Drayman loses City Council seat

CITY HALL — City Councilman John Drayman lost his reelection bid on Thursday, four years after he was elected to the dais with widespread support.

After the final vote tally, former Councilman Rafi Manoukian maintained his first-place spot with 10,197 votes, and incumbent Dave Weaver came in second with 9,903, according to the city clerk’s office. Drayman stayed in third place, 61 votes behind Weaver.

Weaver will return to the dais for a fifth term, while Manoukian will return for a third term four years after being ousted by Drayman.

On Thursday, Manoukian credited his win to his fiscally conservative campaign platform that included pledges to cut overtime hours and eliminate the use of employee credit cards as City Hall works to close multi-million-dollar budget shortfalls.

“Given the financial issues with the city, and considering that the budget hearings should be coming up, the budget and the shortfall are the most important issues, and I’m ready to get to work,” he said.

Weaver and Drayman did not respond to requests for comment.

Any request for a recount must be made within five days of the certification of the results on April 18. The candidate requesting the recount must pay for the roughly $12,000 cost, said City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian.

The candidates had anxiously awaited the results since the April 5 election, when preliminary voter returns left the top three finishers with margins too slim to allow the declaration of a winner.

On Thursday afternoon, several dozen city officials and residents huddled in the police community room to watch election workers count the roughly 3,150 remaining vote-by-mail and provisional ballots. None of the candidates was present.

The results mark the end of a contentious election cycle that in its final weeks included heated exchanges between Drayman and city gadfly Mike Mohill, who spent much of his candidacy on the attack.

Mohill railed against Drayman for renovations done on his condo by subcontractors of Advanced Development & Investment Inc. — an affordable housing developer under federal investigation for allegedly bilking Glendale out of millions of dollars. Drayman said that he was unaware of any connection between the subcontractors and ADI.

Drayman later went public during a City Council meeting with Mohill’s decades-old misdemeanor lewd-conduct arrests, prompting Mohill, who is married, to publicly reveal that he is gay. In doing so, Mohill claimed he had been unfairly outed by Drayman, an accusation the councilman strongly refuted.

The campaign season was also affected by stricter campaign finance regulations. The amount of money raised this year plummeted, compared to previous years.

While some at City Hall had worried that fundraising rules would hurt voter turnout, 25,337 ballots were cast, for a participation rate of 24.4% of registered voters, according to the city clerk’s office.

Nearly two-thirds of the votes cast were absentee, with less than 10,000 voters making it to the polls on Tuesday, according to the city clerk’s office.

Kassakhian said he was encouraged by the turnout — which reflected about 300 fewer ballots than were cast in 2009 — at a time when other cities are seeing their participation rates drop.

“If we can do these numbers in this type of a situation, we hope that in future elections, we will only have more,” he said.

With only 61 votes separating Weaver and Drayman in the final results, Kassakhian said the outcome proved the importance of voting.

“Most people have more contacts than that in their cell phone,” he said. “Every single vote counts.”

Weaver and Manoukian will be sworn in at 8 p.m. on Monday in the City Council chambers. The new mayor will also be selected after the ceremony.

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