Carmenita Helligar

Why are you running for City Council?

I have volunteered in different ways for the city of Burbank and I have found that nothing is changing systemically in our city. Our city needs people that will not continue to face new issues in the same way as they have always

What will you add to City Council that is needed?

I feel I would add diversity, innovation, leadership and collaboration

Gun Stores

Burbank is currently #2 in the US in the number of gun stores per capita. Residents are demanding that action be taken to reduce the number of gun stores here. What is your stance on the number of gun stores in Burbank? If you think there are too many, and if so, what actions will you take to reduce the number of gun stores? If you disagree that the number is too high, what action will you take to address residents’ concerns about public safety? Would you support a City excise tax on guns and ammunition?
There are too many gun stores in Burbank. You don't have 14 gun stores unless the system is set up that way. There is no way a beautiful city has Disney, Cartoon Network, Warner Brothers and 14 guns stores unless our city municipal codes are set up for both industries to thrive. None of this is happenstance. Everything in our city is create by the people put in power and who those people empower in our city staff. I would support the moratorium that is place now. Then pass new zoning laws that only allows gun shops in industrial areas and non residential areas. I certainly would support a City excise tax. If our hotels pay a special tax then gun shops should have a special tax.

Council Influencers

What Burbank organizations (Corporations, nonprofits, etc.) do you see as playing an influential role in Council decision-making? What specifically do you feel these organizations contribute to Council decisions that is productive? not productive? Please give some examples. If elected, what Burbank community organizations will you see as influencers in regard to your decisions as a council member and why?

I think the main influential corporations and non profits that influence our city council decisions would be the BTAC, FSA, Boys and Girls Club, Chamber of Commerce.

What's not productive is that once a nonprofit is established I think the city council does not take the lead or they think the problem is automatically solved because we have a non profit for it and they lean on certain non profits as a crutch instead of having their own internal programs. And to that fact I think it is hard for a non profit that is new and  innovative to be included in part of the City Council  decisions. What I think is productive is that is that the non profits usually have a feel for what their community members need so they are providing a key service to community members and they have hands on experience in the process of helping community members in their special way.

Pandemic Response and Planning

Critique the response of Burbank elected officials and Staff to the Covid pandemic starting in March 2020 to the present. What do you think worked best for the community and what needs to be improved? Do you support the City creating a formal Pandemic Response Plan for future contagions? What factors do you feel are crucial to be incorporated in a comprehensive plan?
Burbank's response to covid was lacking in so many ways from March 2020. We have not had a correct response to protect Burbank residents. We should have done better. We should have implemented rules and ways to check on the most vulnerable. We definitely should have implemented a data system and testing services even if it was housed at 1 of our schools since schools were closed and everyone knows where to meet. Mask mandates should have been implemented across the board so the business would not have to fight with residents. We definitely need a comprehensive pandemic response plan. What covid has brought to light is that pandemics are here to stay and this is just the first of many. Burbank needs to incorporate contacting residents right away and also experts who are the experts that can come in once we contact them to guide us. We need to set up meeting places for residents to get help to get information. We also need to implement reverse 911 dialing for our most vulnerable who are not on social media and we need to have on our government website and channel the plan in it’s entirety that includes all the steps along side emergency numbers.


If elected, what will you change in regard to the actions the city has taken to obtain additional funding for homelessness services such as the MHET Team, housing and other necessities?
Do you think the homeless in Burbank are getting the services they need? If so, what are those services? If not, what more is needed?
Describe what actions your would take to help the most vulnerable homeless, such as teenagers, LBGTQIA, substance abusers, domestic violence survivors and those needing mental health services.

I from the outside looking in don't think that they're getting the services they need. I don't think that the city has a plan that's working that can help people that are homeless with their mental health needs or if they have a substance abuse problem, or domestic violence survivors. I do not think that the city has the correct services for that and I'm not even sure what programs we have for teens who are homeless. Or students who are in Foster care and about to “age out” of foster care.

A starting point as a city council member is I would want to go view and visit the different foundations that are getting it right and see how to implement right away the right steps to provide services protection for our most vulnerable homeless.

Public Transportation

Do you support the creation of a public transportation system for Burbank residents that would be focused on transporting residents throughout Burbank only? If so, why and if not, why not? What incentives would you support to promote this public transportation use by Burbank residents that is not limited to being part of residents’ commutes?
I do support the creation of a public transportation system. What some people don't realize is that pre pandemic Burbank grows an extra 100K people Monday through Friday because of the studios and businesses. I think that Burbank needs to with come up with a shuttle system so it can go to each studio and bring them into our city for food and shopping so our small businesses are supported and then in a timely matter take them back to the studios. That way we wouldn't have as much traffic in Burbank but our small businesses will be fully supported. Burbank also needs to have a system where we can get in and around the city easily. We should be able to easily run our errands. So I definitely support a public transportation system for Burbank residents.

Affordable Housing

What additional steps would you take to expand access to affordable housing in Burbank?
What has not been done by City Council that you see as helping to solve the housing crisis and comply with the State mandate to build more housing?

Burbank needs to expand access to affordable housing A a few steps I think that we need would be to have 6 approved plans for ADU units that will help increase our housing units. I think that Burbank needs to find a way to build more single family homes and come up with rent to own programs. The new library that will be built is going to include housing. Some of the apartments should be subsidized for our teachers, nurses, fire and police. We need to focus on any and all land that is available and survey and grade it to build homes.

