Brown stays on airport board

first_imgThe judge said Brown’s comments brought balance to an emotional case related to a gang accused in the slaying of Burbank police Officer Matthew Pavelka. “I find the comments very offensive and upsetting,” said Burbank police Detective Michael Pavelka, Matthew Pavelka’s father. “In light of what happened, I can’t conceive how Mr. Brown could say anything positive on behalf of Mr. Schaffer. It’s something I live with every day – the loss of my son.” The rookie officer was killed in a 2003 shootout with suspected Vineland Boys members. Brown, a 41-year veteran of the department who was appointed in 2001 to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority board, said he returned a phone call from a probation officer regarding Schaffer’s sentencing. In a March 2 letter to the council, he said he didn’t ask for leniency for Schaffer, but rather answered questions about how he knew Schaffer and for how long, including his past involvement in local charities. “I told what I knew of him,” wrote Brown, whose term will expire in June. “I told the truth.” Ramos said that, as a public figure, Brown should have watched his words more carefully. “I know, as appointed or elected officials, all of our words, private and personal, are subject to scrutiny,” she said. Still, Councilmen Jef Vander Borght and David Golonski said Brown shouldn’t be dismissed for voicing an opinion that might be unpopular. “I think he said what he believed was truthful, and has a right to do that, no matter how much we don’t like it,” Golonski said. Brown knew Schaffer, a Glendale businessman who served on the Glendale Water and Power Commission, for at least five years. He had ties with former Burbank Councilwoman Stacey Murphy, Schaffer’s then-girlfriend, who was convicted in the Vineland Boys probe on drug and child-endangerment charges. eugene.tong@dailynews.com (818) 546-3304160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BURBANK – Bob Hope Airport Commissioner Don Brown has won a reprieve from potential dismissal after speaking on behalf of a friend convicted in the Vineland Boys probe. Brown, a retired Burbank Police Department lieutenant, made comments to a probation officer that helped secure a reduced sentence for Scott Schaffer, a former City Hall insider convicted of trading guns for cocaine with members of the Sun Valley-based gang. The police rank and file and City Councilwoman Marsha Ramos have pressed for Brown’s removal for weeks, but after testimony Tuesday night from both critics and supporters, several council members declined calls for a formal dismissal hearing. Instead, the panel ordered the city attorney to try to obtain Schaffer’s pre-sentencing report, which is under seal. Mayor Todd Campbell said he had hoped to question Brown, who did not appear at Tuesday’s meeting. “I would like to have a hearing that actually gets to the bottom of this,” he said. But Lt. Pat Lynch of the Burbank Police Officers Association said he was disappointed by the decision. While the pre-sentencing report may end speculation over what Brown actually said, it won’t change Schaffer’s sentence, and it leaves the commissioner overseeing an airport near Vineland Boys territory. Schaffer, 53, was sentenced Feb. 12 to 13 months in federal prison after pleading guilty in 2005 to a charge of using a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. Prosecutors had sought a 21-month sentence. Calls for Brown’s ouster came after U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter said he gave Schaffer a lighter sentence in part because of a “glowing recommendation” from the airport commissioner. last_img read more