By Jason KUROSU
Ara Najarian has been chosen as Glendale’s next mayor, garnering support from his colleagues at a Monday night event at the Glendale City Council chambers. The event was an official adoption of the April 7 municipal election results.
Najarian, who succeeds fellow council member Zareh Sinanyan as mayor, said his third mayoral term would focus on infrastructure projects such as a potential revamping of the Grayson Power Plant, waste diversion technology for the Scholl Canyon landfill, improvements for the Grandview Electrical Substation and the Central Library renovation.
Najarian also said that there would be a focus on Montrose with the city’s Vision 20/20 Strategic Plan, an economic development plan which Najarian said would be conducted with direct cooperation with Montrose stakeholders.
“We as a council do not want to impose on anyone in Montrose, whether you’re a retailer, an owner, a homeowner, a landowner. We want to hear from you what you want and we are here to try and help you make your community the very best,” said Najarian, who said he wanted to “make Montrose our ‘Jewel of the North.’”
Paula Devine and Vartan Gharpetian were both sworn in Monday night as newly elected members of the Glendale City Council.
Devine retained her seat on the council, after winning a June 2014 special election and serving on the city council for the previous 10 months.
“It’s been my honor and privilege to serve for the last 10 months as your council representative. The learning curve has been very steep, but not insurmountable,” Devine said. “I’m so grateful to the 9,500 or so Glendale residents who listened to me, who believed in me and who hired me to work for them for the next four years.”
Among the projects Devine noted as key for her latest term are a bridge across the Los Angeles River connecting Griffith Park to the Glendale Narrows and an open space “cap” project stretching from Glendale to Central Avenue with park space atop portions of the 134 freeway.
Devine said both projects “will enhance our quality of life and bring us together by providing much needed park space.”
Gharpetian said his campaign focused on issues such as “budget, public safety, utility rates, poor development and affordable housing,” issues he said would be pursued “with all the due diligence they deserve” during his term.
“I’m humbled and honored for this vote of confidence and I’m fully committed to working with my colleagues here to make a difference, to make Glendale an even better city,” said Gharpetian.
Nayiri Nahabedian and Jennifer Freemon, the top two vote-getters for the GUSD Board of Education, were sworn in earlier that day and were available to speak Monday night about their recent campaign successes.
Nahabedian said she sensed more solidarity amongst voters in this year’s election than in the past, as well as more involvement in the electoral process overall in the city of Glendale.
“We had many volunteers in our campaign office, students from our different high schools and Glendale Community College who came to volunteer. It has meant a great deal to me personally that we’ve had so many young people who have come on Election Day more than once to our office to campaign and make a difference. That sort of fervor and energy and inspiration exists in our city,” said Nahabedian, who looked forward to another term on the board of education and the chance to work with the district’s schools.
“When we campaign, at least for me, it’s a time for assessment, a time to pause and a time to take stock and see how far we have come,” she added. “We have a lot to be grateful for in Glendale schools.”
Freemon said she was “still overwhelmed by the amount of support that was given to me by the entire GUSD community,” and also said, “We have a great foundation of folks on our school board with strong educational knowledge.”
“There are a lot of great things happening in Glendale. I’m really excited to be a part of it and look forward to continuing to develop those partnerships, develop those relationships and keep things moving forward,” said Freemon.
Tony Tartaglia and Vahe Peroomian retained their seats on the Glendale Community College Board of Trustees and were sworn in Monday night.
Tartaglia has served on the board of trustees since 2007, including in the roles of president and vice president.
“I want to thank the citizens of Glendale. They came out. They saw the college. They saw that we were doing a good job and they saw that we need to continue doing a good job. So I appreciate what you’ve done in re-electing me and re-electing my colleague, Dr. Peroomian,” said Tartaglia.
Peroomian, who has served on the board of trustees since 2005, currently as president, said, “I wanted to thank the members of the Glendale community and Glendale college district for putting their confidence in me one more time to serve for the next four years as your trustee at Glendale College.”
Peroomian lauded the accomplishments of Glendale Community College, saying he wanted to continue the good work that made GCC “the No. 1 school in transfers to four-year universities.”
“I dedicate the next four years of my term to making the college even better.”