The Burbank Police Department and members of the community will not
likely forget what happened the night of Nov. 15 in a Ramada Inn
Rookie officer Matthew Pavelka, 26, was killed during a shootout
outside the hotel on North San Fernando Boulevard, and fellow Officer
Gregory Campbell was critically wounded.
Pavelka became the first officer slain in the department’s 82-year
history. Campbell survived and continues to recover at a local
One of the two men who police said opened fire on Pavelka and
Campbell during a routine traffic stop, 25-year-old Ramon Aranda, was
shot and killed during the gun battle. The other man, 19-year-old
David A. Garcia, eluded law enforcement for nearly two weeks before
Mexican authorities took him into custody in Tijuana.
Garcia, a suspected gang member from Sun Valley, was charged with
murder and attempted murder, and remains in jail without bail
awaiting a preliminary hearing date. Prosecutors could seek the death
“This was a loss to everybody, to the family, the city and the
department,” Burbank Police Capt. Gordon Bowers said. “But the
support from the community has been overwhelming.
“To a certain degree, we will never move on,” Bowers said. “We
want [Matthew] to be part of the tradition of the things we honor.
From that perspective, we don’t want to ever move on, because a big
part of law- enforcement tradition is respect for people who brought
law enforcement to the professional level it is now.”
City, school district
deal with budget woes
In June, the City Council voted unanimously to approve a proposed
$412.5-million budget for the 2003-04 fiscal year, which included
cuts in several areas to overcome a projected $9.5-million deficit.
Increased city employee compensation and benefit costs, along with
rising general liability and workers’ compensation costs, were among
the biggest contributors to the deficit, city officials said.
Additionally, the city received less funding from the state, which
was faced with a deficit of its own.The city planned to eliminate 62
full-time positions, 50 of which were vacant by June. Ten of the
remaining employees were past retirement age and were offered a
supplemental retirement package. To lessen the effect on the two
remaining employees to be laid off, the council opted to fund their
positions for an additional six months.
A variety of city fees were increased as a result of the deficit,
including monthly parking permits from $20 to $25 and film permits
from $200 to $300. The cost to adopt an altered dog was raised $10.
The school district, meanwhile, faced several cuts in services and
personnel because of increased health and welfare benefits costs,
combined with unanticipated expenditures for special education and
reduced money from the state.
In an attempt to trim nearly $3 million from the 2003-04 budget,
the superintendent’s budget committee, composed of parents, teachers,
union leaders and business people, recommended about $2.5 million in
cuts, including nearly $600,000 from facilities maintenance and
The district’s $100-million final budget, approved 48 hours before
the June 30 deadline, trimmed $2.8 million in costs.
Budget deficit forces
school district layoffs
In March, the Burbank Unified School District issued preliminary
termination notices to 250 teachers in response to a projected
$4-million deficit caused by a reduction in state funding, combined
with increased costs for health and welfare benefits and workers’
At the time, district Supt. Gregory Bowman said not all teachers
who received notices were expected to be laid off, but, without a
budget from the state, it was impossible to know how many would have
to be let go.
In May, final termination notices were handed out to 44 teachers,
counselors and other certified employees. Additionally, the board of
education eliminated the equivalent of 19 full-time jobs in the
district’s maintenance and operations section.
The job cuts affected the custodial services section and meant
that in a 10-day cycle, classrooms would be cleaned only three times
during the first week and twice in the second week. If a custodian
was absent during the second week, it resulted in a one-time cleaning
Voters oust three
school board incumbents
Community members demanded change and got it when they voted a
majority of school board members out of office.
During the Feb. 25 primary election, retired Burbank High School
teacher Dave Kemp, one of 15 candidates for three open seats, amassed
enough votes to unseat board President Richard Raad, who was seeking
a second term.
In the April 8 general election, Ted Bunch, another retired
teacher, and attorney Paul Krekorian ousted incumbents Mike McDonald
and Elena Hubbell, a 12-year board member.
Kemp, Bunch and Krekorian took the oath of office May 15, joining
Trish Burnett and Connie Lackey.
The Burbank Teachers Assn. backed Kemp and Krekorian, who were
seen as a breath of fresh air by many in the community who said they
lost faith in the board’s ability to lead. The association’s other
candidate, businessman Larry Applebaum, tallied almost 100 votes
more than Bunch in the primary, but narrowly lost to him in the
The board’s decision to reassign popular Supt. David Aponik the
previous year helped fuel the ire of many voters. Aponik, who sued
the district for wrongful termination and breach of contract, agreed
in July to drop his lawsuit in exchange for a $56,250 payment, and
left the district to become director of personnel and risk management
for the Fillmore Unified School District.
Bob Hope dies; airport renamed for entertainer
Burbank lost an adopted son in July, when legendary entertainer
Bob Hope died at the age of 100. Although he made his home in nearby
Toluca Lake, Hope’s ties to Burbank were numerous. In 1973, he was
named the city’s honorary mayor, and in 1989 the city renamed a
portion of Catalina Street near NBC Studios, changing it to Bob Hope
Less than six months after his death, the airport Hope frequently
used was renamed for him during a Dec. 17 ceremony attended by about
200 people outside the 73-year-old terminal.
Hope’s family and friends, including Phyllis Diller and Kathryn
Crosby -- the wife of late entertainer Bing Crosby -- watched as Bob
Hope Airport was unveiled the same day the centennial of flight was
celebrated around the world.
Following his death, the Hope family and the Airport Authority
began discussions on a licensing agreement to use the Hope name,
which was approved by council members from the cities of Glendale,
Burbank and Pasadena.
