Council is out of touch with reality

June 24, 2011

I read both of the above-the-fold articles on the front page of the June 11 issue of the Burbank Leader with a growing sense of disbelief over how much the Burbank City Council appears to be out of touch with reality in its desire to act with “fiscal responsibility.”

On the one hand, you have the City Council moving to outsource crossing guards (“City cuts back on crossing guards,” June 11) to a private company to save a mere $100,000. And on the other hand, you have the council deferring loan payments on $2.1 million, loaning another $1 million and setting aside $1 million more for future use to the struggling DeBell Golf Club (“Council OKs rescue of DeBell,” June 11).

Plain and simple: We need to keep our crossing guards as Burbank city employees. Cities should not try to balance their budgets on the backs of programs that ensure the safety of their citizens, especially those citizens who need protection the most, our children.


Those crossing guards are deployed at our schools. Our crossing guards protect our children and we entrust our children to them while they are being paid wages that they already cannot live on; many that I know of have second jobs. They need the health and pension benefits that come with being a city employee because their second-part time job offers none.

Do you think the city crossing guards will transfer over to the private company knowing they will lose those benefits? Unlikely. But if the City Council or interim Police Chief Scott LaChasse really thought this through, they would have asked All City Management how many of Altadena's and Pasadena's crossing guards accepted employment after those cities outsourced their crossing guards. How many remained employed with All City Management after one year?

I think it likely that we will lose a group of highly-trained individuals, only to have them replaced with the cheapest labor that could be found to bolster a company's profit margin. Safety is something you just have to pay for.

And when (rather than “if”) a child is injured or, worse, killed, that $100,000 in savings is gone if the city is found, even just one time, complicit in having undertrained and/or inexperienced crossing guards out on city streets, irrespective of who actually provides the crossing guards. So outsourcing this service won't necessarily protect the city from civil liability.

Where should the city be outsourcing? Well, DeBell Golf Club comes to mind.

Kelly Duenckel


More Caneday, less Golonski

I agree with everything Jim Carroll said in his letter, “Appreciative of Caneday's brilliance,” of June 18 about Patrick Caneday and his Small Wonders column.

It’s the first thing I read every Saturday, and I wish it was also in the Wednesday edition. I can’t get enough of his views on life and family. He writes things that evoke memories of times past and encourage contemplation of things present.

He has a genius for the human touch, and he sees the world in ways that we often overlook in our busy lives. That’s a valuable gift.

I was hoping he would be riding on the back of a convertible in Burbank on Parade. Can you arrange that for next year? I’d much rather see him than Councilman Dave Golonski.

Lori McCaffery


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