There will be eight Burbank residents running for two open City Council seats in November, with three people looking to nab the position of city treasurer. Local voters will cast their ballots on Nov. 3, with the newly elected council members holding their seats for four years and the treasurer holding his or her seat for two years to finish the unexpired term of former City Treasurer Debbie Kukta. Each candidate submitted a statement to The Leader for publication, explaining why he or she should be elected to a city position.
CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES’ STATEMENTS
I am an autistic, formerly homeless Burbanker, and my policy platform is shaped by my lived experiences.
I moved to Burbank in 2004 to work in film and television. Since then, I’ve focused my time on disability advocacy, housing justice and workers’ rights, all while raising my disabled son.
Burbank’s challenges are rising housing costs, homelessness, vanishing small businesses, traffic and speeding, unfair wages and outdated environmental policy.
Our solutions must include more affordable housing, increasing homeless services, protecting small businesses and improving failing transportation infrastructure. We must also return to our roots as a union town with high-paying jobs. Lastly, it’s time for aggressive action against climate change.
These issues aren’t just political — they’re personal. I’ve watched my wages fall with no union to protect me. As a formerly homeless Burbank resident, I know the anguish of living in my car. Employers won’t hire me because I’m disabled. If not for a helping hand when needed, I might’ve fallen through the cracks.
Now my life’s work is advocating for people who aren’t afforded the same privileges I benefit from.
If I win a seat in this race, I would be the only renter, the only parent with school-age children, the only millennial and the first-ever graduate of Leadership Burbank on our City Council.
I would also be the first openly autistic elected official in California’s history.
• Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley
• Democrats for Neighborhood Action
• Democratic Socialists of America — L.A.
• Ground Game L.A.
• Sunrise Movement L.A.
• International Painters and Allied Trades District Council 36
• United Food & Commercial Workers Local 770
• Daniel Lee, Culver City Council member
• RL Miller, chair, California Democratic Party Environmental Caucus
• Maebe A. Girl, Silver Lake Neighborhood Councilwoman
• Janet Diel, president, Burbank Coordinating Council
To better serve the people of Burbank, I’m refusing all donations from corporations, Corporate PACs, landlords, developers, real estate professionals, fossil fuel executives and police associations.
Chair, Burbank Transportation Commission
Member, Burbank Advisory Council on Disabilities
Leadership Burbank, Class of 2018
Co-author, Measure RC
Visit konstantineanthony.com. (818) 253-4123
I’m Linda Bessin and I have lived in Burbank for almost 30 years. I love our small-town feel and strong sense of community. I’m running for Burbank City Council because I’ve lived in Burbank long enough to have seen City Councils that are effective and those that are dysfunctional. Now is not the time for dysfunction. We need a City Council that understands that doing things the way that they have always been done doesn’t work anymore.
When COVID-19 came to Burbank, City Council said “this isn’t our responsibility, it’s all up to the city manager,” and then they didn’t meet for over a month. We didn’t know what we were and weren’t allowed to do. We came together as a community, but our well-being should never be ignored.
It’s time for new energy, new ideas and new actions. We need to take strong action on affordable housing and traffic, and end hatred in our community. We must do more to support our small local businesses. We can use data and technology to bring Burbank into the 21st century.
I’m not part of the Burbank establishment or of a big political party machine. I’m retired and I’m currently the volunteer president of a domestic violence shelter. My career was analyzing medical malpractice cases. I decided whether they should be settled or taken to trial. Every decision affected many, and it was my responsibility to ensure that these complicated decisions were made ethically and thoroughly.
I will bring that same sense of responsibility to Burbank City Council. I am a longtime Burbank resident who wants to work hard to make sure our city is strong, vibrant and modern.
My campaign is run completely by volunteers who are also longtime Burbank residents. We are a grass-roots effort that understands that this moment calls for the residents of Burbank to stand up and get involved in how our city is run.
My name is the first name on your ballot. I’m Linda Bessin, my website is bessin4burbank.com, and I would appreciate your vote for Burbank City Council.
Michael Lee Gogin
Burbank neighbors, I am asking for your vote and your consideration in supporting my campaign.
I‘ve lived in Burbank for 13 years and can’t imagine living anywhere else.
I hope you feel the same way as I do.
As your council member I promise to protect and preserve the top three reasons why we love living in Burbank:
- Public safety — police/fire departments
- Quality of life — property protection, city services, neighborly lifestyle
- Media/film industry — including promoting our community businesses
I have more than 35 years of experience as an actor, screenplay writer and business entrepreneur.
