Saying it was a dream he has held since he was 16, Larry Zarian on Tuesday became the first Glendale mayor of Armenian heritage, a symbol of the large and growing Armenian population in the city.
Zarian, 48, a real estate investor who has been a council member since 1983, was unanimously elected by the five-member council to the largely ceremonial post he will hold for the next year.
Outgoing Mayor Jerold F. Milner jokingly placed a red velvet crown trimmed in gold and silver cardboard atop Zarian’s head as the new mayor’s mother, three sons and cousins watched.
“This is a special day for me, a dream come true,” said Zarian. “It is the kind of day everyone sometime in their lifetime wants to achieve.”
An estimated 18,000 to 20,000 Armenians, or about 12% of the population, live in the Glendale area.
Zarian was born in Massachusetts to immigrant parents. He studied political science at Glendale College and UCLA and has lived in Glendale 33 years.
Before becoming mayor, Zarian stepped down as chairman of the Glendale Redevelopment Agency, composed of the five council members. The chairman traditionally resigns at the end of one year to rotate the post among the council members. Councilwoman Ginger Bremberg was unanimously elected to lead the redevelopment agency, with Councilman Carl Raggio, the newest member elected last year, as vice chairman.