October 31, 2013
On Tuesday, the Burbank City Council will vote on whether to appeal a court ruling that rescinded Walmart's building permits and prohibits the city from allowing Walmart to move into the former Great Indoors store at the Empire Center until a number of issues are addressed. The judge's ruling came down to this: The City Council and its staff failed in their duty to protect the interests of the public. This is the essence of why the city should not appeal; it would just be another mistake in a string of doozies.
September 27, 2013
Home prices in Burbank continued to rise last month compared to a year ago, an increase propelled by a continued shortage of properties for sale, according to the latest real estate report. The median price for a single-family home climbed roughly 27%, from $467,000 in August 2012 to $595,000 last month, according to statistics compiled by Realtor Eric Benz with Dilbeck Real Estate in Burbank. The median price for a condominium also increased, from $295,500 a year ago to $370,000 last month, an increase of about 25%. Linda Barnes, a Realtor with Keller Williams in Burbank, said that although prices are still well over last year's levels, they have started to plateau.
April 12, 2013
If I believed in evolution, I'd fear we are devolving into apes with clubs, the clubs being words. I received another hit piece in the mail this week re: Jess Talamantes. I have seen too many hit pieces over the last few years. One is too many, no matter the target. Our local politics have become a microcosm of national politics - special-interest folks with unlimited funds railroading their chosen candidates into office by assassinating the characters of their competitors. Really?
April 3, 2013
Burbank officials on Wednesday treated news that “The Tonight Show” was leaving for a new host in a new city like a painful break-up. And as with most epic break-ups, the rumor mill had been whirling for weeks. On Wednesday, NBC ended weeks of gossip and speculation by confirming that Jimmy Fallon will succeed Jay Leno as host of "The Tonight Show" in the spring of 2014. Although Leno is still the most-watched late-night television host, NBC is making the move because it thinks Fallon will do better with younger viewers in the years to come, the L.A. Times reported.
February 15, 2013
Expert opinion may be split on the risks associated with the proposed $110-million school bond on the March 5 ballot, but Burbank Unified officials say lessons learned from the last bond in 1997 will ensure taxpayers get more bang for their buck. Causing some consternation is the fact that school officials are essentially asking voters to approve millions in bonds that will be subject to future interest rates that can't be predicted, leading to fears that the district will get locked into a situation where it's spending far more in interest than what it got in capital.
February 12, 2013
I was dismayed to hear the temporary city clerk, Zizette Mullins, admit during the candidate's forum that it would be a conflict of interest for a clerk candidate to pay another candidate to work on her campaign. Campaign filings are public record. Did Mullins not think that the public would check all the candidates' filings? Did she not think that we would see that she has paid Steve Ferguson, a school board candidate, to work on her city clerk campaign? The other city clerk candidates agreed that it would be a conflict and the mere perception of conflict was to be avoided.
October 31, 2012
Throughout the entire campaign season, business and the economy have been the hot-button issues for the voters. Here in California, our unemployment rate is at 10%, and companies are leaving. Productive citizens flee California each week. Most recently, Comcast announced it was taking 1,000 jobs out of our state, citing overly burdensome regulations among its reasons. Our own state assemblyman, Mike Gatto, has chosen to ignore the interests of local businesses in favor of special interests.
October 5, 2012
Your Sept. 30 article “Legislators praise their bills,” listed several bills introduced by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake). Since the election for the 43rd State Assembly district is nearly upon us, I wanted to point out that Gatto's voting record is anything but praiseworthy. Gatto authored AB 1034 that would require a charter school to notify parents that their involvement in school efforts and activities was not a requirement for enrollment. As Governor Brown noted when he vetoed Gatto's bill, “Charter schools are established to encourage the widest possible range of innovation and creativity” and that “it is critical that they have the flexibility to set admission criteria and parental involvement practices that are consistent with the school's mission.” Charter schools have been routinely opposed by teachers' unions, and on an issue that clearly pits the interests of the community with those of special interest groups, Gatto has clearly sided with the latter.
September 28, 2012
Gov. Jerry Brownhas signed a bill that requires state high-speed rail officials to disclose their financial investments and eliminates a loophole that created potential conflicts of interest for the project's board members. The legislation by Assemblyman Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) requires members of the California High-Speed Rail Authority board to comply with the financial disclosure and conflict provisions of the California Political Reform Act. The measure further states that contractors and subcontractors, such as consultants, must disclose their financial interests if they are hired by the authority to conduct peer review studies.
September 11, 2012
In response to a recent op-ed piece (“ Walmart stoppage no cause for celebration ,” Sept. 8) I imagine it is, indeed, no celebration for the writer, Walmart executive Steven Restivo, whose job it is to facilitate the opening of Walmart stores in communities. His crying foul about the motives of the attorney representing the Walmart opposition was done, evidently, without a trace of irony. Remember, Restivo is not a resident of Burbank but rather a corporate mouthpiece representing Walmart.