Najarian, Yousefian throw hats in ring

GLENDALE — Mayor Ara Najarian and Councilman Bob Yousefian announced their intent to run for reelection Thursday night in two very different settings — one to a close group of supporters, the other on live television.

Yousefian publicly announced his reelection bid on the “Larry Zarian Show” around the same time Najarian was satisfying the curiosity of about 50 supporters at a private event at Brandview Collection. Both men, together with their council colleague Frank Quintero, face expired terms in 2009.

Quintero said he intends to run, but may not make an announcement until after summer.

Yousefian — who has served on the council since 2001 and been heavily involved in hillside protection issues — said he had made his decision to run last week, and that he would not accept campaign contributions from city employee or management unions. “I’m going to run for the last time,” he told Zarian.

Najarian cited his desire to realize more recreational space citywide and a planned aquatics center, and to have a hand in molding Glendale’s continued downtown growth.

“I’m still in awe the downtown area is going to make an incredible transformation,” he said.

Recognizing that it was still very early in the municipal election season, both men said their announcements center on intent, and did not signify the beginning of any actual campaigning. Campaigns don’t typically heat up until the winter before the April election.

Yousefian’s decision to reenter the fray comes after a turbulent 2007, in which he resigned as the Glendale-Burbank representative to the influential Southern California Assn. of Governments and as president of the Glendale-Burbank-Pasadena Airport Authority following weeks of criticism over what many called disruptive behavior on the dais.

His tirade at a September council meeting over a flawed staff report on residential setbacks along East Glenoaks Boulevard sparked intense criticism from his colleagues over his disposition that eventually manifested itself in the form of a no-confidence vote for his service on the airport authority.

In resigning his posts Nov. 13, Yousefian cited the need to “insulate” the authority from City Council politics, and said he would devote his time to focusing on the needs of Glendale residents.

Despite the tension, Yousefian’s supporters laud his straight-shooter style and the fact that he his unafraid to attack perceived inconsistencies during public meetings.

“I’m going to call it the way I see it,” Yousefian told Zarian Thursday night. But Zarian pressed Yousefian to address the tension at City Hall, saying it was clear members on the council were not getting along. “I have buried the hatchet,” Yousefian said. “I let bygone be bygones. We need to move on.”

As of Dec. 31, Yousefian’s campaign had a cash balance of $37,861. Najarian was close behind with $34,455, and Quintero reported $9,185, according to the City Clerk’s Office.

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