Council violates legal noticing procedures in order to help subsidize the local gentrifiers and boutiques


We’ll be getting into more of the details about this next week, but the city council on Tuesday night did not follow the proper legal noticing procedures when they granted the supposedly private Magnolia Park Merchants Association a low five-figure sum to keep their regular Friday night affluent-youth festivals going.

Instead, the council members slipped the gift in as part of their overall budget discussions as a staff request under the Community Development Department. Unlike the full discussions given to, say, CDBG requests like BTAC or the Boys and Girls Club, or the local Family Services Agency, there was no item noticing on this special gift to the organization nor was there proper opportunity given to a full discussion or response from the community.

The MPMA gift was instead slipped in as part of a 90-page budget proposal (page 5), right next to a request to buy copies of the state building codes, as if it were a simple matter of office mechanics. But it was an outside grant, not a routine or basic city expenditure. And staff’s also calling the gift “recurring,” which it was not. That was an inducement trick to get it quickly approved as routine under a blanket vote.

Why does this Magnolia Park outfit need the money anyway? The fact that they’ve lost so much membership over the last year or so doesn’t make it more justifiable for the city to help them out because they lack enough dough on their own. If anything, it makes it less. What constituency does this group have now but a few of the salons and boutiques in the farthest reaches of the district?

Our gripe with the MPAA is that they obviously don’t give a damn about the old cottage industry and hobbyist/industrial business that make up the bulk of the neighborhood, and never have. That stuff’s obviously too ancient, ugly, and dorky for them. They’re clearly into “transforming” the area into some ersatz shopping paradise for shabby-genteel Millennials and Yuppies from out of town, and are even going out of their way to boast about this goal as one of their organization’s most explicit.

Who needs that kind of change? The “ladies and gents”? It’s one thing for the council to give them money, but not so quickly or on the sly. It’s not that worthy a goal. Magnolia Park’s for everyone, right?





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38 responses to “Council violates legal noticing procedures in order to help subsidize the local gentrifiers and boutiques

  1. chad

    Off topic. This Ali memorial service will be seen as a significant cultural moment.

  2. "X" Board member

    Hey guys,have you ever been on a team that makes your jaw drop?
    Magnolia Park Merchants are rolling like flies. In the past year twenty stores have closed their doors.
    These are them:
    Artesono’s Pottery, Azteca Frame shop, A World of Color (re- opened with new owners),Agave, Banshee Theater,Earth Shop, Elizabeth Arden, Eight ball, Encore Nuevo, Jellybean Factory, Magnolia Jewelers,Mia Dragonfly, Mr. Vintage,Peggy Woods Pet Emporium,Room33, Unwind Yarn Shop,UrbanEats and Cerox Machine Repairs&Sales!!!

    Parking has become a big problem and the overall vision of the district is for a small number of stores and the rest can just pack up and leave if they don’t like it.How is it that this group is in such denial about the direction they are headed? “Wrong Direction!” It’s a huge district and forcing your ideas and implementing them at the demise of many businesses taking down the district.Many other shops are barely holding on.

    Ashley said to the city council that stores are taking out loans to keep their doors open. They were begging the city council to help with “Ladies and Gents Night Out”on city council its like giving cocaine to an addict.Instead of these stores learning to make an income daily, a few of them who profit on that night want extra financing to revolve around them while ninety percent of the district wants nothing to do with it.

    Many merchants feel that this monthly event actually causes a loss of revenue due to posted No Parking signs etc.

    It is a lucrative night for only a few types of businesses and the event is causing a lot of animosity.Many stores that stay open do so out of sheer frustration.Its an edgy gathering for the district with so many businesses.
    Holiday In ThePark has been around for decades and the merchants are able to deal with this event as it is not so invasive.

    One of the board members on M.P.M.A. brow beat a bunch of merchants and the panel stood back and allowed it to continue. The meetings were in this particular merchant’s business. Talk about no sense of business savvy.
    This is how out of touch this group is.

    Then, They’re scratching their heads at the city council meeting because only ten percent of the district are members.

    On this past Tuesday night the city council approved the funds Ashley asked for!
    At M. P. M. A. meetings they sit around and bad mouth merchants who are not there to defend themselves. A lot of it is not accurate information and very detrimental to the image of certain businesses .It is not a healthy organization.Three board members have businesses and left and a few others resigned . How many board members are left????

