Over on my Burbank news website, BurbankNBeyond.com, I am running a feature on the city’s Centennial Celebration called Ross’ Retro, where my longtime friend and chief photographer, Ross A. Benson, supplies me with a photo every couple of days from his vast achieves. Ross had been covering events here in Burbank for the past 35 years and has classic photos from the past.
The latest photos I put up were of a City Council meeting back in the early 1980s that brought back a flood of memories that made me think that, like a good TV show, the cast will change but the show will go on.
These pictures show a much younger Mike Nolan being escorted out of the council chambers during oral communications by then-Police-Chief Glen Bell. And while the focus of the picture at that time was the removal of Nolan, who looked good in his suit and black beard, it was what was in the background that had me thinking.
In one shot you could see Councilman Dan Remy in the background. How can anyone forget Remy? And if you have, all you need to do is drive by Izay Park on Olive Avenue and look at that Lockheed jet sticking out of the ground. Remy, who was a big Lockheed supporter, championed that now irrelevant jet that, today, is as out of place in Burbank as grauple.
Another picture at a different angle shows a packed council chamber with everyone sitting on what we called back then the “pews” (one still sits by Bob Kramer’s office). What’s great about the picture is that there, in the front row where they were fixtures, are Mel Perlitch and the top watchdog, Jules Kimmett.
In case you never came across Kimmett, he was man of his convictions and was never one to miss a meeting. There would be days he would be a one-man picket squad in front of City Hall to make whatever point he thought needed to be brought out.
While we were not able to put an exact date on those photos, safe to say it was a good 25 years ago, and Nolan is still there today, making his good points and sometimes still making his gaffes. He is the one bridge to our recent past and present, and don’t be so fast to dismiss him or his occasional rants. He talks from experience, and many times you can go back and look up what he says and find some truth in his statements.
Yes, there is a new cast of characters at City Council meetings. Some are looking for the Channel 6 spotlight, some are there just because it is Tuesday night, and others, like Nolan, care about the city that they have invested their lives in. While sometimes they frustrate you with their presentations, they have and will always be at meetings, community events, and will also be the ones who fill out their ballots and turn them in.
Maybe we can all learn something from that.
CRAIG SHERWOOD is the executive editor of BurbankNBeyond.com and a baseball coach at Burbank High School. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.