Los Angeles Times

Burbank City Council race: Six vie for three seats

Six candidates — including three incumbents — will be vying for three seats on the Burbank City Council in the February primary.

Here's a look at the candidates:

David Gordon

David Gordon, 57, has served on the council for seven years. He touts his commitment to transparency and his ability to ask “tough questions.”

Maintaining his role as a voice for local residents, Gordon said he has consistently fought to preserve Burbank's unique character — whether in supporting the Rancho Master Plan or protecting small businesses.

For example, when Victory Boulevard near Alameda Avenue was stripped of street parking, he fought to bring back the spots to prevent local businesses from being adversely affected, he said.

“I don't rubber-stamp decisions,” he said.

Gordon said he will continue to fight against “unjustifiably high utility rates.”

This includes speaking up against a state mandate on renewable energy — which has increased the city's energy tab by $17.8 million this year alone — and challenging Burbank Water and Power's pricing structures, he said.

“We need to have rates that reasonably reflect our consumption,” Gordon said.

He also opposes airport expansion and what he said would be misplaced bike lanes.

“We shouldn't put bike lanes in areas where it's going to conflict with vehicular traffic and potentially cause a hazard situation,” he said.

Over the past two decades, Gordon has served on the Magnolia Park Citizens Advisory Committee, the Planning Board and the Administrative Services Committee of the League of California Cities.

Shortly after moving to Burbank in 1981, Gordon opened an optometry clinic, which he still runs today.

Jess Talamantes

Jess Talamantes, 60, who is wrapping up his first term on the council, said his platform priorities include economic development and balancing the budget.

Since the recession, “we've been asking our employees to do more with less,” Talamantes said.

“One of my major goals is to try to get new businesses in Burbank and maintain the businesses we have in Burbank,” he said.

Talamantes served as mayor — a rotating position among the council members — in 2011 during Burbank's centennial year.

A former Burbank firefighter of 33 years, Talamantes dubbed his mayoral-term theme “A Healthy Burbank,” and hosted initiatives like “Ride a Bike with the Mayor” and the “Mayor's Healthy Minute” on the Burbank channel.

In the past, he's served on the Park, Recreation and Community Services Board, the Youth Endowment Services Fund Committee and the Burbank Youth Task Force.

“[My experience] has given me a good foundation to build on to represent the city well and to make tough decisions that need to be made,” Talamantes said.

Dave Golonski

Dave Golonski, 54, boasts nearly two decades on the City Council and has served in the rotating position of mayor three times.

“I've got the skills, knowledge and experience needed in particularly what I think are some challenging times,” Golonski said.

One of the city's major challenges includes delivering high-quality services in the face of rising costs and fairly flat revenues, he said.

“We're seeing a little uptick in our revenue, but that doesn't cover the increase in costs that are accompanied by that as well,” he added.

A priority of Golonski's is to evaluate whether services can be delivered more efficiently. For example, he said, the city may consider partnering with a nonprofit to run the after-school programs that are on the cutting block.

“Is it effective and efficient to deliver all the services we deliver today using city employees?” he asked.

Other goals include implementing independent oversight programs to all city departments — similar to the board hired last year to oversee the Police Department — repairing city streets and sidewalks, and maintaining the city's parks.

Golonski serves on the Golf Fund Oversight Committee, the Burbank Youth Task Force and the Infrastructure Subcommittee.

Juan Guillen

Juan Guillen, 33, a former Marine who helps run an insurance agency and payroll company in Burbank — True Integrity Insurance Services — said he can offer a fresh perspective on the City Council.

“I think we need a change in leadership,” Guillen said. “It's not about me — I don't plan on being on the council looking for a retirement plan. I just want to serve and do my part.”

Before serving in Iraq as a Marine, Guillen coached boxing at the YMCA. He sits on the Burbank Leadership Neighborhood Committee, has taught at the Burbank Adult School and is a graduate of Leadership Burbank.

The 20-year Burbank resident almost pursued a career in law enforcement — he said he was offered a position at the South Gate Police Department — but turned it down to help his mother run the family business.

Guillen is an advocate for offering incentives to attract businesses, like a six-month tax break for new businesses.

Bob Frutos

Bob Frutos, 48, is a 26-year LAPD police officer who's lived in Burbank for nearly two decades and has served as a Burbank police commissioner and on the city's Charter Review Committee.

In his second run for City Council — he lost by a narrow margin in his first run in 2011 — Frutos hopes to tackle increased traffic and runaway development that he said strips Burbank of its uniqueness and charm.

Specifically, he said he'd continue to uphold the Rancho Master Plan, protecting the neighborhood from out-of-character development.

The 15-year volunteer for the Holiday Toy Train Express and former vice president of the Kids Community Dental Clinic said he supports youth and senior programs and will fight to maintain the quality of the city's parks and libraries despite budgetary challenges. Seniors, for example, should have access to low-cost meals and transportation services, he said.

Another of his goals is to attract new businesses by streamlining the permit process and providing incentives, while also cleaning up the downtown area, Frutos said.

“Our downtown business area is dirty and we're not cleaning it up,” Frutos said. “We need necessary resources for policing, for maintaining the jewel of our city… making it a wonderful place to come and shop and play.”

David Nos

David Nos, 61, a former Burbank school board member, has run a local printing and email management business with the help of his wife and son for more than 30 years.

He served on the school board from 1995 to 1999. In the past, he's also headed the Chamber of Commerce, he said.

Over the summer, Nos applied for the vacant school board seat, but was not appointed.

If elected, Nos expects to be involved in selecting a permanent city manager and hopes to find a leader like former City Manager Bud Ovrom, he said.

“I would want someone who thinks like him,” Nos said. “He had vision for the Empire Center before it came in.”

One of Burbank's biggest challenges, Nos said, is addressing high pension costs for city employees, and he hopes to work with fire and police unions to tackle the problem.

“It's not going to go away,” he said.

The 56-year Burbank resident said he also values transparency.

“I want [residents] to know I'm listening to them, I can fit that bill,” he said.

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