Meet the Glendale City Council Candidates, Part 2


By Julie BUTCHER and Mary O’KEEFE

This week CV Weekly will introduce readers to the remaining four candidates running for the Glendale City Council. They will be presented in the order in which they appear on the March 3 ballot. Videos of all candidates can be viewed at Click on “Candidates,” then on each candidate’s video link.

William Keshishyan attended schools in the Crescenta Valley. He continued his education at Glendale Community College and graduated from USC Sol Price School of Public Policy.

Keshishyan feels the key to leadership is the willingness to listen to others in the community. In response to hearing people talking about a need, he founded and was president of Dream Alive Foundation.

“We have to be the ones to [help]. We have to do this here,” he said.

He recognizes that responding to local issues is of utmost importance to voters. For example, he adopted four stretches of the 134 and 2 freeways for paid cleanup. He thinks the role of local government should focus on local services and issues.

“Potholes are more important than climate change [to the voters],” he said.

He also has a passion in helping the homeless.

“I support 20 to 30 homeless people myself,” he said. “We have to do more.”

He wants the city to be smarter about how it approaches homelessness and also wants to reduce barriers to housing and services. He sees a correlation between drug use and home ownership.

“It’s much easier to stop doing drugs when you’ve got a home,” Keshishyan said.

He shared a story about a man he knew who was homeless. Keshishyan helped the man get into a house and said the man’s pride was evident after he moved into a home of his own. The man still had issues and even continued to keep a tent in his room until Keshishyan convinced him that the walls of the building were safer than a tent.

Getting into the political ring and running for office was not easy. It is a decision that requires a lot of reflection but Keshishyan said he feels he is up to the task.

“I’m not crazy to do this … I’ve got the education and experience. I’m a resident and a business owner,” he said.

He is ready to take on the bureaucracy of the city.

“I am that business owner who had to come back after fixing a typo on a business license,” he said. “I know Glendale. I saw the tire shop become the Americana.”

Candidate Leonard Manoukian has lived in Glendale since 1986. He is a resident of the Emerald Isle neighborhood and is married with two sons.

Manoukian is familiar with the workings of city government because he has served on the Glendale Planning Commission for over 11 years. He also sits on the boards of the Boy Scouts of America-Verdugo Hills Council, Chamlian Armenian School and Homenetmen Glendale Ararat Chapter and has been very involved with AYSO soccer as a volunteer.

Maintaining the vision and values of his community, including making it safe for families, is his focus.

“We owe it to the residents to deliver [basic city service], not pie in the sky [promises] but everyday [service],” he said. “In south Glendale [Grandma] wants to put the kids in a stroller and walk to a nearby park, let [the kids] run around in the grass. It’s not scientific, there’s no need for a study.”

As a Glendale City Councilmember, he will bring attention to those things that are important to local residents, rather than attempting to change things at a statewide or nationwide level.

“The first place you interact with nature isn’t in a national forest in Utah,” he said. “You take your child to the local park. [S/he] sees the grass and trees and that is your first interaction with nature.”

He wants people to feel safe in the community and thinks city services should be included in that discussion. He added that the city is not enforcing good rules that are already on the books that would help toward improving the local environment.

Manoukian is an attorney who is employed by the State of California and practices in Glendale. He attended law school during the evening and during the day worked with the State Compensation Insurance Fund of California.

He feels that his longtime service with the planning commission and volunteerism has allowed him to connect with many community members and has led him to run for a seat on the Glendale City Council.

Glendale City Council candidate Dan Brotman never thought that someday he would run for City Council, or even become an environmental leader, but that is exactly the path before him.

Brotman attended college and grad school on the east coast, where he earned his master’s degree in economics.

“I started my career in the Federal Reserve in New York, and I worked there for about five years,” Brotman said. “That is really where I learned the economics trade, doing research and following currency markets.”

He worked for a small bank on Wall Street before being hired by Cisco Systems. Over the 16 years he was with Cisco he spent the majority of his time in Asia where he worked in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai. He was responsible for setting up financial operations in 12 countries and was in charge of about 100 employees.

“I finally decided I had enough,” he said of his career.

He wanted to move into another career that he had been thinking about for a long time – teaching. He and his wife wanted to stay in Shanghai until their daughter graduated from school, so he taught at an international private school before moving to California. He taught Mandarin at schools in California for a while then began teaching at Glendale Community College, which is very near his home. He teaches economics.

“Running for office never crossed my mind,” he said of the decision to run for City Council. “Then the 2016 election happened. It was like a body blow. For a long time I had been concerned about the climate and environment.”

He added he saw on the national level how the government was moving away from preparing for the environmental impacts of climate change. The administration had rolled back many environmental rules and regulations.

“To me I felt I had an ethical and moral obligation to [join] grassroots environmental [organizations],” he said.

Then came the issue of the Grayson Power Plant in Glendale. Brotman had worked closely with other organizations and had the experience to start the Glendale Environmental Coalition. He and others in the Coalition rallied at city hall, dealing with negative comments from some at the city but in the end got the Council and Glendale Water and Power to look at the issue again.

At the urging of the Coalition, the City Council did not approve what had initially been proposed to it and instead took the Coalition’s suggestions and reexamined the project.

“They came back with a new plan that is majority clean energy and, according to a GWP’s report, is $174 million cheaper than originally reported,” he said.

This experience inspired Brotman to look into other issues within the City and, with the goal of making his city a better place, decided to run for City Council.

Incumbent Vartan Gharpetian was first elected to the city council in 2015 and is dedicated to the city he serves; he believes Glendale is the best city in the world. He praised the city’s quality of life, highlighting its safety and cleanliness, and that it is a city good for business, people are nice and that, although property values are high and continue to rise, he feels the prices are not unapproachable for home buyers.

Gharpetian moved from Northern California, Marin County, to Glendale after he met his wife Armina in 1989. The couple married in 1994 and have three daughters. Armina is the vice president of the Glendale Unified School District board of education.

Gharpetian said there is a lot of interest in Glendale and he wants to make certain there is enough housing for those who want to live here. He acknowledges that there has been a lot of building in Glendale but points out that the downtown development boom happened before he was on council though he is in favor of new incentives for two- and three-bedroom units to be built that will attract families to the area.

“When we build that many new units and it doesn’t put a dent in the school enrollment, we should know something’s wrong,” he said.

He added that he supported the Glendale moratorium on building, which has expired.

Gharpetian said he has always had a passion for public service. He served as a commissioner on several boards, including Adventist Health, is a member of the Glendale Police Foundation, the Glendale Historical Society, and the Glendale Association of Realtors and has coached AYSO soccer for about 13 years.

“I’m an outdoorsy guy and I want more open space, more parks,” he said.

The City renovation of 18 parks is almost completed and the Deukmejian Nature Center will soon open with the barn rebuilt, he said. 

He, like other candidates, has concerns about traffic issues in Glendale but feels the upcoming electric streetcar program will help with congestion. His focus is on making his city look more inviting to others.

“I want for my kids and your kids to live in Glendale,” he said.