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Rogers kept paper from ‘rag’ status We...

Rogers kept paper from ‘rag’ status

We are extremely sad and displeased to hear that the Leader will

no longer carry Will Rogers’ column. Even though we disagreed with

him on a number of occasions, and sometimes he did not check his


facts well, we nevertheless believe he was a tremendous asset for the

publication in general and for the community in particular.

He was a real jewel in an otherwise bland newspaper. He was

entertaining at times and, more important, revealed material issues


and goings-on. He made the Leader stand out as a community newspaper.

But more important, he provided a tremendous service to this city. In

fact, he was the only real reason we read the newspaper at all.

Unless you replace his column with something as worthwhile or better,

we are afraid that the Leader will become a truly throwaway rag.

If Rogers left of his own accord, we are very sad he made that

decision. If he was fired because of outside pressure, then this

would be truly disgraceful and show the worsening tragedy of lower


standards, backbone and integrity in the news media today. And if he

was fired because the editor thought it was either the right thing to

do, he was too hot to handle or the Tribune Co. said so, then so much

for competence and independence.

It is indeed a very sad day for Burbank.



Losing Rogers means losing truth


I’m going to miss Will Rogers’ weekly column. He said it like it

is. There were people who felt uncom- fortable with his revelations,

like council members, school board members, city administrators and

council gadflies.

He moved with people, got information that most of us couldn’t

have obtained and commented on it in his columns. I especially looked

forward to reading his columns during the election campaigns.

Rogers performed a valuable service by getting behind the stories

of the people in the local news. He helped all of us become more

aware citizens.

A council person told me that Rogers knew more about our city

government than most of the employees of the city. And he had an edge

to his writing that stimulated interest.

Is the goal of the Leader to become a “happy talk” newspaper? That

might be pleasant reading, but it can hide truths that the Burbank

citizens should be aware of.



Run for school district funds

For several weeks now, I’ve watched scores of teachers,

counselors, nurses, etc., approach the Board of Education about the

impending layoffs. As they all make their cases, you have to feel for

them and, yes, we will lose some outstanding people to other

districts like Los Angeles and Santa Clarita. The board’s response

has been, “We feel for you, but what can we do?”

The thing I’ve yet to hear is a solution. I did hear one teacher

talk about a possible wage reduction across the board to save some

money to keep some other positions, but I have not heard any more on

that topic.

The fact of the matter is we are going to have to come up with our

own solution because the state is not going to say it has the money

to bail us out.

I have a couple of ideas that could be good fund-raisers and help

fund some salaries and programs.

First, we have this wonderful facility up on the hill called the

Starlight Bowl. I would like to see a series of four or five

concerts. I’m not talking about shows that play up there every

summer, I’m talking about the Beach Boys, the Eagles or any other act

of this level that will sell out the venue at a high ticket price. If

we could make $100,000 a show, we could probably save three jobs. And

if we did this four to five times per summer, that is going to fund

quite a few jobs. Now, I know the residents on the hill would fight

this proposal, but what is going to lower your property values more,

some traffic four or five evenings for a city-sponsored event, or a

school district with no teachers?

Several years ago, I went to then-councilman Michael Hastings with

an idea of running a race in Burbank. My original proposal was for it

to be a fund-raiser for the school athletic programs, which, at that

time, were facing budget cuts, and a pay-to-play scenario was being

examined. At that time, Hastings was involved with the Hands Across

America program and he wanted to see the run benefit the hungry and


With that, the Run for the Hungry was born and it ran for 12

years. The run built up to more than 1,000 runners every year, and

most came from out of the city. It was sponsored by most of the major

corporations in town and raised about $60,000 per year during its


I would like to see us bring a 5K race back to Burbank as a

fund-raiser for the schools. I’m sure we would get the support of

every teacher, parent and student as well as the business community.

It could be a bigger fund-raiser than the Run for the Hungry ever

was. It would also be an awareness program of physical fitness that

is so desperately missing in the Burbank schools.