Burbank officials on Friday certified Emily Gabel-Luddy’s narrow election victory over Robert Frutos, with the longtime Burbank Planning Board member’s lead growing to 95 votes.
Gabel-Luddy will be sworn in next month.
Gabel-Luddy’s 86-vote lead as of election night grew to a 95-vote lead in the certified count released Friday afternoon. She won 50.5% of the vote to Frutos’ 49.5%. More than 8,700 votes were cast in the race, according to the city clerk’s office.
Frutos, who declined comment on election night because results were not certified, said in a statement through his campaign manager Friday that he “will stand by the voice of the Burbank voters.”
On Friday, Gabel-Luddy thanked the voters for their support, adding that she plans to meet with her soon-to-be colleagues on the council and go on a ride-along with Burbank police to better understand the workings of public safety agencies.
“I have experience and skill in land use and transportation, but there are a lot of areas I don’t know,” Gabel-Luddy said. “I look forward to listening and learning from others who can share with me their experience.”
Gabel-Luddy, who worked as a Los Angeles city planner for many years, said her priorities include grappling with the city’s anticipated $8.3-million budget shortfall and bringing more transparency to city government.
She and Frutos were in a run-off for the open seat created when Mayor Anja Reinke decided not to seek a second term on the council.
In a Feb. 22 primary, Councilman Gary Bric won re-election with more than 50% of the vote.
Gabel-Luddy finished second in the primary, nearly 800 votes ahead of Frutos, a city police commissioner and one-time member of the city’s charter committee, and 1,700 votes ahead of social worker Jacqueline Waltman, who did not qualify for the runoff.
Frutos narrowed the gap considerably between the primary and the runoff. He got a substantial financial boost from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18, which spent $42,000 in support of his candidacy.
But some voters at City Hall Tuesday night said the IBEW mailers, a few of which attacked Gabel-Luddy, backfired.
On Friday, the city clerk’s office also confirmed that Measure U, the only other question on the ballot, passed easily. The measure, which updates the code language in the city’s utility users tax, received 67% of the vote. A simple majority was needed to pass.