As the city grapples with severe financial hurdles, Mayor Konstantine Anthony’s recent appearance at a Glendale Unified School District meeting to discuss LGBTQ+ curriculum has some community members questioning his priorities.
Governance or Grandstanding?
Mayor Anthony, who is also running for a seat on the county’s Board of Supervisors, asserted that parents opposing the inclusion of same-sex families in the curriculum might be uninformed. However, critics argue that this sidesteps the more pressing issue of parental rights in education.
It’s important to note that in Burbank, the Mayor is not directly elected by the populace. Rather, council members are elected who then elect one of their own to serve as Mayor—a process that has drawn criticism for its lack of direct democratic accountability.
Financial Red Flags
For fiscal year 2023-2024, Burbank’s budget stands at a staggering $848,341,610. Despite this hefty sum, the city’s sales tax has skyrocketed to 10.25%, a full percentage point higher than neighboring cities that manage with a 9.25% rate. Even more concerning are recent reports revealing that several city workers, bolstered by excessive overtime, are out-earning not just the city manager but even the Governor of California. See here for evidence of this. Burbank how has employees earning in excess of half a million dollars annually.
While Mayor Anthony has been vocal about social issues and openly discusses his experience as an autistic individual, some residents feel that he has not shown the same level of commitment to addressing the city’s financial challenges. The seeming negligence toward fiscal responsibility has led to accusations that elected officials are undermining both the city’s economic health and the dignity of their office. Anthony has refused to provide the public with evidence of his autism diagnosis, and his apparent girlfriend, Margo Rowder, has in the past confirmed it was self-diagnosed in her comments on NextDoor. Rowder allegedly attacks anyone who questions the self-diagnosis of autism, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Mayor Anthony attributes public concern over LGBTQ+ issues to “misinformation,” yet has participated in public events that some citizens feel are not befitting the stature of a Mayor.
“In a time when residents are burdened by high taxes and dubious city worker practices, we expect our officials to focus on sound fiscal management,” says John Doe, a long-time Burbank resident. “Social issues have their place, but they shouldn’t divert attention from the city’s immediate financial challenges.”
A Call for Focus
While Mayor Anthony aims to make his term an example for supporting neurodivergent individuals, critics argue that the primary role of a Mayor should be efficient and responsible governance, particularly when the city is facing economic strain. Many claim his autism self-diagnosis is a form of stolen valor.
As Burbank residents deal with rising taxes and economic uncertainties, the question remains: Should social issues be prioritized over fiscal responsibility? The consensus among many seems to be that while social discussions are important, they should not overshadow the immediate need for prudent financial oversight. Should our mayor sit for video-taped spankings from “drag queens”?