Argument in Favor of Measure B

Please consider the following, which will appear in your mailbox nearer election day.

If you have any questions, please contact me via Facebook, and I’ll be glad to answer any questions you may have. You can also contact me at the e-mail address below.

As required by Burbank voters 16 years ago, the decision on a new airport terminal is in voters’ hands. We believe the terms negotiated for this proposal, a result of 70 meetings taking public input over three years, offer powerful, new protections for residents. We urge you to vote “YES!”

Voting Yes will allow construction of a terminal with the same 14 gates as today’s, but in a new building, safer from earthquakes, and offering amenities travelers expect. Gate areas will be comfortable, luggage carousels move indoors, and the facility would be fully accessible to the disabled.

Safety improvements include moving the terminal more than two football fields further from the runway. Today’s terminal, just 250 feet from the runway center-line, would be demolished.

Because the feature is beloved, the new terminal would still employ boarding and exiting aircraft using rear stairs. The airport is also helping to lobby Congress for a mandatory night-time curfew.

The terms give Burbank the power to stop future changes, like any move to add gates, alter the voluntary curfew, and more. Means to discourage adding flights include limiting airport parking to 6,637 spaces, just as there are today.

No City funds would be used.

Federal grants and fees added to tickets at every airport would be among construction funding sources.

The length and placement of current runways will not change.

Expansion and much more can be blocked by just two of Burbank’s three representatives on the Authority that runs the airport, even if outnumbered by other commissioners.

If this measure does not pass, the Airport Authority announced it will build a new terminal on a less desirable site the Authority maintains Burbank cannot control. We would lose the limits, the “blocking” power, and all other protections described.

Please, vote “Yes” to protect Burbank.

REBUTTAL TO THE ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE B

Several arguments in opposition to the proposed replacement terminal at Burbank airport are simply untrue. The terms negotiated by the city are much different from those the opponent describes; and your City Council didn’t vote for ANY replacement terminal.

We ask YOU to decide for yourselves whether the true proposal deserves approval.

Do not be fooled: Measure B does not expand the airport. Measure B gives Burbank greater protections and power to stop airport expansion.
With Measure B approval, just two Burbank airport commissioners can BLOCK any effort to change the voluntary curfew, increase size, gates or other forms of expansion. These can be blocked even if every Glendale and Pasadena commissioner votes to expand!

A YES vote will authorize a replacement terminal with no more than 14 gates.
NO Burbank taxpayer dollars will be used.

There will be only ONE replacement terminal. Once built, today’s terminal will be demolished.

If Measure B does not pass, the airport has control over the second site, and warns that’s where they’ll build a new terminal if their proposal is rejected without any approval from Burbank.

See the terms and maps at http://www.BurbankCA.gov/BURinfo

Read the impartial analysis and confirm all this for yourself.

Vote YES ON B!

WillRogersHome@Earthlink.net

Something’s Missing Here

The recently-proposed terms of settlement with the Airport Authority for the Hollywood Burbank Airport lack one feature I’ve been demanding for 25 years: An enforceable, mandatory curfew on most flights between 11pm and 7am.  (Safety service flights, like police helicopters, and commercial traffic delayed by weather would be among the exceptions.)

Early on in airport discussions in the 90s I was like any citizen looking to apply common sense.  I wanted the Authority, or the city itself, to simply impose such a curfew.  After all, when Lockheed sold the enterprise and we were asked to join cities operating the airport, that’s what we were promised.  “Burbank can control the noise!”

It took me years to do the research and consult with enough experts to finally accept that only the federal government can legally impose a curfew.  But at the same time, I became convinced that, to remain consistent with other curfew decisions, the Federal Aviation Administration should have “grandfathered” Burbank’s voluntary curfew into a mandatory one years earlier.

When the Authority later went through a “Part 161,” an FAA process supposedly created to allow applications for mandatory curfews, I recognized it as the empty gesture it was.  Indeed, most I know locally believed the process was virtually certain to end in failure, this despite the Authority investing a couple of million in taxpayer funds in that bit of federal Kabuki.

