By Jason KUROSU
On April 2, Glendale’s municipal election will give voters the chance to select from a series of incumbents and new faces vying for positions on the city council, school board and other municipal governing positions.
Current city council members Laura Friedman and Ara Najarian are running to renew their seats on the council, along with 10 new candidates with experience in local government, business and law. Similarly, the GUSD school board will feature three current board members on the ballot, along with four new candidates.
City Clerk Ardashes “Ardy” Kassakhian faces Stephanie Landregan in the running for Kassakhian’s current position, while Rafi Manoukian will run unopposed for city treasurer.
Though Manoukian will be running for election, the first of three measures on the ballot may affect the future of the Glendale City Treasurer post. Measure A, if approved, will make the city treasurer post an appointed position rather than an elected one. The appointment would be made by the city council and the appointee must meet a certain set of criteria, including a minimum of three years service in a senior financial management position with a county.
Measure A has the backing of current city treasurer Ronald T. Borucki, while Manoukian opposes the measure. Similar measures have been on municipal ballots in the past and all were rejected by voters, most recently in 1979.
Measures B and C come with the support of a majority of the Glendale City Council. Both measures seek to amend the City Charter.
Measure B would bring the city’s revenue transferring more in line with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), accounting standards widely followed for any number of organizations including companies and government bodies. Currently, the City Charter allows transfers of equal to 25% of Glendale Water & Power operating revenues per year from the GWP surplus fund to the city’s general reserve. Such transfers from reserve or surplus funds violate GAAP and Measure B would alter the current model by requiring that transfers be made from electric and water utility funds.
The argument put forth by the councilmembers, which is featured on the ballot, states that the current system “creates unnecessary complexity in budgeting and administration” and also assures that “approval of this measure does not affect utility rates.” The opposing argument states the measure would restrict money needed for necessary improvements.
“This 25% plus the utility tax means approximately one-third of ratepayers’ dollars can be diverted from providing them with water and electricity,” states the argument.
Measure C would also make alterations to the Charter, requiring multiple amendments including that the city manager must present the council with a budget by June 1 of each year, that bonds be sold at a public sale and the council’s requirement to provide “for petty cash funds for payment in cash of expenditures provided for in the budgets that cannot conveniently and economically be paid otherwise” would be removed.
Again, city councilmembers endorse the measure stating that “a yes vote will ensure that the Charter is updated and consistent with current City practice.” The argument against Measure C warns that the measure would “open the door for theft of funds by eliminating council approved demands for funds.”
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voter registration must be received by Tuesday, March 26. For help locating the closest polling place and more information regarding the candidates and measures, consult www.glendalevotes.org.