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Letter: Inaction on part of Burbank City Council following offensive comment can’t be tolerated

Mariposa Street Bridge

Signs stating the user rules of the Mariposa Street Bridge are clearly posted at the top of the bridge, in Burbank on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016.

(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

For safety reasons, Burbank City Council’s banning of pedestrians with bicycles on the Mariposa Bridge may be the right one. However, this same conclusion could have been derived in a more respectful, inclusive, collaborative and community-building way. Instead, the process was pandering, divisive, contentious and “us against them.”

The following comment by a speaker at the meeting was offensive and should have been called out by the mayor and council, but was not: “I’m so proud of these folks that are here tonight. They’re not the ones with the accents and bicycles. They’ve already gone…..These are the people of Burbank.”

The speaker glanced and made a gesture toward the equestrian group that was seated over his left shoulder.

Many equestrians spoke and all advocated for banning bicycles from the bridge. Another six spoke in favor of somehow sharing the bridge and urged a workable compromise. One spoke with an Irish accent, and another with an English accent. Neither of these men took sides during their public comment, but both eloquently urged thoughtfulness, collaboration and reasonableness in the decision-making process.

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Both have made positive contributions to our community. One is a personal friend, and his family very generously volunteers time throughout our community. The allusion that these two gentlemen are not part of the “people” of Burbank because of their accents is ignorant and just plain stupid.

Silence on the part of City Council endorses prejudice and bigotry and is unacceptable. It does not represent me or the attitudes and opinions of the people I know in Burbank.

Sharon Springer

Burbank

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