Leave it to the lapdog MyBurbank site to be able to always distill the City of Burbank’s point of view so well. That’s one thing you can say about loyal stenographers with the credulity of your dumber sort of neighborhood five year old — their piece today saves us the work of having to repeat most of the ludicrous assertions made during Tuesday night’s council meeting.
The immensity of Albano’s deliberate equivocation that night was exceeded only by the Council Four’s obvious arrogance and insensitivity to the topic at hand. So what else is new? Too bad they each won’t be personally responsible for paying any possible FPPC fines if and when this thing pans out for the petitioners.
Except for Gordon, they just don’t care. But hopefully the FPPC does:
It was established by Burbank City Attorney Amy Albano that the BHA is actually not a public agency dealing with tax money, but a private non-profit set up to promote 17 major hotels in Burbank. Their funding actually shows differently on a customers bill with the City’s ‘Bed Tax’ being one item and the TBID as a different item.
“What was in question is whether an apparent agency of the City of Burbank could contribute $50,000 to a political campaign if was on the agenda at the meeting.” said Albano during the Tuesday night Council meeting.
No, what was in question was actually a much bigger issue. Are these “public monies” in the first place, and thus subject to the legal prohibition on government campaign contributions? And if so, did city employees also help to administer these illegal contributions?
There’s no question about these issues, and so it’s absurd for Albano to contend that this is somehow just a “Brown Act” problem. That’s only half of it. These revenues are collected under the enforcement power of the City of Burbank.
She also added, “A request by a public member at the meeting for the donation was taken up by the group immediately and the donation was voted for in an apparent violation of the Brown Act.”
Again, that’s a completely separate issue not relevant to the FPPC complaint. It’s fodder for a separate lawsuit, which will probably be forthcoming. So nice try guys in trying to minimize the problem by spinning it off as a simple Open Records thing, or as some kind of innocent administrative oversight (only Gordon rightfully detects the obvious perfidy behind this official endorsement of a favored political position, and with cash in hand).
The chosen solution of the council-majority on Tuesday night to simply move that BHA offsite from City Hall premises (and then put it under separate “private” leadership!) won’t solve the problem at all. It’s still public monies they’re dealing with. It’s rather stupid in fact, and only sets the city up for more problems with transparency and oversight.
It also officially disavows the legal responsibilities that go along with these BIDs. Nice move, Burbank, in continuing to look bad.