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Gordon was right on Tuesday night about a Cusumano revisit–and even better, staff won’t let him see the original appraisal document!

For starters, check out the actual parcel map for the public properties that Burbank is selling to the Cusumanos on the cheap. Some “remnants,” eh?

 

Item_1_-_Exhibit_K-page-001

 

Three are huge, and they’re in the center of the project. Yeah, “narrow configuration and limited utility” indeed. Who’d want ‘em? They also total a hefty percentage of the land coverage as well. We wish we had remnants like that.

Although the Friends of Burbank got a good chuckle Tuesday night at how staff was obviously trying to humiliate Dr. Gordon by making him look the fool regarding a possible re-vote on this Cusumano giveaway, Gordon was actually correct about what the council could have done with this agenda item. Contrary to what City Attorney Albano was forcing on him in public, the Burbank City Council had no mandatory or legal obligation to go ahead and ratify the final plank of the Talaria deal.

In fact — for technical reasons– Tuesday night’s “resolution” was a redo. You can see for yourself– it’s right here. The council had to continue it over because of some subsequent changes that were made, and so they could have indeed reconsidered the whole matter and turned it down. Albano was thus highly disingenuous about the “previous” session and its import. The deal was not final until it was voted upon on Tuesday night.

She and Scott were sure panicked about getting their point in though, weren’t they? The tape is hilarious– they would not let Gordon do what Gordon wanted to do. It was indeed a chance for him to have “a second bite of the apple” (as one council member put it sarcastically) and they weren’t about to let that happen. No way.

Fronnie describes what Gordon was trying to do very well, here. A refusal to approve the deal this week would have clearly stopped it in its tracks, despite the “ordinance” that Albano and Scott were frantic about insisting the council had already approved “last time.”  Again, nothing required the council to go ahead and vote in favor of this Talaria agenda item. The arrogant and dismissive response we saw from those two top city employees on Tuesday night was based upon a canard, a myth from management that all hell will break loose if you buck the system and change your mind.

Scott also misrepresented the controversial Talaria property deal when he said that “the two reports” on it were available to the public, in case anyone has any questions.

On what planet? He’s not talking about the only item that matters. No, the most important and relevant document is not available to the public. In fact, staff even refuses to let the council members see it! We’re talking about the official appraiser’s report which explains how they arrived at the higher $3.7 million figure for the so-called “remnant” properties that Scott so easily plays off as being marginal.

Again, just look at the parcel map. That city property is central to the project.

Scott claims that this highball number was based upon the “remnants” being ideally located in “the middle of the Talaria property” — as he blithely explained it two weeks ago — and therefore not properly calculated enough for the deal, thus prompting the later discount down to $1.2 million. But why do we have to take his word on this?

First of all, it contradicts staff’s own report. They indicate that the appraiser went around to 10 or so neighboring properties and came up with a midrange figure that was neither the highest nor the lowest reported. It was smack dab in the middle. Then, a 70 and 80 percent “discount” was taken by staff to supposedly account for the specific conditions of the property that the CM claims were not taken into consideration by the official appraiser.

But how do we know this? What methodology did the appraiser use to develop their midrange figure, or consider it an adequate, professionally taken estimate of prime commercial property on Olive Ave? Are they instead incompetent?

Unless we can see the actual report we’ll never know, which would be a nice thing to remedy. But staff won’t even let the council members see it. Until then we have to take the word of someone else for what it says.

Apparently they’re prone to do this quite a bit these days. By current practice, staff will often refuse to let our council members see certain papers. That way they don’t have to release them to the public — because the papers were never part of a packet in front of the membership. The open records disclosure requirement does not apply if the council or commission never saw them.

They also don’t trust Gordon, but that’s another story. Many, many times staff would show Golonski things but then play dumb whenever it came to the others. Especially Dr. Gordon.

The council is obviously viewed by staff as an advisory body only, in the main; and most of them on there– the Feckless Four we’ll call them — don’t ever seem to mind.

But hey, in the end, at least we’re helping the Cusumanos keep up their lifestyle.

 

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Happy Halloween !

 

A seasonal greeting from Fort Campbell, Kentucky:


 

More holiday cheer from the authority figures:

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Who needs books when you can have madness instead

 
WULogo

 

Wouldn’t these students have been a lot better off reading Dickens?

Anyone who can figure this out must be part of the problem:

Woodbury University is a university in Burbank, California, as well as group inSecond Life run by students and faculty of that university’s School of Media, Culture & Design. It is supervised by Dr. Edward Clift, Associate Professor and Chair of Communication at Woodbury University[1].

