Letters: City officials in the hot seat over actions taken during pandemic
As I write this, on Monday, March 16, I am extremely disappointed in our city of Burbank.
Today we are in a national state of emergency due to the novel coronavirus that can lead to COVID-19. People are wondering if there will be enough food and necessary supplies, what do with their children at home all day and like my family how will we pay bills with self-employed work canceled.
While looking up how to send this letter I see an article online that Burbank closes all city facilities and cancels meetings written about 12 p.m. today, yet at 12:19 I am given a parking ticket for street cleaning.
I am in disbelief that this is our city’s top priority at this moment. I apologize for not remembering to move my car while thinking about food on my table, kids at home and no work the horizon due to this virus.
City of Burbank, which I have loved over the last 20 years, given volunteer time and energy to, you have broken my heart. At what may be one of the most horrible times of most people’s lives our city of Burbank is handing out parking tickets for street cleaning.
I hope the city begins to focus on what really matters here and gives a break on parking issues and other things that do not matter right now, while we all try to navigate the unknown that is ahead.
Editor’s note: Three days after the writer received the ticket on a street-sweeping day, the city placed a moratorium on the practice.
In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, our city leaders have decided to ask for more money from the already strapped citizens of Burbank by raising rates for water and refuse services.
The City Council has scheduled a public hearing for this matter on May 5, even though we have already been instructed to stay at home and avoid crowds. Doesn’t the Council understand the importance of those instructions?
The justification for the new rates is “increased costs,” an all-inclusive reason that has been used by the council several times in recent years to explain the need for more fees and taxes without mentioning their own mismanagement of city revenues.
The people need to be provided with a complete accounting of projected expenditures related to the cost of water and refuse services before new rates are approved. That accounting also needs to include monies spent to pay salaries and pension obligations.
If the council feels that it is necessary to raise rates or fees, we need a truthful explanation of the reasons for the increases rather than a simple statement that is both deceptive and incomplete.
I filled out my census form. My city is Burbank, County Los Angeles. On March 16 the governor said ALL residents of Los Angeles County were being given an eviction moratorium due to the novel coronavirus spread.
The president on March 13 declared a national emergency. What a comfort during this pandemic to hear we are covered. The governor’s office told me each city decides the terms of the moratorium. I watched the Burbank City Council meeting on March 17 and was so discouraged. The council decided to give us until end of April to pay rent. One woman noted that unpaid rent must be paid back. Of course, nobody would think it’s free rent. One speaker said he wants proof of an emergency. Has he not been watching TV? The world has been closed down!
We want to know that as citizens with years of working and giving back to Burbank that they are going to care for us during this pandemic. I haven’t missed any rent payments in 24 years. I worked minimum wage jobs and raised two sons in this city as a single parent. I was proud to call Burbank my home. I emailed City Council members and their replies were neither comforting nor encouraging.
They are faced with many decisions during this time but have the power to allow an open-ended moratorium, but they want to wait. Things are not getting better. Nobody wants to be evicted. There is a virus ravaging and killing people. I ask the city immediately to extend the moratorium end date to until the emergency has passed.