Still trust Republicans?


Anyone who voted for this asshole deserves everything they’re going to get:



Here’s a quick note to those who think that “City Hall” is the big problem in Burbank: It’s not.

It’s the rapacious business class that you need to worry about, most of which is right-wing Republican. You think most developers around here are Hillary or Bernie supporters? Or anywhere?

You’re much more apt to find that with staff. So know thy enemy. The last decent Republican died about 20 years ago.





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Another out-of-town resident gets Burbank in big trouble


Who in city hall thought it was a good idea for its “Burbank Hospitality Association” T-BID group to give a five-figure “donation” to help pass the now treasured Measure B?

Ah, the power of expedience. Whatever it takes to win, right? Just like deliberately setting up the citizens vote to occur during a consolidated election that was clearly not indicated to be so on the controlling ordinance. The whole idea behind the original Measure B was to make a new airport terminal a city issue on a city ballot.

But so what. Right?

This time though these same ambitious boosters are gonna get nailed. The Burbank Viewpoints website got a hold of the minutes from the BHA meeting that detail how this obviously illegal contribution occurred:

“Sunder Ramani, attended the [Burbank Hospitality Association] meeting to represent the ‘Committee for Yes on Measure B,’ a community initiative to educate the public on the importance of voting yes on Measure B during the November 8th election ballot. Mr. Ramani stated that the purpose of the initiative was to reach the 24,000 absentee voters of Burbank and educate them on the facts of Measure B. Mr. Ramani requested a financial contribution of $50,000 from the BHA which would help create and distribute mailers for this initiative. Since Mr. Ramani attended the meeting and spoke during Public Comment, the item was not on the agenda.”

Ramani lives in La Canada, not Burbank, and this isn’t the first time he’s tried to interfere with Burbank issues. He’s a proud pro-development booster and local real estate investor, which naturally makes him much more important to the City of Burbank than most of the rest of us.

Obviously. But this time it backfired.

Council candidate Greg Sousa dropped us a note this morning that discusses the compelling legal issues here. It seems there’s been a big complaint filed with the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission:

Actually, we researched this question before taking the issue to the Council, and there’s little doubt as to how the FPPC will view TBID funds.

In 2001 the California Court of Appeal heard a case in which the issue was whether the Brown Act applied to the board meetings of a property owners association (POA), which had been created in conjunction with a business improvement district (BID), and to which the city had delegated administrative authority over BID funds.

The court held the Act did in fact govern such meetings. In arriving at its decision, the court observed that while the city delegated administrative functions to the POA, the city retained ultimate control over the administration of the BID funds so as to safeguard the public interest. Because the city retains such control, the POA was in fact an agency of the city, and was thus bound by the same laws and regulations as the public entity that is delegating its authority. Epstein v. Hollywood Entm’t Dist. II Bus. Improvement Dist., 87 Cal. App. 4th 862, 873 (2001).

The situation here is quite similar: The BHA is a municipal corporation created by the City Council, for the sole purpose of administering the tax revenues the City collects from local hotels as part of a TBID (as authorized by the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994, Cal. Sts. & High. Code § 36600 et seq.). According to BHA’s corporate filings with the California Secretary of State, the association’s address is 275 E. Olive Avenue (i.e., City Hall), and its agent for service of process, Susie Avetisyan, is a city employee. Thus, from a legal standpoint, the Burbank Hospitality Association is an agency of the City of Burbank, and is therefore bound by the same laws that bind the City of Burbank.

Because the City of Burbank could not legally contribute to the Yes on B campaign, neither could the Burbank Hospitality Association, and I would be somewhat surprised if the FPPC did not reach a similar conclusion.

Sousa’s an interesting character (check out his Facebook page to see his range of Favorites). Apparently he’s one of the people behind this complaint, and he also has legal training. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see this complaint prevail, and the FPPC rule against the City of Burbank on their sleazy expenditure? If so they can get Talamantes to help pay the fine — it might make him learn something.