    The city needs to put the brakes on this organization and re-stablize the district. To stop the decline of merchants of merchants exiting who have even taken out loans to stay in business!

    Ashley has never been a merchant and her vision is ruining the establishments”StatusQuo!”To be coddling a board at M.P.M.A. that has lost half it’s lard members and half their membership doesn’t make any sense!
    Notice I’m venting alone because people (merchants) are so angry at being ignored and discounted by the city.
    How could the city throw thousands of dollars towards ten percenters??

    The city council board who voted 5 to 0 to approve M.P.M.A. funding shoul be ashamed of themselves for showing favoritism to a minuscule floundering, overrated association Oma serious decline for membership! Forty or so members in their association out of potentially “400 merchants!”

    That means approximately (360) say they’re not untested in this petty organization!!

    Nice move City Council!

    • semichorus

      Do people down there prefer or want back the old PBID?

      • Cindy

        You’ll start a riot asking that question. The city wasted over a million dollars from property owners. Landholders were sold a bill of goods never being told that the city was going to take over and not follow the proposed guidelines. Dr. Gordon occasionally brings it up at city council meetings and his fellow council members ignore him. My mother contributed over twenty five thousand dollars and is still furious!

  3. chad

    He stole the show. I looked up his site. Great stuff.

  4. Anonymous 3

    “as part of a 90-page budget”

    So it WAS noticed?

    • semichorus

      Outside funding items like grants are supposed to be dealt with separately, usually as part of the consent agenda or block grant requests if that’s where the money is coming from. Staff buried it within the departmental requests (like buying building code volumes) in order to get it through without comment, as if it were a departmental expense or request for a city group outing or something. The MPMA is not a city organization, and doing it this way denied OTHER groups the opportunity to compete for the available $20,000. But Ashley blew their cover by showing up at the hearing and giving it attention.

      So no, it wasn’t properly noticed. You don’t read very carefully, do you? But this all begs the basic question: do they deserve the money?

      How much too is going to Miss Magnolia? I understand she gets paid for her MPMA work. She of the $2,000 computer need.

  5. Anonymous

    Back on topic, watching all these Ashley-bamboozled, wanna-be hipster barbers, wine bars, vintage etc. shops falter, stumble, go belly up, die and bloat in the warm Magnolia Park sun has become the neighborhoods new favorite spectator sport.

    Of course City Hall wants to throw money at ’em…

    • DixieFlyer

      Trash a business district on Friday Nite.

      Then sleep in on Saturday.

      Taxpayers of Burbank will pick-up the tab for clean-up.

      The New Normal.

  6. chad

    You know the guy who owned Aztec frames was a libertarian, Rush-listening dude. He was no hipster. But he’s gone now. Does anyone remember his name? Gene? I used him a lot. He had a great guy named Skyler? who was a cool dude.

  7. Miss Appropration of Funds

    I say it’s time to start something new. To fund all these failing businesses seems very strange with an “Edgy Truck Night”. Throw money at all the businesses not just the few who prosper on a Van Nuys Boulevard type of event. Does anyone on the board have a successful business? What is with the brow beater having Magnolia meetings in their business and the group approved it? Get real you guys. Who is still on the board and why?
    Bottom line: Something is terribly wrong with that many stores rolling. Get some new people who unify and bring new ideas to the table. Ridiculous!

  8. Irwin Fletcher

    Like so many locations around town- are the landlords jacking up the rent?

    • semichorus

      Good question. And if they are, are they then allowing the properties to remain vacant?

      If so, why? Is this a quasi-official attempt to pave the way towards making MP into a mixed-use paradise?

  9. Anonymous

    If the City Council has 30 grand to throw at Magnolia Park Merchants Association , why don’t they have a parking patrol down there to help all the businesses all month long? Also, the P-Bid was a total disaster ! When city employees took over running the P-Bid ,they thru out $250 K a year for nothing! No crosswalk at Magnolia & Lima!,No beautification of street tree wells! No sidewalk repairs!, just $100K spent a year on lavish parties ! I attended “One” P-bid meeting and was shocked at how rudely the property owners and merchants were treated! I never attended another meeting! Please let the P-Bid R.I.P.

