Like, how many?

This citation from staff of course is total and complete bullshit.

From tomorrow night’s very limited council agenda, a request that its members set in stone for the next five years the City of Burbank’s quite horrific Housing Authority policies:

The Burbank Housing Authority (BHA) administers the Section 8 Program (Program) which is funded by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the purpose of providing rent subsidies on behalf of very low income tenants. By implementing this federally-funded Program and maximizing the utilization of the 1,014 vouchers available, the BHA has taken existing units in the private market and made them affordable…

Oh yeah? How many units were made more affordable than before?

Got an answer on that one, staff members?

This is nothing new, this phony claim of theirs. A couple of years ago Dr. Gordon tried to ask some searching questions about how and why staff was going around and buying up true low-income private apartments in town, taking them off the market for extended periods of time to do over-expensive rehabs, and then putting them back on it for much higher rents than before.

A number of good examples of this were in the Lake/Elmwood area, or over on Grismer — such as that huge 80-unit complex of lower-income families who were kicked out to as far away as Palmdale. When the place finally reopened three or four years later (with the City of Burbank as landlord), the new rents were considerably higher than what the older, poorer tenants had been paying.

Even worse, there were fewer available units than before!

Gordon of course got no answer on this, as will no one tomorrow night– if the question even gets asked again, which we doubt. Much of course will be made instead about how wonderful it was that “the government auditors” gave the Authority a prime Grade A review last fall about its bookkeeping work, a boast that will then be used to imply that the Feds also enthusiastically ratified their administrative policies, which they did not.

Unfortunately, the way the system works, local agencies like Burbank have tremendous leeway in how they are allowed to administer their state and federal housing monies. There’s little or no outside review possible about, say, how a city decides just who gets that treasured Section 8 voucher.

Now here’s a couple of questions that should be asked of these people tomorrow night. But of course they won’t be.

1) Is it true that the Cusumanos no longer accept new Section 8 tenancies in their buildings? If so, why not? — especially considering how much they’ve gotten over the years from the people of Burbank.

2) What’s the selection criteria for Section 8 grants? Is it a draw-down list, special qualifying factors, a combination of the two, or what? From the oddball answers that Gordon has gotten over the last few years whenever he’s dared to ask this question, in order to get on Section 8 in Burbank you’ve apparently got to be a disabled veteran of a certain age and with children. Is this in fact the case? If not, who then gets it?

Can we get a STRAIGHT answer on this staff? For once? Other cities tell you ahead of time exactly where you are on their list. Not Burbank.

3)  Why does the City of Burbank kick people off the Section 8 eligibility rolls without — like Glendale –giving them some kind of appeal mechanism to get back on? Why are they so mean and unsparing about it? (Keep in mind that this was the same Burbank that just a few years ago made everyone stand in line all throughout Downtown Burbank just to get an application package. Thousands of people.)

4) Why does Burbank insist on buying out these cheap private-sector buildings for rehab in the first place?

5) Every time they buy one of these things, why do they then lie to people (and the council) about how horrible they were, condition wise? — thus justifying the necessity of them doing so. Why do they always do this whenever they’re challenged about their acquisition policies?**

6) How come they got away a few years ago with tipping off one of the Augustine realty interests about a specific building the city wanted to buy over in the Lake/Elmwood area? The Augustines immediately slipped in, bought the place out from under the Authority, then turned around within a week or two and sold it directly to the Authority for a huge middle-man profit.

Even wackier, the specific Augustine family member who did this was also a business partner of the husband of the head of the Housing Authority itself!

Ah, Burbank.


** Watch them glom onto the Catalina Street rehab a few years ago in response. Sure, that place was terrible, but it was the exception, not the rule. And most of the current rents they’re charging over there are ridiculously non lower income. These six-figure $$ Burbank staff employees have a screwy idea of just what is considered to be affordable to most people– as well as the meaning of  “lower income.”

Catalina is also where staff got one of their friends from the private sector to rehab it instead of going through the proper bidding and advertisement process required of government agencies. As well as properly following the Charter!

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Genius for its own sake

No longer part of the regular curriculum:



Youth making art? Let’s talk about it.

