Shooting shatters a community

The Burbank Police Department and members of the community will not

likely forget what happened the night of Nov. 15 in a Ramada Inn

parking lot.

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

that week.

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

general election.

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

entertainment village.

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


Parade organizers

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

the city.

“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