    • Anonymous

      Semi, too bad you never went to a P-bid meeting. One time someone from LA.Times sat in on a venting session of merchants and property owners. The reporter whispered to us that he had never in all his years seen anything that equaled the the arrogance of the representatives of the P-bid. He said, “I’m leaving. You guys will get nowhere with these people”. Looking back, the city employees were just getting paid by the hour and they blew every meeting talking about what they were going to do to the tree wells. It was more than outrageous. By the way, they eventually told property owners that they could beautiful their own tree wells. The last Anonymous left one thing out because he only attended one meeting. The minutes were always doctored. One attendee asked the lady why she did that and she said privately, “That’s what I was told to do”.

      • semichorus

        I have a sneaky feeling that the city (the old Redevelopment mentality people) is involved in a near-conspiracy to free up that whole area for large scale mixed-use projects as part of “Burbank2035.” They WANT to transform Magnolia Park. I’ll be writing about this soon.

  10. I don’t understand why a vote isn’t taken to see if the majority of people want the food trucks there. I have talked to several business that say they rather close that night and lose money because it does not bring them any sales and they lose money due to theft. One antique shop that is longer there said people would come in and spill their food all over his store. Most of us business people have been borrowing money, cutting help and doing everything possible to survive, we need reel solutions and if the city is going to do something how about doing something that actually helps all of us. One time years ago one of the council members took a camcorder and just started going into shops at random and showing people what kinds of businesses we have here. It was played on the city council channel. This is something that could probably be done on a volunteer approach and cost very little. Or for $20,000 the city could do a TV commercial. I’ll bet one of the studios would be willing to cut a deal for the city they live in. What do I have to do to get something done around here run for council myself?

    • semichorus

      Maybe you should. I’d like to see more merchants running for office. Burbank was never as good as when we had many of them on the council.

      That was Bob Kramer’s TV show. But it was back when younger people would watch channel 6 as they were scrolling around. Now they’re all on Snapchat taking pictures of themselves.

      Alot’s changed in the last 20 years. Not all good, despite the marketeer’s and enthusiasts.

    • Ron

      Run against Rogers in two years you will take him out because he has no ability to think at sll


    semi I Just posted a comment in the wrong blog ! this is the blog i wanted it to go in

    • semichorus

      Well say hello to them for me!

      You didn’t confuse me with a Black person did you? (jk)

      • NEILL

        Regarding this other Burbank blogg. Nobody reads it anymore. She hasn’t posted anthing notable happening im the Magnolia Park district in months.She thinks that there are just a few merchants that cry sour grapes! She should check out the entire blvd..She states on her blogg that Ladies night out is the best thing to happen tu happen in magnolia park. that brings in many hundreds and sometimes a thousand of people to the district. At 6pm she should start at one end of the business district and count how many stores are open for business during this event? if she counted the closed doors it would be in the hundreds! Iwould guess to say about the approximate 45v or so merchants Ashley said belong to mpma less than 2 1/2 dozen of them participate in the event.Talk about having your head screwed on backwards, unless your selling food or hipster items its a total bust. Some of the hipster shops do well ! But besides them, if you cant eat it? there not interested in buying what your selling on that night. So bottom line is if your not selling food or your store is not hipster/millenial friendly? Its a total bust on that night! Fronie would be a perfect candidate to be a board member on mpma! she could take her opinions about food and whatever else is on her mind straight to the board. They would love her because they have vacant seats.

      • Danielle

        BTW, many no longer waste time on Media City Groove due to the poor choice of topics.
        You may have noticed that most of her articles have Zero comments.
        Her husband is now trying to open a place on Magnolia with a sign in the window advertising “sweet things”.
        How much parking will they have?

      • Donna

        I ate off one of those food trucks and got sick. I would never eat off those trucks again.

  12. chad

    Great to hear about Art and Azteca Frames moving to Victory. Thanks.


      Semi, bite your tongue!
      You’re the man, your blog rules! The ‘other’ one, that i think you’re referring to, is just a small time rag! Not worth the time to read or comment on!
      The only blog in Burbank is…………….


