Read between lines with Vander Borght
Reading Will Rogers’ speculation in the March 1 edition of the Leader about Burbank City Council candidate Jef Vander Borght’s
spectacular, first-place nonvictory in the election caused this
concerned citizen to wonder why. Somehow, Rogers’ explanation that
Vander Borght’s appointed stint of less than a year on the council
did not afford him a sufficient opportunity to win the hearts and
minds of a majority of his constituents for lack of exposure seemed
weak, at best. Of course, Rogers dismisses the outcome as not having
anything to do with what Vander Borght might have done or said during
his 11 years on the Planning Board prior to his brief council foray,
asserting, “how few residents routinely pay attention ... to the
Planning Board in particular.”
Well, perhaps Rogers is right. On the other hand, perhaps some of
the following facts exposing Vander Borght’s official words, actions
and silence on a number of important public issues over the years had
something to do with the election results.
* In the late 1980s, while serving on the Planning Board, Vander
Borght remained silent when the Airport Authority bypassed the board
as it sought to expand boarding capacity by nine gates in an area of
the airport now used by Southwest Airlines.
* Shortly before his recent ascension from the Planning Board to
the council, Vander Borght spearheaded a drive, with one other board
member, to limit and restrict the ability of other board members to
question and clarify matters presented to them at public hearings.
* One of the first things newly appointed council member Vander
Borght uttered upon taking the dais was that the airport, " ... was a
disaster waiting to happen,” due to the proximity of the then-current
terminal to the runway. Yet, just a short time later, the esteemed
architect, whose craft calls for critical awareness of building
designs to a significance of inches and degrees, became a strong
proponent and supporter of a 45,000-square-foot airport terminal
expansion with the newly constructed facility being, in places, 50
feet closer to the runway than the original “unsafe” terminal.
* Vander Borght ardently advocated the necessity for the
45,000-square-foot terminal expansion, even though one of the options
available under the federal government’s TSA guidelines was to add no
additional square footage whatsoever.
When contrasted to the facts that Vander Borght was endorsed by
four sitting council members, both the police and firefighter unions,
not to mention the vanguard of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, and
was running against a gaggle of political neophytes or unknowns, it
is amazing that Vander Borght could not be elected outright in the
Maybe, just maybe, the majority of the Burbank electorate has had
enough exposure to him to decide not to vote for him. Maybe the
electorate is suspicious of being told one thing and receiving
something else. Apart from his stalwart “fans,” maybe you really
can’t fool all the people all the time.
DAVID W. GORDON
Candidate’s support raises questions
When a person runs for the City Council, we usually check to see
what their credentials are. When you have served in community
organizations, maybe served on a commission, that’s in your favor.
That generally means you’re not a youngster, because it takes time to
We’ve had our share of good and bad council members. To get an
endorsement from the city employee organizations usually helps your
campaign. In the first round, they appeared to support Jef Vander
Borght overwhelmingly. I can understand his standing because of being
a respected councilman and previous member of the city Planning
But how did Gary Bric qualify for their support? He owns a popular
eating establishment in Burbank that serves steaks and ribs. He has a
right to run for the council. But what qualifications got him the
endorsement of most of the city employee organizations? My preference
for the council election, along with Jef Vander Borght, is Todd
Campbell, who has a degree in government and history from Georgetown
University, a master’s in environmental management at Yale University
and a master’s in public policy from USC.
He has youth and energy. He has intelligence. He’s motivated. He
has an impressive list of endorsements. He’s a lifelong Burbank
resident. We have enough good ol’ boys who become councilpersons.
Let’s give somebody with youth and vigor, who doesn’t owe anybody
anything, a chance to make good.