Better yet, don’t even try now. There’s nothing wrong with these kids programs we have in our Burbank schools, but it’s offensive when the adults try to play them (and the kids) off as something more than they really are.

It’d be nice too if they weren’t always going out of their way to emulate commercial crap. Does anyone still know the difference?

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What’s there to celebrate?

This is actually quite sad– if you’re the kind of person who cares about things.

Which means maybe three or four people in town…

The first of more than a dozen buildings on the site of the future IKEA store came crashing down in a matter of minutes Thursday morning, a milestone that comes more than a year after the project was approved.

Nineteen buildings are being torn down to make way for a new 456,000-square-foot store, which will be the Swedish retailer’s largest in the United States when it opens in spring 2017. It will be roughly 6,000 square feet larger than the current record-holder in Schaumburg, Ill., which opened in 1998, said Joseph Roth, director of public affairs for the company.

Officials from IKEA — all wearing yellow shirts — and from the city — most wearing business suits — donned white hard hats and gathered on a patch of asphalt in the 800 block of South San Fernando Boulevard to witness the destruction of the steel warehouse building, previously used by Western Studio Services for prop storage and, long ago, home to Menasco Aerospace.

So much history there. How many good jobs come and gone over the years?

Some elected officials even participated in the demolition, which began around 10:30 a.m., with Burbank Mayor David Gordon behind the controls of a tracked excavator.

“Mayor Gordon got to take the first bite of the apple, so to speak,” Roth said, as Vice Mayor Bob Frutos took his turn behind the controls…

He’s obviously not a native. We’re talking about a fucking IKEA.

At best it’s a waste of good property. Not only do we already have a store of theirs here, just look at all the longtime businesses that got kicked out to make room for this absurdity.

Light industrial and small businesses are such a turn-off these days, aren’t they? Even though they’re what made Burbank.

At least there’s one kind-of hero in the place:

While Councilman Jess Talamantes politely declined his turn at the controls of the excavator, he said he was amazed at how quickly the building came down.

“They take so long to put up, and see how fast they come down — unbelievable,” Talamantes said after the walls caved and the roof sagged to the ground with a metallic crunch at around 10:50 a.m.

It figures that an old fireman would show a bit of soul about the proceedings. Apparently he was the only one.

Next on board: we hear there’s going to be a big city party the next time the library throws out more of its book collection. Everyone’s invited.


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The Me, Me, Me Generation


Next stop, Greenwich Village.



Not that any more evidence is needed that NYC is now composed almost entirely of overprivileged douchebags. It has to be seen to be believed.

They were raised to be this way, too. It’s part of the reward.



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Thuggish, grandstanding, petty, self-promoting assholes

Unless there was a specific contract violation here between vendor and management, these clowns don’t have a chance in hell of even getting this lawsuit to proceed in court, let alone winning.

On top of that, management quickly gave them what they wanted (!) which was also probably a violation of the merchandising terms over there anyway.

T-shirt racks allowed outside at the Americana? Since when? Is this Glendale or Santee Street?

A cart vendor at the Americana at Brand who was allegedly told to remove displays of clothing making reference to the Armenian Genocide has filed a lawsuit against the upscale outdoor mall.

Management officials behind rap label Pentagon Records filed a complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court on March 13 and, in the document, they claim they were discriminated against by the mall’s management.

Pentagon officials started selling clothing out of a cart at the Americana in February. Shortly after setting up shop, they were reportedly told to they could not display items that read either “our wounds are still open 1915” or “we are still here 2015,” though they could still be purchased if customers asked for them.

The order stemmed from shoppers complaining about the clothing.

Americana’s management apologized on its Facebook page, claiming there was a misunderstanding and that the vendor is allowed to display the apparel in question.

Actually, the private sector has no requirement to extend free speech rights to anyone. Discrimination claims too only apply to employees and —  to a certain extent — customers. Not merchandise, unless there was a specific breach of contract.

However, Tina Chuldzhyan, a production manager for the record label, said in a phone interview on Thursday she has yet to hear that kind of message directly from mall management.

Until then, she said she won’t display the 1915 clothing items.

It’ll be fun hearing them tell to this to a judge. You know it’s all a lie anyway– they’re just trying to prolong their phony persecution complex in public. Which anyone can (and does) see.

