By Ted AYALA
Coming after a contentious vote when he was denied a space on the city’s Civil Service Commission, Chahe Keuroghelian returned to win a position on the Design Review Board No. 2 on Tuesday.
The vote came after Councilman Rafi Manoukian’s nomination, following the vacancy left by former board member Jean-Pierre Boladian. Boladian left his term unfinished. Keuroghelian will complete the remainder.
“He does have some background in decorations and design,” said Manoukian of his nominee. “He can read [architectural] plans.”
Local resident Mona Montgomery stepped to the dais to vouch for Keuroghelian’s experience.
“He is amply qualified and you’ll be glad you appointed him,” she said. Montgomery then listed his credentials in design and his charity work. “Everybody loves him – and so do I.”
Dissenting with her sentiments was Councilman Dave Weaver who voted against the appointment.
“I was surprised to learn that [Keuroghelian] was an architect after last week,” said Weaver.
He also called into question Keuroghelian’s academic record, citing that he only obtained his design credentials from a condensed course while in the Lebanese equivalent of high school.
“I’m a registered civil engineer,” he said. “I had to go to school for four years, work three years as an apprentice, and I had to take an eight hour exam to become registered. I’ve never heard of an architect being able to go for two years while in high school, get a diploma in design, then come to this country and say he’s an architect. People deserve to have a registered architect going over their plans.”
Manoukian clarified for the council and audience that Keuroghelian had never claimed to be an architect.
The majority of the council, however, approved Keuroghelian’s appointment by a margin of four-to-one.
Council also scuttled a survey that would have floated a tax on next year’s ballot. The tax would have aided library funding, which has taken a hit in recent years.
Cynthia Cleary, director of Library Services, stated that the first step towards a ballot initiative would be conducting a phone survey of the community.
“Over the last several years, the library has lost over $1 million in general fund support,” she said. “This year we are also facing a complete loss of state funding if the state assembly’s ‘trigger bill’ is activated. While our staff has done a remarkable job of providing services, our capacity and resources have become limited, leading to losses in [library] hours and programming, and fewer available computers to access information. I’m concerned … that declining resources will continue to make it challenging to provide library resources to our community.”
Robert Bonyadian was among those who spoke in opposition to the parcel tax survey.
“These piecemeal taxes aggregate and become a burden for our families,” he said. “Is the demand for the library really that much?”
“I’m not keen on this survey,” said Councilman Ara Najarian. “I’m really not open to this right now.”
“When the economy is down, you don’t go about adding fees,” added Councilman Manoukian. “We need to streamline services.”
“I think we should let the people decide,” said Mayor Laura Friedman. “As a resident of Glendale, I want to make sure that the libraries continue receiving funding and even increased funding. This [ballot measure] would be the only way to guarantee that.”
Ultimately, the Council voted against the survey three-to-two, Councilman Weaver and Mayor Friedman voting in favor.