Political landscape: Court tosses videographer's appeal

An appellate court dismissed an appeal last week by a Burbank employee who was ordered in October 2010 to stay at least 10 yards away from a former aide for Assemblyman Mike Gatto, ruling that the one-year restraining order had expired and the appeal was moot.

The restraining order was granted by a U.S. district judge who sided with claims by then-Gatto aide Christine Aghakhani that she was harassed by Peter Musurlian during an event at the Glendale Central Library in July 2010.

Musurlian, who works independently reporting and shooting video stories, has produced unflattering videos of Gatto, but denied he threatened Aghakhani.

Committee halts whistle-blower bill

A bill to provide legislative staffers with whistle-blower protection was sidelined by the state Assembly Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

The legislation, introduced by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge),would have extended the same protections from retaliation as other state employees.

“Every other state agency has protections in place for folks who bring forward allegations of waste, fraud and abuse,“ Portantino said in a written statement. “Today’s action continues a self-serving exemption that undermines the public’s confidence and trust.”

The bill would have required the Rules Committees of both the Assembly and Senate to designate an officer to receive written complaints, and the state auditor would then investigate those complaints.

Sherman, Berman land endorsements

U.S. Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) and Howard Berman (D-Valley Village) picked up two significant endorsements recently in their battle to represent the newly drawn 30th District.

Service Employees International Union in California endorsed Berman.

“[Berman] is a champion for working families as we struggle for good jobs, homes and a brighter future for our children,” said Bill A. Lloyd, president of the union’s California State Council, in a written statement.

Sherman was endorsed by the Stonewall Democratic Club, Los Angeles’ largest LGBT rights group, receiving 79% of the vote.

“I am proud to have stood with the LGBT community for over 20 years, fighting for full equality and social justice,” Sherman said in a written statement.

After redistricting, both Berman and Sherman live in the same district, which includes a sliver of western Burbank.

Democratic Club to explain new districts

The Burbank Democratic Club will give on overview of the redrawn political districts in California and how the new open primary system will work in June at its next meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Burbank Senior Artists Colony Theatre, 240 E. Verdugo Ave.

For more information, call club president Larry Nemecek at (818) 515-5908 or visit www.burbankdemocraticclub.com.

Group drinks, talks politics liberally

And now for something completely different.

Grass-roots political organizations that meet monthly in local community buildings and libraries have been common for decades.

But now social clubs where Democratic political junkies enjoy leisurely activities such as watching a movie or imbibing at a happy hour are springing up across the country, including a new chapter in Burbank.

The local chapter of Drinking Liberally will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, at Flapper’s Comedy Club, on the corner of First Street and Magnolia Boulevard, according to chapter organizer and local resident Cheryl Holt.

It will be the fourth meeting of the informal group. Holt acknowledges the gatherings have been small — just a handful of people. However, as the country kicks into high political gear in the coming months, she expects participation will grow.

There are about 10 chapters in the Los Angeles area, Holt said, including one in Pasadena.

For more information about Drinking Liberally in Burbank, email cheryl@cherylholt.com.

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