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Glendale Unified, college elections will feature small races

Photo Gallery: Crowds come out to vote in Glendale
All voting booths were often filled to capacity on election day at the three precincts located at Pacific Community Center in Glendale on Nov. 6, 2018. This year, eight candidates will vie for two seats on the Glendale Unified school board and two seats on Glendale Community College board of trustees in the March 3 election.
(File Photo)

Eight candidates will vie for two seats on the Glendale Unified school board and two seats on the Glendale Community College board of trustees in the March 3 primary election.

Current Glendale Unified president Jennifer Freemon is running for reelection in one school board race and will be contested by middle school administrator Jeremy Spurley and recent local graduate Joy McCreary.

Glendale Community College voted in 2015 and Glendale Unified in 2016 to change their at-large elections, in which several candidates all compete together in one race for seats, into elections in which candidates represent certain areas of a district or college map.

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The other Glendale Unified race will be between Nayiri Nahabedian, an incumbent board member, and Neda Farid-Farhoumand, the Glendale Council PTA’s executive vice president.

Glendale Community College will undergo a big change, regardless of who wins, as board president Vahé Peroomian and vice president Tony Tartaglia announced earlier this year they will not seek reelection.

Peroomian and Tartaglia have served a combined 26 years on the board and will be replaced by newcomers in April.

One of the races pits Harry Leon, president of the Crescenta Valley Town Council, against Desiree Portillo Rabinov, the town council’s treasurer.

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Sevan Benlian, a Woodbury University alumnus and architect, is running unopposed for the other vacant Glendale Community College seat.

According to the Glendale city clerk’s office, attorney David Chianello did not qualify for the election. Chianello would have run against Benlian.

Freemon, Spurley and McCreary are all attempting to represent the district’s Area A, which primarily consists of the La Crescenta-Montrose communities along the 210 freeway.

Elections are familiar for Freemon, who overcame defeats in 2011 and 2013 to win her first race in 2015.

“I firmly believe we need a strong, experienced voice advocating for our area schools to continue improving the quality of our academic programs and ensuring our facilities get their needed improvements,” Freemon wrote in her candidate statement.

Like Freemon, Spurley taught at Glendale Unified for seven years and earned his doctoral degree in educational administration from USC during that time.

“I will empower school leaders to develop innovative ideas to make Glendale Unified more competitive, especially in light of Glendale Unified’s declining enrollment and loss of students to adjacent districts,” Spurley wrote in his candidate statement.

McCreary is a 2014 Crescenta Valley High School graduate who served as a student board member on the school board for the 2012-13 school year.

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“She will bring a fresh, new perspective, innovative ideas, and a critical eye for fiscal responsibility to the board, while advocating for students’, parents’ and teachers’ needs,” according to McCreary’s candidate statement.

Nahabedian and Farid-Farhoumand are looking to represent Area E, the southwestern corner of the city that borders the 5 Freeway.

Nahabedian, like Freemon, is looking for a repeat of the 2015 election, where she won as an incumbent, after first claiming victory in 2011.

“I will continue to advocate for safe schools, a truly rigorous, relevant curriculum and a first-class education to all the children of Glendale Unified,” Nahabedian wrote in her candidate statement.

Farid-Farhoumand has been a reliable presence at school board meetings and describes herself as a staunch supporter of the arts.

“I will continually strive for excellence, ask tough questions and demand thorough and transparent answers,” she wrote in her candidate statement.

Portillo Rabinov and Leon will compete for College District No. 1, which primarily consists of La Crescenta-Montrose.

Portillo Rabinov did not list a mission statement or goals in her candidate’s statement, but mentioned her experience, such as serving 28 years as a senior transportation planning manager at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Authority.

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Leon, a La Crescenta resident, is the owner of a plumbing company and has served on the town council since 2010.

Leon said in his candidate statement that he “will focus on student access and success at GCC [and] will encourage increased enrollment.”

No statement was provided by the city clerk’s office for Benlian upon request.

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