Mental Health in the Community

The pandemic and economic crisis have taken an emotional and mental toll on our residents. While there are teen programs as part of BUSD for mental health support, there are no programs for adults in Burbank that allow that type of access to help. Do you think that City Council should take action on finding ways to provide this access? If so, what is your plan for assisting residents who are mentally and emotionally struggling?
I definitely feel city council should take action and find ways to provide access cities around us. Glendale has their own mental health facility that's on the sliding scale so some of their services are free. North Hollywood has the same yet Burbank does not so our city council needs to find a way to fund and have their own city program. Like I said earlier pandemics are here to stay and the different traumas are here to stay and we need to provide mental health services for our residents. I think Burbank should also implement a phone number that is accessible to residents where they can speak to someone.

Water Use

What plan would you implement to increase public awareness of our water crisis and effectively decrease public consumption of water by residents and businesses?
What changes can be made to decrease water consumption by Burbank City agencies?

Burbank does not have its own source of water, so we're going to have to make people more aware either on our channel and mentioned throughout our city council meetings. We should be working with our school system to let children know that we they can let their families know and also we need to have incentive programs to get people to change out their lawns so we are not losing water on watering grass, for a “look” and not sustainability. Burbank does need to offer 3 or 4 different plans that includes a list of different types of native plants and incentivized them to change out their lawns. Burbank also needs to implement a gray water system that way we can recycle and clean gray water and we are not losing as much water.

Housing Development

Describe what you see as the ideal housing development project for Burbank – what would be included, excluded, emphasized and successful.
I think the ideal development project for Burbank would be for them to grade and scale land that we own as a city and have mixed use not just apartments but some sort of home ownership. Whether it is condos, single family houses, and really put forth a housing development project where needs are met. Within the radius of your home it should have stores and restaurants.

Business Development

How do you plan to focus beneficial development on under served areas and neighborhoods in Burbank to revitalize those business districts? Examples are Burbank Blvd., Olive, and Victory.

Small businesses in Burbank are still struggling. Describe your plan of action that would help these locally owned businesses survive the present challenges and build a stable future

Burbank has not treated every neighborhood fairly when it comes to resources and money. The city needs to look at those areas Burbank needs to create a pipeline of new businesses when they are applying for permits. Our permit office should talk about the different neighborhoods and find out what the residents in those neighborhoods need. And help small business owners open businesses there more easily than what is happening now. Again Burbank needs to apply for grants from our federal government to help our small businesses. Burbank needs to put money into marketing especially for our small businesses and have a way for people to learn about each small business. I mentioned earlier about Burbank's growth every week we need to implement the shuttles and have stops in front of key stores in blocks to help our small businesses bring in revenue.


In regard to Affordable Housing, please also address apartments and other multi-use developments and describe how these would be integrated into your housing plan. Please also address the issue of housing density and how concerns about density should be addressed in Burbank.

Issue of housing density usually shows up in water needs, traffic, and resources around housing developments ie. shopping and restaurants. The state Assembly’s AB-2011 and the Senate’s SB-6 will allow the development of new housing at underutilized commercial and retail spaces such as largely vacant strip malls. In Burbank we have huge vacant commercial buildings that can be developed using these Bills. Kmart, Fry’s and the old Ikea building to mention a few. Burbank needs to simultaneously work on our water issues. I’ve stated in my answers a plan on what I think is a start. Traffic will add to a density issue, unless we create a transportation system for Burbank residents. Burbank needs to follow the National League of Cities in developing a “15 minute cites” where their residents needs are meet within 15 minutes of walking or biking. So any new development should include shopping, restaurants and other needs.

Can you describe your actions in Burbank to benefit the community, specifically, what actions have you taken and results produced to address the many problems that affect Burbank’s marginalized communities?

I am the secretary on the Board of Library Trustees for the city of Burbank. There I have helped them change the library imagery to be more inclusive around the library. I sit on the board of Elevate Burbank where we promote cultural diversity through events, engagement, and partnerships with the Burbank community. I helped to plan and implement our first Multi Cultural Festival. We will continue to plan and implement diverse events in Burbank.

I am a co-founder of a non profit The Destiny Education Project that works to improve Diversity Equity and Inclusion in our schools. The Destiny Education Project is youth lead. We have our Youth Outreach coordinator, our Youth Leadership Outreach coordinator and our Youth Queer Allyship coordinator. DEP has worked hard to update the curriculum in BUSD. We have donated thousands of dollars to purchase more diverse books. We have started a peer to peer program where our high schoolers go to the elementary schools and read diverse books in different languages. We have created a Bathroom Safety Initiative so our LGBTQIA students are safe in the bathroom and locker rooms on school campuses. And we are training teachers and staff on how to protect our students in those spaces. I created a business Local As Can BEE that helps small businesses survive the pandemic and position themselves to thrive after. We have a online marketplace where we market, advertise and fufill orders for small businesses. And will be launching our resource website for small businesses in the near future.

I sit on the Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee for the Burbank Unified School District where we focus on inclusive curriculum, mental health and equity of college classes for all students. There we have updated curriculum, put in place restorative practices and created hiring questions for new hires to answer and make sure that more BIPOC people are hired. I was apart of a two day conference were I spoke about DEI to help other school districts in the state of California bring a more robus DEI progam to their districts. I work with Burbank Police Department to give a voice to marginalized residents. Sat down with our Police Chief to update 911 dispatch enabling them to removed some of the “Bias By Proxy that effects marginalized people. I’ve sat with many officers to mend the wounds between
BIPOC residents and our officers.

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