Final vote count leaves outcome for Glendale election mostly unchanged

The outcome of the races for City Council, clerk and school board remained unchanged Thursday after officials counted roughly 3,500 ballots left over from the April 2 election.

City Council incumbent Ara Najarian remained in first place with 10,165 votes, while Laura Friedman held onto second place with 8,088. City commissioner Zareh Sinanyan took third with 7,379 votes, according to city elections officials who counted remaining provisional and late absentee ballots.

Chahe Keuroghelian was unable to overcome a narrow gap to pull out of fourth place, ending with 7,023 votes.

“Another cycle, another experience — we’ll do better next time,” he said.

The outcome ensures that the two incumbents, most notably Friedman, will be working with the very man they called to account for ethnically charged and vulgar online comments he allegedly posted to YouTube.

Sinanyan never explicitly denied being the author of the comments when called before the full council during the campaign, saying only that they did not represent him as a person. It was a divisive moment that appeared to mobilize his supporters in the days leading up to the election.

On Thursday, Friedman and Najarian said they looked forward to putting the campaign behind them in favor of forming a cohesive governing board on the council.

“We have to work together. We have the same goal to make Glendale a better place,” Friedman said. “I hope he will work with me.”

Najarian echoed that sentiment.

“I think there comes a time when the election is over for everyone to put aside their campaign rhetoric and campaign mindset and work together,” he said. “I look forward to letting the past be the past when it comes to council to dynamics."

[Updated 4:15 p.m.: Sinanyan also appeared ready to leave the past behind, saying the campaign fueds don't "make a difference."

"We’re working for the benefit of the city. It’s not personal," he said.]

In the school board race, the top three positions also remained unchanged, meanwhile incumbent Joylene Wagner, first elected in 2005, was out.

Longtime incumbent Greg Krikorian commanded a strong first place finish with 12,850 votes, while his colleague, incumbent Christine Walters came in second with 9,504, elections officials reported. Challenger Armina Gharpetian took the third seat with 9,195 votes.

“I’m overwhelmed, I’m excited, I’m nervous,” she said after the final tally. “It will be an honor to serve in our schools and be on the next school board for the next four years.”

As for the slate of charter amendments on the ballot, none survived.

Measure A, which sought to make the city treasurer an appointed position, failed by the widest margin, with 13,812 voting against and just 4,726 voting in support.

The outcome ensures Councilman Rafi Manoukian’s transition to the city treasurer’s office, for which he ran uncontested, and means the City Council will have to either appoint an interim replacement or schedule a special election to fill his empty seat.

Voters also rejected Measure B, which would have changed how the city transfers millions of dollars from Glendale Water & Power each year to pay for police, parks and other city services.

The measure had been teetering on a narrow 43-vote victory heading into the provisional ballot count, but emerged defeated on Thursday, with 8,954 voting against and 8,767 voting for.

City officials, though, have said they would continue with the transfers no matter the outcome of the election, saying they believe the practice is legally sound.

And finally, Measure C — which would have allowed officials to bypass the typical open-bidding process for bond issuances — also failed, 9,933 to 7,613.

Overall voter participation in the election came in at 24,091, or 21.6% of registered voters, officials reported.

-- Jason Wells, with Brittany Levine reporting from City Hall,

Follow on Facebook, Google+ and on Twitter: @JasonBretWells.

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