Photos: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Mayor/Councilman Gary Bric & Vice-Mayor/Council Member Anja Reinke
Last Tuesday’s Burbank city council meeting provided a lot of reasons for folks to get riled up. At the top of the list, the city council’s 3-1 approval of that hotly-debated new film permit ordinance. Gary Bric, Anja Reinke, and Jess Talamantes voted for it. Dr. David Gordon was the lone naysayer. Dave Golonski was absent from the council meeting. A lot of chatter on the blogs about the vote and the film permit ordinance.
I still find it surprising that three city council members put their stamp of approval on the new film permit ordinance, despite its murky and convoluted language, and the controversy clinging to one of the co- authors, Burbank Police Lieutenant J.J. Puglisi. The police lieutenant is accused by some of unfairly targeting freelance photographer Kevin Muldoon by slapping him with a film permit violation last spring. There are indications the Burbank PD has allowed a much larger production to go forward in the city without a film permit. I’ll have more to say about the new film permit ordinance later.
Another hot button issue at the council meeting was the Home Occupation Ordinance, which involves entrepreneurs working out of their homes. Our economy is still struggling and unemployment remains high, therefore, chances are more Burbank residents than ever are working at home. Both Talamantes and Councilman Gordon got that and suggested it was time to review the ordinance.
However, Council Member/Vice-Mayor Anja Reinke argued changing the ordinance was not necessary because “…I didn’t get one e-mail…one phone call…” complaining about it. Mayor Gary Bric joined in saying he had not received any e-mails and didn’t see any reason to change it either. On the other hand, Dr. Gordon says he did get e-mails from “…some people who could not come down…” and speak before the council. After more debate the issue was finally tabled until a full council could review it.
So was Dr. Gordon the only council member to receive an e-mail from a Burbank citizen about the Home Occupation Ordinance? No, he was not. For instance, Producer/Editor Eric Cap e-mailed his comments suggesting changes in the Home Occupation Ordinance and detailing his lingering concerns about the revised Film Permit Ordinance to the entire council. How do I know?
I received a copy of that e-mail, along with a number of others including several people in the media, from Cap. Also, the e-mail shows it was addressed to the City Council and was sent to council members Anja Reinke, Gary Bric, Dave Golonski, David Gordon, Jess Talamantes, and to City Clerk Margarita Campos.
I’m told the procedure in the Burbank City Clerk’s Office for e-mails addressed to the city council is to forward them “right away” as hard copies to all council members. If that is the case, all the city council members should have at least received a paper copy of Cap’s e-mail by last Tuesday’s council meeting.
Remember, both Reinke and Bric stated during the council meeting that they had not received one e-mail about the Home Occupation Ordinance. I have confirmed with Council members Gordon and Talamantes that they got Cap’s e-mail last Tuesday before the council meeting. So what happened with Reinke and Bric? If for some reason they did not get Cap’s e-mail, both should have received hard copies of it from the City Clerk’s office.
Some Burbank residents have complained that council members do not respond to or ignore e-mails and letters from the public. Several commentators have made those charges on this blog. If Reinke and Bric ignored the Cap e-mail, it’s a serious matter. Why? Both Reinke and Bric based their opinions for not revising the Home Occupation Ordinance on getting no input from the public about it. Also, it is part of their jobs as council members to consider the opinions, e-mails, and letters of Burbank citizens — the people they are supposed to be representing.