By Ted AYALA
Dave Weaver has passed on the title and duties of mayor to the city council’s newest member.
Zareh Sinanyan was appointed the new mayor of Glendale Tuesday night, ringing in his term with calls to boost business and trim city expenses.
“Glendale has significant fiscal challenges,” he said, “and over the next year no stone will be unturned to make sure our city’s operation is streamlined, all extra costs and expenses are minimized, while retaining the level of service our residents expect and deserve.”
He also said his mayoral term will be defined by “protecting” businesses and making the city altogether “more business-friendly.”
Sinanyan also stated that he still believed in making city government more accessible to its citizens. Among his suggestions for reaching that goal were holding council meetings in venues outside of city hall, at least on an occasional basis, and ensuring that all city documents on relevant and timely issues were translated into the languages of Glendale’s ethnic minority communities, including Spanish, Korean, Armenian and Tagalog.
“We shall do everything to ensure that all parts of Glendale, from far North to South, East to West, homeowners and renters, big businesses and mom and pop shops are increasingly engaged in and well informed about the developments in the city, that their opinions and needs are heard loud and clear,” he said.
Pedestrian safety was also cited as a major point of policy in his acceptance speech.
In remarks of thanks to his supporters on his Facebook page, Sinanyan referred to a vehicle-to-pedestrian accident Wednesday morning as an example of a growing problem in the city that needs urgent attention.
“These are human lives, our neighbors, friends, family members,” he wrote. “The anguish of the family of the victim is compounded by the mental torment of the motorist who appears not to have been at fault whatsoever. [T]here is a lot to do, much work to be done on this key issue!”
The councilmember’s mayoral appointment is a long way from the controversy that ensnared the final weeks of his electoral campaign last year. Anti-Islamic, anti-Mexican, and homophobic slurs were found to have been linked to his Google account, comments which Sinanyan claimed were fabrications on the part of his opponent, Councilmember Laura Friedman and anti-Armenian elements in the city. Despite controversy and the rescinding of several high-profile endorsements in the wake of the scandal, Sinanyan and his base rallied on, eventually pulling a slim victory ahead of fellow candidate Chahe Keuroghelian. It was only in the weeks after his victory that Sinanyan finally admitted to authoring the comments and apologized.
Nonetheless, Sinanyan has managed to quell the controversy, as well as mend bridges with his former political adversaries. Two of them, Councilmembers Friedman and Ara Najarian, supported Sinanyan’s appointment to the city’s top office.
“I am deeply honored and humbled [by the appointment],” the mayor wrote on his Facebook page. “The weight of the responsibility is considerable and I will carry out my duties to the best of my abilities. Hopefully, at the end of my term, you will consider me worthy of the office.”