What typically is a routine commission appointment was anything but Tuesday when the City Council blocked the nomination of Chahe Keuroghelian — a perennial council candidate — for the Civil Service Commission.
Once again, Keuroghelian’s past came back to haunt him, with his nomination by Councilman Rafi Manoukian failing 3-2, with Councilmen Dave Weaver and Frank Quintero and Mayor Laura Friedman voting against.
Weaver, who faced off with Keuroghelian during the most recent city election, cited the brutal campaign in declining to support the nomination.
“During the last election when I was campaigning against him, he saw fit to make an uncalled for personal charge against me in a public forum attended by over 100 people,” Weaver said, referring to a debate tussle in which Keuroghelian essentially accused the incumbent of employing race politics. “That charge that he made against me is unforgivable.”
Quintero said he would have supported Keuroghelian’s nomination for another commission, such as Parks, Recreation and Community Services, but not for Civil Service. Keuroghelian lost his job as police department spokesman years ago after he allegedly threatened his wife with a gun in 2000.
Manoukian called the vote unfair and political.
“My picks are my picks,” he said.
In an interview, Keuroghelian said bringing up his rocky past was uncalled for, adding that Weaver, too, has made missteps. The California Fair Political Practices Commission fined the councilman $9,000 in 2009 for violating campaign finance law during his 2005 election bid.
“It was an attempt to blacken my name. It is unfortunate that the nomination was used to do mudslinging against me,” Keuroghelian said, adding that he felt the vote highlighted the political landscape of the upcoming 2013 City Council election.
“They’re thinking ‘There’s a potential challenger here, how can we blacken him one more time so he will go away?’” Keuroghelian said.
Although he is a self-proclaimed critic of Keuroghelian because of his past, Councilman Ara Najarian supported the nomination at the meeting.
“Since those transgressions …I have seen him to be someone involved in the community,” Najarian said. “I personally, at this point, am willing to give him a second chance.”
Manoukian nominated Garo Ghazarian, an attorney who is representing Michael Jackson’s dermatologist in the Conrad Murray trial, as his alternative.
The council is set to vote on Ghazarian’s nomination next week.