By Ted AYALA
With just seven days since the end of last week’s municipal election in Glendale, volunteers rolled up their sleeves at the city’s election center to count the very last 3,150 mail-in ballots that may hold the balance for the election.
With a razor-thin margin separating the top three candidates for city council – incumbents John Drayman and Dave Weaver, and challenger Rafi Manoukian – the entire attention of the city turned toward the work of the volunteers of the election center. Numerous representatives from Manoukian’s and Drayman’s election camps were on hand to observe the proceedings as were various private citizens.
Despite what promised to be a close photo-finish for the 2011 elections for the city council, Glendale City Clerk Ardashes Kasskhian explained that the operation to count these very last ballots has been a calm affair.
“It’s been a smooth process,” said Kassakhian. “We have a number of steps that we need to follow and it must be done in a particular order. The goal for everyone here is that everyone’s constitutional right to a vote is observed and counted.”
Though surrounded by various campaign representatives, Kassakhian maintained that the atmosphere had remained cordial and respectful. “All these representatives from the various candidates have been very cooperative.”
Then turning to look over the work of the election center volunteers Kassakhian added, “This is why we do this job. This is the primordial soup of democracy bubbling.”
At 2 p.m. today, all votes were inserted into counting machines. As the machines whirred and tallied the votes, the election center filled with a multitude of onlookers, citizens, and city workers all eager to learn the final tally of the election.
Finally at 2:22 p.m., the results were announced: with all votes accounted for, Dave Weaver and Rafi Manoukian emerged as the winners of the election. Councilperson John Drayman lost by a slim margin of less than 50 votes.
Cheers and laughter erupted from the members of Rafi Manoukian’s camp when the announcement was made.
Councilperson Laura Friedman was among those observing the final tally of votes. “Looked like it went smoothly,” she said. “It’s great to see so many people here interested and participating in the electoral process.” Friedman then added, “I congratulate all of those who ran – win or lose.”
Members of the Crescenta Valley community that came to support John Drayman were deeply upset by the final results. Montrose resident Lindsay Soderlund, standing outside the election center, was unequivocal in her disappointment. “I think it’s horrible,” said Soderlund. “John Drayman has done so much for the community and for this city. I just hope he runs again in the future.”
Montrose Shopping Park Executive Director Dale Dawson echoed Soderlund’s sentiments: “We’re very disappointed. We put in a lot of work and time into helping John retain his seat on the city council. He’s brought a lot to Glendale and I just hope he comes back to run for office again.”
Scott Trulik from Oceanview Investments Group, who is currently serving as president of the Montrose/Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce, also offered a statement regarding the election results.
“John Drayman and Dave Weaver have both done so much for Montrose and for the city. Both of them have been good friends of our chamber and we’re deeply sorry to see John go. But we look forward to working with the new city council and hope they will also fight for the interests of the Crescenta Valley.”
Calls for comments to John Drayman, Rafi Manoukian, and Dave Weaver weren’t returned as of the writing of this article.