Still, while campaigning for the council office I now hold, I repeatedly assured voters that winning a curfew remained a priority.  I explained that, back in the days I was reporting on all manner of airport-related negotiations, a strategy was designed and considered, one I thought was long overdue for implementation.

It was in my very first conference as an elected official with our city attorney and another lawyer long employed as our expert in aviation-related matters – not coincidentally, the man who helped create the strategy – that I announced my intent to resurrect it, and to try and convince my colleagues to adopt it.

The plan was known as a “cram down,” and it envisioned the city side-stepping negotiations with Glendale and Pasadena, confronting the FAA directly.  In short, we’d belligerently tell the FAA it could win our approval of a new terminal only when a mandatory curfew was enacted.  That would be the beginning and end of “negotiations.”

For years Burbank avoided that direct step for a variety of reasons, many of them good ones, instead nibbling around the edges.  When I took office and suggested it was time to give it a try, the city’s aviation attorney explained the time for such an effort had passed.  The man we’ve paid millions to for his knowledge of the system and insights into the aviation system explained that an attempted cram down now would cause the FAA to respond in kind, freezing Burbank out from any solutions the FAA might eventually offer, this while also poisoning positive relationships we’ve formed in Congress.  And, for having tried to carve them out of the process, we’d destroy a mutual trust finally reached with Glendale and Pasadena.

The lawyers explained how changes in national politics, developments in Congress (or the lack thereof), the change in party control and the FAA’s attitude toward Burbank’s concerns all rendered the “cram down” not only pointless, but as destructive to our interests.

I don’t claim to be a legal scholar, nor a master negotiator.  And I don’t take legal advice blindly.  But those we engage to rent us their expertise were unsparing in telling me the time for a “cram down” had passed.  Further, and especially with that introduction, my colleagues were not interested in pursuing the cram down.

So, it’s natural that many I spoke to while campaigning are disappointed today.  The package being proposed does not include a guaranteed or immediate mandatory curfew.  But it’s not because I changed my mind on the goal, or was insincere.  Instead, in fact, I simply failed.  I came too late.  Too many changes had taken place, and I didn’t learn that until well after those changes.  We have to chase that target on a slower path.

The chase has certainly NOT been made up just of failures.  I’m enormously proud that we were able to end the council almost exclusively discussing airport issues in confidential, closed sessions.  Closed sessions on airport issues halted almost completely in July, 2015.

About the time I was elected, the then-council had just agreed unanimously to support a series of agreements with Pasadena and Glendale.  I insisted we revisit publicly virtually all those points set in secret.  In the 13 months since, we’ve been able to openly negotiate a package that has seen Burbank’s obligations slashed from what the ENTIRE council had previously opined would be acceptable.  And in exchange, the obligations of the Airport Authority, Pasadena and Glendale were either left untouched, or added to.

Yes, along the way we did lose the support of one council member.  But that flip-flop appears premised more upon an imminent reelection effort than any legitimate objection.  He now cites features that supposedly came up since July, 2015 as the motivation for his reversal, but an ample record shows he’s offering a Trump-like version of the calendar.  He was once a proponent of features he now condemns.  We’re now in a strange “Twilight Zone” world where assuring the ballot measure is voted on by the largest number of city voters is supposedly scandalous, part of the devious machinations of the dark side – at least for those who always imagine a dark side, which coincidentally makes it that much more urgent to reelect the great protector.

It’s possible the turnaround came about just because the fifth council member was eager to accept credit for an agreement accomplished when he was Mayor or Vice Mayor.  But once he was simply one of five, he reverted to his years-long pattern of distinguishing himself from the crowd by being the one to bellow, “no!” clumsily juggling for supposed reasons after the fact.

I can’t read minds, and so can’t explain another’s change of heart.  In fact, even he claimed two weeks ago to have no serious issues with the terminal plan.  Instead, he said his newfound doubts are premised upon an alleged “rush to judgment,” this because a council majority supports putting the plan before Burbank voters in an election where it will be considered by significantly more voters than the average municipal election turn-out.  He claims that by November the public will have had too little time to consider the issue and offer input.

