Field of candidates grows 6 months ahead of Glendale City Council election

In March, Glendale residents will have the opportunity to vote for candidates to fill three City Council seats that will be up for grabs. So far, at least six people have announced their intent to run, with several others considering it.
(Raul Roa / Glendale News-Press)

An election for three Glendale City Council seats set for March is heating up — even before candidates can officially throw their hats in the ring.

Those who want to join the race must file paperwork with the city that will become available starting on Nov. 12, according to City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian. Still, it hasn’t stopped a bevy of hopefuls from announcing their intentions early.

Two incumbents up for reelection, Paula Devine and Vartan Gharpetian, both announced on Aug. 29 they will be seeking to hold onto their positions. Also, a handful of familiar faces and newcomers have said they plan to vie for a spot on the dais.

“I have and will continue to have an open-door policy for every community member in our city,” said Gharpetian, first elected in 2015, in a statement. “I am looking forward to continuing my public service on the council to further improve the quality of life in Glendale.”

Devine, who also began her first term in 2015, made her announcement on Facebook. She said a website and more information would be forthcoming.

A third seat, currently held by Councilman Frank Quintero, will also be up for grabs. Quintero was appointed to fill the seat in June after then-Councilman Zareh Sinanyan stepped down to accept a position with the Armenian government.

Quintero, a former mayor and council member, did not respond to requests about his intentions to run or not. However, when he was appointed, several City Council members suggested they selected him because it was likely he would not run.

Kassakhian, first elected to his clerk position in 2005, said he will be running for a council seat, but declined to comment further. In 2016, he lost a bid for the state Assembly against Laura Friedman.

Dan Brotman, economics professor and co-founder of the Glendale Environmental Coalition, made his intentions clear all the way back in July when he declared his forthcoming candidacy during a rally concerning the Grayson Power Plant in front of City Hall.

“I’d never been involved with political action before. I never really wanted to have to be. This just came about, and it has been incredibly rewarding.” Brotman said at the time of successfully pressuring the city to adopt a greener plan for rebuilding its power plant.

“I will apply the same mix of unconventional thinking, reasoned analysis and organizational skills to the many other challenges we face,” including housing affordability, homelessness, traffic congestion and safe streets, he said in a recent follow-up statement.

By the end of August, attorney and former Glendale Planning Commissioner Leonard Manoukian, declared his intent to run via a news release.

An AYSO board member who is active in other youth and community groups, Manoukian said he would improve transparency and quality of life in the city.

“My experience has given me a greater sense of what our city needs and increased my desire to serve it,” he said in the same news release. “I hope to introduce myself to as many Glendale residents as possible during this campaign so that we can share our ideas, vision and plans for our great city.”

After an unsuccessful bid for City Council in 2017, former CPA Susan Wolfson said she’s going to be hitting the campaign trail again, although she hasn’t publicly announced her intentions yet.

Drawing on her background in finance, Wolfson said she would improve the city’s handling of financial information, including offering supplemental reports to the financial report and budget. She added that she would also focus on environmental sustainability, safety and community engagement.

“My experience has shown me that Glendale residents agree with each other more often than not; we all love the small-town feeling in Glendale — that’s why we chose to live here,” said Wolfson, long active with the Rossmoyne-Mountain Homeowners Assn. and Glendale Historical Society, in a statement.

“As a council member, I would always put the interests of Glendale residents above all other interests and work diligently to protect the cooperative community spirit of Glendale,” she added.

Others are still deciding whether or not to enter the race.

Elen Asatryan, who has worked on several City Council campaigns, said she’ll make a decision once she sees the full list of candidates.

“I’d like to see a woman on the ballot,” said Asatryan, who runs a political-consulting firm. “I’ll see how the field plays.”

Grant Michals, who unsuccessfully ran for a seat in 2017, said he’s also still making up his mind. Michals has sat on the city’s parks and public safety commissions and is active in several neighborhood organizations.

Once candidates “pull papers” in November, the city will verify applicants and post a list of official candidates by early December, Kassakhian said. The election will be held March 3.

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