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Burbank Viewpoints

Burbank, California – Information and opinion on the most crucial issues facing our city.

Why did the Mayor keep quiet about the $50,000 to Yes on B? [UPDATED]

This image has been retouched and is intended as satire.

UPDATE: The Mayor just announced he has stage 4 liver cancer but curiously, will not step down as a member of the council. This news was leaked already and it’s been a poorly kept secret around town for months. None of us really knew for sure though. I’m sure the Mayor feels a bit better now that he’s revealed his illness. I sincerely wish him and his family the best but that will not change anything I have to post here on the blog regarding the 50k.


If you’ve been following this story you know I’ve always contended that the architects of this illegal donation were the “buddies” of the City Council. Burbank luminaries, mostly from the Chamber of Commerce.  But I was wrong about who the City Council have been protecting this whole time. Public records I received last April suggest that City Manager Ron Davis, Community Development Director Patrick Prescott and Vice-Mayor (at the time) Will Rogers all knew about and discussed this illegal activity BEFORE the November Election. On December 6th when i brought our team’s research to the Council, Will Rogers was insulting and dismissive about the whole affair and confirmed he had known about this and was “disappointed” in the donation. He wasn’t sorry in the slightest. The following week he apologized for “missing” the violation of the Brown Act when reviewing the BHA’s minutes. You have to assume someone (the City Attorney?) told him to change his tone and he certainly did.

Why didn’t the Mayor call out this illegal activity ahead of the election? He clearly knew a violation of the Brown Act had occurred from the very beginning. (see #1 below)

The Semichorus blog broke part of the story back in June but I’ve been patiently waiting for the Fair Political Practices Commission and the Los Angeles District Attorney to rule on the case. At this point, I’m deeply concerned the Los Angeles District Attorney will not take legal action against a sitting city government, even though they did find the BHA had violated the Brown Act. (See #5 below) The FPPC investigation is still ongoing but I have no idea when a ruling will be made.

Will Rogers’ angry letter and Patrick Prescott’s reply. Both forwarded to the City Manager.

I wonder what Patrick told Will in order to calm him down? (see #5 below) For now, I want the public to know what’s going on in City Hall. That’s my motivation. There’s much more to the story and I hope to do a complete video that explains where we are and how we got here. People need to know this stuff or it will just continue. If you or I broke the law we’d have to pay for our actions. You can use the contact page and I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have in the meantime.  Or just post a comment below.

You can read more about this illegal use of public funds here and here. Here are additional videos:

Wireless Telecommunications Community Meeting

Date: 08/30/2017 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: Community Services Building
150 N Third St, Community Room #104
Burbank, California 91502

On Wednesday, August 30, 2017, the City will be holding a community meeting to discuss proposed amendment to Title VII of the Burbank Municipal Code regarding the regulation of wireless telecommunications facilities proposed in the public right-of-way. The meeting will held at the Community Services Building located at 150 N. Third Street in Burbank in room 104 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

Burbank Mom on I Heart Burbank

I wish I could have made this event at the old Ikea. I didn’t get home from work until 7:15 that evening. So hopeful they will do something similar again. But here’s an interesting viewpoint from Burbankmom.com. This is the blog that always seems to be in lockstep with the development class in our city. This time she’s a bit “sad.” Which is telling. I’m neutral on this project but very concerned for the congestion it WILL bring. I already avoid the Empire Center and downtown is already pretty bad. You can justify this massive development any way you want but the fact remains: I HEART BURBANK will further transform the downtown area into the congested, zoo-like atmosphere of the Santa Monica 3rd Street promenade when it’s completed. No one can argue against that. But of course Burbank Mom makes it sound like any dissent would be akin to “panic”. Do we want all this for a measly one-time 2.5 million increase to the city’s coffers? Remember the sales taxes go to the region not directly to our city. And the idea that Macy’s “owns” San Fernando Blvd. That one sounds pretty fishy to me. Will have to check that out and report back. The best course is to pay attention to the project and keep getting the word out so the people who live in the area can weigh in.

Mega Development Open House this Thurs.

If you live, work or do business downtown OR if your kids go to Burbank High you need to attend this open house for the new I Heart Burbank development at the Old Ikea site on San Fernando. It’s this Thursday from 6pm-8pm. More info here.  Be advised they are asking to email or text you news etc. Not singling out these I Heart Burbank people specifically, but you should always be cautious online.

Summer slowdown

Minor health issues and a busy summer schedule are keeping me from updating the blog recently. But not to worry, we still have plenty to share in the weeks ahead. Thanks for your patience!

Roy’s 30 hour run is always amazing (please show your support)

Here’s a great write-up about Roy Wiegand’s incredible 30 hour marathon run to raise money and awareness for children with cancer through the Michael Hoefflin Foundation. Roy’s a great neighbor and activist in our community and this is a wonderful cause. (He also is quite adept with puns.) Good luck Roy! You’re an inspiration to us all.

From the MHF website:

4th Annual “Roy’s Run for Christopher”
June 14th -15th, 2017

Roy Wiegand is an ultra-marathon runner who is running for a Cause! He will be running the equivalent of 4 marathons/100 Miles, in 30 Hours, to raise $13,100 dollars, for the Michael Hoefflin Foundation on behalf of Christopher Wilke, who passed away of cancer in 2014.

Roy’s Run begins on Wednesday, June 14th, at Noon, at the Market Place Park in Santa Clarita, 23841 Newhall Ranch Road (corner of Newhall Ranch Road & Grandview Drive), ending on Thursday, June 15th at Westfield Valencia Town Center Drive (Outside near the food court) at 6PM. Roy will be running throughout the City of Santa Clarita Trails.