They’ve made no effort since to try to sell them. Yeah, that’ll swing.

The goal of the lawsuit, she said, is to get the court to compel the outdoor mall’s management team to allow the display to resume, Chuldzhyan said.

“We want [the] Americana to do something for the community; this goes far past us … it really affected a whole community of people,” she said. “We’re trying to make sure they acknowledge they made a mistake.”

If Caruso burned down the mall, got Turkey to hand over Mt Ararat to Armenia, and then gave all of his money and fortune to that discriminatory single-issue holocaust museum they want to build on public property up near Glendale College, it STILL wouldn’t be enough for this crowd of political terrorists.

They’d just engineer another source of phony outrage. That’s because it will never end with these people, and that’s been our point here for years. It’s become a sick, morbid, and intrinsically anti-Semitic cultural obsession for these pressure groups. As long as Jews exist they’re going to be pissed off that they’re not getting the same kind of attention.

After word got out about the controversy, members of Glendale’s large Armenian community held a silent protest at the Americana, while the mall’s alleged actions drew criticism from Mayor Zareh Sinanyan.

Liz Jaeger, vice president of public relations for Caruso Affiliated, which owns the Americana, declined to comment on the pending litigation.

According to the complaint, Pentagon Records is also seeking damages, but not for itself.

“Although the complaint seeks damages, my clients intend to use the proceeds from this lawsuit to further promote recognition and awareness of the Armenian Genocide,” said Pentagon’s attorney, Richard Foster, in an email.

Hilarious. That admission alone just automatically lost the case for this supposed plaintiff. You can’t sue someone for a business loss or personal harm and then say that there was no loss which necessitates recovery to you directly. That’s not what lawsuits are about.

As Judge Judy likes to say, lawsuits are about “making you whole.” They’re not about publicizing causes or trying to make a point.

Caruso and Company should hit this outfit up big for lost attorneys fees. This is a completely merit-less lawsuit given what we’ve been told about the (single) incident, and even wackier,  the original complaint was resolved by the defendant.

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West Side Story

Too bad no one at the 96th station had one of those concealed weapons we’ve been hearing are so useful on the train.

If so they could have chased these kids up the stairs and onto Broadway, and then either shot them or forced them to cross the street.

Really, the kids were just trying to get home to the Bronx. Ever seen how dull it is up there?

Nice apartments though. Fantastic ones, unbelievable in fact if you grew up in LA. Someday it’ll be super hip, especially the South Bronx.

Up a ways on the same street is Stanley Kubrick’s old neighborhood. Right kitty-korner across from Edgar Allen Poe’s cottage.

For the proud self-promoters in town, Burbank has Tim Burton and Ronny Howard. The Bronx has Kubrick and Poe, for starters. Take your pick for the future.


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Why have they been keeping this such a secret?

Wow. How come no one’s said anything about this before?

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, eighth-graders and first-graders at Vahan & Anoush Chamlian Armenian School planted 100 forget-me-not flowers in garden beds on the La Crescenta campus…

The flower is also a universal symbol this year among those living around the world who are part of the Armenian diaspora to commemorate the genocide where 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by the Ottoman Turks, beginning in 1915.

Also on Tuesday, a group of fathers of Chamlian students announced their upcoming 3,000-mile endeavor to run and bike across the United States from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.

They will begin the relay marathon in L.A. on April 24, and plan to arrive at the capital on May 7. Along the way, they hope to drum up awareness of the Armenian Genocide and other genocides that have occurred around the globe.

Right. We’re sure that “other genocides” are sure to be at the top of the list here information-wise.

The idea for a cross-country trip came from Michael Markarian, who was inspired by the school’s annual walk/run to commemorate the genocide as parents and students go from Chamlian to St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church.

“While I was running, I thought to myself, rather than concentrating on the Armenian community, why not educate the United States?” he told students on Tuesday. “And I thought… why not have a marathon relay starting in L.A. and ending up in D.C., and the whole point of it was to create some awareness outside of the Armenian community so that the American public knows what genocide is and allow them to be the judge and jury of what happened.”

What if people come to a different conclusion as “judge and jury”? Or — lord forbid — they think those other genocides were much worse, now of course that they’ve been made aware of them.

This is never really going to end, is it.

