HomeCity Government NewsBurbank Pulls Cease-Fire Talks From Council Agenda

Burbank Pulls Cease-Fire Talks From Council Agenda

The Burbank City Council reversed course on a discussion that could have kick-started a city-backed call to end violence in Gaza.

The council was scheduled to hear a report on city-level efforts to encourage a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, but the agenda item was removed following concerns from Councilman Konstantine Anthony and city leaders that the item could bring conflict to the city.

Cities such as Alhambra, Bell, Cudahy, Long Beach and Pasadena have already called for their own cease-fire resolutions to try to end conflict in the war-torn enclave.

Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is in its eighth month, following an Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel by the Palestinian militant group Hamas. About 1,200 civilians were killed and about 240 hostages taken in that attack, according to news reports. Since then, Israel has carried out a military campaign in Gaza; the death toll there now reportedly exceeds 35,000. The International Court of Justice was expected to order a cease-fire in the region as journalists inside the Gazan city of Rafah report escalating civilian deaths.

Pro-Palestinian protests outside Rep. Adam Schiff’s office near City Hall have entered their 13th consecutive week.

After a flood of speakers called on Burbank to join more than 100 U.S. cities that have already issued resolutions, protesters from Burbank for a Free Palestine succeeded in March in getting the City Council to add a discussion on the cease-fire resolution to the agenda.

But after calling for the item in March, Anthony pulled the resolution from the council’s docket Tuesday.

Residents and protesters were dismayed to see the item missing from the May 21 agenda, when it was scheduled to be discussed.

“I was extremely disappointed to find that this agenda item has been removed,” said Caleb Carr, a Burbank resident. “Israel has now killed at least 35,000 Palestinians since Oct. 7, over half of whom are women and children.”

Anthony explained the reversal Tuesday, saying that any councilmember who puts an agenda item forward has the authority to remove it, delay it or change its timing.

“Personally, I attended a number of encampments around the county,” Anthony said. “After seeing some of the dangers that were posed, I, out of an abundance of caution, spoke with staff and decided to remove an item from tonight’s agenda.”

According to Anthony, City Manager Justin Hess and Police Chief Michael Albanese discussed potential safety concerns related to the agenda item. Drawing on news from university encampment protests — which saw clashes between Zionists and pro-Palestinian protesters at UCLA and other universities — the two decided that such a clash could make its way to Burbank.

Protesters rally outside Rep. Adam Schiff’s office in Burbank. The protests entered their 13th consecutive week Wednesday.

Apparently seeking to avoid conflict, the two then met with Anthony to discuss the item, the councilman said in an interview Thursday.

“We hadn’t heard any really scary [threats], but there was some chatter,” Anthony said. “And this was directly after we saw some actual violence happening in other locations. So I decided, let’s pull it back for right now. I can always bring it back at a later date, wait for things to calm down and go from there.”

Anthony also drew attention to “credible threats” that took place last year over a separate issue. In the interview with the Leader, he said he was referring to the bomb threats he, City Hall and the Leader received after a video was leaked depicting a drag queen spanking Anthony with a paddle as a joke during a “drag bingo” fundraising event in Santa Clarita.

“That is part of where I was coming from with that decision,” he said, adding that city staff had taken the brunt of last year’s incident. “I don’t want to put something before the working staff that is going to cause them not to appreciate their jobs.”

First published in the May 25 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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