A new Burbank mayor, but will it mean real change?
Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — (L-R) Vice-Mayor Jess Talamantes, Councilmen David Gordon, Gary Bric, Dave Golonski, and in the center, Burbank Mayor Anja Reinke
Burbank has a new mayor and a new vice-mayor. Yesterday, the Burbank City Council selected Anja Reinke as mayor and Jess Talamantes as vice-mayor. I must say, Reinke smiled and bubbled at this city council meeting more than at any other I’ve seen her attend in the past year. However, the big story is who did not get picked for one of these high profile positions — long time council member, Dr. David Gordon.
In a rare consensus, both The Burbank Leader and Jim Carlile’s popular blog reported on the Gordon snub. Ah, Carlile’s post has a lot more punch and vigor than the Leader story. Carlile calls the council action against Dr. Gordon discriminatory — and I agree.
The Leader reports that some Burbank council members have said privately “… they wouldn’t support him (Dr. Gordon) based on his never voting to approve a budget and his earlier call for then-Chief Tim Stehr to step down.” Who made that rule that certain decisions by a council member means he or she gets disqualified from holding the office of mayor or vice-mayor? Is that in the city charter?
Some tough issues facing the city and the council in the coming weeks and months. How much confidence can the public really have in the council’s handling of these issues on its behalf — when council members can be so blatantly unfair to one of their own.
Secret tapes, lies, and conspirators
Photo of Sgt. Neil Thomas Gunn Sr.
Another hot topic on Carlile’s blog — alleged secret tape recordings made by Sergeant Neil Thomas Gunn Sr., the Burbank police officer who committed suicide last fall. I have heard many rumors about Gunn leaving behind a clever trail of evidence accusing ex-Police Chief Tim Stehr and others of complicity in the Burbank Police mess.
Carlile reports that Gunn made some secret tapes, which his wife and her lawyers are going to use in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city. Read about it here.
Controversial changes on Verdugo Avenue
Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — A cyclist rolls along in the new jumbo bicycle lane on a section of Verdugo Avenue in Burbank May 3, 2010
Before the city council reorganization meeting kicked off, I had a brief chat with Burbank Public Works Director Bonnie Teaford about the Verdugo Avenue project. I’ve heard quite a bit of grumbling and complaining about the changes (some of the gripes are in the comment sections of this blog).
Bike lanes have been added to a stretch of Verdugo Avenue from Olive Avenue to Hollywood Way, reducing traffic lanes to one in each direction with a yellowed turn section in the middle. I occasionally drive this section of Verdugo Avenue. Yesterday afternoon at around 5 p.m. I drove it again. I spotted several, perhaps 5 or 6, cyclists riding in the bike lane during a 20 minute period.
Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — A cyclist shares the road with traffic on Verdugo Avenue in Burbank May 3, 2010
Teaford says her department is monitoring the project and collecting data from the community — now through October — then will report the findings to the city council for a decision on whether it gets a thumbs up or thumbs down verdict. Teaford summed up many of the claims about traffic hassles to simply, “…change is hard for people.”
Major “Honey Bee” sighting in Downtown Burbank
Plenty of hot looking cars in the Southland — many in Burbank. I scoped on Chevy Jim aka Burbank Police Commissioner Jim Etter cruising down Olive Avenue yesterday, in his very cool fully restored 1956 Chevy Bel Air convertible called “Honey Bee.” Etter was behind the wheel, the top was down, and the “Bee” was turning heads and getting stares.
Check out the before and after photos of this award-winning classic car on chevyjim.com