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Monday, April 14, 2014

Local Student Survives Bus Crash In NorCal

A female student from Burroughs was on the bus that collided with a FedEx truck in NorCal last week, which killed ten people. 

According to a BUSD spokesperson, she's doing fine physically, but is shaken up of course.

Please keep her and all the students in your prayers.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Leland Yee Arrest Shows Hypocrisy Alive And Well

Local Dems and heck, anyone reading the papers statewide, have been totally and amazingly disappointed with the recent indictment of State Senator Leland Yee, a noted gun control and "transparency" proponent, on charges that included gun running and basically leading a double life.

Yee worked hard to beef up gun control in California, and now people are wondering quite openly whether he did so just to drive up the cost of black-market guns!!!  Such price spikes in the cost of guns were an everpresent byproduct of his many measures. 

Yee authored dozens of gun control bills over the years, but perhaps none was more controversial than SB 249, which Yee co-authored with local term limited former Assemblymember Anthony Portantino. 

That bill would have defined certain additional types of rifles as assault weapons, and quickly drove up the cost of affected rifles by as much as fourfold.  The hypocrisy of the bill author has been noted by friends and foes alike, since these weapons were precisely the type that Yee is accused of offering to traffic in!

Yee was also a "proponent of open government and transparency."  (Side note: anyone who doesn't note what a cliche that has become is totally a fool). 

Until his arrest, Yee was receiving awards from government transparency advocates. 

For example, in 2012, Leland Yee teamed up with Anthony Portantino again to crack down on what they alleged to be secret compensation at Cal State Schools.  Again, the hypocrisy was stunning.  Yee himself was alleged to be himself leading a double life.

In retrospect, Yee had some very poor ideas, and only some of the press noted the hypocrisy and lack of qualifications at the time. 

Much kudos to the good folks over at CALBUZZ, who on another measure that Yee worked on, to remove the independence of the UC System(!!!), CalBuzz wrote:

Yee — whose biggest contribution to date to the cause of higher education has been railing against the “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” video game — has now proposed a constitutional amendment to end the system of independent governance of the UC system, putting the 10 campuses in the grubby hands of the Legislature.

He’s rounded up a batch of second-rate hacks to join him in this crackpot crusade, including L.A. Democrat Anthony Portantino – a graduate of mighty Albright College whose greatest lifetime achievement was serving as Production Director for NBC’s “Grizzly Adams”; Brian Nestande — a Riverside County Rep who coasted into politics on his daddy’s coattails and made his bones helping to elect political giants like Michael Huffington and the late Sonny Bono; and Roy Ashburn, the Bakersfield GOPer who’s one step ahead of the posse seeking to recall him from office.

Kudos to those, like CalBuzz, who didn't fall for Yee's utterly hypocritical schtick. 

This just goes to show that the more a politician talks about "transparency" and "sunshine," the more they have to hide. 

More on that later!


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Political Happenings From Around The State

We activists are still aglow from the Demo Convention in Downtown LA.  No real surprises, unless you count Ted Lieu getting the party endorsement in his race to succeed Henry Waxman, or how much John Burton's neutrality declaration was really a declaration of non-neutrality.  More on that later.

Local remain outspoken in their calls to KISS when it comes to the Burbank Airport expansion.  Keep it simple, stupid.  Burbank "Bob Hope" is beloved by all because it is small and easy and homey.  Lose the simplicity, lose the convenience.  Lose that, piss off everyone.

People around the world keep up their speculation on "where in the world is Malaysian Air Flight 370?"  Apparently, it flew seven hours since it was last heard from.  What do you think this does to jet travel worldwide?

The Mega Millions Jackpot is up to around $400 million.  These big jackpots keep growing.  I'd settle for a mil or two, with better odds.

Meanwhile, back in town, a Burbank high rise sold for how much?  That's right, $109 million.  For the the nearly vacant Tower Burbank, a 32-story high rise at 3900 W. Alameda Ave., which had been largely occupied by Walt Disney Co. until 2013.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Battle Over Comfort Women Statue In Glendale

Certain Japanese conservatives are taking the offensive in the very local battle over World War II sex slaves — and it seems likely to do them more harm than good.

