The 12 candidates for city council made their case for election at the traditional League of Women Voters forum, jointly sponsored with the city of Glendale on Thursday, March 12.
With the April 7 election approaching, each contender was vying to be one of the three candidates chosen by voters to sit on the dais and govern for the next four years.
Two of the candidates are women, three are incumbents and a number are past city commissioners. The top three vote-getters will be elected, and the results frequently in the past have come down to just a few voters separating the three winners from the rest of the pack.
As an added attraction, the League also presented the two candidates for city treasurer, in a rare contest for this post which has drawn considerable attention because it features former mayor Rafi Manoukian
In the council discussion, the challengers generally concentrated on the city’s financial issues and on the growing complaints voiced about utility tax rates.
Laura Friedman, a small business owner and former city commissioner, called for the city to work to preserve and recruit businesses and to put residents first in council deliberations.
Vartan Gharpetian, another former city commissioner and small business owner, called for a new voice on city council, one who places accountability to the voters first.
Aram Kazazian, an architect and 35 year resident, criticized the council for the high utility rates and called for a change in what he called the “special interests” dominating city government.
Chahe Keuroghelian, a longtime community activist, is making his third try for council. He cited his involvement with local groups and said he is campaigning for city betterment through youth and senior programs.
Edward Lafian, a La Crescenta insurance executive, promised to use his 25 years of experience to bring people together to deal with the issues facing the city.
Ara Najarian, seeking his second term, said he is not a “career politician” but wants to continue working on issues close to him including traffic and transportation. If he is reelected, he is in line to chair the MTA board next year.
Bruce Philpott, a former Pasadena police chief and local resident for 30 years, blasted city spending policies which he called “unsustainable.” He promised to work for safer streets.
Frank Quintero, the second of the incumbents, said he has been active in Glendale city business for 30 years. The former mayor said the city has worked to expand open space during his incumbency.
Lenore Solis, another former commissioner, called on residents to “vote smart.” The 37 year resident called for accountability in city government.
Aramazd Stepanian, a theater director, called for “creativity” in dealing with city problems and promised to bring new ideas based on his experience living in a number of cities around the world.
Michael Teahan, former president of the Adams Hill Homeowners Association, said he was a relative newcomer to the city but called for a vision of Glendale as a “beacon” to the region.
Bob Yousefian, seeking his third term on council, said he was proud to be the only council member to vote against the budget. He said he was also proud of his “No” vote on increased water rights.
Yousefian briefly flirted with running for city treasurer. The two candidates who did file, incumbent Ron Borucki and former mayor Rafi Manoukian, spoke after the council forum.
Borucki said in the 10 years he has been treasurer investments have brought the city $180 million. He said the treasurer needs to be the city banker and investment counselor, “not a sixth council member.”
Manoukian, who lost his bid for council two years ago, said he sees a role for the treasurer in helping to set city fiscal policy. He is an accountant by trade.