We live, work and play in a wonderful community. This thought was brought home to me over the holidays when Burbank “adopted” more than 550 families for whom our community provided food for a holiday dinner and gifts for the whole family.

And this was but one example of our community at its best: other outstanding efforts to insure that everyone in our community shared in the gifts of the season included the Fire Department’s Spark of Love, the Burbank Police Officers Heroes and Helpers, the Bike Angels, the Salvation Army, our YMCA, Family Services, BTAC, Boys and Girls Club, Family Promise, BCR and the whole hearted participation of our community service clubs as well.

As we enter the New Year, we can see the signs of positive economic growth in Burbank and these signs of recovery are certainly good news but we must remember that not all members of our community are sharing in that recovery. As we move forward in 2014, we must all work to maintain the spirit of sharing that was so well demonstrated over the Christmas season.

In some communities that might be a serious challenge but I believe that the secret to the quality of life our community enjoys is the level of involvement and participation by Burbankers in the day to day life of our community.

I am particularly impressed by the use of technology to reach out to friends and neighbors in new and creative ways. In my neighborhood, I have seen the growth of the Neighborhood Network as a way to use the Internet as the communication link with folks on the next block. It’s the way we can talk to our neighbors “over the backyard fence” and improve and strengthen our sense of a cohesive neighborhood.

Finally, we, the City Council, need to learn from how our neighborhoods are working together. We need to make every effort to insure that council meetings are conducted in a manner that encourage our citizens to come to council, voice their opinions and play the active role that is essential to representative democracy.

And my commitment to you that I will pursue renewed civility in City Hall so that we all can focus on the matters at hand in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

In closing, I want to wish everyone a very safe and Happy New Year shared with your family, friends and neighbors.

Emily Gabel-Luddy
Burbank

Editor’s Note: Gabel-Luddy is the mayor of Burbank