Some 300 lawmakers from around Japan have sent a petition to Glendale demanding the removal of a statue honoring women who were forced or coerced into working in brothels serving the Japanese military during World War II.
 
Supporters of the memorials say as many as 200,000 women from Korea and other Asian countries were forced to work as so-called "comfort women."  Glendale's memorial was built largely at the request of the area’s large Korean-American community.  It is a duplicate of a statue installed right outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul — one of many irritants to Japan–South Korea relations.

Simultaneously to the lawmakers' petition, a local group challenging the statue filed a lawsuit in federal court!   According to the suit, installing the statue “exceeds the power of Glendale, infringes upon the federal government’s power to exclusively conduct the foreign affairs of the United States and violates the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution.”

Good luck with that!  Trying to censor an expression of artistic speech in the USA.  The statue is not a law that provides rights or remedies, or even a local law that conflicts with US policy.  There is no US policy denying that Japanese soldiers during WWII used Korean women.

It would seem that these tactics come from a person or persons who don't understand the culture here.  They are likely to just draw more attention to the issue, and then lose.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

What Do Local City Officials Make?

A website has emerged, calling itself Transparent California.  While over here at the Triple B, we're usually very skeptical of politicians using the term "transparent," this website actually seems to live up to its name, likely because it doesn't come from a politician!  An organization, the California Public Policy Center, set up the site as a free public service.

The salaries and pensions of many government employees, at all levels of government except the federal, are listed there. 


Let's look at Burbank's highest earners of YOUR money.  In 2012, then City Manager Mike Flad was paid $359,000(!)  In 2013, Mark Scott was hired as the new city manager in Burbank at a salary reported to be just under $300k a year.

In the same year, City Attorney, Amy Albano, collected a base salary of $220k; additional bennies pushed her paycheck up to about an even three-hundy.  (In our opinion, she, along with many professionals and academics on the list, is/are worth every penny.  If someone like Albano were to work at a typical law firm, that figure could be 3x as large.  Note we don't feel this way about most!)

Let's do some research too, on our neighbor to the east, shall we?  How much, for example, is the volatile and temperamental Scott Ochoa, City Manager of Glendale, making?  According to sources, Glendale has refused to produce that data.  And the decision to refuse to produce it?  It was likely made by top management in the city.  That is, Scott Ochoa.  Hmm.

