Scattered thoughts from a wandering mind…
One in, one out: We did exclusive, video interviews for BurbankNBeyond.com Friday night with Councilman Gary Bric and Mayor Anja Reinke, whose terms are now coming up on the City Council, to get their future plans on running for office again. Bric announced that he had just picked up his papers to run again, while Reinke said she will be leaving public office.
When asked for her reason not to return, Reinke stressed that the main reason was just the time involved in being on the council. It is a job that people think is a one-night-a-week gig where you hold a meeting and run city business.
In reality, especially when you rotate to the mayor position, it is a job that takes up to 30 hours a week, when you mix in all of the events, tributes, ribbon cuttings and special closed-session meetings that sometimes take hours. Add to that late Tuesday nights, and it makes for an early Wednesday morning when you have a professional life, as Reinke does being a full-time practicing lawyer.
While she has not said it publicly, I think some of the reason also lies in the negativity that goes along with public office. As a council member, you are bombarded each week by a few people who verbally attack you in oral communications or on blogs, then go on their way. Until you are actually in that position, it is hard to tell how much of a toil it is, especially when they run for council to not just be a politician, but because they really want to serve the city that they live in.
Reinke has left a positive mark, helping to establish the Cultural Arts Commission, which she vows to stay involved with after she leaves office.
Bric's decision to seek re-election came down to two important factors: The No. 1 and most important was his wife Shelly's endorsement to run again. On this Friday night, when most of us were getting ready for bed, Shelly was inside their restaurant helping to serve food while the councilman was out in the rain helping to park cars at the place he owns.
Second, Bric feels strongly about some of the projects and issues that came around during his first term, and he wants to see them through. Police issues came to public light during his tenure as mayor, and he wants to see the entire process through.
He also is excited about the regional transit center being built at the airport and is extremely concerned about the local economy and the budget for the next few years. He said he wants to make sure that the city puts some money away, with projections of up to $10 million in the red in the next several years.
Besides Bric, other frontrunners include Burbank Police Commissioner Robert Frutos and Planning Board member Emily Gabel-Luddy. One thing is for sure: There are some tough times ahead for council members, and it can be a thankless job at times.
Giving Thanks: And since it is Thanksgiving tomorrow, there are several things I would like to give my thanks to (besides family and personal friends and all that usual stuff).
I'm thankful for the teacakes at Martino's Bakery (I have been in love with those things since my first field trip to their massive plant at Alameda and Main); to the Coral Café for being open 24 hours — it is always a friendly place to go anytime of the night; the two Alta Dena Dairies in Burbank — where else can you get that great Alta Dena Egg Nog but at a throwback Alta Dena Dairy?
I'm also thankful for Larry's Chili Dogs — yes, I know the sign says dogs but it is the best chili cheeseburger in the valley. Just tell the owner, John, that you want it Coach Sherwood style. It may cost a little extra, but it will draw you back over and over. And don't forget to get your fries well done! Also, for Smoke House garlic bread, enough said on that one.
I'm thankful to live in a city that despite recent problems, still has a top-notch police department, an excellent fire department and city employees who take pride in their jobs and keep this city and its streets clean. I'm thankful for a City Council, city manager, and department heads who are approachable and do not hide; for teachers who did what it took to save jobs, yet always put Burbank youth first.
I'm thankful to be coaching ball again — Bob Hart and his baseball family extended their hearts and dedication to me, and I'm thrilled to be there.
I'm thankful that you are still reading this column. I'm not sure if my rants and raves mean anything to anyone else but me, but it is sure a blast to have a forum to be heard.
CRAIG SHERWOOD is the executive editor of BurbankNBeyond.com and a baseball coach at Burbank High School. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.