Odd that wasn’t a concern when the council was taking positions with the discussions held in secret.  Despite virtually countless invitations for public comment and input in recent years, running the gamut from public meetings and presentations, to council members pleading for questions from constituents, now we’re being told the public will not have had enough opportunity to comment and offer input if they’re asked to vote on the current proposal in November.

I am supporting the proposal being put before voters, and I’m convinced it offers benefits and protections we hadn’t even imagined when battles with the airport were at their height.  You’ll see those and others as publicity circulates in the coming weeks and months.  But there’s no point to trying to hide or spin the truth on the one point I consider a personal failure: I have not accomplished a mandatory, enforceable curfew on all night-time flights.

I suppose I could claim that was a stunning shift just revealed with the opening of previously secret talks.  Or perhaps I could cut and paste carefully selected excerpts from court decisions to create a recent judgment that supposedly confirms my latest position.  But I’ve always found telling the truth is a lot easier than trying to keep all the plates of convoluted lies spinning.  And while I may not enjoy the fawning praise of dupes, I can at least get by on some legitimate self-respect.

Regardless of how you or anyone else actually votes on the ballot measure, I am also extremely pleased that, at long last, the last word on an airport proposal will be decided not by city staff, and not by council members, but by the people of Burbank.

HIZZHONOR

 

May 27, 2016

I spent one year trying to guide Burbank’s system for designating the city’s Mayor and Vice-Mayor back to its roots as a routine, semi-automatic process free of a majority dragging politics, personal grudges and campaign interests into the fray.  Then I came close to becoming the latest target of the gamesmanship.

Many residents seem not to realize Burbank voters do not elect their Mayor.  And like some council members who’ve served as Mayor, many residents also grossly misunderstand the powers and privileges of the office.

Burbank’s Mayor is selected by the council members from among the 5 members themselves.  Typically, they select whomever served the previous year as “Vice-Mayor.”  Indeed, that tradition is so ingrained that, when talking about who will or won’t be Mayor, the battles get ugly and the controversies typically center on who is being made Vice-Mayor.  In the last 20 years or so, I can’t recall an instance of a Vice-Mayor NOT being made Mayor, save for those forced to leave office early.

As for the “powers” of the office, those are dictated by the city’s Charter.  In short, in times of disaster, the Mayor is empowered to work with the city staff and take limited actions unilaterally.  (A Mayor who does not try to connect with his or her colleagues and attempt to obtain their support and ideas in those challenging times would be a fool.)

Another duty of the Mayor is chairing public meetings.  The decisions made in this process often reflect on the city as a whole.  I’ve seen Mayors slash public comment periods and turn off public cameras while citizens spoke. I’ve seen Mayors who rarely reined in even the windiest and most irresponsible of their colleagues, no matter how far off the topic they wandered, but they’d gavel to silence public critics.  As I think they should, most sitting in the Mayor’s center seat have found a spot between the extremes.

That encapsulates the central duties of Burbank’s “figurehead” Mayor.  But ask some of my colleagues about the minimum standards for Mayoral service, and the language suddenly turns flowery, soaring to the point of generating snickers.  Suddenly, infinite wisdom, the diplomacy of a life-long State Department diplomat, a near savant in the details of city functions and the budget all become urgently critical.  Each, of course, believes they meet those lofty standards.

It doesn’t seem to trouble these people that, over the years, the Mayor’s seat has been held by quite a number of witless boobs, self-aggrandizing, self-promoting egotists, and craven political climbers.  Still, the city hasn’t collapsed, or even become a bit unsteady due to the choice in Mayor.  Fortunately, there have also been a fair number of perfectly pleasant and average men and women looking to do their best.

It’s hard for me to describe the ludicrous tactics and rationales some council members employ to accomplish their Mayoral pursuits without my seeming to demean the office and/or the city itself.  Ridicule a council member’s implication they are Burbank’s own Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin rolled into one, and so should be Mayor, and the response is a challenge that apparently one doesn’t believe Burbank DESERVES a Jefferson or Franklin.

