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Candidates hit the hillsides

Of the 10 precincts with the highest voter turnout in Burbank’s primary election, eight were from the hillside area, and the two City Council candidates remaining on the April 12 ballot have taken notice of that fact.

Voter participation in the February primary fell 6% to 14.3%, the lowest point in recent years, according to city clerk records. With voter apathy reaching new heights, the two run-off candidates have mostly focused their campaigns on what likely will be a small pool of voters.

“Basically we’re targeting the high-density areas where most of the votes came from,” said Alexis Castro, campaign manager for Police Commissioner Bob Frutos, who is facing Planning Board member Emily Gabel-Luddy in the April 12 run-off for City Council. “We are following up and contacting those voters in any way possible.”

The highest turn-out was in a precinct located northeast of North Kenneth Road, roughly bounded by East Walnut Avenue and Stanford Avenue, where 25.2% of the 869 registered voters in the area mailed in or dropped off their ballots, according to the city clerk’s office.


The high-population precincts, along Burbank’s northern end of North Glenoaks Boulevard and between West Burbank Boulevard and West Victory Boulevard to North Hollywood Way, had turnouts that hovered in the mid-teens.

The lowest turnouts — between 7% and 9% — were in the region immediately surrounding the airport and areas near the Golden State (5) Freeway.

Gabel-Luddy said she is trying reach new areas she had not covered during the primary election after the numbers showed the more time she spent in the area, like in the hillsides, the more it showed at the polls.

“I am continuing to knock on doors and wear out my tennis shoes,” she said. “I’m hoping we don’t have voter fatigue.”


City Councilman Gary Bric, who won re-election outright in the primary, recently endorsed Frutos, lending some wind to the sails of the police commissioner’s campaign. Bric won 32 out of the 40 precincts in the city, most by a substantial margin.

“This endorsement shows that although he is aligning with Bric, he can crossover and work with people that don’t necessarily agree with him,” said Castro, pointing out that Frutos has stood up to the City Council as a commissioner in the past.

Frutos said he was surprised by the endorsement and hoped it would help come April 12.

Former candidate Jacqueline Waltman, who was eliminated after the primary election, threw her support behind Gabel-Luddy.

Waltman cited Gabel-Luddy’s experience on the Planning Board and her desire to maintain diversity as her reasoning behind the endorsement.

Burbank Firefighters Local No. 778 also is supporting Gabel-Luddy.

“I have found that people skeptical of my campaign are the best people to talk to,” said Gabel-Luddy, as she geared up for another trip as a pedestrian around Burbank. “Those are the people that really make me think, and I like that.”

The final day to register to vote in Burbank’s General Election is March 28, with ballots scheduled to begin hitting mailboxes after March 22.


FOR THE RECORD: This corrects an earlier version that gave the incorrect deadline to register to vote.