In November, President George W. Bush signed legislation to rename
the post office at 135 E. Olive Ave. for Hope.
Bob Hope Airport supplants the name Burbank-Glendale- Pasadena
Airport, and is the sixth name for the airfield, which opened in 1930
as United Airport.
FAA demands airport repay money for new terminal
The Federal Aviation Administration delivered a wake-up call to
the Airport Authority in May, demanding repayment of $46 million in
grants that were supposed to be used to buy land for a new terminal.
FAA Administrator Marion Blakey sent a letter to airport officials
ordering repayment of money earmarked for the purchase of 139 acres
of land on the northeast side of the airport’s property because no
terminal had been built.
Airport officials responded with a proposal to use the land for
various airport and security functions, including a noise buffer and
relocation of the Burbank and Glendale National Guard armories.
Blakey responded by saying the airport could retain 84 acres of
the land, 62 of which must be used as a noise buffer. But, she added,
the Airport Authority has not justified keeping the remaining 55
acres “under the standards of the grant insurance.”
The authority, meanwhile, has not determined whether it will sell
the 55 acres of land the FAA is seeking payment for, according to
airport spokesman Victor Gill.
redevelopment takes off
The move to revitalize the downtown area took shape in 2003 with
the opening of AMC Burbank 16, the demolition of its predecessor and
the opening of a trendy clothing store.
The cornerstone of Burbank Entertainment Village, a 4,200-seat
movie theater megaplex that cost $68 million to build, opened to the
public June 20, and is expected to draw more than 1.5 million
moviegoers annually. The entertainment village is expected to bring
in an estimated $300,000 or more in yearly tax revenue sales from
tickets, restaurant and retail sales, city officials said.
Urban Outfitters opened Sept. 23 in the long-vacant former
Newberry building at 330 N. San Fernando Blvd. The popular retail
chain has attracted a new niche of young adult shoppers, officials
Chipotle Mexican Grill opened Dec. 17 at 135 Palm Ave., and
Romano’s Macaroni Grill is expected to open in February in the
The second phase of redevelopment, which will include 30,000
square feet of restaurant and retail space where the AMC 14 theaters
once stood, is in the early stages of development.
Neighboring Media City Center, meanwhile, is undergoing a facelift
of its own. An estimated $7 million in renovations are being made to
the mall and its Magnolia Boulevard facade, and P.F. Chang’s China
Bistro and another unannounced restaurant are moving in. The first
phase is expected to be complete by the end of 2004, said officials
at Crown Realty, the Irvine-based company that owns the mall.
Ovrom leaves Burbank
for greener pastures
After 18 years overseeing the day-to-day operations of the city of
Burbank, City Manager Bud Ovrom stepped down in March to head the Los
Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency.
In his new role with the city of Los Angeles, Ovrom works in
concert with the mayor’s office, 15 council districts, politicians,
developers and communities to revitalize blighted areas, including
parts of San Pedro, Watts and North Hollywood.
Among Ovrom’s most significant accomplishments as Burbank city
manager was leading the city’s transition after Lockheed Martin Corp.
and other aerospace companies left -- depleting the city of 20,000
jobs. To help fill the void, Ovrom attracted studio-related
businesses and shopping hubs such as the Media City Center, Empire
Center and Costco, which have helped boost the city’s tax revenue.
In April, the City Council approved naming the South San Fernando
Park project for Ovrom, who helped spearhead the $6-million
Assistant City Manager Mary Alvord, a 33-year city employee, was
selected by the council to succeed Ovrom.
Star Park takes
the fight to airport
For the second time since Zelman Development Co. opened Star Park
at 2555 N. Hollywood Way, the competition for parking dollars forced
Bob Hope Airport to cut its prices.
In May, the Airport Authority voted to cut the daily maximum rate
for short-term parking from $18.18 to $15.45, and cut the daily
maximum rate for valet parking from $12.73 to $11.82.
When Star Park opened in December 2002, airport officials removed
a crosswalk leading from the privately owned parking lot to Terminal
B, erected signs saying it was illegal for pedestrians to cross, and
issued citations to 120 people who did so.
Zelman Vice President Paul Casey argued that the crosswalk was
there for 60 years, but was deemed a safety risk only after the
company opened its lot. Zelman appealed court rulings allowing the
crosswalk to be closed, and in June, a judge ruled that the airport
did not have the authority to enforce the regulation.
Mayor Stacey Murphy and Councilman Dave Golonski rejected the idea
that the crossing dispute was the result of safety concerns.
“It’s disingenuous to say this has anything to do with anything
except a war over finances,” Murphy told Airport Authority Executive
Director Dios Marrero and Commissioner Don Brown at a City Council
have change of heart
Burbank on Parade organizers who threatened to end their
participation in the annual event changed their minds after meeting
with city officials earlier this month.
In a letter to city officials, parade board members said they
would “cease organizing and conducting” the parade effective Nov. 18.
In the letter, members criticized the city for hindering the parade
more than helping it.
But after meeting with City Manager Mary Alvord and Vice Mayor
Marsha Ramos on Dec. 19, board members pledged to begin recruiting
new volunteers and help stage the parade in April with the help of
“We left the meeting with a very good feeling and a renewed
optimism [about] working with the city in the future,” Parade
Chairwoman Joanne Miller said.
Alvord told those in attendance that she would appoint a city
staffer as a parade liaison who would work with representatives from
the police and code-enforcement departments to help stage the event