Frommer bows out
of speaker race
Citing the need to unite the Democratic caucus in the Legislature,
Dario Frommer (D-Burbank) dropped his bid to become speaker of the
Assembly. Frommer, a leader in the state body, was interested in the
position for several months, but agreed to bow out to do what was
best for the party in what had been a tumultuous session, he said. He
and Jenny Oropeza (D-Long Beach), who were vying for the spot,
stepped aside to allow Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) to take the role.
Plane crash claims
three Burbank Realtors
Three longtime Burbank Realtors were among five people killed in a
late October plane crash in the desert 60 miles east of Needles. San
Bernardino County Coroner’s officials eventually identified the three
locals as Bob Brown, the owner and pilot of the Cessna 421 Golden
Eagle plane, Bonnie Day and Bart Caldarell. Brown and Caldarell were
longtime members of the Burbank Assn. of Realtors, and Day was a
Disabled veterans chapter sued by national group
A judge in November slapped the Burbank chapter of Disabled
American Veterans with a temporary injunction, handing over control
of the local group to the national organization, which sued over
alleged financial mismanagement. The Nov. 20 ruling and a pending
deal with the national organization to drop its lawsuit resulted in
the seizure of the 70-year-old club’s assets.
Council revokes Gitana’s conditional-use permit
The City Council revoked the conditional-use permit of Gitana
restaurant and nightclub in September on the recommendation of city
staff and Police Department officials, who said the establishment had
become an increasing nuisance and a threat to public safety.
Between January and April, police responded to the Magnolia
Boulevard establishment an average of 20 times per month, prompting
the department to bill the owners for excessive visits.
Truck, Metrolink train collide; crossing lights to blame
Confusion at a railroad crossing near North Buena Vista Street and
San Fernando Boulevard on Jan. 6 resulted in the deaths of two people
and the derailment of a Metrolink train, officials said.
Jacek Wysocki, 63, reportedly drove his truck around the crossing
arms and into the path of the oncoming train. The collision killed
Wysocki and injured dozens of others. A passenger on the train died
two weeks later.
The crash could have been avoided if the red arrow -- signaling
that drivers were allowed to turn left into the intersection if it
was safe -- was not flashing, according to a report released in
December by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Election produces new faces on City Council
Months of knocking on doors paid off for architect Jef Vander
Borght and environmental policy director Todd Campbell, who won seats
on the Burbank City Council in the April 8 election. Vander Borght
made his first run for a council seat after serving out the term of
former mayor Bob Kramer, who resigned in March 2002.
In May, Campbell joined Vander Borght, Dave Golonski, Stacey
Murphy and Marsha Ramos on the dais.
Union agrees to replace health coverage for pay raises
In August, the board of education voted unanimously to discontinue
California Public Employees Retirement System health-care coverage
for teachers in favor of less expensive coverage, a move expected to
save the district $1.5 million annually. Members of the Burbank
Teachers Assn., the union representing more than 800 teachers, nurses
and counselors, voted to accept alternate health coverage in return
for a 2% raise effective Jan. 1.
BTAC director fired by board of directors
Popular Burbank Temporary Aid Center Executive Director Patricia
Smola was fired in June by the center’s board of directors, stunning
friends and colleagues, including those who donated time and money to
the organization on West Burbank Boulevard.
The Rev. Larry Stamper of First United Methodist Church questioned
whether the nonprofit center was an organization his congregation
would continue to support, and some volunteers called it quits.