Council candidates plead their case

GLENDALE — Six candidates vying for two City Council seats in the April 5 election discussed their plans during a forum Thursday to reform the budget, stimulate business and repair race relations in the city.

Candidates Rafi Manoukian, Mike Mohill, Chahe Keuroghelian and Garen Mailyan are challenging incumbents Dave Weaver and John Drayman in the election, which so far has seen a relatively quiet campaign season.

“People overseas are voting with their lives. I ask you to vote with your heart,” Manoukian told members of the Women’s Civic League of Glendale at Thursday’s candidate forum.

Manoukian, a former Glendale mayor who lost his seat to Drayman in 2007, said his background in finance would help the city through its budget constraints.

Balancing the budget and controlling the city’s spending was also a key for Mailyan, who’s also campaigning on a platform of addressing race relations within Glendale — something he referred to on Thursday as an “ethnic-cultural conflict.”

“But it is time to bring it out and, using discretion, to discuss these issues because unless a problem is brought up and talked about, and ways are considered to solve that issue, that issue will never get solved,” Mailyan said. “The issue is the conflict between natives and immigrants; conflict between Armenians and mostly Anglos.”

Mailyan proposed creating an independent police commission to investigate allegations included in a lawsuit filed by five officers of Armenian descent against the department.

In his fourth attempt to earn a seat on the council, Keuroghelian proposed that the city help small businesses advertise in local publications and on TV stations.

“As a small-business owner, I have also attempted to support small businesses, not only here locally, but in various cities that I have live in,” he said. “We all know that small business is the backbone of our community, our society, our life, our structure and our economy.”

Mohill, a City Hall gadfly who has cast himself as a key watchdog, told the audience that he planned to restore the city’s character, ethics and the public record.

He used a handwritten chart of Glendale’s electric rates to argue that they help fund exorbitant pensions for retired city employees.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “Who is responsible for this? The City Council. With me, we can make a difference together.”

Weaver shot back, saying city employees have not seen a salary increase in the last three years. Employees, he said, already pay a share of their benefits.

“We live within our means — on what comes in, goes out,” Weaver said. “We have healthy retirement for the future … It’s a well-run city, and you all said that.”

Drayman said he has made residents’ concerns — including bringing arts to the city, saving the Chevy Chase library and creating a community garden program — his own.

“Over the course of those four years, I have made your interests my priority,” he said.

The candidates are scheduled to take part in another election forum, sponsored by the Crescenta Valley Community Assn. and the Far North Glendale Homeowners Assn., at 7 tonight at the Dunsmore Park Community Room, 4700 Dunsmore Ave.

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