremy Bassett and his family members allege that they were threatened or coerced by the Burbank police officer, Anthony Valento, and Bassett's estranged wife, Gayle Bassett. Jeremy Bassett's fiancée, April Rickman, along with his son, mother and grandmother are listed as claimants in the document, which was filed last month.
NEWS
By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com | November 22, 2013
Burbank city attorneys filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court this week arguing that a Burbank police detective who reported officer misconduct is not protected by the First Amendment and therefore cannot sue the city for retaliation because as a police officer it was his professional duty to report crimes he witnessed. The petition, authorized by the Burbank City Council last month, asks the Supreme Court to review a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that the former detective, Angelo Dahlia, was protected under the First Amendment when he reported the misconduct.
THE818NOW
By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com | November 22, 2013
Skaters flocked to downtown Burbank this week for the grand opening of a temporary ice rink , which is slated to be open through early January. “This is like Rockefeller Center now,” said Burbank resident Masiss Andriasian, just after he picked up a flier with details on the rink's hours Friday afternoon. Andriasian planned to take his two sons and daughter skating Friday evening. “This is real - you can't play this with a remote control,” Andriasian said. For 10-year-old Kyron Mirzakhanian, who often skates at Pickwick Ice in Burbank, the rink was a neat opportunity to skate outdoors.
NEWS
By Bryan Mahoney | November 20, 2013
Electronic City is hidden in plain sight on Burbank Boulevard. People drive by it a lot, never thinking to go in, until one day that one unique light bulb blows on the flashlight and nobody carries a replacement. Howard Pollyea probably stocks it. Since 1957, when he and his father opened Electronic City, he's provided thousands, if not millions, of spare parts to fix the tube on the television, then later the transistors and stereo equipment, and most recently the security camera systems.
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