Help Roy, by making a donation of any amount, or running with him on the Santa Clarita Trails! $25 Donation to run, all funds raised from this event go directly to support the Michael Hoefflin Foundation and our services.

Some of our Services Your Donations Directly Help:
$2500- Funeral Expenses for 1 Family
$1000- Cancer Survivors College Scholarships for 2
$500- Grocery Gift Cards for 2 1/2 families
$250- Gas Gift Cards for 1 family
$100- Holiday Baskets for 2 families
$50- Hospital Parking Passes
$20- Goodies for “Kare Kits”

Too Good Not to Share

https://semichorus.wordpress.com/2017/06/08/rogers-publicly-excoriated-these-critics-as-non-attorney-know-nothings-but-he-secretly-agreed-with-them/

Yes the “50k BHA” Board broke the law

A misdemeanor no one will be punished for – but it’s a start and again – we were right. A few months ago we’ve shared further information with the District Attorney that will hopefully prod them to continue their investigation about how this all came about and who was involved.

More to come but here’s the Leader article: http://www.latimes.com/socal/burbank-leader/news/tn-blr-me-bha-donation-20170607-story.html

WARNING: LIVING HERE MAY INCREASE YOUR RISK OF CANCER

At Tuesday night’s marathon City Council meeting — where the behemoth housing project First Street Village was up for discussion — Councilwoman Sharon Springer asked an excellent question about the cancer risk posed to residents of the 5 Freeway adjacent property. Unfortunately, she didn’t get a straight answer.

In fact, a “scientific” study of how highway pollution might affect future residents of the proposed multi-used development on the corner of First and Magnolia (which was paid for by the developer) was presented to the council in a manner which can only be described as disingenuous at best.

Ms. Springer asked the consultant presenting the study to provide some context so the public might better understand the study’s finding that set the cancer risk posed by exposure to freeway pollution at “60.85.”

Well, the consultant explained, if you said 40 percent of Americans will get cancer in their lifetime you’re talking about 400,000 out of a million people. This number is much smaller — only 60.85 people out of a million.

And while this is true — 60.85 out of a million is a smaller percentage than 400, 000 out of a million — it is equally true that 60.85 is almost double the cancer risk faced by Americans who don’t live next to freeways.

Here are some other points the applicant failed to bring to the city council’s attention:

  • Their study did not measure Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM); it used Particulate Matter as a surrogate. This ignores the fact that Diesel Particulate Matter (emissions from diesel trucks) is more hazardous to human health than the same mass of other particulate matters.
  • The EPA sets the acceptable cancer risk level at 1 in 1 million. The cancer risk predicted in this study is more than 60 times greater.
  • A Harvard study showed that the relationship to DPM exposure and health is linear. Any increase in exposure to DPM causes an equal increase in health risks.
  • The US average for air pollution-related cancer deaths is 36 per million. In freeway adjacent parts of LA County where air pollution is most intense that number climbs to 70 per million.
  • According to the study’s own findings, the cancer risk to a child between the ages of 2 and 16, living in First Street Village, will be more than twice that of an adult resident. (A cancer risk of 27.62 compared to 13.74)
  • This study did not look at the impact of exposure to other toxic gases caused by proximity to the highway which, unlike particulate matter, can not be filtered out.

In a letter to Burbank’s Planning Department the South Coast Air Quality Management District warned, “Cancer risk still remains a significant impact,” despite assurances from the developer that residents could minimize their risk by keeping their windows shut, staying inside and relying on top-of-the-line filtration systems.

That residents will chose to do so — and will instead refrain from using the pool, their balconies and any outdoor building facilities (including the temporary park proposed as an offset to the city granting the development a code variance) — seems, as Ms. Springer pointed out, highly unlikely.

Why it Matters
When it comes to Diesel Particulate Matter (DPMs), cancer risk is only part of the story. Studies indicate it is a genotoxin and suspect it might alter DNA and cause changes at the cellular level. It has been linked to endocrine disruption, decreased fertility and birth defects.

As part of the development agreement, residents of First Street Village will have to sign a waiver acknowledging they’ve been informed of the health implications of their decision to live in the complex and advising them to keep their windows closed and stay indoors as much as possible. This is presumably intended to shield the developer and the city from liability should the predicted health consequences occur.

What might be harder to shield themselves against are the ethical implications of targeting young professionals — the much-desired millennials — with promises of housing that seems appealing on its surface (bike paths, public green spaces, modern conveniences) fully cognizant of the fact that it has the potential to make them — and any children they might decide to have — very sick.

Knowing what we know about the health risks, is building homes for young professionals on this site the right thing to do? Maybe that’s the question we should be asking.

[Editor’s note: This article doesn’t even mention the history of the site where this development sits. Currently there is automotive repair shop that has been there for years and previously there were aircraft related industrial uses. The developer will have to take soil smaples at the site prior to grading to ensure there are no longer any toxins released during construction. More info on pages 60 of this PDF.]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4894930/ https://www3.nd.edu/~kshrader/pubs/pusateri-shrader-frechette-2015.pdf
http://www.newsweek.com/air-particle-pollution-exposure-linked-higher-cancer-death-risk-454256
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160429095025.htm
http://www.news-medical.net/news/20160430/Exposure-to-fine-particulate-matter-in-air-can-increase-risk-of-cancer-specific-mortality.aspx
http://burbank.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=7888&meta_id=32248

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