Glendale incumbents have plenty of challengers in election

The Glendale City Council election in April has a crowded field already.

By midday Friday, 12 people had pulled the paperwork necessary to declare official candidacy, already surpassing the six who ran in 2011.

They include City Hall insiders and newcomers, but the pool of candidates aspiring for the highest political office in Glendale have until Jan. 24 to not only pick up the paperwork, but also turn in at least 100 signatures to get on the April ballot, which means the final number could still fluctuate greatly.

Three City Council seats are in play, but a fourth could enter the fray after the election because Councilman Rafi Manoukian, who still has two more years left in his term, signed up to run for city treasurer, a position he’s failed to win in the past.

The treasurer post is a controversial one. As voters choose who should replace the outgoing treasurer, they will also vote on a measure that would convert the post into an appointment made by the city manager and confirmed by the City Council.

City Treasurer Ron Borucki said this week he won’t seek reelection, leaving Manoukian, an accountant, with one challenger so far: Edward Azari, who sits on the city’s Audit and Investment Policy Advisory committees.

[For the Record, Jan. 7: An earlier version of this post had incorrectly mispelled Edward Azari's name.]

If Manoukian wins the city treasurer race, the newly elected City Council would have to decide to either hold a special election or appoint someone to fill in for the remainder of his term.

The candidates for City Council as of midday Friday include two retired employees: former Neighborhood Services Administrator Sam Engel, and former planning administrator Edith Fuentes, who received a $200,000 settlement last year from the city after she claimed insider politics and discrimination led to her demotion.

Other potential candidates who pulled papers include incumbents Laura Friedman and Ara Najarian; Rick Barnes, a Realtor involved in Glendale police outreach committees; Roland Kedikian, a bankruptcy attorney; Mike Mohill, a self-described city activist who often rails against city unions; Zareh Sinanyan, a Community Development Block Grant commissioner; and Chahe Keuroghelian, a perennial candidate.

With Mayor Frank Quintero vowing not to run again, a competitive council race has long been expected.

“I’m not surprised,” Quintero said in an interview. “Whenever there’s an open seat, there’s a tendency for more interest in the race. “There will probably be a few more who decide to run.”

Far fewer had expressed interest in the local school races, in which there are three seats in play on the Glendale Unified school board and the Glendale Community College board of trustees.

Current Glendale Community College Board of Trustees President Armine Hacopian is running along with incumbents Ann Ransford and Anita Quinonez Gabrielian. Newcomer Tamara Movsesyan also picked up election paperwork.

Glendale Unified school board President Christine Walters is running alongside current board member Joylene Wagner. The only challenger to pull papers in that race so far was Daniel Cabrera, a retired Glendale High teacher who ran unsuccessfully for a seat in 2011.

In 2011, eight ran for two spots on the school board.

Current school board member Greg Krikorian had not yet pulled paperwork or confirmed his intent to run. He ran for a state Assembly seat in November, but lost.

The school candidates only need 20 signatures to get on the ballot, far less than the 100 that must be collected by city and college candidates.

Competition for the city clerk position was also light, with incumbent Ardy Kassakhian being the only one to pull papers for the position as of midday Friday.

This will be the second municipal election that campaign finance rules limiting contributions to $1,000 per person will be in effect. In 2011, the rule slimmed down campaign war chests substantially. By March 2011, fundraising for the council race was down 90% compared with 2007.

The new rule took effect in 2008.

The California secretary of state is set to determine the order of names on the ballot by Jan. 25.


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