Mailbag: Council shouldn't have OKd salary hikes

As I finished reading the article regarding the approval of Burbank Water and Power Department executives' salary increases ("Water execs get 11% raises," July 10), I felt compelled to write this letter. As a resident of Burbank, I also got a "raise" — my water bill was raised.

I must ask the question to our City Council members who voted in favor of the salary raise: Are you aware that we are in the midst of an economic meltdown, the effects of which will perhaps still be unknown for several more years to come?

As I look around my neighborhood, I see my neighbors — myself included — either having lost employment, or received salary reductions, or no salary increases, and senior citizens on limited income with increasing health-care costs. This, I believe, holds true in almost every neighborhood in Burbank.

How did you justify in times like this to inflict a 13.5% rate increase to residents and bestow up to 11% salary increases to executives? It's a benefit to only a few and a detriment to thousands. This is a clear demonstration of blemished priorities in serving the community.

With all due respect to our water department executives and their talents to improve operational efficiencies, I believe their talent would have proven more valuable if they would have been able to keep the same rates while providing the superior service. That's the standard we should be living by during times like this.

Burbank residents who lost jobs or had salaries reduced are also talented and hard-working employees, but corporations they work and worked for did not hesitate to offer them the inferior option. And they had no choice but to accept it.

Let the free-market system decide the worth of executive positions — the system that our Founding Fathers established and we seem to be struggling to uphold. And let's be fair and equitable when comparing ourselves to a city that is six or seven times the size of Burbank.

Utility department executives, please refuse the salary raise and roll back the rate increase, which will prove to this community that you are part of us.

Residents of Burbank, come next election, please remember this irresponsible act of City Council members who voted in favor of this salary increase.

Sam Anam

Burbank

Big raises in this economy aren't right

I am truly outraged by the up to 11% raise for top-level utility officials ("Water execs get 11% raises," July 10).

What arrogance of individuals to seek such a substantial raise in this economy when their earnings are well over six figures. The City Council is out of line (minus one vote — a voice of reason).

How dare they ask residents to conserve and conserve over and over again. Then they raise our rates! They have nerve to give top-level officials a raise, and a significant one at that. That adds insult to injury.

Congratulations to the city officials who opted to forgo raises.

I do not know anyone who received any raise in the past few years. Many people do not have a job at all.

All I do know is that this is not right.

Judi Glass

Burbank

Griem is full of unintentional humor

There is nothing as perversely fun as opening the Burbank Leader to the "Faith" section and seeing a response from the Rev. Bryan Griem on the subject of homosexuality. He never fails to amuse and confound.

There was one column in which he described gays as swindlers and pretty much the scourge of humanity, and then went on to say he has many homosexual friends. You had to ask yourself, "What kind of masochists are these people?"

Then there was the column in which Griem told us of his best friend, a married man, dying of AIDS. Strangely, Griem had no idea how he got the disease. He presumed it was from "sowing oats."

Again, you had to wonder, "Why didn't you ask him? Weren't you the least bit curious? He was your best friend."

Now we have his response to same-sex parenting ("In Theory: Same-sex couples," July 10) as parents in which I learned for the first time that not all of God's abominations are equal. Some are for Jews, and some are for everyone. Some are passé, and some are still in force. I learned that eating shellfish and committing sodomy are on opposite ends of the abomination chart.

I did take heart, however, that Griem in all his convolutions acknowledged the possibility that God created a gay gene. He doesn't commit to the notion, but it's a step.

Maybe all those gay friends of his exist after all.

Alan Burnett

Burbank

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