I know Mayors who believed it was their job to summon department heads to provide regular reports and take Mayoral direction.  I’ve seen Mayors who believed it was their job to build consensus behind the scenes among council members so that, when it came time to meet in public, the vote would be a simple, straight-forward process leading to a near unanimous choice, without questions or time-wasting comments, (a pursuit almost as unrealistic as it was illegal).

At least as perceived by many, one perk of Mayoral service is the large, ornate “ceremonial office” each Mayor uses as their own for the year.  There are four other very nice offices available for council members, but the elbowing and hip-checks many engage in to try and get the one office that is literally just two inches longer than the one next to it are – or should be – deeply embarrassing to those involved.  I wish THOSE whispered arguments were in public.  One of my colleagues has actually stepped into their office just twice in the last year, once during last year’s “City Hall Open House,” and the other just this month when the office-holder took a colleague aside for a fast, post-meeting rant.

And still, council members often have, and still do, engage in every childhood game to argue they need or deserve the most spacious office.  Even those who never or rarely visit their office wrangle for the largest.  Suddenly, “seniority” and “dibs” and “I have more meetings” are flying back and forth like kids fighting over a cupcake.

Two offices were vacant when I was elected.  One incumbent had left, and a Mayor had been elevated. City Hall staff were anxious for me to decide which office I wanted so my colleagues could know which would be left vacant so the game of “musical offices” could kick off, at which time STAFF MOVES THE CONTENTS OF ONE OFFICE TO ANOTHER, much as the White House is vacated while the previous occupant and the newly-elected are busy with the inauguration.  (I took the smallest office of the five, hung my own photos, and did not join in the cut-throat game to make a change this year.)

The Mayor avoids all that, and is simply given the biggest office.

The Mayor also represents the city in several traditional and ad hoc circumstances.  For example, the Mayor typically gives a “State of the City” address each year that serves as a fundraising event for the Chamber of Commerce.  Some Mayors have tried to improvise their way through a speech, and others spend literally months planning and developing a video production starring themselves and produced by the city’s Public Information Office, often with help and special effects from local studios.

According to the current and immediately previous council’s policy, the Vice-Mayor and Mayor were also charged with representing the full council during negotiations revolving around airport and a potential terminal replacement.  (Any product of this last must also be relayed to and approved by the others, and ultimately approved by voters.)  Mayors and Vice-Mayors also meet with and lobby state and federal dignitaries on the city’s behalf.

The Mayor is expected to attend virtually countless “ribbon cuttings,” events celebrating the opening of new businesses.  But no one person could meet the demand for these services, even if they surrendered their business and personal lives.  Indeed, I was filling in for a Mayor within a month of having been elected.  All of the council members have stood in for various Mayors.

It’s this high-visibility throughout the year that makes service as Mayor a sought-after perk for those seeking re-election.  Indeed, when I first proposed a simple rotation system assuring those who had not yet served as Mayor were given a chance before those who had already served, my plan discouraged giving any incumbent up for re-election the Mayoral seat in their election year.  I said it offers a special benefit not available to any challenger, whether on the council or off.

It took only a few seconds for me to realize this was being perceived as a direct attack on my then-new colleague, Jess Talamantes.  He was Vice-Mayor at the time, expected to be made Mayor in May, 2016, and remain as Mayor up through his presumed bid for reelection in April 2017.  Believing it wasn’t fair to Talamantes to change the unofficial rules he’d been appointed under at the last minute, I dropped that facet from my proposal.

I had hoped to see the Vice-Mayoral and Mayoral selection processes return to a, simple rotation, giving almost everyone a turn.  (Because terms are 4 years long, and there are 5 council members, there’s no way to guarantee a one-term office holder will be able to serve as Mayor.

It was almost exactly one year between my request for the subject to be added to an agenda for discussion, and the matter appearing on the agenda last month.

