Running for political office is never for the faint of heart, but it takes an exceptional amount of backbone to wage a campaign in the current economic turmoil. The months and maybe years ahead will require nearly all elected officials — from Congress and state government down to city council and school board — to make tough decisions and difficult cuts.
Glendale poses its own set of challenges for anyone who takes the dais in April.
The city has struggled in recent years with traffic and pedestrian safety, while police personnel has dwindled and property crime has risen. And as the national economy continues to teeter, no one can say what Glendale’s budget will look like a year from now.
During such a tumultuous time, the best solution for Glendale may be a combination of experience and fresh ideas.
For that reason, the Glendale News-Press endorses Laura Friedman, Ara Najarian and Frank Quintero for City Council and Ron Borucki for treasurer.
Of the nearly one dozen challengers who have entered the City Council race this year, Friedman strikes us as the most dynamic, inspired and capable.
She already has city government experience as a former member of Glendale’s Design Review Board, and she has shown her skills as a community organizer, founding the Glendale Garden Tour to raise funds for cancer research and joining the movement against cell towers in residential neighborhoods.
As a candidate, Friedman has posed an original solution to Glendale’s economic woes by recommending an arts district in the San Fernando Road corridor.
Some of her opponents have questioned whether the arts district would be the best option during a recession, and their concerns are valid. But on a board consisting largely of longtime incumbents, we believe fresh ideas are healthy for the city, and Friedman appears to be the challenger most likely to inspire positive change.
At the same time, we value experience on the dais, and Najarian and Quintero have proven themselves dedicated and capable leaders.
Najarian has served Glendale on the City Council, Housing Authority, Redevelopment Agency, Transportation and Parking Commission and college board, and his leadership on the Metropolitan Transit Authority could make him a valuable advocate for the city in years to come.
Quintero, too, has experience with a number of city boards and community organizations, and we applaud his desire to cut expenses through contract negotiations and combined departments rather than through layoffs.
Our endorsement for treasurer was an easy call, as Borucki, after 10 years at the helm of Glendale’s finances, has more than shown himself capable of guiding the city through a tough economic time. Also, the fact that Borucki announced plans to retire last fall, then ran again when he felt none of the other candidates had the right experience for the job, proved that he is more concerned with the city’s welfare than with his own well-deserved rest.