Woodbury University established a virtual campus in Second Life in 2006. The campus was described as a “free and open place where avatars can express themselves in a loosely moderated environment”. The membership of the group comprised nearly 600 people by April 2010, some of whom were affiliated with the real life university and some of whom were not. The group attracted controversy, facing accusations of participating in griefing by controversial SL blogger Prokofy Neva from 2007 onwards[2]. In July 2007, the Woodbury University campus was destroyed by Linden Lab[3][4]. The university subsequently leased new sims through Brautigan & Tuck Holdings (BNT), but following the bankruptcy of BNT in October 2009, their three sims were lost. A week later, they bought the new sim of Soviet Woodbury, to which three additional sims (Feted Inner Sandbox, Estonia and Animation) were later added. They included educational spaces designed mostly by students, including a mock representation of the former Soviet Union and a replica of the Berlin Wall. Woodbury University and related groups and persons also owned land in other sims including Ravenglass and Furness.

A substantial community of members of internet subcultures relating to Something Awful and 4chan have adopted Woodbury as their Second Life hangout. In response to Prokofy Neva accusing them of being communists, the group adopted a Soviet theme.

This must be that distance learning we keep hearing about. The virtual campus that still costs the same as the real thing. But leave it to Burbank to have some place attractive enough to them where these nutcases and and academic nonentities can comfortably throw their hats and be welcomed to the unit.

Now we know though why college libraries are getting rid of half their books. They’re a clear waste of time. There’s apparently 2,000 more pages of this stuff.

This actually sounds like the kind of thing that will start happening at city hall if Will Rogers ever gets elected. Somehow the creepy intrigue of it all fits the new Burbank mentality of his supporters perfectly.

Love the logo though. We think we’ll adopt it as official.

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With friends like these … stay the hell away

No. Bad idea.

It means nothing either except an attempt on the part of someone (who?) to legitimize this political entity and give it an enhanced stature that it might not deserve.

BACKGROUND: Mayor Gordon was contacted by Mayor Sinanyan of Glendale on behalf of ANCA, asking that the City of Burbank consider establishing a Friendship City relationship with the town of Hadrut. Hadrut is a town of 3,000 located in the center of the Hadrut region of the Artsakh Republic (formerly known as Nagorno Karabakh). Hadrut is in a mountainous area on the southern portion of the Artsakh region. As described below, the Artsakh region has been at issue in religious, territorial disputes going back centuries. The region was subservient to Azerbaijani control during the Soviet region, and both armed conflict and political strife have continued even after the fall of the Soviet structure.

ANCA is interested in establishing Friendship City relationships with Armenian communities in the Artsakh region, in part because there continues to this day to be stress in the relationship of the Artsakh Republic and its Azerbaijani neighbor.

That’s exactly why we don’t want to do it. Don’t get involved, and don’t let them latch on to you just so they can enhance their political credibility.

The term “Friendship City” is used by cities in America to designate a bond with a community in another country, but it is less formal than Sister City status. For instance, there is no parent organization which promotes Friendship City status. While there may be exceptions, typically there are not regular exchanges or official visits associated with the relationship. ANCA is promoting relationships that will strengthen ties of Armenian communities with the West, and particularly to communities like Burbank, which are proud to boast of significant Armenian population.

If it doesn’t mean much, why do then they want to do it?

Rule No.1 in life: stay away from fucked-up people and fucked-up situations. Sorry, it’s true. No good comes from it.

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Anyone else catch the cynicism behind PW’s attempt to tie an equipment purchase to contracting out?

These people don’t miss a beat, do they? Bonnie Teaford’s cantful “I have the privilege and honor of running Public Works…” comment tonight should be a tipoff that the bulls will soon be running.

We’ll cut to the quick. Burbank always needs to buy new equipment in the future, and so this blatant attempt to dangle a sweeper savings in exchange for “outsourcing” city employee jobs is phony as hell. This new regime in Burbank LOVES the idea of contracting out no matter what.

Just like we love the idea of all of these angry city employees showing up in the chambers tonight to protest the plan. They’re there because they know what’ll happen next if this scheme is approved tonight: Teaford & Company will quickly find more “wonderful opportunities” to help screw the rank and file.

And btw, Burbank does NOT contract out regular day-to-day or week-to-week jobs. They contract out periodic tasks– like big tree cutting, or some types of outdoor and mechanical maintenance. Nothing like routine street sweeping in 2/3 of the town.

So no contracting out, Burbank, on the regular jobs. It’s always a bad deal in the long run.

Like this:

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Why do they keep lying about the Talaria “range”?

 
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Albano just did it again. She claimed that the city’s official appraiser had a “range” of Cusumano property estimates.

But she– and the other supporters of this giveaway — need to read the actual STAFF report on the matter. According to STAFF’S OWN WORDS the appraiser came up with the $3.7 million figure.

Then, a “discount” was applied to it that supposedly took into consideration the fact that the property was obtained for free (so what?), and that the “bigger” amount was based upon the idea that the property wasn’t developed by the developer yet (?)

