Meet the Candidates – Glendale City Council

CV Weekly asked candidates for the Glendale City Council and Glendale Unified School District board of education their views that are of particular interest to our readers. Below are the GCC responses in the order they were received. Next week we feature GUSD candidates.
Has the release of the 710 EIR changed or affirmed your position on the project?

Paula Devine: I have begun reading the 710 EIR and will continue to do so. Along with other City Council members, I have approved a resolution that we stand in opposition to the 710 tunnel and advocate against it.

My stance has not changed. However, I will continue to study the EIR, as I am also determined to gather all the information necessary to make a responsible decision for our community and all those impacted.

Erik Yesayan: It has affirmed my stance to continue opposing the 710 Freeway expansion. The project will have significant impacts to communities throughout the Crescenta Valley. It will worsen air quality, traffic congestion, and the quality of life. We need to invest in public transportation as opposed to building more freeways.

Vartan Gharpetian: It has affirmed my position to strongly oppose the project.

Evelyne Poghosyan: Community is opposed to the idea and it is imperative to listen to our community. One of the goals mentioned for the construction is: “The purpose of the I-710 Corridor Project includes: Improving air quality and public health “”

Unfortunately it will do [the] exact opposite, and my position has not changed; I am still opposed.

Chahe Keuroghelian: My opposition to SR-710 remains unchanged. This 4.9 mile tunnel is a bad idea because: 1) It will not have exits or onramps; 2) The potential of further gridlock on already congested I-210 Freeway will become a serious issue for all commuters; 3) The general public should not be expected to shoulder the billions of dollars it will cost to build this tunnel when it is intended to pass-through traffic from the ports; 4) Commuters will be forced to pay toll fees for a project paid for from public funds; 5) Roadway tunnels are inherently dangerous especially in case of fire; 6) Vehicle exhaust cannot be properly filtered and will lead to health issues not only for the drivers who use the tunnel but also for the surrounding communities where the exhaust is vented.

Do you believe councilmember compensation should be set by the council (Measure C)?

Paula Devine: In accordance with the Glendale City Charter, council member compensation is established and controlled by the California Government Code and is tied to the population of the city. The intent of the Code is to provide a uniform, logical and, most importantly, an independent arms’ length process of determining pay rates for elected council members.

I believe that council members should not be able to increase their own pay because it would negate the principles and intent of the Government Code, esp. the independent arms’ length element. This will likely lead to doubts, concerns and criticism from the residents who pay council members salaries.

Erik Yesayan: I would only support it if there are caps on how much salaries can be raised and the meetings are public and fully transparent. Many are surprised to learn that the current City Council salary is low given the amount of time required of the councilmembers by meetings, commissions and study sessions, not to mention the time required to thoroughly study the policies and detailed documents related to the decisions before the council. This could discourage those who are not retired or independently wealthy from serving and leads to narrower representation.

Vartan Gharpetian: No. The Council salary or the benefits should not be reasons for any individual to seek office. The wording on the measure is written very vaguely and it does not specify any limits on the salary increases. As such, we must be wary of the fact that granting unlimited power to raise one’s own salary can and will lead to diminished levels of accountability. In addition, I am concerned that as a result of this measure, in the long run, the City Council position will eventually be viewed as a high paying executive employment opportunity rather than a way to serve the community.

Evelyne Poghosyan: No. From looking at the examples such as Vernon ($156,606) and Inglewood ($75,361), numbers can go out of control. At the same time council members should get paid fairly and symmetrical to the hours they put in their serious and highly responsible job.

Chahe Keuroghelian: No, I don’t; it should be up to the voters (the Charter) to set or modify any compensation; otherwise what would the ceiling be especially for a part time public service?

What is your opinion about the proposal to route the “bullet train” through Angeles National Forest including Shadow Hills?

Paula Devine: I attended the Feb. 19 meeting of the CV Town Council when Dave DePinto from S.A.F.E (Save our Angeles Forest for Everyone) addressed this issue. He presented a very compelling argument against the construction.   He showed it was extremely expensive and that it would/could cause significant negative impacts in the communities involved in the construction.

As a sitting city council member I cannot make a firm decision presently, but as a resident, I would be hard pressed to find the positives in this project, which would “cut through” our communities and threaten our quality of life.

Erik Yesayan: I oppose a bullet train through the Angeles National Forest.

Vartan Gharpetian: In my opinion, the East Corridor route is not a viable option for the Palmdale to Burbank project section of the bullet train. The benefits of going through the forests, namely making it less costly to build, will be far outweighed by the damage it would cause to our environment.

Evelyne Poghosyan: I am opposed to the idea of damaging Angeles National Forests ecosystem in favor of bullet train, I am positive we can come up with an alternative solution without touching pristine limited resources that we have.

Chahe Keuroghelian: I don’t have a position on this project yet.