Then someone can file a lawsuit about the obvious Brown Act violation that this shadowy “Hospitality” outfit also committed on that same night, according to the records that B/V also obtained. Even if the expenditure is legal, you can’t just vote on it quickly and unannounced.




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Hooray for the Millennials


Especially the White racist ones.

We’ve known for years that it’s an exceedingly dumb and limited generation that deserves to lose everything good it could have inherited.



The new technology makes them feel like they’re just so fucking sharp. But they’re not. They have neither an historical sense nor a strong sense of the possibilities of life.

With rare exceptions, all they know is what they see provided on whatever TV screen is in front of them.

You know who hates this crowd the most, don’t you? It’s not us geezers and nostalgists. It’s people in their forties, especially late in the decade. They’re the ones who are really getting fucked over by them. The rest of us have protections.

For now.


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21st-Century Technology; 19th-Century Plan


We figured that high-speed rail thing would be hopelessly FUBAR before it even left the station.

This wacky proposal for just Glendale alone proves it.

As the train passes through Glendale, the authority is proposing there be new grade separations — probably running the tracks over streets — at four locations: Sonora, Grandview and Goodwin avenues and Sperry Street. An alternative to Sperry would be Doran Street, De La Peña said.

“We’re working with the cities and local stakeholders to identify the configurations of the grade separations, but there will be no at-grade crossings remaining in this [Burbank-to-Los Angeles] section,” she said.

If they mean grade crossings — not separations — which they apparently do, then it should be all a non-starter. What are these people thinking about when it comes to HSR?

The current Metrorail set up over there is bad enough!

So what are they? Surface crossings “over streets”? Or under or elevated grade separations? The article makes no sense. This HSR would be crossing over lots of streets on its way. Or maybe it’s the plan that makes no sense.

While we’re at it, get this Leader headline:

Proposed high-speed rail station would travel from Burbank to L.A. Union Station


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Keep in mind that this parking covenant in Toluca Lake was set up for the sake of the neighborhood, and not the old “Greene” store. So the council should maintain it still — and then enforce it

Bound to be lost in the upcoming council discussion over staff’s proposal to relax an old parking covenant in the Alameda/Riverside Drive area is that the City of Burbank actually once required these spaces in order to relieve the parking strain on the surrounding neighborhood. 

Sure it was the 1960s, and of course the original subject business is long gone. But TL is more crowded than ever, and the replacement businesses on that old property still have a need for non-public-interfering offstreet parking. Perhaps greater.

This whole situation raises an interesting question. Do any of those  “Greene” replacement businesses know that their property owner has always had the right to allow their employees, clients, and customers to park on the adjacent property because of this old covenant? So are they? Or do they park on the street instead.

If so, this is not good– and it also shows how much more conscientious the city was 50 years ago in seeing to it that our TL businesses provided enough parking on their own.

Which it should do still. Our current city council needs to have the adjacent property owner maintain this old unreleased covenant for his neighbors, and then make them use it. This is a great opportunity for them to make sure that there are at least five or six cars that don’t need to be on the street somewhere bothering the neighborhood. We also don’t follow this historical rendition too well when it comes to the supposed mutual understanding about the covenant itself, or the agreed-upon missing release from 1969,  at least with the way staff tries to play it all off in their report. Too many unanswered questions.

Of course, being that this is the new Burbank, we can already hear some of our council members now. “Well, if the two businesses are ok with this change, then who are we to get in the way…?

“It’s fine with me…


They’d be missing the point. It’s not between businesses. It’s between businesses and neighborhoods.


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That parking covenant may not be needed now. But what’s going on there in the future?


Staff’s obviously not telling the council members the whole story here — or getting it from the property owner.

In June of 1968 a parking covenant was recorded against the property at 4315 W. Riverside Drive (Exhibit B). The covenant provided additional parking for the proposed Greene’s Department Store located approximately 400 feet away at 4201 W. Alameda (Alameda). The covenant was recorded, but it appears that a copy of the covenant was never provided to the City. For reasons unknown to current City staff the property owners at Alameda and Riverside signed an agreement on October 21, 1969 which they thought released the parking covenant (Exhibit C). However, City Council action is required to release the covenant. The owners of both the Riverside and Alameda properties are now requesting that the parking covenant be removed (Exhibit A) to eliminate the cloud on the title represented by the covenant.