    How could the city council slip through $30,000.00 in funding to the “Magnolia Park Merchants Association” under the table? Slipped into a budget with a deficit of 1.2 million dollars? Without any public comment time to respond ?They need to be called out on this act of favoritism to a small struggling merchants association! It’s a travesty that the council board shunned all the kids and family’s who loved the roller hockey rink! Thee ( only one) in Burbank city limits!!
    Thousands of kids seems to be, or should have been considered more important than picking up trash for a private organization that can barely afford to pay attention! Let Ashley put her rubber gloves on and with all the successful merchants that she claims are very successful on that night do the clean-up! “Why should the city pay for it?
    How can Ashley have all the city council members in her “hip”pocket?
    Their blatant disregard for the kids having somewhere to go, and family’s having fun together at a public facility.It should have trumped M.P.M.A.!!! Doesn’t the council think kids are a MUCH better investment for the funds that are being dispersed to M.P.M.A.?
    I think the whole city council is disgusting!
    All of them should be voted out of office as their terms expire!
    A new board is needed for a fresh vision, and outlook!
    Instead of favoritism for a select few!!!

    • semichorus

      The council could have had that budget item removed for future consideration, but they didn’t. The boosters would say that public response time was available during the budget hearing itself, so there. I can hear Roger’s mocking tone about this right now.

      The point is that this outside grant was slipped into a part of the budget that is normally used for departmental incidentals and occasional city-outside joint efforts. Not full independent money grants to outside groups with no accountability.

      Doing it this way also robbed other outside outfits of their opportunity to lobby for this (apparently) available money. Money was available from that Dept for other community type work? How come no one else knew this?

      And again, there’s no accounting for where the money goes.


      Remember the days when Dr. Gordon would practically get threatened with arrest by Golonski etc. for voting on a Magnolia Park issue because of his business location? What happened to that so-called problem? This MP item was welcomed through without any dispute.

      • Longtime Customer of Peggy Woods

        So much of the above commenting really shows why this Blog is important to the whole City of Burbank.
        Remember when the TAPS lady, Smelly Shelly, called this the Angry Blog at a City Council meeting?
        Well, Smelly Rizzotti was very rude to an Oriental Lady who wanted to adopt a pet.
        The rejection was so rude that word is spreading much farther than Magnolia Park and environs.
        She was able to curb her husband, many of her dogs but this outburst will not be able to be stifled or curbed.
        Who really is in charge of TAPS?
        Can Smelly be curbed?.

  14. battery Charger

    I am a former fifteen year merchant in Magnolia Park. Until the Merchants Association moved in changing the atmosphere of what was once, a thriving business for many merchants. Now, with no parking and safety issues not be addressed this ” Ladies and Gents” Night out has in fact become something quite different. The stores are not being patronized by those purchasing from the food trucks and creating a mess. In addition causing the City of Burbank unnecessary expense cleaning up after those who should clean up after themselves.

    These privately owned food trucks come from outside of Burbank, taking up what parking could be used for shoppers. This well intended idea is far removed from Holiday in the Park which is completely set up for families.

    This “Ladies and Gents” night out brings nothing healthy to Magnolia Park. It does bring anger and animosity to neighbors and the few merchants chosing not to be part of an association having to pay dues to stay open. Many owners refuse to verabalize their contempt to the council as the council is in favor of the above few (except DR GORDON) wo looks at the overall picture.

    Why does this council want to pay $20,000.00 to pick up trash, when that money could be used to better advantage for our police officers and to continue a much needed program for the Roller Hockey Park for three thousand kids and adults ?

    Battery Charger

  15. SIMON

    Semi , did you see last nights city council meeting? Did anyone hear Dr. Gordon tell “Talamantes” that he needed to take a two minute break?
    “Talamantes” rolled his head and eyes and snapped, “I just want to get this over with!”
    Dr. Gordon darted out, and the meeting went on. When he returned he was expected to vote immediately! Dr. Gordon said, that he had a couple of question? Almost disrespectfully, “Talamantes” told him to go ahead and ask his questions. ” Talamantes” is overly rude and way out of line!
    Our new “recycled mayor “Talamantes” is a very pompous and condescending legend in his own mind!
    How disgraceful to publicly feud on live T.V. with Dr. Gordon.
    For such a long winded council meeting, “Two Minutes” isn’t the end of the world!
    That”s the way talamantes treats a lot of people, like this moment that was captured on live T.V.!
    What’s become of this recycled totally “Dis Functional City Council?”
    With an attitude like “Talamantes has”, HE should resign !

    • Anonymous

      Jess ‘Teletubby” has to go! Jess is only for Jess. He just seems creepy, shady and probably gets his palm greased for his ‘pet’ projects. Need a movement to not re-elct this egomaniac!

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