Apparently, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 Water took up the cause to warn Burbank voters of a possible special-interest politician running for City Council (“Union spends big to aid candidate,” April 9).
According to this contrived piece of swill, Emily Gabel-Luddy's campaign was financed by L.A.'s biggest lobbyists. The flier’s mascot, a well-dressed hog, encouraged readers to see for ourselves by reviewing Gabel-Luddy's campaign disclosure statements.
As a concerned voter, I went to the site and read for myself the damaging evidence. There in black and white were the glaring contributions that clearly outlined the “buy-off.” Apparently, Gabel-Luddy could be bought off by several individual contributions each at the astronomical figure of $250.
The flier went on to say, “That's not what Burbank needs.”
As a Burbank citizen of 57 years, I can tell you what Burbank doesn't need. We don't need another special-interest group spewing propaganda that is clearly a vendetta against one of our candidates. This is ridiculous and demeaning to intelligent voters.
Several years ago, I supported my neighbor who was addressing the city Planning Board with an issue concerning the pending move of an educational facility in our residential neighborhood. Gabel-Luddy was attentive, asked questions, listened to our concerns and, along with the other members of the Planning Board, made a decision that satisfied both the school and the residents. That is the City Council member I want in chambers guiding our city to sensible growth and insuring that the quality of life we covet here in Burbank is maintained and protected.
I had already sent in my ballot before this flier arrived in my mail box.
I stand by my vote.
Counting on voter apathy
I've read with interest the recent editorials and articles in the Burbank Leader regarding the candidates for City Council election.
In a recent editorial about the lack of candidate forums in this election cycle (“Schedule more candidate forums,” March 26), does it really come as a surprise to anybody that the powers that be within city government would try to avoid a meaningful interchange between the candidates?
City employees probably make up the largest voting bloc in the city when they stick together, and with more than $2 million dollars of annual bonuses at stake, they certainly do not want their endorsed candidate to be exposed to embarrassing questions that may affect next year's phony-baloney bonuses.
Heck, taxpayer money might get wasted on something stupid like improved police and fire services for the residents, or, heaven forbid, the struggling school system.
I have nothing but respect for our police officers who put their lives on the line every day, yet the department is in turmoil with allegations of corruption, racism and sexism, and it is rife with internal lawsuits at taxpayer expense. They certainly don't want their chosen candidate exposed to any public questioning about the investigations while the other candidate is asking for more transparency.
Commercial development and the associated traffic and parking congestion is one of the most serious issues Burbank residents face, yet in a recent article in the Leader, it was reported that one of the candidates could not vote on a development agreement with Warner Bros.
Really? Don't we need all of our City Council members eligible to represent us on important issues?
The meager voter turnout in Burbank creates a perfect storm for candidates who only rise to the top with voter apathy. They count on it.
Counting on business as usual
I found it revealing that voters handed Emily Gabel-Luddy a victory on Tuesday because her opponent, Bob Frutos, was heavily supported by a local union (“Union spends big to aid candidate,” April 9).
What does the average Burbank voter not get? What's so negative about a local organization who champions the rights of individual workers, to back a candidate who is looking to preside in a governing body that oversees that individual worker's taxes to run their local government?
Or would that Burbank voter rather elect an individual who took campaign money from people who did not live in Burbank, donors who, according to the Burbank Leader, included architectural firms and real estate developers?
Armed with that information, Burbank voters still defied logic and voted Gabel-Luddy onto the City Council. I guess the majority of voters felt we don't need a person on the City Council who was supported by voters within the city limits. They wanted a person who has outside connections, who has friends with deep pockets, associates who have the potential to curry favor and buy influence.
Guess they got their wish.
And don't get me started on rumors that in the past, shortly after City Council elections, those newly elected council people would receive phone calls from local businesses who offered to magically erase any campaign debt incurred while a fledgling candidate. Yes, don't get me started.
So here we are. It's 2011. Burbank just turned 100. We threw a great parade party last week. And our city budget has an anticipated budget shortfall of $8.3 million. Ain't life grand!
Gabel-Luddy, a former city planner from Los Angeles, said she will focus on bridging that gap and keeping “Burbank's business community vibrant.”
And I'm sure there are many in the business community who are counting on just that. Business as usual.