Attending the joyous celebration at the Gordon Howard Museum complex, as well as touring comprehensively the many display rooms, along with dutifully reading the delightful prize-winning essays penned by young Burbankers on the topic of “Burbank 50 Years in the Future,” was a sobering experience. I was struck by the numerous references in those award-winning essays to robots. AI robots may not give a whiff about smog, shading street trees or flowers. Being children, these writers do not foresee the potential demotion of human beings like themselves into a group of creatures merely considered “pathfinders” by the future-dominant AI robots!
Less disputable, housing is an important social determinant of human health and neighborhoods are essential to the furtherance of every human’s happiness. With the now ever more obviousness of the nation’s 2023 economic troubles becoming visible in a physically degrading Burbank, it is odd that supposedly “concerned” elected City Councilmembers have not sought to invoke their PR-touted expertise in keeping our hometown lovable and livable … at least for the children.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is a phrase with a long-appreciated nugget of truth. Since its first broadcasting during 1968, the televised song “Beautiful Downtown Burbank” apparently traumatized Burbank’s laggardly ruling political-corporate class, so much so that, since 2008, it was adopted as a slogan by the Burbank Chamber of Commerce. Perhaps meant to be a kind of white advertisement noise cancelling that derogatory Hollywood tune?
Yet, still more neighborhood decline can be forecasted, if not predicted, by daily adult walking observations of our Burbank surroundings: distressed used and new car lots, vast underused falsely dubbed near-dead “iconic” shopping malls, homely new Council-authorized developments that may never actually be build such as the Equestrian District townhomes, due to the fast-unraveling economic base for the city of Burbank. Even the monumental and surely structurally impermanent Disney Company HQ may soon be no more just like so many other once-familiar past Burbank landmarks!
Would it not be wise of Burbank City Councilmembers to advance their social justice cause celebre of the currently approved version of the green agenda as well as its outdated fixation on “Burbank, Media Capital of the World” to improve the health and welfare of non-adult Burbankers by no longer molesting the neighborhood street trees and equestrians?
Richard B. Cathcart
First published in the December 2 print issue of the Burbank Leader.