Even if it had been “on the agenda,” that $50,000 BHA “contribution” to the airport would STILL be illegal

​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.



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52 responses to “Even if it had been “on the agenda,” that $50,000 BHA “contribution” to the airport would STILL be illegal

  1. Anonymous

    For the time being I will trust the CA’s judgment on this over yours. See you after the FPPC rules and the DA decides whether or not to investigate.

    Just because you WANT for there to be an infraction does not mean that there is one.

    • semichorus

      If the FPPC rules in Burbank’s favor, it means that any city in the state can contribute money to political campaigns through BIDs. The prohibition would be meaningless — they could even set up BIDs just to extract money for this purpose.

      The FPPC immediately rejects something like 99.9 percent of the complaints that come to them. If PBID money was not “public monies” on its face then there’d be no issue for them to consider at all. So because they MUST be under the law for them to be going as far as to formally investigate the complaint, the only issue at hand right now is to determine if they were spent by the BHA for advocacy purposes.

      This is an easy one for the FPPC. Public monies or not? Everything else falls into place. Burbank better PRAY then that this specific mailer was not advocating a “yes” vote. It’s their only hope.

      God, I hate you Burbank people. Such clueless (and quite meanspirited) morons. Will you ever learn?

      • Anonymous

        What you are missing is that the FPPC has no jurisdiction over the BHA. It only has jurisdiction over the Yes on B Campaign. Which, btw, is broke.

        And if the money is legit by the FPPC’s decision will you be satisfied, or will you continue to howl? I know, you will howl.

        • semichorus

          The FPPC has jurisdiction over the issue. The City of Burbank is the responsible govt agency. And if BID monies are exempt from the requirements (not public funds) then there’d be nothing for them to investigate. The FPPC would have already dismissed the complaint by claiming that, “T-BID funds are not considered public monies under the relevant laws cited by the complainant.” Or some such language.

          In other words, it wouldn’t have gotten this far. There would have been an automatic dismissal by the FPPC. So it’s only a matter of determining how the funds were spent. The fact that these monies are derived through mandatory customer assessments (on “travelers” as they call them) only makes it worse for the city. It’s tax revenue, not private collection.

          If the FPPC turns them down then I’d suggest a court case to clarify the law. I doubt an appeals court would rule that they are not public monies both collected by and under the jurisdiction of a government agency. Such an exception would make mincemeat of the whole idea of the law here. If anything, it would authorize cities to use the BID laws to take up enforced collections for political purposes.

          No one btw cares about a “penalty” being assessed except perhaps the boosters. That’s not the point of the complaint. Love their preoccupation with this though.

          • Jay

            I feel the state should make the city pay the money back and a fine should be added in an equal amount for a total due from the city of 100,000. They need to be made an example of.

            • semichorus

              Actually, the only appropriate penalty would be to make all the hotel members pay back the $50,000.

              Just taking it out of the TBID money — which is what the council voted for — accomplishes nothing. They’ll just replenish it with added “traveler” revenue.

              I have little knowledge of FPPC procedures here, and so we’ll have to see what happens. I suspect the FPPC has boilerplate solutions to these situations. It won’t be a hard call for them.

              • Anonymous

                Pay back to who?

                • Claudio

                  More BS from anon3 by another name.
                  BTW that should be “whom”.
                  The dummy of a City Attorney already admitted the $50,000 payment was wrong.
                  She waffled on the specifics.
                  When the dust settles her head should roll.
                  Brown Act till blue in the face.
                  Of course, the Brown Act violation is the LEAST of the worries.

                  • semichorus

                    You’re totally correct. I’m beginning to agree with Gordon that this “contribution” was pre-arranged — it was cooked up well before the night of their meeting. Which makes the violation about 100X worse. Perhaps even a “conspiracy” to violate several laws (that’s right Will, go ahead and laugh).

                    A DA investigation would root this out– but if the city fesses up from the start there won’t be one. That’s why Albano is reporting it to them before anyone else can. The DA now won’t do anything.

                    A lawsuit though could get to the bottom of it.

                  • Anonymous

                    How in the hell does Albano come in jeopardy here? She had no prior knowledge of the contribution.

                  • semichorus

                    As CA, her office should have known. And I don’t believe this “no me acuerdo!” claim anyway.

                  • Anonymous

                    “That’s why Albano is reporting it to them before anyone else can. The DA now won’t do anything”

                    It was Saint Gordon’s idea that she should, so I suppose now Saint Gordon is conspiring to cover up this whole mess?

                    Keep your hysterical paranoia consistent, would you?

                  • semichorus

                    Then he must have helped her write her staff report.

                    He concurred. Big difference. He’s also not attorney enough to know he might be getting played here. Albano’s clearly attempting to pre-empt a possible outside investigation. That’s what attorneys do — it’s part of their job to avoid further trouble. Whether their client knows it or not.

                    Love the “hysterical paranoia” moniker, too. It sounds like something straight from the Rogers’ file. And if you’d read me carefully, you’d have noticed that I’m only suggesting a possible backstage scenario here.

