Krekorian, whose Assembly district includes Glendale, Burbank and some Los Angeles city communities, filed candidacy forms Monday for the 2nd District seat left vacant by Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, who took over as city controller July 1.
The election for the district, which overlaps with portions of Krekorian’s 43rd Assembly District, is slated to take place Sept. 22. The assemblyman has already moved with his family from Burbank into a Valley Glen apartment.
Krekorian and his aides would not comment on the pending council race before the news conference scheduled for Thursday, but sources close to the assemblyman said his decision was largely influenced by his desire to end his weekly work commutes to Sacramento in order to spend more time at home with his family.
He has three children, including a 1-year-old daughter.
Krekorian is currently in the middle of his second of three possible two-year terms and earns $116,208. Krekorian’s salary would jump by more than $62,000 as a member of the Los Angeles City Council, where he would earn $178,789.
The council filing sparked concerns among some residents that he was forced to cut his Assembly term short because of term limits, potentially leaving the post before reaching his full potential as a legislator.
Glendale Unified School District Board of Education Vice President Greg Krikorian, who called Krekorian’s move from Burbank to a portion of his district that falls within Los Angeles a form of “carpetbagging,” said the assemblyman had yet to fill his full potential in Sacramento.
But he also acknowledged that Krekorian’s maximum six-year stint in the Assembly may have limited the lawmaker’s options.
“For career politicians, when opportunities arise like this you have to look at all of your options,” he said.
Krekorian has made strides to benefit businesses in the area, particularly through a bill that authorized tax incentives to discourage film productions from moving to other states or countries, said Gary Olson, president of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce.
His choice to seek an office in Los Angeles may put an end to his pioneering efforts to help entertainment-industry related businesses, said Olson, who also blamed term limits for bringing about the shift.
“Were it not for term limits, perhaps he would have stayed in the Assembly longer,” said Lee Wochner, founding president of the Burbank Democratic Club and a delegate for the California Democratic party.
Term limits prevent politicians from working in Sacramento for extended periods and developing institutional memory and accountability that would be useful during budget talks, Wochner said.
Krekorian’s possible move will not help to counter that, he said.
Seven other candidates have entered the race for Greuel’s seat so far, including Chris Essel, senior vice president of planning, development and public affairs for Paramount Pictures, and Tamar Galatzan, a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, although she has not yet filed her candidacy forms.
All candidates for the special election must file their initial candidate declaration statements by Saturday and turn in at least 500 signatures from area residents as part of a nominating petition due by July 27.
If Krekorian is elected, his Assembly vacancy is likely to stir a battle among area city politicians hoping to replace him.
Representatives for the state Democratic and Republican parties have expressed an interest in claiming the potential vacancy during a special election.
“There are some folks that I hope do run and I hope it’s the kind of battle that we need — a battle of ideas and perspective on how to address some problems statewide,” Wochner said.
ZAIN SHAUK covers education. He may be reached at (818) 637-3238 or by e-mail at email@example.com.