Why is it that Jews never carry on in the same angry, morbid way about what happened 75 years ago over and over again all throughout Europe? We’ve always wondered about that.

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Just for a decent school?

No wonder so many kids are shits these days. How can they afford not to be?

NYU Now Costs $71K A Year, But One Freshman Has A Petition To Fight It

It’s no secret that matriculating at NYU is breathtakingly expensive. “NYU Will Cost You Your Arms, Legs & Soul” is not breaking news. But sometimes it’s important to step back and really think about the morality of allowing children to commit themselves to what often winds up being many, many years of impItrisonment in debt.
Nia Mirza, a 19-year-old from Pakistan preparing to embark on her freshman year, was stunned to discover that the $64,000 annual price tag (including tuition and the estimated cost of expenses) she thought she would be paying had mysteriously risen to $71,000, after she’d already committed to the school via early decision. But let’s back up!
(Fine, $70,974. But who cares.)

Republican response: since some students are paying this much for their college education, there’s no reason in the world why our own residents shouldn’t have to pay $20,000 a year for Northridge. Not only is it a bargain by comparison, but doing so will be good for their character. Besides, college education’s not a right any more, even though it was for us.

Our response: how come thirty years ago the tuition at UCLA was only $600 a quarter and there were twice as many classes listed in the Schedule? Forty years ago the tuition at Pomona College was less than $2,000 a year. What changed?



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Don’t laugh — that neighborhood has been haunted for years

Although some of the comments on this local Reddit piece are pretty funny, the guy is definitely on to something.

(click to enlarge)


Something strange happened to me in Burbank the other night   burbank


Kids for years have been reporting strange sightings at that Baskin Robbins on Victory and B/V. We know credible neighbors too who have seen some pretty ugly phantasms floating around late at night over there as well. You can spot them appearing at right-angle edges, such as between a TV aerial and a wall. They look like manta rays, only much, much worse.

Don’t believe it? Just look at the history of the area. Old cathouses, gangland hangouts, abandoned warehouses, fight clubs and gambling joints. It’s not a pretty place. There’s a cemetery on one end and an old war plant on the other.

And who knows what happened there over the centuries. Only the Dead Know Burbank, etc.

Oh, and then there was this, right down the street. We’ll post it again:



There were also a couple of places where old-style carburetors would stall out for no reason when you’d be driving. Long Burbank Blvd straightaways were one. Another was that stretch of Glenoaks between Villa Cabrini and Sunland Blvd. You’d see cars get abandoned there all the time…

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The New Journalism: don’t ask too many questions

Like what do they mean by “received information”?

Authorities seized more than 200 marijuana plants and arrested three people while serving a search warrant at a suspected grow house in Burbank where three young children were present, police said.

Narcotics detectives received information that led them to believe marijuana was being cultivated in a single-family home on the 1900 block of Rose Street, after which they obtained a search warrant, said Burbank Police Sgt. Adam Cornils.

While executing the search warrant Tuesday afternoon, authorities discovered “a large amount” of marijuana spread out over the kitchen table within reach of three small children, including two one-year-olds and a three-year-old, Cornils said.

One of the bedrooms had reportedly been converted into a marijuana grow-and-drying room, while more than 200 marijuana plants were growing in the backyard and garage, Cornils said.

Notice that we get a lot of noxious sentimentality here about children in danger, but not too much info on exactly what prompted the police to get a search warrant in the first place.

So what was it? A big power bill? One of those heat-seeking spy things that the police use to check our houses these days? (Do we even have those machines in Burbank? It’d be nice to know…)

Is Burbank now doing what Glendale does, which is use those Constitutionally dubious packet sniffers to spy on cellphone users without PC?

Both residents, identified by police as Tishauna, 27, and Ryan Royten, 35, were arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and marijuana cultivation. A friend who was also in the home, identified as Grace McClung, 27, was also arrested on suspicion of child endangerment.

The suspects were released after each posting $100,000 bail, according to Los Angeles County jail records.

Rude questions, yes. Too bad nobody around here ever questions authority any more. They just reprint the official story.

Curiosity too is apparently dead.


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A “Korean Starbucks” to locate in Glendale

Notorious neighborhood interloper Caffe Bene will soon be opening somewhere in Glendale, at least if their PR department can be believed.

