Karen S. Kim
NORTHEAST GLENDALE -- It’s not often that constituents have the
opportunity to see Glendale Mayor Rafi Manoukian out of the suits he
traditionally wears behind the council dais.
But Sunday morning, more than a dozen Glendale and Burbank residents
saw Manoukian clad in jeans, sneakers, a baseball cap and a T-shirt,
ready for the Verdugo Hills Sierra Club’s “Hike with your City Council
“I think it’s very good that he’s among us,” said Burbank resident
Marine Hergelian. “I think this way, everyone has a chance to speak with
him and enjoy the day out in nature. It gives us a chance to share ideas,
thoughts and learn things.”
The group met at the top of Sunshine Drive and hiked to the Rossmoyne
reservoir in the Verdugo Mountains. There, hikers and Manoukian shared a
meal together, munching on dried fruit, bread, cheese and drinking coffee
Most of the hikers were content to chat socially with the mayor, with
conversations ranging from Manoukian’s life back in Lebanon to hunting
laws in Glendale to city water to where Manoukian likes to eat shish
“At my mother-in-law’s,” was Manoukian’s answer.
Glendale resident Grace Yim said she she appreciated the mayor’s
“We’re able to meet him, and if you have an issue, you can raise it,
and it’s kind of informal,” she said.
Manoukian agreed that the informal nature of his presence made it
easier for him to really get to know his constituents.
“I always feel more comfortable this way, personally,” he said. “It’s
easier to connect to people. People feel more comfortable in this setting
than when you’re at the council dais. There are no time limits, no
cameras. So people feel more at ease to discuss things they might not
feel comfortable saying in front of the cameras.”
Garen Yegparian, a Sierra Club member who led the hike, said bringing
constituents and elected officials together was only part of the event’s
“We want to take people out to see what’s out there because then they
appreciate it and are more inclined to protect it, and our elected
officials are clearly the ones making those decisions,” he said.
The group’s next event is a tour of the Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar.
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