Membership in the unions: SAG-AFTRA, AGVA, AGMA and ACTRA (in Canada)
In 1988 I was unanimously elected as board member by the Screen Actors Guild board nembers, serving a constituency of 104,000 members at the time. I was the first national chair of Performers With Disabilities under SAG, and continue to serve as a steering committee member. I was a past president to the Los Angeles chapter of Little People of America. I am a leader and activist for disability rights and nonprofit organizations that represent marginalized communities.
As your council member, I will work for you to support the following issues:
• Police and fire department protection at the highest level possible.
These services will not be de-funded on my watch.
• The concerns and challenges of the senior and disabled community.
• Protect R-1 and R-1H zoning.
• Create a Filming Commission liaison for entertainment Industry-related businesses, thus streamlining the permit and regulation process.
• Create a leash-free and safe dog park without using tax dollars.
• Work to find affordable housing solutions for our residents who need it.
• Control excess traffic and speeding.
• Resolve the citywide deficit without creating new tax burdens.
I understand the needs of Burbank. I will listen to the concerns of all Burbank residents.
My door will always be open. I vow to listen and fairly evaluate all issues. I look forward to hearing from you!
Your trust in me is paramount; it will be my honor to serve you!
Email MLGoginBurbank@gmail.com and visit Gogin4Burbank.com.
I am Paul Herman. My wife, Amy, and I have been fortunate to raise our family here in Burbank for the past 13 years. I have been honored to serve our community by volunteering on the boards of the Boys & Girls Club, Burbank Water and Power, our Chamber of Commerce, and Woodbury University School of Business.
As a local business owner and resident, I appreciate those qualities that make Burbank a wonderful place to live. It is vital that we have the right leadership during these challenging times, and I am the right person to manage us through this economic crisis.
Here are the four main issues I will tackle once in office:
- COVID-19 economic crisis — Manage the fiscal impact on our city’s budget and provide resources for small businesses to kick-start our local economy.
- Community safety — Increase funding for our city’s Mental Health Evaluation Team and prioritize funding for school resource officers.
- Building bridges with our schools — Create opportunities to build a broader community coalition to support schools and be an advocate for youth programs.
- Local control of housing — Fight for local control of our housing policies and update the specific plan for downtown Burbank.
I would be honored to fight for you on City Council and manage the city through this economic crisis. To get involved, please visit VotePaulHerman.com.
Born and raised in Burbank, Sharis graduated from Burbank High School. She studied economics at UC Irvine, graduating at the top of her class.
From a young age, Sharis knew she wanted to positively impact the only place she’s known as home. After receiving an education in the social sciences, she recognized that policy provided her with an opportunity to achieve her goal.
Sharis loves giving back to her community. She spends her time as a teacher, helping struggling students excel in their classes. When she’s not in the classroom, Sharis volunteers with the Armenian youth organization Homenetmen as their troop leader, where she teaches her group of 20 young girls the importance of volunteering in your community.
Sharis is a natural born leader. During her time at UC Irvine, she was elected by her peers to be the school’s mock trial president. Under her leadership, UC Irvine became recognized as one of the best trial advocacy teams in the nation.
By working as an educator for the past five years, including last year at Burbank Unified, Sharis discovered how severely underfunded our city’s schools are. Important student programs are being cut, teachers and staff are underpaid, and our children are not getting the attention and education they deserve. This inspired her to run for City Council in hopes of implementing meaningful budget changes and policies that would better not only our schools, but our city.
As the youngest candidate in the race, Sharis provides a new, fresh perspective to local politics. She will represent Burbank’s next generation, whose ideas shape the future of our city. She is running in hopes of inspiring her generation to be more active in their civic duties. She’s young, energetic and passionate about issues that affect our city.
While COVID-19 hampers our economy, it is increasingly important that our elected officials are prepared to create the best financial policies. As someone with a background in economics and years of experience in leadership roles, you can be sure that Sharis will be the right person to fight for you.
I am the father of three amazing boys — Sean, Robert and Connor — and a fabulous stepdaughter, Caroline, all products of Burbank schools. I am married to Gloria Salas, who also loves Burbank, and together we spend much of our time in community service. Burbank has been my home for more than 50 years. I am a former Superior Court commissioner (15 years), a practicing attorney and currently your Burbank councilman.
Residents tell me that I am very responsive and a good listener. I’ve worked tirelessly for Burbank residents as I feel it is my duty and I believe that they are entitled to my best efforts every time.
I am running to finish what I started in May of 2018. When I joined the council, we were in an economic crisis. We worked together to plan our course and asked our residents to help us with the plan. Voters overwhelmingly agreed with us and we put it into action. It was one of our best years ever as we lowered our pension liability and set aside more money for infrastructure. Then the pandemic hit — our progress was challenged. We went into emergency mode and have managed the pandemic very well. This is not the time for change in leadership. Experience matters!