Much like what Starbucks did when it first started out, this international chain of corporate coffeehouses likes to move near already established locations in order to leech away the area’s business. We’ll see what happens if and when they show up next door. Many of them are franchises, like the long-awaited (to morons) Dunkin’ Donuts…

As far as Burbank goes, is there any way staff can get us an Intelligentsia? Or maybe even — gasp — a Blue Bottle?

Stumptown, anyone? Or are we stuck instead with gun shops and tactical weapons fanciers — and Hobby Lobby of course…


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By hook, crook, and schnook

Oh, the indignity of it all!

Recently, I was appalled when the Leader published a screed about candidate Rizzotti’s involvement with Young Life. Although I don’t support him (due to his often noted appearance of trying to buy a City Council seat), I felt the publication of that letter was unfair, due to its obvious malicious intent.

Hold on.

What’s really malicious here is trying to reverse the situation by playing off Rizzotti’s leadership role in an anti-gay organization as somehow harmless. Or — even worse — that those who dare to bring it up are the true guilty ones in the dialogue.

Just like this supposedly gay “neighbor” of Rizzotti’s who defended him recently in the same pages for heading an organization that she can’t be part of, you have to be either a fool or a knave to think that his behavior is anything close to being OK. Rizzotti’s the proud adult leader of a bigoted youth organization that he won’t dismiss, resign from, or repudiate. Welcome to Burbank!

Naturally then, this same great brain today goes on to ignore Rogers’ own personal oddities…

Now Will Rogers is slammed by a writer who completely ignores the important issues of this campaign and Rogers’ extensive efforts as a council watchdog while writing for the local paper, seeking to disqualify him by a mistake made 35 years ago, and one for which he long ago paid his debt to society. What makes this particular attack so heinous is that from the very beginning of his campaign, Rogers has been completely open about this long past error in judgment, publishing a lengthy discussion on his website.

No, he hasn’t been completely open about it. And considering that this is the same guy who made no bones about trafficking 40 years later in scurrilous falsehoods about an old political opponent, this is a real hoot of an affirmation about character and consistency, let alone the value of history.

Rogers — to be more specific — also never explains exactly why the Broadway & Co. security guards who drove by him that night suddenly thought he should be arrested if they knew he was working the same burglary detail. Like, just because he was standing outside the store with merchandise nearby he suddenly got the police on him? No, Will’s a longtime expert at leaving out the rest of the story.

When I first learned that Will Rogers was running for City Council it gave me great hope that we might once again have a representative for the regular folk on the City Council. The letter writer’s ugly words have done nothing to dampen that hope.

On the other hand, I’m still holding out hope for more dignity from the Burbank Leader.

Oh, piffle. Will “let’s attack Martin Bernheimer incognito for the new boss” Rogers ain’t in no way the regular folk.

The Leader’s got him right on that one– he’s arrogant as hell. He’s also an old and famous dirty trickster from way back (as in the aggressive anti-Bernheimer stunt), but we’ll leave it there for now.

Believe it or not, the local commentary gets worse. Now it seems we need a woman…

With no malice toward any of the male incumbents on our council, or the male candidates attempting to find a place on it, I find it unacceptable that in 2015, we women are still finding it not only difficult to get voted into office, but unusually difficult to keep our positions in office once elected.

Councilwoman Emily Gabel-Luddy needs our assistance. I’ve had the good fortune to meet her and I’m convinced her only goal as an elected official is to do the right thing for the residents of Burbank. She’s committed to keeping Burbank the way we all want it: clean, fully functioning, and with that small-town feeling everyone who comes for a visit always loves.

That’s pretty weak tea, telling people we’re a lovable little town which should support women more, and so be sure to vote for EGL because she’s not a man. Apparently voting records don’t count for much when abject sentimentality and cant is at stake.

Every city has its growing pains, and our gorgeous, wonderful city is no different. It’s impossible to keep Burbank from experiencing growth of any kind, but I feel confident Gabel-Luddy understands our desire to hold Burbank to a higher standard, and not allow the runaway growth our friendly neighbor, Glendale, has experienced.

Gabel-Luddy has served her city well and should be allowed to continue her work representing our interests and assisting in keeping the Burbank City Council balanced, on track, and pursuing the common interests of both men and women.

