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.
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
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.
“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.
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.