A Burbank homeowner cannot construct a fence taller than 4 feet in their frontyard, or build a front bay window that extends past the average setback on their block. In fact, a whole slew of restrictions in Burbank prevents residents from abasing the quaint, suburban character of our homes and neighborhoods.
Yet we are helpless against the infestation of garish vans parked on our streets, advertising nude maids and escorts. The vans park prominently on our residential and commercial streets, hour after hour, day after day, the sides of the vehicles adorned with giant photos of scantily clad women in suggestive poses.
The start of my daily commute down Buena Vista Street feels more like a drive through a seedy red light district than the Burbank that I fell in love with when my family moved here 13 years ago.
It is ludicrous that having the wrong vegetation-to-concrete ratio in my frontyard is a code violation, but advertising sex for money all along Burbank’s streets is A-OK.
Listening to former President Obama’s speech in Illinois last week, I was struck by the line “We’re sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be, saying that Nazis are bad?”
It brought back an unpleasant memory from the fall of 1964, when I was a junior at Hollywood High and a friend thought it would be funny for the two of us, who both had grandparents who were in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, to attend a meeting in nearby Glendale of an American Nazi group.
We sat through their meeting, which included the singing of the Horst Wessel German marching song, followed by a rousing round of “Seig Heil” salutes. The remainder of the evening consisted of the group’s leader, whose home was where the meeting was being held, reading from Hitler's book, “Mein Kampf.”
As I sat feeling sickeningly numb on a sofa listening to an incomprehensible litany of horrible nonsense, I was petting a dog lying at my feet. One of the uniformed Nazis near me said, “Don’t worry, he only bites (N-words).” The wife of the meeting’s leader added, “He also bites Jews.” Luckily for me, however, the dog didn't sniff out my Jewish bloodline.
My friend and I left the meeting as quickly as possible and neither of us said a word on the ride home. Until I heard Obama speak on standing up to Nazi sympathizers I had put that night at the Glendale Nazi meeting out of my mind, but now wish I had spoken up to the group’s leader and told him what the Nazi butchers had done to my family in Germany only two decades earlier.
Obama is right about the need to stand up to Nazis, even if we have a current president who will not.