Sounds fishy. It gets worse:

The purpose of the original parking covenant recorded in 1968 against the property at 4315 W. Riverside was to provide five additional parking spaces so that the owner of the property at 4201 W. Alameda could expand the building. The covenant specifically states that it remains in force “unless this restriction is removed by a resolution of the Council of the City of Burbank, or unless and until other real property of a size sufficient for the parking of five automobiles is substituted therefore. . .” The Greene’s Department store did open at that location, but the respective property owners mutually agreed to release the covenant in 1969. The existence of the covenant was then lost to memory in Burbank.

Funny choice of words there. It wouldn’t be the only thing forgotten. How about a sense of community sanity?

The parking covenant was associated with the expansion of Greene’s Department Store. Other uses have since been established on the property. In 1995 a Conditional Use Permit was approved for food service at the Alameda address without reference to the parking on Riverside. That CUP was appealed to City Council and the decision of the Planning Board was upheld with a modification in 1996. There is no reference in either the 1995 or 1996 public hearings nor in the staff report to the previous parking covenant, nor was there a copy in the file. Currently a juice bar is located at 4201 W. Alameda as shown below…



The upshot? Sounds like another staff favor for developers:

The original use which triggered the requirement for the shared parking agreement has long since ceased and the City has subsequently approved a new use with limited tandem parking in the rear. The current business tenants are not reliant on the 1968 shared parking covenant to meet parking requirements.

The City Council should adopt the resolution for the release of the parking covenant at 4315 W. Riverside.

Hold on there!

What matters here — even if you buy the fishy story that everything was agreed upon informally hunky dory like back in 1969 — is the question of what the property and adjacent property (where Greene’s was) is going to become. Staff’s deliberately gliding over the obvious conclusion here: that this choice Toluca Lake property (and possibly the other one) will soon be on the market, and that that’s why the owner wants this supposed “cloud” of a restriction lifted.

It won’t be staying a juice bar there for long, that’s for sure. This is why the city council needs to look very carefully at what’s going on in this neighborhood when it comes to necessary parking space, and the responsibility of the property owners in this regard, all of them, before it agrees to anything. This isn’t a simple record correction being proposed tomorrow night. It’s removal of previously allotted parking space for the neighborhood.

The owner or prospective owner obviously wants to get rid of that parking lot. It’s not just a technicality. Why doesn’t staff ever admit these things, or tell the city council members the whole story?

Even worse, aside from Gordon or occasionally Rogers, why don’t any of them ever figure these things out? Or ask?


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Staff wants the council to create a convenient laundry list for developers to make it easier for them to float big new apartment projects


Under the false claim that the City of Burbank somehow needs to create development standards for the kind of big new “mixed use” apartment buildings that no one except the developers and a couple of Chamber of Commerce people might want or need, staff is trying to get the city council tomorrow night to work up a checklist of desirable or sought-after project characteristics so as to make it seem like it will be almost an imperative for any or all of these same developers and their friends to help fulfill them.

Check out the agenda item. This is like your teenage kids responding to a “no” or “what the hell?” answer on a new car deciding to then bring the dealer paperwork home for you to look at and possibly add to. Like who’s in charge of the store here, and why are they being so pushy about an (at best) indeterminate need? Where did all this big talk come from?

Built into this upcoming review of course is the arrogant presumption that we both need and want a lot of new mixed-use apartment projects in town, and so let’s get cracking on the details. Shall we have third-floor balconies next to all of those adjacent  R-4 homes on Magnolia and Burbank Blvd. or not?  If we don’t, will that then make them ok for the neighbors? How about the ideal retail component? Now’s the time to work it out, council!

Not so fast. Our council members all need to immediately quash this obvious community treadmill to oblivion. There’s no reason for us to even abide more big apartment buildings in town, let alone create for these outside developer clowns a paint-by-numbers instruction manual on how to best go about getting them in as some kind of mandate-fulfillment.

