Campbell elected mayor of Burbank

CITY HALL ? Burbank native Todd Campbell was elected mayor on Monday during the City Council's annual reorganization session. Campbell ascends to the post after a one-year term as vice mayor.

"This is a height in anyone's career," Campbell said moments after the vote. "It's a great honor to become mayor in the city that I was born and raised in."

Campbell declared his intent to make his term the "year of the sustainable city," confronting challenges in the city budget, air and noise pollution and traffic, as well as protecting city neighborhoods and continuing to provide high-quality education in the city. "I think there's lots of things to come with the help of my colleagues and the input of the community," he said. "It's mapping out future for the long term and not looking myopically in the short term."

Councilwoman Marsha Ramos became vice mayor for the second time since joining the council in 2001, having occupied the post from 2003 to 2004. She also served as mayor from 2004 to 2005.

Ramos was elected to the spot by a 3-2 vote following a playful series of motions, during which she joined Councilman Jeff Vander Borght in opposing her own nomination after seconding Vander Borght's nomination of Councilman Dave Golonski.

Golonski, a two-time mayor and vice mayor, said he preferred not to assume the post for personal reasons.

The ceremony drew praise for Vander Borght, the outgoing mayor, who will remain on the council until at least April 2007 when his term expires.

"Clearly you are going to be a tough act to follow," Campbell said. "You have led this council by keeping us focused and allowing us to dream."

City Manager Mary Alvord highlighted the city's accomplishments during Vander Borght's term and his goal to make a "better Burbank." His vision to improve Burbank's public transit system steered a 42% increase in ridership during a one-year span, she said. Vander Borght's term also saw the installation of three public art pieces and a banner program to honor Burbank residents serving in the military. Burbank also coordinated with the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity to raise money and build homes to send to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Alvord said.

"I hope I have done my part this year and that I leave the job of mayor with the same dignity as I took it," Vander Borght said.

The council voted 4-1 to elect Campbell, with Councilman David Gordon casting an opposing vote, saying that a "dark cloud" was hanging over the city because of domestic abuse accusations that three Burbank residents leveled against Campbell at a Jan. 10 meeting.

"I felt that it would be important for him to clear the air and let the community know what the outcome is of this whole thing," Gordon said.

Campbell did not respond to Gordon, but Gordon's comments drew a sharp reaction from the council, which questioned Gordon's motives and tact.

"You're a real piece of work," Golonski told Gordon. "We all have our opinions, but the way you characterize things is amazing to me."

No charges were ever filed against Campbell.

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