After discussing the rotation and other alternatives, there was a vote.  Three council members, including myself, voted for the rotation to be finalized in writing by the City Attorney.  One voted “No.”  The last abstained, explaining that he was tired and didn’t understand what had been proposed.  He said he’d wait until he was rested and could review the City Attorney’s version.

One month later the City Attorney’s draft of the policy previously approved by a majority came back for a formal vote.  It was summarily rejected, largely without explanation, in a 1-4 vote.

On May 2 of this year the council met for its annual “reorganization.”  As expected, Talamantes was named Mayor.  Next came the call for nominations for Vice-Mayor.  After a lengthy, uncomfortable silence, Talamantes nominated Emily Gabel-Luddy, and the world waited for a “second.”  When the silence reached and surpassed embarrassing, Gabel nominated me and, after another long delay, David Gordon seconded the nomination.  I was ultimately approved in a 5-0 vote because, well, that’s how they prefer to do things.

Why didn’t Talamantes nominate me, the only council member who hadn’t yet served as Mayor?  I don’t know, and never will.  I could ask, but wouldn’t expect to hear the truth.  And that’s not a slam on Talamantes – it’s probably human nature for him to automatically mumble something more palatable than the cold, hard truth.  Besides, I haven’t asked the other three why, in that long, uncomfortable silence, none of them nominated me, either.  The closest I’d get to an answer would be a list of intangible shortcomings, all adding up to a failure to meet that supposed Jefferson/Franklin standard.

Frankly, I just don’t care to sit through more windy speeches of the sort that lead the uninformed to believe the Mayor has his finger on a nuclear button, negotiates with kings, and is somehow chosen by a miraculous light breaking through the clouds after 40 days of rain.

Yes, I do recognize saying things like that offers some colleagues more of exactly what it is that keeps them from supporting me.  You see, contrary to all protestations and pretty rhetoric, “talking straight” and “telling the truth” about the esteemed position are not among the minimum requirements for serving as Mayor.  Someone telling the council members what they want and expect to hear is typically what they’re looking for.

Speaking of “Grave Disappointment”

January 4, 2016

In a letter to a newspaper weeks ago, a Burbank resident referenced plans for a new terminal at Bob Hope Airport in the context of a neighborhood group, and materials most recently released for a City Council meeting on Nov. 16. She wrote, “I am gravely disappointed that neither [Will Rogers] nor the council in general took the time to send us a link to the Conceptual Term Sheet, or to give us details regarding an issue of great concern to all Burbank residents.”

She was wrong – many times over. Indeed, if I’ve stood for anything over the last 25 years, it has been getting information from City Hall to the people.

Terms now being discussed with the airport are different in only two substantive ways from those previously endorsed, distributed by and approved by then-Mayor David Gordon and the full council back in 2013 and 2014

In the last two years the terms changed in following ways: 1). For several reasons, and in multiple steps, most concessions demanded by the Airport Authority were dropped. 2.) Airport officials now imagine that, even if voters approve a terminal, some in City Hall may still thwart construction. In July the Authority added a demand that, if construction is approved, inspectors from Glendale or Pasadena enforce Burbank’s building regulations, rather than Burbank’s own inspectors.

This demand was a huge, inadvertent gift to those engaged in demagoguery on airport negotiations.

This demand was a huge, inadvertent gift to those engaged in demagoguery on airport negotiations, and I’ll address it here another time. But the letter writer’s charge is effectively that I didn’t provide “Save Burbank Neighborhoods” with documents for both types of change. But I have provided those, repeatedly.

It’s hard to prove one has contacted SBN’s leaders, because literature SBN distributes includes no contact information and no names. Those citing association to SBN, or wearing t-shirts with its name, have declined my repeated queries about who its leaders are.

Today SBN’s web site only offers “New site coming Fall 2015…!” The old site offered no information about who to contact for information. For two years the group has taken positions on various issues, and occasionally handed out fliers with scandalous accusations (those deliveries always seem to miss my house – which is otherwise in SBN’s “neighborhood”).

