Gatto hopes to reap what he sows

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D- Silver Lake) set up a table Saturday at the Burbank Farmers Market, meeting constituents and fielding questions on topics ranging from his mother to Medicare.

Gatto hosted a Government Fair at the market behind Burbank City Hall, joined by representatives from agencies including the state Department of Consumer Affairs and the California Highway Patrol.

"Usually, when someone has an issue with the government — and people have a lot of issues with the government these days — they have to go to the government," Gatto said. "They are surprised the government is coming to them."

Gatto aides caught shoppers as they walked past and routed them toward the freshman assemblyman, who shook hands and handed out business cards and brochures.

One man asked when the state might pass a budget. Another told the assemblyman that he is not excited about either candidate for governor, Democratic Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown or Republican and former eBay executive Meg Whitman.

One couple asked Gatto if he knew whether it is legal in Burbank to plant plastic grass instead of a real lawn. Gatto said he'd look into it.

"There are a lot of federal and local questions, and our answer is 'We will take care of it.'" Gatto said, adding that his office tracks down the info and either calls the people back or asks the appropriate agency to do so.

An older woman told Gatto she had spoken to his mother, Isolde Gatto. Mrs. Gatto helped her son by placing 4,000 phone calls during the special election campaign in June, and will help again as Gatto seeks re-election in November. "Thank god for moms," the woman said.

Jeannine Turano of Burbank took a moment to meet Gatto.

"I'm more informed about national politics than I am about local politics, so this is the first I've heard of this guy," she said afterward. "He seems personable, that's all I can say."

Turano appreciated Gatto's effort Saturday. "You are not going to call the president when your house is on fire," she noted.

Ilya Mendlin of Burbank met Gatto at another public event months ago and said she was impressed. She reintroduced herself Saturday. Afterward, she said she saw Gatto's effort as half working and half campaigning.

"For most people I think that it's good that they see him," Mendlin said. "For me, on the flip side, it feels like a political move."

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World