Will this be an issue in the coming council race?  We at the BBB imagine the Vanguardians (and even the most respected good-government groups) will have a field day.  Your thoughts?
The new website Transparent California is a real eye opener for taxpayers. The salaries and pensions of many of the city, county, and state employees in the Golden State for 2011 and 2012 are listed.  Some are not on the site for various reasons. Glendale, Newport Beach, Inglewood, and City of Industry are “refusing to produce” the required data, according to the site. Los Angeles, Commerce, and Claremont are among the cities alleged to be  ”stalling” in answering the request for this type of data.
Burbank complied with the request. In 2012, then Burbank City Manager, Mike Flad, whose base salary was $184,292.43  – was paid $359,005.40. Flad left the city in October of that year for a job in South Gate. In 2013, Mark Scott was hired as the new city manager in Burbank at a salary reported to be $298,000 a year.
In the same year, City Attorney, Amy Albano, collected a base salary of $220, 008.32; additional benefits and pay, pushed her paycheck up to $303,336.85. The General Manager of Burbank Water and Power, Ron Davis, received a salary and benefits package of $364,561.90.  The same information is available for 3,553 Burbank city employees.
Like other municipalities, a huge chunk of Burbank’s budget goes to pay for salaries and pensions of employees. Taxpayers foot the bill; therefore, should be able to see where their money is being spent and make comparisons with other cities. This site allows you to do that easily. It’s an independent source.
No longer will residents and officials (Burbank city council members included) have to rely solely on the stats and figures supplied by unions or government staff, when new positions are created, contracts negotiated, or salary and benefit hikes are discussed.
The California Public Policy Center and the Nevada Policy Research Institute set up the site as a public service. Mark Bucher, president of the California Public Policy Center, has a great post about the new website and how it shows hundreds of government employees in California are taking home hefty paychecks — some making over $400,000 a year. Read about it here.
- See more at: http://www.mediacitygroove.com/news-general-info/new-website-lists-salaries-city-county-state-employees#sthash.kJaivayM.dpuf
The new website Transparent California is a real eye opener for taxpayers. The salaries and pensions of many of the city, county, and state employees in the Golden State for 2011 and 2012 are listed.  Some are not on the site for various reasons. Glendale, Newport Beach, Inglewood, and City of Industry are “refusing to produce” the required data, according to the site. Los Angeles, Commerce, and Claremont are among the cities alleged to be  ”stalling” in answering the request for this type of data.
Burbank complied with the request. In 2012, then Burbank City Manager, Mike Flad, whose base salary was $184,292.43  – was paid $359,005.40. Flad left the city in October of that year for a job in South Gate. In 2013, Mark Scott was hired as the new city manager in Burbank at a salary reported to be $298,000 a year.
In the same year, City Attorney, Amy Albano, collected a base salary of $220, 008.32; additional benefits and pay, pushed her paycheck up to $303,336.85. The General Manager of Burbank Water and Power, Ron Davis, received a salary and benefits package of $364,561.90.  The same information is available for 3,553 Burbank city employees.
Like other municipalities, a huge chunk of Burbank’s budget goes to pay for salaries and pensions of employees. Taxpayers foot the bill; therefore, should be able to see where their money is being spent and make comparisons with other cities. This site allows you to do that easily. It’s an independent source.
No longer will residents and officials (Burbank city council members included) have to rely solely on the stats and figures supplied by unions or government staff, when new positions are created, contracts negotiated, or salary and benefit hikes are discussed.
The California Public Policy Center and the Nevada Policy Research Institute set up the site as a public service. Mark Bucher, president of the California Public Policy Center, has a great post about the new website and how it shows hundreds of government employees in California are taking home hefty paychecks — some making over $400,000 a year. Read about it here.
- See more at: http://www.mediacitygroove.com/news-general-info/new-website-lists-salaries-city-county-state-employees#sthash.kJaivayM.dpuf
The new website Transparent California is a real eye opener for taxpayers. The salaries and pensions of many of the city, county, and state employees in the Golden State for 2011 and 2012 are listed.  Some are not on the site for various reasons. Glendale, Newport Beach, Inglewood, and City of Industry are “refusing to produce” the required data, according to the site. Los Angeles, Commerce, and Claremont are among the cities alleged to be  ”stalling” in answering the request for this type of data.
Burbank complied with the request. In 2012, then Burbank City Manager, Mike Flad, whose base salary was $184,292.43  – was paid $359,005.40. Flad left the city in October of that year for a job in South Gate. In 2013, Mark Scott was hired as the new city manager in Burbank at a salary reported to be $298,000 a year.
In the same year, City Attorney, Amy Albano, collected a base salary of $220, 008.32; additional benefits and pay, pushed her paycheck up to $303,336.85. The General Manager of Burbank Water and Power, Ron Davis, received a salary and benefits package of $364,561.90.  The same information is available for 3,553 Burbank city employees.