Thus, for two years I’ve sent emails, links and meeting requests to a pair who routinely wear SBN t-shirts, and stand at the council’s public podium declaring their association.

My earliest efforts to connect with SBN on airport issues began with my contacting Burbank residents of every stripe. On Nov. 22, 2013, long before I considered running for council, the Burbank Leader published my guest column about airport developments wherein I predicted, “Roughly 14 months from now I expect a howl of outrage will roll across Burbank, one angry enough to ignite politics, enrage residents, terrify many who’ve bought homes, and create a tsunami of activists with furious charges of corruption, double-dealing and government secrecy.”

“People will demand to know why everything was kept secret and they weren’t told. But it wasn’t, and they were.”

“People will demand to know why everything was kept secret and they weren’t told. But it wasn’t, and they were.”

That column also ran on MyBurbank.com, and elsewhere. I wrote it after attending a well-publicized meeting about the airport attended by just 2 other citizens. Beneath that op-ed, I provided links to the city proposals which later saw cuts and tweaks, becoming what today is called the city’s “Conceptual Term Sheet.”  (The Leader chose not to publish the links I provided.)

I also sent all that via email directly to the pair identifying themselves as SBN members, and asked them to forward it to others. They promised to do so.

Throughout early 2014 I continued updating SBN. I repeatedly asked to attend an SBN meeting to discuss airport proposals. One of those messages was sent April 16, 2014. But in June, 2014, one member finally wrote back that SBN was taking the summer off. They’d return once school reopened, I was told, and invite me then.

On August 24, 2014, I kicked off a campaign for city council. On that same day my campaign web site appeared, including a “white paper” on airport issues. It offered all the documents described above, and a rundown of changes over the previous year, and to that date.

I sent that, the documents and the links to the same SBN members on August 29, 2014. The web page detailing my positions, and those of then-current council members, remained on-line until October, 2015.

Now fast-forward – though the invitation to bring my maps and other airport information to a SBN meeting never did arrive. I was elected to the council and took office in May, 2015. During a meeting in July I heard one too many public references by council members and staff to an airport agreement endorsed by all five council members, including David Gordon. I reminded everyone that one of those five members left weeks earlier, and that I had NOT endorsed the proposed agreement.

Thus, at my request, the council placed on the agenda a public discussion of the council’s airport positions for July 14, 2015. On July 11 I sent emails to multiple members of SBN and asked what questions they wanted answered on the 14th. Again, I provided links to all the then-available documents. Ironically, I note now that I couldn’t find, and asked SBN to give me, an email address for the woman today apparently speaking for SBN. They answered that they’d forward my email to her.

In addition to discussion of the negotiations on July 14, a public, joint meeting of the City Council and the Airport Authority was called for July 15, 2015. This time I used the bully-pulpit of a seat on the council to urge citizens to attend. I also sent another series of letters to various print and on-line editors urging public attendance.

For this session, however, there were no new documents, as the city was informed the Airport Authority had yet another proposal to make. But I was the first to propose, and who pushed publicly and privately, for that session to be video-taped, later accessible on the city’s cable channel and web site.

That meeting was well attended, including everyone I know as a member of SBN. As we ultimately saw, the airport’s new proposal was a shorter version of that seen previously, and copies of all the documents went to everyone who attended. I asked questions and addressed issues SBN had asked about in the previous days.

That which today is called the “Conceptual Term Sheet,” is an even shorter version of what was proposed July 15th. Wannabe candidates and the reflexively belligerent have made much of council’s “closed sessions,” routinely charging that major changes and dire promises were made through the secretive process. But as most current council members have said repeatedly, and the record proves, most of those sessions actually went to clarifying definitions, efforts to delete unnecessary legalese, and crafting language to accomplish city goals without triggering FAA objections.

Go ahead and read the first iteration, then the latest version side by side. Save for the surprise proposal about who will inspect terminal construction, you’ll see changes made after closed sessions were either innocuous, or were more and deeper cuts to the Airport Authority’s demands.

