By Ted AYALA
Glendale City Council candidate Paula Devine and Measure G were both the big winners of Tuesday’s special election, which was folded into the county and statewide election held the same day.
The special election had been called by the city in order to elect a permanent successor to Rafi Manoukian, who had stepped down from his post last year when elected as the city’s treasurer. Council later appointed Frank Quintero to the vacant seat in a caretaker role that he held until the special election.
Quintero declined to run for reelection in 2013 and 2014 after declaring his intention to retire from public office.
Devine initially had been trailing behind the eventual runner-up, Vartan Gharpetian. But as the returns from all the city’s precincts were tallied, the former educator and vice-president of the Glendale chapter of Soroptimists International pulled ahead, ending the night with nearly 12% over Gharpetian.
Devine came in at 33.69%, followed by Gharpetian at 22%, Rick Barnes at 20.7%, Chahe Keuroghelian at 13.67%, and Mike Mohill at 9.94%.
Provisional and vote-by-mail ballots have yet to be tabulated by the county clerk’s office. No irregularities were reported at Glendale polling stations.
“I’m simply overwhelmed by the support that I’ve received from the entire community,” Devine said. “I’m hoping that we can work together towards meeting our goals for fiscal responsibility, traffic safety, mitigation of traffic congestion and progress in education.”
In a message to his supporters that was posted on his campaign’s Facebook page, Gharpetian declined to concede defeat pending the final tally of all provisional ballots.
“Together, we ran a very positive campaign and I couldn’t have done it without the help of my family, friends, staff and volunteers,” his post read. “Although the election is over … there are still a lot of provisional ballots which [need to] be counted by June 30th. Let’s not give our hopes up.”
He added that regardless how the final tallies turn out, that he was running for Glendale City Council again in 10 months.
The county handled the tallying of the votes this time around instead of the city clerk’s office. The final results will be certified by July 1.
With no hot-button issue or presidential candidate on the ballot, turn-out was lower than usual.
According to Mike Dunn, secretary to Glendale City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian, just over 15,000 people voted Tuesday – approximately 14% of all registered voters in the city.
“Typically we see about 27% to 29%,” he said.
City Clerk Kassakhian also said that the transferring of the council seat currently held by Quintero to Devine would not occur until next month after the county certifies all votes.
The final outcome of the decision for Measure G was never in doubt Tuesday night as it established a wide lead early on, eventually earning a landslide 68.58% in its favor.
Measure G will allow the city to eschew the need to hold a special election to fill a vacant seat, instead allowing council to appoint somebody to serve the remainder of the term until the next election.
The city had expressed the possibility of including additional measures on the ballot that would have allowed for increases in revenue. These plans were ultimately shelved after an outside consultant’s survey found that a majority of city residents and businesses expressed a strongly negative reaction.
Devine will have less than a year to settle into her term as councilmember. Her seat will be up for grabs again in April 2015.