Tragedy in Boston and the death of civic leader subdue proceedings.
By Ted AYALA
The ceremony that marks the inauguration of newly elected public officials to the city is often a moment for jubilation. But Monday’s ceremony in many respects proved to be one touched by sorrow and loss, both personal and on a broader scale.
For those in attendance – some 150 people, not including the members of city council – the horror visited upon the Boston Marathon earlier in the day was a touchstone for some, a moment to recall how fragile the peace that is taken for granted.
“The explosion is a reminder of the fragility of life,” spoke City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian at the invocation at the outset of Monday’s meeting, “and how precious every moment of peace in our everyday life can be.”
Sadness also touched elected officials in attendance to take their oaths of office.
For Greg Krikorian, who was reelected to the Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) governing board, his victory was overshadowed by the recent passing of his father John, a widely respected community leader.
“This moment is a little bittersweet,” he said. “But I would give the whole election to have my dad back. Losing my pop was a big tragedy, but I have to thank the city and fire department for giving him another year of life to give back to the community. I’m just really proud of my father.”
Grief streaked Councilmember Dave Weaver’s face as his colleagues elected him unanimously to the office of mayor, succeeding Frank Quintero. Quintero, who retired from public office, did not attend the meeting as he was away on a trip to South Korea. His wife Janie represented him.
“I’m pretty down right now,” said Mayor Weaver as emotion overwhelmed his voice. “I left city hall earlier today to put my beloved dog, Sammy, to sleep. I had to postpone until tomorrow morning so [my family] could see him one last time. He was on campaign posters with me, [I] used to bring him to city hall. Now I’ve sentenced him to death tomorrow morning. I just can’t speak about anything else tonight.”
But optimism and hope also shined through, most notably in Rafi Manoukian’s parting message as councilmember. Manoukian was elected to the position of treasurer earlier this month.
“When I was reelected in 2011, I worked more for the community and tried to bring change to the leadership in the organization,” he said of his work on city council. “That is all I will say about my work with the city. But I do want to thank the community – everyone that voted.”
Councilmember Ara Najarian, who won reelection to his seat, pointed to his wide margin of victory as a sign that Glendale’s various interests and communities can work together. Explaining that it was his third city council election where he won with over 10,000 votes, it was a milestone that had never before been achieved in the city’s election history.
“What that tells me,” he said, “is that my support does not come from one segment of the community, does not come from one ethnic group. My support is broad and deep. My duty is to represent fairly and honestly all the residents of Glendale – that is my mission.”