Meet the council candidates

As six candidates vie for two spots on the Glendale City Council, the April 5 election campaign trail has been relatively quiet.

Now, with the slate of public election forums starting to take over the calendar in the coming weeks, the candidates will be forced to stake out their positions on a range of issues facing Glendale.

City officials are already bracing for a General Fund budget gap of as much as $10 million for the next fiscal year as employee pension and health-care costs continue to rise amid stagnant revenues. The City Council is expected to begin budget meetings early this year as it works to fill a significant budget gap for the fourth year in a row.

The group of six — which includes two incumbents, former City Councilman Rafi Manoukian, a City Hall activist, security guard and perennial candidate — touch on some of the issues in their responses as submitted to the Glendale News-Press.

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John Drayman

Age: 52

Occupation: Glendale City Councilman

Political Experience: current Glendale city councilman, former mayor of Glendale, former chairman of the Glendale Redevelopment Agency; current vice chairman of the Glendale Redevelopment Agency; current member of the Glendale Housing Authority; former member of the Arroyo-Verdugo Subregion Steering Committee to SCAG; former delegate for state Sen. Carol Liu; former president of the Montrose Shopping Park Business Improvement District; current City Council liaison to Glendale Unified School District; former vice president of development for the Alex Regional Theatre; former board member and treasurer of the Glendale Regional Arts Council; current member of the Glendale Humane Society.

Endorsements: Assemblyman Mike Gatto, Rep. Adam Schiff

Why are you running for Glendale City Council?

In the last four years, Glendale has enjoyed the stabilization of its residential neighborhoods, increased economic development and the promotion of its local history. I have had a direct hand in innovating this path forward and want to see the process through.

What sets you apart from other candidates?

I believe in making local government work for Glendale residents. I have always had a talent for solving tough problems, such as reforming our design review process, reforming our appointment process for board and commission members, saving Chevy Chase Branch Library and sponsoring an ordinance to limit cell towers in our residential neighborhoods.

Glendale is expected to face a General Fund budget deficit upward of $10 million next fiscal year. If elected, what specifically would you do to close the gap?

I will continue to hold the line on city employee contracts, salary increases, lowering the city’s contribution to employee retirement and adding lower salary tiers for new hires. In addition, the Hyatt Hotel, Broadway Lofts, Cinema Lofts, Laemmle Theatre and Disney Campus projects, as well as the addition of the Museum of Neon Art, the Art & Entertainment District and the Creative Corridor are all investments in making Glendale a destination for those spending money in our city.

Beyond budget woes, what other major issues are Glendale facing?

Infrastructure maintenance, such as roads, water lines and our GWP utility costs are all concerns that the next council will face. The message for the next year is “doing more with less.”

What would be your No. 1 priority if elected?

My No. 1 priority will be to continue to innovate a positive path forward for Glendale’s quality of life while preserving neighborhood stability and increasing economic development in our downtown. OK, that’s a “three-fer.”

Do you think Glendale should have an ethics ordinance, and why?

Yes. An ethics ordinance can only serve to assist our elected officials and reassure the public. Specifically, I like the Glendale News-Press suggestion that a database of vendors working on city subsidized projects be created so that elected officials and the public alike can know ahead of time who is working on various development projects. Currently, this does not exist.

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Chahe Keuroghelian

Age: 53

Occupation: Small-business owner

Political experience: Involved in the campaign of Gov. George Deukmejian. Involved in more than a dozen organizations that promote social and safety policies. Conducted his own campaigns for Glendale City Council in the past.

Endorsements: Democratic Party San Fernando Valley, Teamsters Local 848.

Why are you running for Glendale City Council?

We have a large segment of the population whose interests have not been actively promoted or protected. Open space in many neighborhoods is inadequate. Heavy traffic congestion in some areas and traffic safety in others don’t yet have a satisfactory solution. We need to promote employment for youth and job fairs for unemployed adults. If we control the hyper growth in expenses, and a top-heavy city government, we restore the programs that will lead to a safer city and an improved quality of life.

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

I am a fiscal conservative Democrat. I believe that it is better to tackle the social problems like crime and drug use early when our costs are lower. I believe it is better to farm out the activities that are done more efficiently by others.

Glendale is expected to face a General Fund budget deficit upward of $10 million next fiscal year. If elected, what specifically would you do to close the gap?

We have allowed our payroll to get out of control, and added layers upon layers of administrators. We need to revert to the rules and expectations of the 1990s, when the budgets were more predictable and controlled.

Beyond budget woes, what other major issues are Glendale facing?

Traffic safety and an aging infrastructure and huge water and electricity rates. We can’t have the burden of luxury pensions be borne by those who are struggling to make ends meet. We need to renegotiate the city employee contracts to reasonable levels again.

What would be your No. 1 priority if elected?

Jobs would be my No. 1 priority. That means promoting job fairs and attracting growing companies with well-paying jobs. Creating the conditions to engage our youth with income opportunities and keep them out of trouble, and protecting the jobs that provide our basic services.

Do you think Glendale should have an ethics ordinance, and why?

We have postponed for too long a strong ordinance that ensures accountability to the public. Stronger ethical policies are needed during the election process and afterward. A city with an $800-million budget becomes a magnet for many who would like to circumvent the law or bend it to their self-interest.

