The future of Burbank Airport, caught between increasing demand for air travel and neighborhood concerns over the noise that expansion would bring, will remain at center stage for both Glendale and Burbank.
But other issues will test political leadership in the two cities, from scandals in Burbank High School's football program to Glendale's plans for a new open-air marketplace and the arrival of DreamWorks SKG's animation studios.
The airport controversy will continue to challenge the ability of the cities to work in cooperation. Along with Pasadena, each has an equal say in airport management. Differences over how best to balance the need for a new terminal against the impact on nearby areas caused repeated clashes last year, although the new year begins with both sides seeking mediation.
In downtown Burbank, developers are expected to finalize plans for a large, affordable housing project with retail stores to be built on property near the Media City Center mall. The council recently approved the project, after critics argued that the city's redevelopment agency was offering developers too many benefits, and that apartments should not be built in a retail zone.
Plans for new, modern police stations will move forward in both cities. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 1996 on Burbank's new police/fire headquarters on Glenoaks Boulevard, while design work will begin on Glendale's proposed new $48-million police station and jail.
Glendale Redevelopment Agency officials say they expect a final agreement to be approved for development of DreamWorks SKG's animation studios, which could ultimately bring about 2,000 new jobs to the city. Redevelopment officials are also hoping to sign a final deal for development of Glendale Marketplace, a proposed open-air mall on Brand Boulevard that would be the city's first major retail development since the 1980s.
In addition, the agency may also consider an Arizona developer's proposal to build a massive entertainment-themed mall on several city blocks that the Glendale Galleria had also considered for an expansion.
After the failure of several bond issues, Burbank schools remain in need of extensive rehabilitation.
Burbank High School's football program, long a source of community pride, faces an uncertain future. School Board President Joe Hooven and other employees allegedly figure in recruiting scandals, and a school fund-raiser faces trial for allegedly luring a high school football player to her bed with promises of monetary contributions to the team.