Ara Najarian will serve as Glendale’s mayor for the fourth time, following a unanimous vote by his fellow council members during a meeting on Tuesday.
Najarian, the longest serving member on the current council, is succeeding outgoing Mayor Zareh Sinanyan.
First elected to City Council in 2005, Najarian said the job “doesn’t get any easier because the city gets more complex as we go forward in time, and the job also gets more complex,” adding that the city transformed from a sleepy community to a bustling city during the 14 years he’s been in local government.
After commending Sinanyan’s leadership, Najarian outlined some of his priorities for the upcoming year, including devising a long-term energy plan and implementing ethics and election reforms.
Acknowledging that climate change and air-quality issues impact the city’s energy future, Najarian said, “We must keep in mind, however, that we don’t have the luxury of scale, luxury of time and the luxury of transmission opportunities that a city like Los Angeles has.”
Najarian also aired his dissatisfaction with what’s known as the Right to Lease ordinance, which the City Council passed in February, in an attempt to temper rising rents in the area. He had to recuse himself from proceedings because he owns an interest in apartment buildings in the city.
“I’m not interested in protecting high-paid executives from the rent increases, or to subsidize them — only those who are most at risk,” he said, suggesting the council finalize a subsidy program for a more targeted population.
A Los Angeles Metro board member and vice chairman of Metrolink, Najarian said he will advocate for increased mass-transit options in the city.
A bus transit system stretching from North Hollywood to Burbank is nearing completion, and the city is in talks to build a new Metrolink rail station near the Walt Disney Co. and DreamWorks Animation campuses, Najarian said.
Before vacating his position, Sinanyan gave an overview of his accomplishments over the past year, including stimulating the economy by supporting local tech initiatives and launching a summit for the city’s nonprofit organizations.
Just one day prior, Sinanyan oversaw the reopening of Grandview Library as a children’s library — one of his stated goals when he took over as mayor last year.
“I wish the new mayor the best of luck, the best of cooperation with the rest of City Council, because we need to work together for the benefit of our residents and our city,” Sinanyan said. “Otherwise, nothing gets done.”