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Awaiting the crimson dawn of a new day

AS IF YOU ASKED

Will school board candidate Paul Krekorian be visited by the ghost

of Gary Olson’s 2001 City Council campaign? When a presumed

front-runner bursts on the scene with scads of backers and loads of

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promise, then seems to vanish, for a long time to come, local

election observers are reminded of Olson’s 2001 council run.

Olson burst, had the scads, and was deemed all but a sure winner.

Then he puttered about, and his supporters celebrated their good

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fortune instead of getting out to knock on doors to assure it.

Everyone thought Olson was doing so well that he didn’t need their

help, too. Helping was an especially icky idea if it meant walking

the streets to knock on the doors of strangers, hoping one in 10

would submit to a campaign spiel.

Olson’s critics roasted him, and his opponents promoted

themselves. What Olson and his posse were up to during that time

isn’t known. They were invisible, only making a last-minute push with

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a series of big advertisements. But it was too late, and Olson did

what many thought impossible. He lost.

At least by the view from my couch, Krekorian seems to be running

a similarly stealthy campaign. If it weren’t for the Burbank Teachers

Assn. naming him in the trio they’re endorsing to oust incumbent

board members, it’s hard to find a sign with Krekorian’s name that

wasn’t already in place before the holidays. Back then a lot of

people (including myself) shouted, “Hey, look at this guy!” He seems

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to have responded by ducking behind a tree.

This week he held a fund-raiser, and I saw literature advertising

another for next week. But I haven’t heard a word about candidate

coffees, opportunities to meet or call the candidate, or door-to-door

campaigning. Beyond the BTA’s signs now turning up -- lime-green

monsters urging votes for Dave Kemp, Larry Applebaum and Krekorian --

I’m hard-pressed to spot indications he’s in the race.

WORKING OUT

At the other extreme is council candidate Jef Vander Borght, who

holds a council seat he was appointed to. Vander Borght has an army

walking neighborhoods every weekend, and he’s out there with them.

Councilwoman Stacey Murphy, who won re-election despite exerting

notoriously little effort, has been among those touting Vander

Borght. In fact, she recently told me she’d spent the afternoon going

door to door. Noting it’s proof of her commitment to Vander Borght,

she said, “I spent more time walking for him today that I did for

myself through my whole campaign.”

A KICK IN THE GLASS

A caller griped about my Wednesday column, a dissection of the

school board’s supposed review of energy-saving windows for use in

new or remodeled schools. A woman who said she’s a parent of a

student at Burbank High was angry that, while the absurd show put on

by staff and the board was a one-sided campaign tactic, I didn’t do

enough research to discover a particular, major contradiction.

“You should have learned the same board did once plan to put

dual-pane windows all through Burbank High School,” the woman said.

“When that plan changed, it had nothing to do with the baloney about

technology problems the board just fed us!”

I did know about the early plans, and even wrote about the

conflicts with board and staff now claiming that not using the

windows was a choice made long ago based on research of the products.

Ticking off points overlooked in the recent report and discussion, I

wrote this: “No one mentioned that plans for Burbank High once

included many more dual-panes than were finally installed. The

difference was cut in what board member Elena Hubbell said last year

was a cost-saving move made reluctantly when it was the only

alternative to building smaller rooms. Cutting planned features is

one tool used to protect BUSD claims its projects are on budget. They

boast a dollar figure, failing to mention the project is greatly

reduced from the one originally attached to the number.”

Alas, that point and other gems, along with some bad jokes, had to

be cut. Editors have a firm rule that I’m not to consume this entire

newspaper with my columns, and early drafts of Wednesday’s might have

come close. We had to find some cuts, and the Burbank High section

was among them.

This week’s caller urged me to make sure readers are made aware of

that example of what the board said once compared to what it says

now. I’ll try, but darn it, just can’t promise I’ll find a chance to

slip it in.

CALLING ALL QUESTIONS

Do you have questions for one or all of the council or school

board candidates? If so, a local chapter of the League of Women

Voters wants to hear from you today.

Along with the Burbank Council PTA, the LOWV is sponsoring a forum

for all candidates Feb. 12, and they invite you to submit questions

for the event. Organizers say the most valuable are those that would

be of interest to the general community, not just you and one

neighbor.

To submit a question, you can send it by e-mail to Carsonlwv@

earthlink.net, or call 247-2407. Please specify whether your question

is intended for all the candidates, and for which office, or if it

applies to a specific candidate. Please note, to be considered, your

questions must be received by Monday.

POINTS FOR HONESTY

Council candidate Brian Malone is another hopeful doing his duty,

being diligent about knocking on doors and distributing literature.

Every last Malone piece boasts just one endorsement, that of Mayor

David Laurell. The endorsement is trumpeted so grandly it implies a

significance to voters I suspect is wildly overestimated.

Malone’s literature is much like Laurell’s speeches. Out of

politeness, I won’t characterize those as infamous or renowned. Wait,

I change my mind. They’re infamous, largely because Laurell pads

every sentence with countless soaring adjectives and corny images.

Witnessing a freeway car fire, Laurell might say, “The community must

gather together in unity around the flaming wreckage to warm our

hearts as our grief melts away, certain in knowing the fire’s orange

glow will one day fade to the crimson sky of a dawning new day.”

Malone’s literature is packed with flowery excess, and I asked

Laurell whether he helps write it. He said he does, and I expressed

relief that he’d told the truth, because it was obvious.

“No. You’re relieved because you were afraid there could be two us

out there who speak and write that way,” Laurell said. Touche.

* WILL ROGERS’ column appears in every edition of the Leader. He

can be reached 24 hours a day at 637-3200, voice mail ext. 906, or by

e-mail at will.rogers@latimes.com or willrogersemail@earthlink.net.


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