Remember, this is the same city staff that once tried to slip in a big new apartment complex on Third Street by claiming that a tiny nail salon-sized retail space on the ground floor made it all mixed use, and thus worthy of the sorts of special allowances and considerations that are granted to these kind of currently fashionable projects. The council wisely rejected that old scam of a plan, and they should bear the exact same approach to this perfectly obvious expansionist scheme as well.

In no way should Burbank encourage more mixed-use development in town, and it should also keep a real lid on any other kind of apartment growth. Burbank has no moral, legal, economic, or ethical obligation to add to its vast amount of multi-residential housing stock, and it’s total cant for the Big Growthers to somehow claim otherwise in their phony attempt to get these things through for big profits. Think how many apartments we have already!

Who trains these staff people to have interests and values so alien to that of most Burbankers? Who hires them?


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So it was 1955

Until recently this was one of the more obscure of the Beecham lollipops.



H.B. to TH, who always, always knew it.




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Do any of these bring value to Burbank?



In whose world?

MyBurbank today has a list of all the good change we can expect in the next couple of years. It’s straight from recent the “State of the City” address, accurately (and hilariously) described as delivered to “a crowd made up of the top business leaders…”

There is also proposed changes to the development landscape. Besides the new Ikea and the Talaria projects that are in progress and will be completed soon, there are several more developments on the horizon which include:

The Burbank Town Center Renovation. This already approved renovation will be completed by late 2017.

The former Ikea site. The City Council will decide in early 2018 on a proposed 15-story building that will feature 70 residential units, three 7-story buildings that will host retail and restaurant spaces as well as 259 apartments and a 200 room hotel as well as an outdoor plaza.

A new development at 103 E. Verdugo that may feature 154 residential units with a hotel or office option which will go in front of the council in mid 2017.

The Avion Burbank, which will be located across from the new terminal being built at the airport and will feature six 2-story industrial/warehouse buildings, nine 2-story creative office buildings, two 1-stort restaurants and a 150 room hotel on the 61.5 acre area.

First Street Village, located at Magnolia and First, will be considered by the Council early in 2017 and will have three 5-story buildings for 283 apartments and includes amenities such as a dog park.

A new, mixed unit project on the 100 block of Screenland that will be 13-stories high holding 40 apartments. The Planning Board will take this up next month in December.

There are also new proposed airport hotels that are in discussion at 2500 Hollywood Way that would be 8-stories and in phase 2, one of the options includes a 9-story hotel.

Another long range development is the AC Hotel at 550 N. Third St. that will be a 6-story hotel with 198 rooms.

What’s the deal with all the hotel building?

It’s a clearly bleak vision for the future of Burbank, brought to you by the latest pack of grifters and plug-ugly incompetents. The fact that staff is actively pushing this crap only justifies the fear of many Magnolia Park people that there is an organized element in this town that wants to clear cut those great old cottage-industry businesses to make room for their kind of “growth.”

The old-time merchants down there have good reason to be worried when the City of Burbank will financially support the importation of several dozen food trucks to dot their landscape during a supposedly celebratory “neighborhood” event, and yet won’t spring for Xmas decorations.



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And a little child shall lead them

Getting in the spirit of the holiday, 21st-century Burbank style.

Because bigger is better

The combined vocal and instrumental departments of John Burroughs High School are presenting the community a very special musical treat for the 2016 holiday season, “Holiday Spectacular, In The Studio”. It will be a performance filled with the seasonal sights and sounds of the award winning music departments of the school. The auditorium stage will be home to choirs: Powerhouse, Sound Sensations, Sound Waves, Decibelles, the Muses and the Vocal Ensemble along with the Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band and selected instrumental and vocal solos.

They will be performing a diverse selection of holiday music featuring classical lyrics to contemporary big band sounds, from Christmas to Chanukah to New Years’ reveling which will leave the audience filled with the holiday spirit. The first act will end with The IMA’s salute to the Trans Siberian Orchestra and the show’s finale will be Step Into Christmas by Elton John. Both classic songs created “in the studio” which have become staples in our holiday celebrations. The other highlights will be the numbers when the combined choirs and bands unite onstage, with over 300 students performing together! In keeping with the tradition of the choir, the performance will end with alumni invited up onstage to join in with their rendition of Silent Night, which features senior soloist Aubrianna Rohan.

