It’s a wrap for Burbank Mayor Gary Bric
Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Burbank Mayor Gary Bric read a statement about the lawsuits and investigations swirling around the Burbank Police Department at the September 29, 2009 city council meeting.
Mayor Gary Bric is off the hook… somewhat. Last night, Bric presided over his last Burbank City Council meeting. Over the past months, Bric has improved in his job. The soon-to-be-ex-mayor still needs work in some areas, like when it comes to handling the public comment sections of the meeting.
The way it’s set up, each person gets five minutes to speak on matters related to Burbank or city business in the first comment section. There were 24 cards from people who wanted to step to the podium last night. As he has in the past, Bric suggested the speakers be brief and not take all of their allotted time. I think folks who come down to city hall and go before the council with their concerns and issues, should not be discouraged from speaking the entire five minutes. It’s their right. The council members have the responsibility and duty to listen and take those concerns seriously — even if the number of commenters push the meeting to a late hour.
Also, Bric has gained the confidence to stand-up to Councilman/tough guy, Dave Golonski. Last night, Golonski became impatient with Burbank resident Eden Rosen’s explanation of the problems in her apartment building and interrupted her. Golonski claimed Rosen’s complaints did not rise to the level of city business. Rosen insisted it was Burbank business because the building on Olive Avenue was subsidized with taxpayer funds. Bric decided Rosen had a right to speak. Council members Anja Reinke, Jess Talamantes, and Dr. David Gordon refused to get involved — so Bric’s opinion won out.
Over on The Burbank Leader website, there’s a farewell statement from Mayor Gary Bric. The mayor doesn’t mention the Burbank police mess (those lawsuits and investigations), instead focusing on events such as the unveiling of the Dr. David Burbank statue and his trip to South Korea with Vice-Mayor Reinke.
Speaking of Reinke, she has the inside track to become the city’s next mayor. That’s reason to worry. Frequently, Reinke is barely attentive at council meetings and has not shown a lot of sensitivity to the concerns of regular Burbank citizens.
Example, Reinke has been dancing around scheduling a town hall meeting for the Burbank Police Commission to hear citizen concerns. At the Wednesday, April 21 Burbank Police Commission meeting, the Vice-Mayor did a clumsy tap-dance around why she hadn’t made any progress in scheduling the town hall meeting. Reinke seems more intent on getting “answers” and “plans” together to defend the city rather than giving citizens the opportunity to speak their minds.
Last night Reinke, who is the liaison from the council to the police commission, brought up the town hall meeting, hinting she might have something relevant to say about it at the next police commission meeting, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Reinke is a fast talker. I just wish there was more substance in what she says.
Oh, if Reinke is having trouble figuring out how to organize a town hall meeting, perhaps she should ask those who put together the two city council town hall meetings in 2008, which she attended. Below, are a couple of photos from those town hall gatherings.
Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Then Mayor Marsha Ramos, Council members Anja Reinke and Dr. David Gordon listen to speakers at a town hall meeting back in the winter of 2008.
Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — A full house at a town hall meeting held at the Burbank Buena Vista Library in the winter of 2008.
Another controversial firing at a top Hollywood agency
Nikki Finke is reporting on her Deadline.com Hollywood that another talent agency controversy is brewing involving a minority assistant. This time the assistant, Katrina Lopez, was shown the door by United Talent Agency for a writing a blog or blog post called “Confessions of a Hollywood Serial Dater.” According to Finke’s sources, Lopez did not mention names or where she worked. However, a UTA executive is quoted in Finke’s post as saying the assistant violated a number of company policies (probably some they are busy creating now) as well as she “…chronicled personal details of a UTA employee she was dating.” The UTA executive thinks the firing puts an “…end to the story.” No way. It’s being talked about on the Internet, and according to Finke, the assistant is considering legal action.
Burbank student wins major scholarship
Burbank High School student Heawon Yang is one of the 2010 Gates Millennium Scholars! One thousand outstanding minority students were selected from 45 states, Washington, DC, and three U.S. territories. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation shelled out $1.6 billion for the scholarship program, which is administered by the United Negro College Fund.
Gates Millennium Scholars receive financial assistance, academic support, mentoring and leadership training. The program was established in 1999 by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda. Wow, talking about putting your money to work to help others. These scholars, who come from low-income homes, reportedly have an average graduation rate of almost 80 percent — 45 percent higher than the six year rate for all college students.
“By supporting a diverse cadre of students to earn their degrees, we can help develop the next generation of leaders in communities across the country,” according to Senior Program Officer at the Gates Foundation, Margaret Daniels Tyler.
Bees buzzing Burbank and beyond
I spotted some of those eager pollinators in my flower garden during the past few days. Hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees — the most prolific pollinators. Bees are being watched very carefully not just by researchers, but by average gardeners. In 2006, millions of bees died or mysteriously disappeared. Some experts have labeled it “Colony Collapse Disorder.”
The phenomenon could be the result of a virus, predatory mites or even pesticide. Scientists haven’t reached a definitive conclusion. The bee decline continues, but has slowed down some. The other pollinators such as wasps and butterflies have suffered as well — but none has been as hard hit as the bees.
Bees help plants and flowers flourish our gardens, as well as pollinate one third of the crops in our food supply. Due to the bee die-off and its ramifications, I appreciate bees more when I see them at work in my yard.
Meanwhile, researchers up north at U.C. Berkeley have been studying the diversity and habits of native bees in the state since 2005. La Canãda Flintridge is a part of that survey, which is an extension of the Urban Bee Project that’s being ongoing since 1987. The other cities in the survey are Ukiah, Sacramento, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara.
So far, La Canãda Flintridge has scored the largest number of bees with 94 species. Probably some of those species go hunting for pollen and nectar in the flower beds and landscaped areas of Burbank as well. Want to learn more? Loads of bees-in-your-garden tips here.