Democratic Club holds picnic

BURBANK — The Burbank Democratic Club held its third annual picnic Saturday at Johnny Carson Park as its members talked politics and received updates from the region’s elected officials.

The event, co-sponsored by the Democratic Clubs in Glendale and the northeast San Fernando Valley, featured talks from Rep. Adam Schiff, state Sen. Jack Scott, Assemblyman Paul Krekorian and gave members the opportunity to talk about the June 3 primary.

“Were here to get out the vote,” Burbank Democratic Club President Janet Reynolds said.

The upcoming primary election contains two ballot initiatives, both of which are viewed as competing eminent domain reforms that aim to curtail public agencies’ power to take private property for another private use.

Proposition 98, the more stringent of the two reforms, would quash rent control statewide and prohibit public agencies from taking any private property and transferring it for another private use. Proposition 99 aims to limit eminent domain for private transfer, but would only prohibit the governmental takeover of owner-occupied residential properties.

Burbank Democrats have come out strongly against Prop. 98, saying its approval would force people from their homes.

“It’s inhumane,” Reynolds said. “It would put so many people out on the street.”

About 25 people attended the afternoon event, a sharp decline from the 150 people Reynolds had hoped for, she said.

Those who did attend were given a choice of hot dogs or hamburgers and a big helping of voter education.

“It’s a good idea so close to the election to get out the information,” said Glendale Democratic Club member Reneé Leask, behind a table of voter registration cards and ballot measure information pamphlets.

For others, the event was less about voter education than camaraderie.

“I just joined the Burbank Democrats six months ago out of a sense of frustration with [President] Bush,” Pete Schwartz said.

“I’ve become more informed now, but this is a nice group of people you can talk to about shared issues.”

Those issues also included the presidential race, as summarized by Schiff, who has campaigned nationally for Barack Obama in his quest to secure the Democratic nomination.

“Our wagon is hitched to the fate of the election,” he said.

“Some think it’s a foregone conclusion that we will win in November, but it will be a very hard fight. We have more work cut out for us. All I’ve had is Bush for seven years. I’m ready for a change.”

Scott updated his constituency on the ongoing budget negations in Sacramento as lawmakers continue to seek a balanced budget in the face of California’s $17.2-billion deficit.

The nearly termed-out state senator also reflected on the picnic as an example of something he might not be doing with the same frequency when he becomes the state’s next chancellor of the California community college system.

“Sure, I’ll miss it, but when you’re busy at your job, you don’t have time to think about missing things too much,” he said.

“And I’ll be busy.”

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