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Judge Finds Officials Broke Law by Sending Mailer

August 10, 2000

BURBANK — Six current and former Burbank City Council members violated state law by using public funds to mail fliers on the Burbank Airport expansion issue to Glendale residents, an administrative law judge has concluded.

In a decision released Wednesday, Jaime Rene Roman said Burbank officials violated the state Political Reform Act when they sent the mailer in an effort to persuade Glendale residents to end a stalemate between the city of Burbank and the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority.

The mailing cost $21,000 and was sent to 33,000 Glendale residents.

The state Fair Political Practices Commission is scheduled to review Roman's opinion Friday. It could approve, reject or draft a new decision, said Sigrid Bathen, a commission spokeswoman. If it approves, the commission will determine the amount of any fine at its Aug. 11 meeting.

Mayor Bill Wiggins, Vice Mayor Bob Kramer, Councilman Dave Golonski, Councilwoman Susan Spanos, Councilwoman Stacey Murphy and former Councilman Ted McConkey signed their names to a mailer that went to residents living outside their jurisdictions, Roman wrote.

The mailer urged residents to put pressure on their elected officials to meet with the city of Burbank to resolve the airport expansion dispute.

Burbank officials on Wednesday strongly rejected the draft decision's conclusion.

"We disagree that sending a mailer outside the city limits is a violation of the law," said Burbank City Atty. Dennis Barlow. "We think that the commission has gone too far in prohibiting us from mailing information to neighboring cities."

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