Like other municipalities, a huge chunk of Burbank’s budget goes to pay for salaries and pensions of employees. Taxpayers foot the bill; therefore, should be able to see where their money is being spent and make comparisons with other cities. This site allows you to do that easily. It’s an independent source.
No longer will residents and officials (Burbank city council members included) have to rely solely on the stats and figures supplied by unions or government staff, when new positions are created, contracts negotiated, or salary and benefit hikes are discussed.
The California Public Policy Center and the Nevada Policy Research Institute set up the site as a public service. Mark Bucher, president of the California Public Policy Center, has a great post about the new website and how it shows hundreds of government employees in California are taking home hefty paychecks — some making over $400,000 a year. Read about it here.
- See more at: http://www.mediacitygroove.com/news-general-info/new-website-lists-salaries-city-county-state-employees#sthash.kJaivayM.dpufv
The new website Transparent California is a real eye opener for taxpayers. The salaries and pensions of many of the city, county, and state employees in the Golden State for 2011 and 2012 are listed.  Some are not on the site for various reasons. Glendale, Newport Beach, Inglewood, and City of Industry are “refusing to produce” the required data, according to the site. Los Angeles, Commerce, and Claremont are among the cities alleged to be  ”stalling” in answering the request for this type of data.
Burbank complied with the request. In 2012, then Burbank City Manager, Mike Flad, whose base salary was $184,292.43  – was paid $359,005.40. Flad left the city in October of that year for a job in South Gate. In 2013, Mark Scott was hired as the new city manager in Burbank at a salary reported to be $298,000 a year.
In the same year, City Attorney, Amy Albano, collected a base salary of $220, 008.32; additional benefits and pay, pushed her paycheck up to $303,336.85. The General Manager of Burbank Water and Power, Ron Davis, received a salary and benefits package of $364,561.90.  The same information is available for 3,553 Burbank city employees.
Like other municipalities, a huge chunk of Burbank’s budget goes to pay for salaries and pensions of employees. Taxpayers foot the bill; therefore, should be able to see where their money is being spent and make comparisons with other cities. This site allows you to do that easily. It’s an independent source.
No longer will residents and officials (Burbank city council members included) have to rely solely on the stats and figures supplied by unions or government staff, when new positions are created, contracts negotiated, or salary and benefit hikes are discussed.
The California Public Policy Center and the Nevada Policy Research Institute set up the site as a public service. Mark Bucher, president of the California Public Policy Center, has a great post about the new website and how it shows hundreds of government employees in California are taking home hefty paychecks — some making over $400,000 a year. Read about it here.
- See more at: http://www.mediacitygroove.com/news-general-info/new-website-lists-salaries-city-county-state-employees#sthash.V9s1EAqt.dpuf
The new website Transparent California is a real eye opener for taxpayers. The salaries and pensions of many of the city, county, and state employees in the Golden State for 2011 and 2012 are listed.  Some are not on the site for various reasons. Glendale, Newport Beach, Inglewood, and City of Industry are “refusing to produce” the required data, according to the site. Los Angeles, Commerce, and Claremont are among the cities alleged to be  ”stalling” in answering the request for this type of data.
Burbank complied with the request. In 2012, then Burbank City Manager, Mike Flad, whose base salary was $184,292.43  – was paid $359,005.40. Flad left the city in October of that year for a job in South Gate. In 2013, Mark Scott was hired as the new city manager in Burbank at a salary reported to be $298,000 a year.
In the same year, City Attorney, Amy Albano, collected a base salary of $220, 008.32; additional benefits and pay, pushed her paycheck up to $303,336.85. The General Manager of Burbank Water and Power, Ron Davis, received a salary and benefits package of $364,561.90.  The same information is available for 3,553 Burbank city employees.
Like other municipalities, a huge chunk of Burbank’s budget goes to pay for salaries and pensions of employees. Taxpayers foot the bill; therefore, should be able to see where their money is being spent and make comparisons with other cities. This site allows you to do that easily. It’s an independent source.
No longer will residents and officials (Burbank city council members included) have to rely solely on the stats and figures supplied by unions or government staff, when new positions are created, contracts negotiated, or salary and benefit hikes are discussed.
The California Public Policy Center and the Nevada Policy Research Institute set up the site as a public service. Mark Bucher, president of the California Public Policy Center, has a great post about the new website and how it shows hundreds of government employees in California are taking home hefty paychecks — some making over $400,000 a year. Read about it here.
- See more at: http://www.mediacitygroove.com/news-general-info/new-website-lists-salaries-city-county-state-employees#sthash.V9s1EAqt.dpuf

