Planner Should Return Studio Donations : $1,500 contribution from Burbank’s biggest employer is inappropriate for a policy maker


We have some advice for Burbank City planning board member David Gerred: Return the $1,500 in contributions you received from the Warner Bros. Political Action Committee and corporate officers.

It is that sum of money, and its source, that has sparked a political firestorm in Burbank, where such rancor is usually reserved for Burbank Airport. Now, the most strident of Gerred’s critics are calling for his resignation from the influential planning post, or his ouster. His best move right now is to return the money.

Here’s the problem.

Warner Bros. submitted a proposal for a master plan to the city’s planning department in October. Warner Bros. is Burbank’s largest company, with 3,800 employees. That made it the sort of event that ought to be permanently etched in one’s memory. It was not the local Waffle King applying for a drive-thru.


In February, Gerred received $1,000 from the Warner Bros. Political Action Committee, and two $250 contributions from studio executives to assist Gerred in his unsuccessful run for the Burbank City Council.

Then, when the Warner Bros. studio plan issue came before the Planning Board in the form of a hearing late last month, there was Gerred, saying he had done nothing wrong but having to leave the meeting anyway to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Gerred said he left on the advice of the city attorney’s office.

Since then, Gerred has done some positive things. He has apologized. He says he wouldn’t have accepted the money had he known the Warner Bros. master plan was in process. He has also taken part in asking the state Fair Political Practices Commission to rule on the matter.

Well, why wait for that? Gerred ought to return the money. It would be the kind of gesture that the public tends to appreciate, and perhaps ought to expect, from its officials.