So what again– it’s still worth the bigger money! The city appraiser’s $3.7 million was actually quite conservative (see below). It was the Cusumano’s own appraiser that came up with the lowball $900K amount (see their letter attached to Exhibit N).

Staff tried to pull this last explanation with Gordon two weeks ago — the “not developed yet” value– but no one asked them how much the property would be worth with the project actually on it– which would be the real test of the value as they posited it to Gordon. It would be worth a helluva lot more than 3.7, because it’s a huge “remnant” of a parcel(s)!

Here’s the exact language from Exhibit N of the Talaria report. It couldn’t be more clear about how the “methodologies” were developed:

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Notice how the “city’s appraiser” estimation was actually quite conservative! It was the half-way point between the high and the low from the same general neighborhood. So who’s kidding whom about “utility”? That was already factored into the ORIGINAL number.

Then, the “discount” was applied, and for dubious reasons of course. It was NOT a further effort in a “range of appraisal figures” as we just heard tonight from both EGL and Albano.

Such liars these people are– and such fools the council-majority remains.

And about the “prosecutor” and PD’s opinion on the ballot proposition. Who the HELL CARES WHAT THEY THINK about a sentence reduction plan? Of course they’re going to be against it. That’s how they roll.

But folks … THEY DO NOT MAKE POLICY AROUND HERE. The people do. To hell with them and their erroneous, self-serving logic.

It’s like WalMart being against labor unions. Who cares? That doesn’t mean they’re right.

Always keep this in mind: Burbank has always been too (and quite horribly so) a clear management-rights town. That means the rest of us usually end up losing.

To give check-kiters long prison sentences is nuts. If cops and prosecutors had their way we’d all be in jail – for something! So their authoritarian-minded opinions mean nada.

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Why is she that important to the Landlord-Tenant Commission?

So a member of the Landlord-Tenant Commission has missed six out of the 11 meetings this last year, and the other members still want her on there? When she was only appointed in 2013 to begin with?

Why is she that important to them? What is she, a strong landlord or realtor advocate? If she were a huge rent control fan would they be so eager to keep her on? We doubt it.

And people, can we get the Code straight here? The rule is that if commission members are absent three meetings in a row, OR are there less than 75 percent in 12 months, then they either get tossed or reviewed. The latter part of the rule is what applies to her, not the three in a row.

The LTC only meets once a month, and for just a few hours. So what could possibly be the attendance problem here.

They’re useless anyway these days, but that’s another story…

And sorry EGL — there was no “range” to the Talaria property estimates, on the other agenda issue. There was ONE outside appraisal, and then a preferential “discount” developed by STAFF. Big difference.

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So who’s galvanizing Talamantes to be an asshole tonight?

Gordon’s totally correct tonight that “council comments” is not the place for an extended PD discussion about Ebola prevention efforts in Burbank. So why Talamantes is trying to make an issue about it right now is suggestive as hell. He even said that Gordon was being “rude” to “interrupt” the officer, and then tried to get the other three to vote to subvert the mayor’s judicial authority.

So who’s Talamantes been meeting with lately to get the encouragement to be this much of a confrontational dickhead? The Protectorates? The Good Old Boys of Burbank’s Shill Club and Preservation Society? Those are where we’ve been seeing his name pop up lately.

We think Gordon’s being too nice about this actually, because since when is Ebola a police issue? Authoritarians like Talamantes think that everything around here is of course, but their opinion means nothing.

Something’s going on for sure. Talamantes and the others are getting ready for the big fight ahead. They’re sharpening their swords.

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Yeah! Hooray for the private sector!

Fucking White people can’t do anything right any more:

 

 

See the Antares Rocket’s 1st Night Launch from East Coast (Visibility Maps)

Mass. residents could see rocket taking off in Va. tonight

WATCH LIVE: Antares rocket to launch from Virginia tonight

 

Antares rocket’s enhanced upper stage debuts Tuesday

 

So much for the wonderful world of private sector “outsourcing.” What a sorry era this is:

Orbital Sciences’ $1.9 billion cargo resupply contract with NASA requires delivery of 20 metric tons, or about 44,000 pounds, of supplies to the space station over eight missions with the Antares rocket and Cygnus supply ship.

Frank Culbertson, executive vice president of Orbital’s advanced programs group, said Sunday that the Orb-3 mission — the third of the eight-mission slate — will take up about 5,000 pounds.

Including a demonstration flight last year, Orbital will have delivered more than 13,000 pounds of cargo to the space station with a successful Orb-3 mission, Culbertson said.

Yeah for privatization!

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Let’s rub some salt in those Magnolia wounds why don’t we

Jesus Christ, whose idea was this?

The Burbank Police Dept. is hosting its fourth “Coffee with a Cop” gathering on Thursday to meet with residents in a relaxed setting.