- Continue to keep our residents and our employees safe!
- Carefully plan our reopening to help our businesses and residents by well-thought-out, rational programs for our future.
- Support local control to protect our neighborhoods/local zoning.
- Balance planned growth with mixed uses located near transportation hubs.
I fought for tenant protection by an emergency ordinance to prevent no-fault eviction, and championed our youth, seniors and local businesses. I’ve worked to pay city employees fair wages and worked with them for pension reform.
Our homeless program shows great promise. Affordable housing is a priority in our Housing Master Plan. My track record reflects hard work, energy and the experience to improve Burbank and our quality of life. Thank you! Vote Tim Murphy. Please visit votetimmurphy.com.
Nick Schultz has spent his entire professional career in public service, where he has worked to protect the public from various threats. He currently serves as a deputy attorney general with the Fraud and Special Prosecutions Section of the California Department of Justice. In this role, Nick works with state and federal law enforcement officials to investigate and prosecute criminal cases primarily related to financial/corporate fraud, public corruption and human trafficking.
Burbank is facing an unprecedented public health and economic crisis. The harm inflicted upon the entertainment industry, our airport and the small businesses that depend on these industries presents a unique set of challenges. Nick has decided to run for Burbank City Council because we need forward-thinking and creative solutions to help our neighbors pay the rent/mortgage, access quality health care, keep their jobs, save our small businesses and build back stronger.
Nick believes that we need new and bold leadership to address the current crisis. Nick would work to convene a Burbank Economic Recovery Taskforce within his first 100 days in office. The BERT would bring all experts and stakeholders to the table to inform the City Council on the best strategies for economic recovery. It would comprise leaders from the entertainment industry, small business owners, entrepreneurs, retailers, organized labor, community leaders and representatives from the food and beverage and hospitality industries.
Nick would be proactive in his approach to addressing the housing crisis, including relief for renters and the addition of more affordable housing. Nick would work with public and private partners, as well as the community at large, to find long-term solutions to the lack of affordable housing, while maintaining local control of land-use decision making.
Nick envisions a Burbank that is safe, affordable, livable and sustainable. He believes Burbank can be more proactive in its delivery of services to residents and more transparent in the way it conducts city business. To learn more about Nick’s plans, please visit nickforburbank.com.
Nick and his wife, Allie, an attorney in the entertainment industry, reside in the historic Rancho neighborhood with their cats, Liam and Lily.
Occupation: Nonprofit administrator / businesswoman
I’m a 21-year resident of Burbank, a small business owner, a parent to three teen and adult children in a multicultural family, and an active community member. I have been in the nonprofit sector for more than 10 years. And I care deeply about my fellow Burbankers in our unique city.
I will work to make sure our council focuses on:
• Housing — Working to increase housing security and availability, especially for our workforce, our seniors and low- and middle-income households, in a way that is appropriate for our city.
• Small businesses — Supporting small and micro businesses that create the identity of Burbank and are the backbone of its economy.
• COVID recovery — Helping residents, workers, local businesses and nonprofits recover from the pandemic shutdown, while minimizing the impact of our evolving budgeting challenges.
• Reducing greenhouse gases and waste — Advocating for a green city by looking for innovative ways to move to 100% clean energy and reduce methane-creating and non-degradable waste in our landfill.
• Diversity and equity — Recognizing and celebrating the diversity in our community, and ensuring that our systems and services citywide are equitable for to all.
• Support for children and seniors — Partnering with our school board and senior services to celebrate our multi-generational community and come to the table with our diverse views to address our issues together.
Burbank is special. It’s the gem of the valley. That is why I have been so involved and serve on boards such as the Infrastructure Oversight Board, the Magnolia Park Merchants Association and the Friends of the Library board. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves further for our city, to continue to work for our entire community with common-sense solutions to the challenges we face. We’re all in this together.
Burbank Mayor Sharon Springer
Burbank City Councilwoman Emily Gabel-Luddy
Burbank school board member Steve Ferguson
Past Burbank Mayor Jef Vander Borght
I humbly ask for your vote for Tamala Takahashi for Burbank City Council.
Visit TamalaTakahashi.com, facebook.com/tamala4burbank, twitter.com/tamalatakahashi, instagram.com/tamala.takahashi
TREASURER CANDIDATES’ STATEMENTS
After attending protest after rally after march, I realized that I needed a more direct way to help my community. I took a look at what local offices were up for election and realized I would be perfect for Burbank city treasurer. My engineering background has prepared me to quickly interpret complex numerical issues and devise creative, elegant solutions to them. My activism has given me a better awareness of the serious social justice issues our country is facing right now. It’s also shown me that the most effective change happens at the local level.