Hope this school is paying the license fees. The other one didn’t — and mum’s the word now on their many legal entanglements, btw. Nobody’s talking.

This was our favorite line:

Due to the large amount of students performing, the seating is limited so order your tickets now…

We’re a long ways from Reg Hall country here, aren’t we? Or Mr. Rose, to be more precise. Slick, bloated, and sleazy is where it’s at now.

We prefer the Hugo Montenegro.


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Viva Fidel!


And fuck the corrupt Batista-ites, who are being given free rein by the American news media when it comes to the opinion making. It’s appalling.





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It’s doc night on TCM


Distilled reality is better than anything going on now. So don’t miss Turner Classics tonight. It’s Maysles, Crumb, Herzog, and Blank.

Sounds like the kind of firm we’d always want to have represent us.



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Who won the vote?




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Who wrote Talamantes’ speech for him?


(We’re gonna pin this to the top for a while because Big Growth will definitely be the No.1 issue next year. Expect pro-development candidates to go after Gordon during the election by masquerading as “concerned” and “responsible” slo-growthers, and then expect staff to dump a huge number of big projects onto the agendas after the new council gets installed. Don’t let it happen.)


Scary article in the Leader this weekend about the mayor’s recent “State of the City” speech to the clearly odious Chamber of Commerce crowd, the same ones who go to the annual “prayer breakfast” that Ted McConkey was always trying to get rid of 20 years ago.

In his speech, Talamantes was making a clear policy statement about how Burbank had better get good and ready for big growth. Apparently the councils’ granting of earlier approvals to huge projects like the world’s biggest IKEA are now being used as a community precedent for continuing the gravy train. We should have known, right?

The airport project too is also being seen as a mandate for more big construction in town. Did you know that that’s what you were voting for as well, “people”?  You deserve what you’re soon going to get: lots more apartment dwellers in town, tons more “mixed use” buildings on every high-profile commercial corner, and a couple of new charter schools dotted around the Hill to house all the fractured and unruly kids.

And you thought it was just a “replacement terminal” you were getting in return, you fucking morons. No, it was Growth, Inc.

Talamantes is on his own personally inarticulate. So who wrote this policy speech for him? Which staff member was it, and whose vision is this?  We’re sure it was well received by the paid ticketholders in attendance, most of whom do business in Burbank but don’t live here.


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Is the Magnolia Park booster association ignoring Small Business Saturday?

We’re finding no mention of it anywhere, on either their Facebook page or website.

Are we missing something, or are they?


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And worth a repeat,





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Happy Thanksgiving!




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The Halal trucks were parked where?


Amplifying an earlier question from the comments section — and in the spirit of holiday inclusiveness — does anyone know how many Halal food trucks were invited to the recent Magnolia Park festival event?




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Really? According to whom?


This isn’t what we’ve been hearing.



Our idea of the holidays isn’t standing around on pavement in the middle of a street. Nor is it snacking on overpriced truck food from out-of-towners on the make.

The old MP gatherings were small affairs where friends, neighbors, and strangers would cram the sidewalks and then necessarily venture inside funky stores they’d never been before. Some times you’d even see people go into the used bookstores they used to have down there (the horror), or a used clothing store that had nothing to do with the studios. Acquaintances you hadn’t seen in years would show up.

One year we actually some guy walking around with a timber wolf. Even the Scientologists caroling on the corner of Hollywood Way didn’t spoil the scene because they were easy to avoid if you crossed over to the other side, which everyone did. You could see them coming because they all tried to look like Tiny Tim. They actually stood on real theatrical risers when they sang to make themselves appear completely organized, which somehow figured.

You can have this new Burbank. It’s no fun any more. The stores are mostly commercialized crap. And whose bright idea was it to block Magnolia Blvd?

Ten thousand people they say? That too is ridiculous.




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