Friday, January 31, 2014

Waxman Retirement Triggers Political Earthquake

Democrats (and other readers): in case you've been in a cave somewhere, Congressman Henry Waxman is retiring.  As of post time, Senator Ted Lieu, former Councilmember Wendy Greuel, and motivational speaker Marianne Williamson are running.  Here's our handicap and notes.

This is a gutsy move for Ted Lieu, since the timing of his senatorial elections mean that he needs to give up his senate seat to run for Congress.  But, he's always seemed to be gearing up towards a Congressional run.  His resume is pretty targeted for the job.  He will be a strong fundraiser, but the question remains whether the Jewish community will united around another candidate.  We're not saying that's right, just that such thinking exists.

Wendy Greuel has also jumped in without hesitation, even though she doesn't currently reside in the district.  (Some people don't know that candidates for Congress need only live in the state they are trying to represent.)  (Yes, we know, Rod Wright is wishing that rule applied to state legislative seats too).  Wendy will be a formidable force: she's a woman, has a great base, and is beloved on the Westside.  The question remains whether bad feelings from the Mayor's race spill over, and also how she will be received in the South Bay.

Marianne Williamson is probably wondering how crazy her luck is, that before, she had to run against just Henry Waxman, and now she has all these other pols in the race.  Possible she is still a force, but she'll need to stop making the mistakes that neophytes often do in politics, and that means realizing that getting elected takes professionals who know what they're doing.

On the fence are several others:

Richard Bloom.  Running would also mean he'd have to relinquish the Assembly seat he just won, in a tough battle.  He has a strong base in Santa Monica.  Wait and see.

Debra Bowen.  The Secretary of State might decide to jump in, but she's already lost a Congressional seat in the area.  Wait and see.

Bob Blumenfield.  He's always had Congress in his sights, but it remains to be seen whether the old Waxman machine would unify behind him, and if that could overcome his lack of district ties.

Fran Pavley.  She's on a different 4-year cycle than Ted Lieu, so she would not have to give up her seat if she ran.  If she ran and WON though, it'd be interesting to see who decided to run for her seat.

Julia Brownley.  Dems have been raising lots for her because of her presumptive tough battle in a marginal district to the north.  But she controls her own bank account.  If she decides to run in Waxman's seat, she can take her bank account with her.

Ted Lieu's move triggers some dominoes.  Will Betsy Butler run for Lieu's senate seat, instead of doing battle for Steve Bradford's assembly seat?  Will Tory Osborn run for either the Senate or Assembly?  We even heard that Wally Knox is interested. 

A lot of talent in these parts, folks.




Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Three Burbank High Football Players Named All-CIF

Hometown football players had a banner year, so much so, that three have been named "All-CIF."

James Williams, a junior, earned his second All-CIF Southern Section Southeast Division offensive designation.
 
Two other Burbank High players got similar honors.  Wide receiver Oharjee Brown and defensive back Sabastian Santoro. 

It's a major accomplishment for Burbank High coach Hector Valencia.  Hector runs an amazing program over at Burbank High.

His hard work and the stellar team of course! was the reason why Burbank went 10-3 this year, to tie for second place and got to go the division semifinals for the first time in about 90 years.

Much respect to our hardworking local athletes.  Keep succeeding in both athletics and academics!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Much Ado About Council Seat in Neighboring Glendale

Two Glendale residents are working hard to [legally] unseat longtime Councilman Frank Quintero, who was appointed [back] on the Council after retiring, to fill the seat of Rafi Manoukian, who got elected Treasurer.

But the effort may soon be moot.

The Glendale News Press tells the story of the long, protracted legal saga.

With all the legal, court, and administrative drama unfolding, several questions are raised:

Number one: It's one thing to file a suit.  Just about anyone can do so, with a minimum of cost.  But with the recent legal maneuvering coming into the light of day here, it has become clear that this legal effort is costing [someone] a LOT of money.  So, one thing that has not been answered here is: who is funding all this? 

It looks like an effort designed simply and unidimensionally to embarrass Quintero.  So, who is funding it?

Our ambulance chasing friends [I mean, lawyers] tell us that no serious lawyer would think this has a chance of succeeding, for the simple fact that, by the time the challenges wend their way through the system, and it has been slow going!, the case will be MOOT. 

Quintero is stepping down just a few months from now, and a few months are nary a moment in the glacial pace of the modern California justice system.  There is a backstory here indeed.