News-Press Editorial: Have a special election, already

The City Council appears determined to appoint a replacement to seat left vacant by Rafi Manoukian, who was recently elected city treasurer instead of scheduling an immediate special election, even as they admit the latter option is the preference of residents.

In fact, the council is asking some former mayors if they'd like to be considered for the appointment. Those on the short list put forth this week include Frank Quintero, who just left office; Sheldon Baker, Rick Reyes, Eileen Givens, Bob Yousefian and the man who was indicted last year on embezzlement charges, John Drayman. We can't help but notice that some qualified former mayors were left off the list, which raises questions as to who's doing the hand-picking of potential replacements for Manoukian.

We are not unsympathetic to the reasoning given by the council, and by City Manager Scott Ochoa, who say a replacement is needed immediately so that there is a full, five-member panel weighing the spending priorities when the annual budget hearings take place later this spring and in early summer.

In fact, to the council members we say go ahead, don't drag out the decision or quibble over which former mayor should get the nod. Hand the seat to Frank Quintero, if he's interested in serving long to see the city through those hearings, since he obviously knows issues currently on the table and has the backing of at least two members of the current council.

Then, let his service truly be interim, in the best sense of that term. Schedule a special election for a two-year term to be held between July and September of this year; don't be persuaded by the argument of some that a summer election would suffer from low voter turnout. Let's face it: turnout is never high, or even respectable. But Glendale voters should be given the chance to decide who will best serve their interests, rather than having that decision made for them.

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