Burbank was struggling with budget deficits even before the pandemic produced extraordinary challenges for governments everywhere. Business-as-usual will be insufficient to protect this city and cannot ensure that Burbank will emerge as a thriving community on the other side. The next treasurer will need a scientific mindset and an incredible attention to detail. They’ll need to ask the right questions and leave no opportunity for improvement unexplored.
As treasurer, I will consider the entire community and steer policy toward decisions that support neighborhood values. We can never let the numbers become detached from the real people behind them.
I will also ensure the treasurer’s reports are clear and easy to read. Taxpayer money should be accounted for in a way that taxpayers can understand.
Finally, I will implement more options for the community to give constructive feedback about those reports. Good ideas come from people who care —everyone should have the tools to engage with their local government.
We’ve seen a lot of political change in the past decade, but never before have we been faced with a situation like this. An environment rapidly changing, an economy rapidly shrinking, and a presidential administration that doesn’t care who lives and who dies. Now, more than ever, community must be forefront. We have to care for our neighbors. We have to have to steer the ship. Burbank needs a steady hand on the till, one that listens and responds to Burbank’s dynamic needs. That’s exactly what I’ll bring to the treasurer’s office.
As your current city treasurer, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve Burbank. My mission is to safeguard the city’s portfolio and generate investment returns to provide the services you deserve.
My 15 years of finance and strategy experience include working as a consultant for top management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, where I managed multimillion-dollar budgets for clients, and as an investment analyst for a New York City hedge fund with billions of dollars in assets under management. Despite the challenges we face today, over my tenure as city treasurer, I have drawn from my business and investment expertise to help Burbank achieve:
• A $10 million increase to our city’s investment market value from June 2019 to June 2020
• An increase to our portfolio’s fiscal year-to-date return, from 2.03% in June 2019 to 2.18% in June 2020
• Cost savings by streamlining operations and expanding electronic payments
I received my M.S. in financial engineering from Columbia University, a B.S. in management engineering, and a B.A. in economics. I am an active member of the Government Investment Officers Association, Government Finance Officers Association, California Municipal Treasurers Association and California Society of Municipal Finance Officers. I also serve on the city’s Audit and Retirement Plans Committees.
I proudly call Burbank home and live in Magnolia Park with my husband, Sean, and our three children, Elliot, Grant and Madeline. I have served on the Civic Pride Committee and the Burbank Moms Club.
With your vote, I will continue to ensure we have adequate funds so that our fiscal position supports:
• A balanced and responsible budget
• Programs for seniors and youth
• Services for small businesses
• Safe family neighborhoods
• Sustainable health and environmental initiatives
I would be honored to continue working hard on your behalf to keep our investments and programs safe, preserve and enhance our quality of life, and build a better Burbank.
For more information, please visit Palmer2020.com.
Endorsed by Burbank Mayor Sharon Springer, Vice Mayor Bob Frutos, Councilwoman Emily Gabel-Luddy, Councilman Timothy Murphy, Glendale City Treasurer Rafi Manoukian and Burbank Unified School District Board of Education President Armond Aghakhanian.
Darin Shea is an entrepreneur and former registered financial adviser for Morgan Stanley. Over his 30-plus year career, Darin successfully managed millions in assets at a Wall Street firm and most recently ran his own multimillion-dollar business for 20-plus years.
A proud 10-year resident of Burbank, Darin and his family love the small-town atmosphere and friendly residents. Darin volunteers in the community regularly. He co-leads a program that feeds the homeless and distributes needed pantry items at Emmanuel Church and is called the Lord’s Kitchen. He has also served countless hours over the last nine years with the Burbank High Vocal Music Association. He constantly invests in the community to make sure everyone has the opportunity to live into their fullest potential.
Darin and his wife, Kari, have four kids who have all attended Burbank High School; his youngest daughter will graduate in May 2022. His family also hosted a South Korean exchange student who lived with them during his junior year of high school and has since become their bonus child. He has lived with them and has been a part of their lives for nearly 12 years.
Asked why he wants to serve Burbank as treasurer, Darin said, “This community has been very good to our family. All of my children plan to be long-term residents here. I look at this as another meaningful opportunity to give back to this wonderful city we call home. I want to do my part to make sure Burbank continues to grow. Leaving it in a better financial position than it is today ensures a bright future for my children and everyone in the greater community.”
Darin’s degree in business/finance, Wall Street experience and practical skills in business make him the ideal candidate for Burbank city treasurer. The safekeeping of the city’s finances is of utmost importance. With his enthusiasm and your vote, Darin can be your champion in improving the financial health of the city of Burbank as your Burbank city treasurer. Find out more and show your support at shea4burbank.com.