Five qualify for special ballot to fill Glendale council seat

Five people have qualified for the June ballot for a single City Council seat, one that comes with a shortened 10-month term.

Of the five candidates, four have run unsuccessfully for City Council in the past.

The five candidates, in alphabetical order, are: Rick Barnes, a real estate agent, Paula Devine, a Commission on the Status of Women member, Vartan Gharpetian, a Historic Preservation Commission member, Chahe Keuroghelian, a small business owner, and Mike Mohill, a self-declared community advocate.

Devine is the only one running for the first time. Keuroghelian came in fourth during the April 2013 election, which had three open seats. He lost by just 356 votes.

It's not uncommon for Glendale City Council races to be packed with contenders. The April election featured 12 candidates. In order to qualify for the ballot, candidates must collect at least 100 signatures from Glendale residents.

The winner of the June 3 special election will be replacing a councilman appointed to fill a position left open when another politician left the dais to become the city treasurer.

However, according to city rules, the appointee, Councilman Frank Quintero, who was mayor before he was appointed to replace Rafi Manoukain in April, can only serve until the next possible election, which would be the one run by Los Angeles County in June. Manoukian left the council after being elected city treasurer.

The candidate who wins in June will have to campaign again in April if he or she wants a full four-year term.

In phone interviews Tuesday, several candidates shared some of their top priorities and their feelings about becoming official contenders.

For Keuroghelian, it's about modernizing City Hall practices.

"We have to be innovative," he said, adding that he would like the city to collaborate with large companies to host reoccurring job fairs, create a film festival to boost the local economy, as well as fashion new services to support small businesses.

Devine also said she wanted to support small businesses in the city, adding that cyclist and pedestrian safety are another focus of her campaign. Glendale has been home to several pedestrian- and cyclist- involved collisions over the past few years.

"I'm excited to be running. I just felt it was time for me to step up in my volunteerism and public service into the arena of actual policy making," said Devine, who has served on the boards of Glendale Adventist Medical Center and Glendale Healthy Kids, among others.

Devine said keeping a sharp eye on the city budget would also be on her to-do list if elected to council. She's not the only one.

Mohill, who often comes to council meetings to criticize city officials, said his main focus will be pension reform for City Hall employees and blocking tax and fee increases. The council recently toyed with the idea of adding a tax measure to the June ballot, but dropped the idea after a survey showed the necessary voter support just wasn't there.

Mohill, who was on the fence about running a few months ago, said he changed his mind after Mayor Dave Weaver told him if he didn't like officials' decision-making, he could move.

"That was the icing on the cake," said Mohill, who came in eighth in April.

Barnes, who received a more than $50,000 independent expenditure on behalf of his April campaign from the National Assn. of Realtors Fund but came in just one spot above Mohill, said his top priorities include reducing traffic congestion, revising city practices for approving development projects and hiring more police officers.

Barnes, who was a longtime member of a police advisory committee until resigning last year due to his candidacy, added that he plans to change his campaign strategies to improve his chances this time around, although he declined to share specifics publicly.

"I'm here to win," Barnes said.

Like others, Gharpetian, who did not campaign last year, but has in the past, said he wants to be on council to improve public and traffic safety. If elected, he said he would also spearhead a long-term plan for the city that outlines what Glendale should be like in two to three decades.

"I have three small children and I want them to have a future in this city," he said.


Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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