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Garen Mailyan

Age: 38

Occupation: I have an M.A. in political science from Cal State Northridge. I am a political scientist by training, but I work as a security officer. I have not been able to find a job that is relevant to my education for pure discrimination reasons.

Political experience: I have done some grass-roots work for conservative causes.

Endorsements: I did not seek any endorsements. I might in the future. God endorses me. That is enough.

Why are you running for Glendale City Council?

I am running to heal this broken city, motivated by Christ's love.

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

I touch on issues that people discuss only around their kitchen tables, such as ethnic divide. Candidates generally stay clear of this subject.

Glendale is expected to face a General Fund budget deficit upward of $10 million next fiscal year. If elected, what specifically would you do to close the gap?

Whether General Fund or not, there is only one way to address the deficit, and that is by exercising fiscal discipline and by controlling spending. I will never vote for a spending plan that is over 90% of the revenue — 10% should always go to a reserve fund.

Beyond budget woes, what other major issues are Glendale facing?

Glendale faces an ethnic-cultural conflict and divide that affects all spheres of life, including in the Police Department. I will investigate the charges of discrimination brought against Glendale police by some of its officers. That issue needs clarification. The city should not be afraid of finding out the truth.

What would be your No. 1 priority if elected?

My first priority will be healing this city that is broken in ethnic-cultural and economic terms.

Do you think Glendale should have an ethics ordinance, and why?

I am all for an ethics ordinance. That will prevent dishonest dealings on the part of elected officials. When it does not prevent them, it will help investigate suspicious matters.

God bless all Glendalians. I love you.

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Rafi Manoukian

Age: 50

Occupation: Chief financial officer of USATV LLC

Political experience: A little.

Endorsements: None.

Why are you running for Glendale City Council?

My experience in the private sector as CFO and in the governmental sector will allow me to make a significant contribution to the financial well being of the city of Glendale.

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

I'm a CPA and understand accounting, budgets and finance.

Glendale is expected to face a General Fund budget deficit upward of $10 million next fiscal year. If elected, what specifically would you do to close the gap?

Eliminate overtime, do away with employee P Card (credit cards), eliminate the “Frozen 80 Positions.”

Beyond budget woes, what other major issues are Glendale facing?

Water resources. Organizational efficiencies.

What would be your No. 1 priority if elected?

Transparency and openness in government.

Do you think Glendale should have an ethics ordinance, and why?

Yes.

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Mike Mohill

Age: 68

Occupation: Retired businessman

Political experience: three years as a city watchdog

Endorsements: (None listed.)

Why are you running for Glendale City Council?

To restore the public trust in government. To control the runaway city budget and out-of-control pensions. To restore our priorities to our infrastructure and quality of life

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

I am not accountable to the city employee unions, nor to any land developer.

Glendale is expected to face a General Fund budget deficit upward of $10 million next fiscal year. If elected, what specifically would you do to close the gap?

We need to reduce a bloated management that has grown nearly 40% since 1998. We need to restore the pension system to the more prudent arrangement we had when most of the employees were hired.

Beyond budget woes, what other major issues are Glendale facing?

Nearly all issues relate to the use of money. If we spend tens of millions more each year on pensions, we don't have the money to hire police resource officers. We don't have the money to fix our fresh water lines, our roads, or improve our open spaces. Without money we can't put additional traffic signals to control traffic. Without money we can't provide the right law enforcement to reduce reckless driving, speeding and pedestrian injuries. Without money we can't fix our roads.

What would be your No. 1 priority if elected?

To reduce our expenditures to match our revenues.

Do you think Glendale should have an ethics ordinance, and why?

Absolutely. The public must know before every council vote if the sitting council member received any money or favors from the applicant. We must have open knowledge of the calendar of each council member, with whom they are meeting and why.

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Dave Weaver

Age: 71

Occupation: Glendale city councilman

Political Experience: 14 years on the Glendale City Council.

Endorsements: None, and I am not accepting any.

Why are you running for Glendale City Council?

I like to help my community and deal with the complex issues that affect my lifetime hometown.

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

I have lived in Glendale my whole life and been involved in many community activities. And I have years of experience as a council member involved in all types of city issues and a deep knowledge of how our city was and is today.

Glendale is expected to face a General Fund budget deficit upward of $10 million next fiscal year. If elected, what specifically would you do to close the gap?

The city staff and council will have to work together to find ways to balance the budget. No one does it alone. We will have to look at more opportunities for mutual cooperation with nearby cities and negotiate new, conservative labor contracts with our employee associations. Our objective is to not reduce city services, but to reduce the cost of providing those services.

Beyond budget woes, what other major issues are Glendale facing?

An all-encompassing challenge is for us to maintain the vitality and quality of all sectors of Glendale, both business and residential in a time of a recessionary period. Working with all sectors during these times and giving them as much support as possible is critical, as well as maintaining our standing as one of the safest cities in the United States.

What would be your No. 1 priority if elected?

To help balance the budget in light of our recessionary times and future actions the state Legislature may take against local entities.

Do you think Glendale should have an ethics ordinance, and why?

We have strong Fair Political Practices Commission regulations, conduct codes and strong campaign finance limits. I am supportive of stronger ethics provisions as long as we do not have to create a bureaucracy to make it more meaningful.

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