HomeCommunity NewsDavid Laurell: Burbank Counts Down to Tree Lighting

David Laurell: Burbank Counts Down to Tree Lighting

As Konstantine Anthony’s mayoral term nears its end, the city’s leader reflects on his time serving the community.

“It goes by so quickly, doesn’t it?” Anthony was asked of his mayoral term as he prepared to step out of the City Hall rotunda for the lighting of the city’s official tree last Saturday evening.

“Are you kidding?” the mayor shot back with a laugh. “It was the longest year of my life!”

Along with Anthony, there are only 22 former Burbank mayors alive today who understand just how long a contentious meeting or wrestling with a difficult decision feels during the 365 days in which one occupies the middle seat in Burbank’s Council chambers and presides over the city’s governing body.

The 22 members of that exclusive Burbank clique will soon have another member as it is expected the gavel will be turned over to Vice Mayor Nick Schultz on Dec. 18. By the end of that day Schultz will also begin to understand just how long a year can be, for both the mayor and their family members.

A mayor’s year feels long because the job requires 24/7 availability. Along with pouring over the Council meeting agenda, which can be equivalent to reading Barbra Streisand’s recently released 970-page memoir every week, there is always another call, another meeting, another ceremony, or unexpected issue to deal with.

That time commitment put in by the mayor and Council members, most of whom juggle their civic duties with personal employment, is something that also impacts their families.

“We all [Council members] put in a lot of time throughout the year in our work on behalf of the citizens of Burbank,” said Anthony. “But tonight, as we light the city’s tree, we put that aside and get to step back and enjoy the evening along with the community and our families.”

The city’s tree is now glowing thanks to Vice Mayor Nick Schultz and Councilwomen Nikki Pérez, Tamala Takahashi and Zizette Mullins throwing the switch.

Prior to the ceremony, all five Burbank Council members — Anthony, Schultz, Nikki Pérez, Tamala Takahashi and Zizette Mullins — gathered around the rotunda’s Christmas tree and menorah to greet one another’s family members along with Marisa Garcia, the director of the Parks and Recreation Department, state Sens. Anthony Portantino and Caroline Menjivar, and City Clerk Kimberley Clark.

Once out on the steps of City Hall the elected officials and their families joined in with the hundreds of residents who had gathered on Olive Avenue. Bathed in red and green lights and stars, the City Hall fountain and tower served as a colorful backdrop for performances by the kindergarten class of St. Robert Bellarmine School, a vocal chorale from St. Leon Armenian Cathedral, and dancers from GeneRaTion DCD.

The highlight of the evening was, of course, a visit from Old Saint Nick, who made a grand entrance riding atop the Burbank Fire Department’s Ladder Truck 11. Along with greeting Burbankers of all ages and being welcomed by Mayor Anthony, Santa also got his jolly ol’ groove on by performing a holiday rap before assisting in the countdown to the lighting of the tree.

The event, which was made possible with the assistance of the Burbank Police and Fire Departments, was staged by the Parks and Recreation Department staff under the direction of Recreation Services Manager Erin Barrows.

Vice Mayor Nick Schultz, his wife Allie Schultz, and children Ella and Aiden Schultz in his office just prior to last week’s tree lighting festivities.
Getting ready to meet Santa are Councilwoman Zizette Mullins with her husband Mike Mullins, daughter and son-in-law Jennifer and Matthew Tanios, and granddaughters Olivia and Alana Tanios.
Councilwoman Tamala Takahashi attended last week’s holiday festivities.
Councilwoman Nikki Pérez was joined by her brother Anthony Pérez, family friend Blake Dellinger, grandmother Lina Carpio, and parents Nora and Marvin Pérez.
Among the dignitaries in attendance for the tree lighting ceremony were state Sens. Anthony Portantino and Caroline Menjivar.
Izza Saad, who attends Edison Elementary School, entertained the crowd as a dancer from GeneRaTion DCD.
Santa took time off from his list-checking to make the trek from the North Pole to Burbank for the tree lighting ceremony.
Santa Claus and Mayor Konstantine Anthony joined forces to make sure Burbank’s official tree was dutifully lighted.

DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

First published in the December 9 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Most Popular

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=3]