Yes, but her idea of a “higher standard” doesn’t resemble that of most people who live here. If so, they deserve what they’ll end up getting in the future, what with her odious crowd on board.

For instance, has she ever voted against a project?




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There are too many gun stores in Burbank

Years ago — when we first started this blog — one of the earliest comments came from a local resident who was quite concerned about the sudden proliferation of gun stores in Burbank. Unlike other more sensible places, Burbank was apparently being seen as a welcoming haven for the local So Cal gun-nut crowd.

It was a good question then, and it’s a good question now. Why do we have all of these gun and weapons stores? At the very least they’re terrifically unbecoming. We look like old North Hollywood.

Last month we brought this same question up again, and it seems a local “tactical weapons” outfit was not amused at the sudden attention we were giving to their creepy weekend hobby interests.

They’re still not, apparently, because here’s another comment from them today:

This genius has no idea that we’ve been here for over 4 years, and has no clue regarding the products we sell.

Had two new customers come in because “We heard about you on that idiots blog…” Every village needs an idiot.


Yeah, it’d be hard to misinterpret the products they sell, if only because they like to festoon their web site with what to them must be mouth-watering photos of all sorts of unnecessary weapons of death. It makes you wonder what they’re so frightened of to think they need to play this kind of dress-up outside of a war zone. The site’s a real hoot– check it out.

But this does bring up a much bigger problem. Why do we have so many gun and weapons shops in Burbank? Is this the type of crowd we want to attract? And where do these people come from?

Wouldn’t it be great if we had real council candidates who’d talk about issues like this? We actually used to. Can’t we re-zone these clownish weapons joints to somewhere far out of the way near Sylmar? Maybe better by the airport, so that our many out-of-town visitors can see what kind of place we’ve become.

This new Whole Foods — if and when it gets built — won’t be cancelling it out.


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Burbank’s shady “all-mail” ballot system lends itself to this

What a coincidence.

Watch this happen more and more now as the stakes of this election become intense. Why? Because interested staff members do not want to see Will Rogers get elected. 

This past Wednesday, ballots for Burbank’s April 14 general election started being mailed out to registered voters in the city, but what’s become important is how they return to City Hall — and in some cases how they don’t.

City Clerk Zizette Mullins said during the February primary she noticed an increase in the number of ballots returned with improper signatures or signatures that don’t match what’s on file on voter registration documents. Because Burbank uses mail-in ballots, signatures are used to verify the voter’s identity, she said.

All voters are verified through signatures. It happens later on at the county. What’s different about Burbank’s shady and non-secret ballot system is that the signatures and voter identity are physically tied to the ballot submission itself (!)

You (and who knows whom) can easily spot just what ballots are specifically contained within, and exactly where they come from.

Her office goes to great lengths to verify a voter’s identity on each ballot, she said, including calls to voters and visits to their addresses when other efforts to verify signatures fail, but sometimes it’s impossible to confirm a signature in time. Those votes go uncounted.

Additionally, at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Burbank resident Brett Loutensock raised concerns about his primary election ballot, which he said never reached election officials even though he had mailed it days before the Feb. 19 postal deadline.

Loutensock, who noted he had been outspoken against City Council candidate Chris Rizzotti before the election, said when he checked his post office box after the election, he found his yellow ballot envelope had been returned — signed, sealed and misdelivered — an error that left his vote uncounted.

Someone was tipping him off about this ballot-extraction possibility. It was no coincidence that Burbank’s biggest anti-Rizzotti critic was subject to this kind of unfortunate “incident.” Who’s kidding whom here.

Mullins said she was aware of four incidents, including Loutensock’s, where completed ballots were delivered to the voter rather than to the city clerk’s office. She said she learned of one incident before election day and that voter was still able to cast their ballot in time.

Mullins also said she met with postal officials to clear up the issue, which apparently had to do with machines misreading address information printed on the ballot envelopes, and thought it had been resolved until Loutensock and two other voters came forward after the election — too late to count their votes.

Unless Loutensock waited until after the official canvassing to first bring this up, it wasn’t too late to count his vote. How long was there between dropping the ballot in the mailbox and getting it back? Why would he wait weeks before notifying the CC?