                    Tell you what. Why don’t we have an outside lawsuit to get this crowd under oath? Then we’ll see who’s the asshole. I suspect that this “donation” was cooked up ahead of time for it to have been granted so expeditiously, and that the evidence will show it.

                    What a paranoid I am, eh?

                  • Anonymous

                    Yep, paranoid conspiracy theorist. That’s you. And Gordon.

                    Go ahead and sue. See if I care.

                  • semichorus

                    Ah, the booster class in Burbank. Always looking for the supposed psychological irregularities in those who successfully call them out. Rogers must be offering you guys lessons.

                    I was watching that anti-Scientology show last night on TV, the one with Leah Remini, and this is the same modus operandi that the Scientologists use whenever they face criticism. The critics have psychological problems, of course.

                  • Anonymous

                    Plus a persecution complex. Quite the range of ailments.

                  • semichorus

                    You’re gonna lose on this one, you sack of shit. And then the Brown Act violations will get addressed.

                    I can’t wait. So keep libeling!

                    Say hello to your little sources for me as well. Someday I’ll find a way to write about what awful people they are.

                  • Anonymous

                    “you sack of shit” Such a host you are.

                    Brown act violation? The punishment is to told to not to do it again. You got any examples otherwise?

                    Some day? As if you don’t do that every day.

                  • semichorus

                    Wait until the culprits all start lying under oath. That’s why Albano’s trying to get ahead of the DA here.

                  • Anonymous

                    Albano is doing what Saint Gordon directed her to. I saw the session from beginning to end.

                  • semichorus

                    Enthusiastically, I’m sure. She knows what not doing so could mean if the DA comes in to investigate– which they won’t now be doing.

                  • Anonymous

                    Logic like that is akin to saying that it being impossible to disprove the existence of god is proof of god.

                    The only possible explanation for the DA refusing to act here is that Albano fiddled the facts?

                    How about there not being anything to investigate?

                  • semichorus

                    If the city goes to the DA and says “we goofed” there’s really nothing for them to investigate.

                  • Anonymous

                    As opposed to your pitchforks and torches. I appreciate that you never miss a chance to light your hair on fire, but Gordon DID specify that he wanted to see the CA’s letter to the DA before it was sent out, and the CA agreed.

                    If you can’t trust Saint Gordon, who the fuck can you trust?

                  • semichorus

                    What does that have to do with Albano wanting to do it?

                    It makes no difference if Gordon’s supportive. Who cares? His motives might be different than hers anyway. But she clearly needs to head this off at the pass, because the last thing the city wants is to have those T-BID clowns put under oath. Who knows what else would come up!

                  • Anonymous

                    Crist do you have a rich fantasy life. Like how you think that the whole city is out to get you. Who knows what is rattling around in your head.

  2. chad

    I was thinking that as well. It doesn’t make that much sense to subtract it from their overall budget. The damage is done and how do remedy the damage?

    • semichorus

      Personal responsibility. Which will never happen. The council majority thinks the only thing wrong with the donation was how it occurred process-wise.

      I think Gordon made a good point. Was this whole thing a pre-arranged setup? They sure expedited the approval. And why did higher-level staff employees approve the expenditure?

      A Brown Act lawsuit would ferret this out. That’s why Albano is RUNNING to the DA in a pre-emptive mea culpa. She wants to make it all moot so that there ISN’T one.

  3. Jake

    A holiday greeting back at MTV for their suggested “white resolutions for New Years”

  4. RB

    This is the sort of wisdom you get when you elect a self proclaimed investigative reporter to city council. A mistake we must not make again

  5. Margo

    Don’t we have a city attorneys office to keep up with what the city is doing ? What are they doing ?

  6. Anon Ymous

    My Burbank sucks when it comes to news and anyone who follows it for news is a complete fool. My Burbank panders for favors and had I believe paid advertising for Measire B. Were they paid through this tax payer money ? My Burbank has a personal issue to protect here possibly.

  7. Victim Of The City Of Burbank

    Hey semichorus, you see that article about the BPD audit? Would love to read a post with your thoughts on that. Seems fishy that suspicious shit was found but the BPD was labeled “healthy.” Guess racism, bigotry, and intolerance is considered healthy these days?

    • semichorus

      I especially loved the “yeah, almost all of their taser usage was improper and didn’t follow proper procedure, but there was nothing malicious about it” conclusion. Next week some time I’ll talk about it.

  8. chad

    Slick presentation.

    • Chuck

      Racism and bigotry have been in fashion for years in Burbank there is nothing new these days about that.

      • Anonymous

        A few bad cops wreck the image of the entire department. The arrogance and condescension of a few officers is appalling. We can’t report them due to possible retaliation. Racism and bigotry may very well be alive but had zero to do with my personal encounters. Let’s be blunt, some white officers treat white people like crap also. Most officers are very respectful.

  9. Anonymous

    Oh, and the title sucks. The money did not go to the airport.

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