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Conferences on cable

Mark R. Madler

Mayor Jef Vander Borght admitted on Tuesday that the city dropped the

ball in not televising high profile news conferences taking place at

the Burbank Police Department on the city’s cable channel.

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A new policy was put in place this week in response to complaints

about the city’s failure to show the July 14 news conference about

the arrest of Councilwoman Stacey Murphy; and the July 19 news

conference on the arrests of alleged drug suppliers to the Vineland

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Boyz street gang.

“I think you’re right,” Vander Borght said to resident David

Piroli. “We had the tape and we should have put it out there so the

residents would get all the information instead of just tidbits.”

In a 15-minute meeting of the city’s Public Information Office

sub-committee prior to Tuesday’s council meeting, a policy was

established that news conferences pertaining to city business will be

broadcast for a week on Charter Communication Burbank Channel 6.

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“We’re going to extend the same courtesy to the Burbank Unified

School District board and other entities, such as the Bob Hope

Airport commission,” Vander Borght said.

Vander Borght and Councilman Dave Golonski serve on the

sub-committee with City Manager Mary Alvord, Assistant City Manager

Mike Flad, and city Public Information Officer Michael McManus.

Piroli, a frequent speaker at the weekly council meetings, raised

his concerns at the July 19 meeting and again on Tuesday night.

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The two news conferences took place at the Burbank Police

Department, included department personnel, and were filmed by a

camera crew from Channel 6.

“What the public has gotten is little sound bites here and there

on the news, the radio and the television,” Piroli told the council

Tuesday night. “I don’t think the Police Department called the news

conference for sound bites to go out.”

Had the news conferences been shown it would have been a change in

policy and precedent for the public information office, McManus said.

The news conference of Murphy’s arrest on suspicion of cocaine

possession and child endangerment was taped for training purposes for

the Police Department, McManus said.

The drug supplier news conference was taped because Police Chief

Thomas Hoefel said it would be helpful to have, McManus said.

His office does not have the technical capability to show news

conferences live unless they are done from City Council chambers in

City Hall, McManus said.

Murphy, 47, is free on $100,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in

Burbank Superior Court on Aug. 25.


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