Anyone with questions or concerns they’d like to share with police can join about five officers at Romancing the Bean, located at 3413 W. Magnolia Blvd., between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.

“The idea is to be able to bring the community in and have some free coffee,” said Burbank Police Officer Joshua Kendrick. “It’s a very relaxed setting, there’s no agenda. If you want to ask questions or talk, you can, or you can just have coffee.”

Of all places right now. We hear they’re calling it a morning of citing and sipping.

Jesus H. Christ.

This town is clearly being run by morons. No doubt about it.

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We got it for free … so let’s sell it on the cheap!

 

bank error

 

Even though the chance that our city council members will undo the Talaria deal tonight during their final vote-off is about the same as them suddenly instituting mandatory lifetime rent control during closed session, we thought it would be fun to review something about the “remnant” property giveaway that was not discussed during the original hearing.

So what did they go out of their way to ignore in early October, possibly because the crowd was starting to get ugly? One of staff’s rationales for selling the property so cheap to the Cusumanos was that it was basically seen as a windfall to the city:

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Hey, the city “paid no money” for these parcels, and so let’s pass the savings along to the Cusumanos! Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Yes– just like it makes sense that because the Burbank Police Department gets material support from the Department of Homeland Security at times, maybe the city should also pass along this no-cost benefit to the whole of its residents as well. Say, by cutting the price of our speeding tickets.

Why not? That new equipment didn’t cost them anything.

In a million years perhaps. The rest of us don’t live on that same rarefied Burbank plane as the Cusumanos, and so of course the rules are different.

BTW, it’s going to be fun to watch the council-majority vote in those crap wages tonight on that new Parks and Rec job classification — the one that staff says “works alongside” the other employees when in fact the whole point of creating this new job is that they won’t be. It’s to take OVER their old tasks.

The four up there will definitely be showing their true chickenshit colors on this one.

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Ebola Update

New York’s newest Halloween costume:

Doctor Quarantined At NYC's Bellevue Hospital After Showing Symptoms Of Ebola
635498526607768951-GTY-457840912

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Here’s a better idea. Why don’t we begin to cut staff’s highly inflated salaries?

Since the City of Burbank’s official position now is to try to save itself money by contracting out vital services and paying chicken wages to new jobs that are supposed to exist to protect the public, we’ll go one further.

How many hundreds of city employees make over $100,000 a year? We lost count several years ago when those sneaky bonus awards came out. The executive staff too is especially heavy on the gravy train, including those dozen or so employees who were once part of the now defunct Redevelopment Agency but were secreted off to god-knows-where outfits like “Economic Development” doing god-knows-what uselessness.

Their current thing is computer classes for home business opportunities. Yippee. This is the enter key, that’s the printer.

Since this same city crowd obviously has no problem going after the little guy in order to save some cash, why don’t we effect a real savings by cutting their own salaries a bit?

How about 20 percent across the board? They’ll hardly notice it.

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Staff wants to start contracting out important city services

What a wonderful opportunity! Yeah, uh-huh. Look what else is on tomorrow night’s agenda.

The answer is a clear “No.”

In Fiscal Year 2013-2014, the Public Works Department’s Street Sweeping Section  experienced an unusual convergence of two events that led its management team to ask if there might be a more cost-effective way to provide some of our street sweeping services. The two events were 1) a retirement of one of our Motor Sweeper Operators and 2) the planned “retirement” of one of our street sweeping machines (sweepers). 

The management team proceeded to examine the street sweeping operations and costs to determine if an alternative delivery system might result in significant cost savings

Hmmm…. wonder what that could be….

Love the evasive word “outsourcing” here:

With concurrent retirements of the Motor Sweeper Operator and a sweeper, Public Works management recognized an opportunity for possibly reducing ongoing operating costs while still providing a high level of service to residents. By outsourcing the one commercial route, the City might be able to save ongoing operational costs and avoid purchasing a new expensive piece of equipment. Many cities in Southern California have outsourced their street sweeping services to attain budgetary savings; based on a limited survey conducted by Public Works and information from vendors, at least 34 cities in the area use contracted services, including Agoura Hills, Covina, Santa Clarita, Newport Beach, and La Canada Flintridge.

Yeah, they’re all right-wing towns that have made an ideological decision to get rid of public employees! They’re also all smaller than Burbank , both geographically and physical population-wise.

Santa Clarita also contracted out its library services too. Why don’t we do that?

We also love this idea that the residential/commercial distinction means something important — as if the fact that it’s only the commercial areas being considered (right now) which make it seem more feasible. Like big deal– the city also contracts out its residential tree service (part-time only, job-for-job) and yet this was never a consideration on that.

No, it’s a phony “concern” that’s only being proffered because staff is trying to make it sound like they’re being conscientious about something. What difference does it make?

The rule is “No contracting out for Burbank.” Small tasks maybe, but regular jobs?

No way. To do so will be just the start….

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