It’s not clear how many other ballots may have been misdelivered, but Richard Maher, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service said via email Friday that the Burbank Post Office is giving “special attention” to the ballots in the general election.

Maher said ballots are being separated from the normal mail and delivered directly to the city without being sent to the mail processing center in Santa Clarita to avoid machine errors. He said postal officials will also review the envelope design to see if it needs to be improved.

So they’re being collected together at the post office of all places? Just sitting there all separated? Why? That’s amazingly insecure! It’s also a prime source of ballot corruption — which we’ll get into in a minute.

Mullins said more common than postal mix-ups was the improper-signature problem, which in the primary left close to 50 ballots uncounted.

For example, parents have signed their children’s ballots, husbands have signed for their wives or signatures look simply nothing like what’s on the voter’s registration forms, she said.

“If you change your signature, you need to re-register,” said Mullins, adding, “I want to make sure that we’re counting each and every ballot.”

Mullins said some couples have also mailed in two ballots in one envelope, apparently hoping to save money on postage, but that also invalidates their votes, she said.

Why are both invalidated? They should at least count the one with the outside signature.

Ballots for the general election should be mailed back to the city no later than April 9.

However, several City Council members noted that if voters were not comfortable mailing them in, they have until April 14 to drop them off personally at Burbank City Hall, 275 E. Olive Ave.

Hold on! Why aren’t they accepting them mailed in by the 14th by 6 p.m.? That’s election day! What good public policy is served by rejecting ballots received by mail after a postmarked April 9th?

There isn’t any.

Now here’s how you corrupt Burbank’s all-mail ballot scheme:

1) Drive around and make a list of all the campaign signs you see on Burbank streets that aren’t for the guy you want.

2) Get the names and addresses of exactly where you see these signs.

3) See to it that those ballot envelopes with those same names on it get “misdelivered” and not counted. Better yet, pull them out of the trays.

Unsecured, and with no cameras on them 24/7, it’s easy to do. If the election’s at all close then your guy’s sure to win. You got the Big Blacklist right at hand.


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But they’re not


At it’s best this is cloying, unctuous, and terrifically counterproductive. But it’s also a perfect example of the destructive sentimentality and stupidity that surrounds us:

At a luncheon last month, the city of Burbank honored 215 volunteers who provided more than 12,000 hours of their time to the Burbank Public Library last year with certificates and a small gift.

The volunteers provide support to the library, such as mending books, teaching adult literacy classes and helping out with the biannual book sale that funds the library’s programs. But one volunteer was overlooked — Bill Elias’s 10-year-old, yellow Labrador Retriever named Annie.

What does Annie do for the library? She helps children practice their reading skills — children like the seven grade-schoolers gathered Thursday on the alphabet rug in the Story Time Room at the Buena Vista branch of the Burbank Public Library.

Annie is a certified therapy dog, and Elias brings her to the library every other Thursday as part of a program called “Puppy Tales,” where children in the first through fourth grade take turns reading to her as she lies near them.

The program has been around for about three years, said Donna Bandiera, a library assistant who oversees the program. She said that having a nonjudgmental listener like Annie helps children build their confidence and reading skills.

“They really think they’re reading to her,” Bandiera said. “It’s really amazing.”

Look, it’s one thing to have kids who are developmentally disabled get involved in something like this. But it’s close to criminal for any adult to inflict this sham on most children older than six or seven. If it’s so important for kids to verbalize their reading, then why don’t the ADULTS listen to them?

And since when is reading aloud any kind of desirable goal for a third- or fourth-grader?

The idea for the dog-centered reading program came from Cathleen Bowley, supervising librarian for the children’s section, Bandiera said, but Burbank isn’t the first to offer such a program.

In fact, one effort called the Reading Education Assistance Dogs program started in 1999 and now has more than 3,000 registered therapy dogs, according to the website for the nonprofit Intermountain Therapy Animals, which launched the program in Salt Lake City about 16 years ago.

It’s not free, either. People make and collect money on this.

Annie, who is obedience trained and certified through the group Pet Partners, is Elias’s third therapy dog. In addition to being a good listener, she also comforts patients and visitors at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena each Tuesday, he said.