Greatly simplifying the terms was the airport’s decision to sell about 60 acres of land next to the proposed site for a new terminal. While there are several negatives for the city in that decision, it’s irrefutable it eliminated the need for many negotiations with the Airport, and even more pages of the proposal went into the shredder.

Virtually everything found in today’s version of the “Conceptual Term Sheet” has been in the public’s hands at least since July, 2015.

Virtually everything found in today’s version of the “Conceptual Term Sheet” has been in the public’s hands at least since July, 2015. And in a great many cases, I personally put those in the hands of activists and concerned citizens, including SBN’s members.

Yet an SBN member is now “gravely disappointed” that SBN was not given still more copies of documents for the Nov. 16 meeting – you know, other than the paperwork available to everyone before any meeting – agendas, reports and memos released where every agenda is found, including the City Clerk’s office, all of the city’s libraries, and on-line.

When that November discussion of the “Term Sheet” was scheduled, and if SBN had been watching, members would have seen me specifically ask City staff to beat the legal time limits for releasing that material for the Nov. 16 meeting. I was assured that, as quickly as they could type a clean version of the final document, and subtract everything rendered moot by the property sale, it would be released.

Not everyone, of course, has received the documents and information unsolicited over a two year period, delivered personally via email to their homes, or those of their neighbors, along with personal invitations to PLEASE attend meetings. To be honest, that special treatment was extended by me only to some longtime activists, and SBNers.

So, again, the author of the letter is wrong, as is any other citizen claiming or implying information was withheld. Not everyone, of course, has received the documents and information unsolicited over a two year period, delivered personally via email to their homes, or those of their neighbors, along with personal invitations to PLEASE attend meetings. To be honest, that special treatment was extended by me only to some longtime activists, and SBNers. And yet the letter’s author complains she is “gravely disappointed,” once again demonstrating the council member’s paraphrase, “No well-documented, years-long pattern of repeated attempts at outreach shall go unpunished.”

I’ve been warned refuting SBN instantly kills any chance at reelection, like pruning a favored developer’s project, or failing to leap as high as an employee association might demand. (I hadn’t even realized SBN made endorsements until, while researching this response, I found endorsements made in 2013.) I’ve been given the same warning about daring to call out the trash spewed by some of Burbank’s most infamous and least credible camera-hogs at public comment periods, our local versions of Donald Trump – cantankerous bullies, but lacking the record of business acumen.

But I believe I’m giving people exactly what they elected me to provide. There cannot be one definition of “the truth” for developers and business people, and a more convenient, forgiving definition for citizens, gadflies and activists. We can’t stomp and fume when a controversial project’s supporter twists the truth to serve their purpose, yet coyly avert our eyes and pretend not to notice when a project opponent lets rip with useful falsehoods. Everyone has to be held to the same standard.

On the last day of my term I’ll worry about reelection exactly as much as I did on the first day; Not at all. I believe our city, its residents and every last business will be better off if we’re all accountable to the same standards of truth. With the facts established, then it’s up to every opponent and proponent, developers, council members, neighbors, business people, staff and every other sub-group to settle on reasonable compromises among ourselves and one another to move forward.

We’ll never accomplish complete agreement. But we can’t even move on to work for compromise and consensus unless and until we all first agree to stick to the truth.

-30-

 

Welcome to a New Beginning!

Greetings and Welcome!

My name is Will Rogers, and I’m one of five members of the Burbank City Council.  This site is intended as a start to keeping a promise I made several months ago.  For more information about that, just click on that little tab doohickey to the left and select the page “About This Space.”

Once you’re done there, you can click that tab again and move on to the “Calendar” page.

As time goes on, I expect there will be other pages, including some discussion of upcoming or recently concluded city council business.  There’s not going to be an “App,” I don’t have any clue how to tweak this site so its “maximized for mobile devices,” and you’ll probably catch me in the occasional grammatical error or typo.  Maybe both in the same sentence.

Deal with it.  I’m just one person.

Thanks for your time.  And as always, if you have a question or comment, please don’t hesitate to call me at 818.238.5750, or email me at WRogers@BurbankCA.gov

w