Elias said he notices the improvement in a child’s reading ability over the course of several sessions, and those who have been with the program longer have shown even more noticeable gains.

Which of course would never happen at home with the kids, would it?

Wow. Isn’t it amazing that any of us over the age of 40 were able to learn how to read? Yeah, we only had ADULT models around to help lead the way. And books and magazines with real print in them, not pictures.

Poor us: we only saw real readers model real reading.

A 2011 study by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University found that second-grade students who read to a dog for 30 minutes once a week during the summer improved their reading ability and attitudes, but for those who read to people, the measures decreased.

Bullshit. One study doesn’t prove anything, and we can only imagine the kind of “adult” setting that a veterinary group used to validate the overriding importance of their own clients.

Keep in mind too that the kids are supposedly having their “self-esteem” raised by participating in what is admittedly a total and complete sham. The ridiculous irony of that here seems to escape all these dog fans:

How does reading to an animal help raise a child’s self-esteem?

There are some obvious ways, such as the fact that lots of focused practice will increase someone’s skill and therefore their confidence, and being listened to and treated with respect validates a child and contributes to their self-esteem. There are also some less obvious ways. We soon began to notice that most children consistently turn the book toward the dog so s/he can see the pictures and understand the story. We learned something important from this, that the kids were getting enormous satisfaction from being the teacher for awhile. Here is someone (the dog) who knows even less about reading than they do, and the opportunity to feel useful and competent, and help someone else understand, really contributes to the child’s experience of validation and self-worth. You can almost watch them blossoming in front of your eyes.

We’ll leave it to others to explain the current post-911 mania for wanting to project warm and fuzzy human attributes onto domestic animals that can’t possibly answer back. It seems pretty self-explanatory to us. The fact that they’re “therapy” this-and-that is even better. But to claim that such a practice is actually preferable to human contact is clearly nuts.

And again, why are developmentally sound kids older than six or seven being encouraged to read aloud to anything? These programs are also (again btw) not free, regardless of how many “volunteers” get awards.


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The big election issues of the week were…?

Exactly what?

Any stands on any topics of interest? Water rates, homeless shelters (the IKEA project is displacing about a dozen former residents), city charter suggestions, maybe even rent increases that seem unfair?

How about mandatory relocation assistance for tenants displaced by development?

Anything? Or, as usual, everything here is copasetic, and so it’s just a matter of electing the biggest booster.

You can blame the lack of good and interested reporting as a start. Journalism used to be a spectator sport that would often galvanize the public with stories about more than just community award winners or the police department (or even better, police department award winners).

Now it’s a collectible.


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Let us pray

San Francisco Catholic church installs watering system to drench homeless people as they sleep



Christianity: the better religion.


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But everybody knows the Pledge isn’t about religion!

Oh yeah? Apparently it is. Look at these clowns go completely apeshit.

Turns out Mike Newdow is right:

Students at Pine Bush High School in Pine Bush, New York, knew right away there was something not quite right about the Pledge of Allegiance. That’s because the pledge was being recited in Arabic.

“One nation under Allah,” the student body president announced over the intercom system on Wednesday.

Reaction in the upstate New York high school was swift, and so was the backlash, The Times Herald-Record reports. Furious students tried to shout down the recitation in their classrooms. Other students sat down in protest.

School Superintendent Joan Carbone told the newspaper that the Arabic pledge “divided the school in half” – noting that many complaints came from Jewish parents and those who had lost family members fighting the war on terror.

 The outrage among students was so significant that the school issued an apology.

“We sincerely apologize for having the Pledge of Allegiance recited this morning in the high school in a language other than English,” the apology read. “In our school district the Pledge of Allegiance will only be recited in English as recommended by the Commissioner of Education.”

So much for the melting pot. Look who thinks they own it.

And hey, we thought “under God” was just a ceremonial god, isn’t that correct, all you pious right-wingers? It’s not about religion you say!

Good for these kids. They were trying to make a point about this current offensive language in the Pledge of Allegiance, and they succeeded. When it’s “Allah” instead, and recited in a different language,  all of a sudden the Pledge of Allegiance is an invocation of hostile religion.

What sack of shit hypocrites and fools most people are these days. Before 1954 there was no reason to put any “god” in the Pledge at all.

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