Election 2011: Meeting the Council Candidates

By Brandon HENSLEY, Jason KUROSU, and Mary O’KEEFE

Citizens of Glendale will be going to the polls on April 5 to vote for two available seats on the city Council, two seats for Glendale Unified School District and two seats for the Glendale Community College Board of Trustees.

The election is about five weeks away and over this time Crescenta Valley Weekly will be introducing the candidates to our readers and discussing city issues. We invite letters to the editor to discuss the upcoming election. Federal, state and local elected officials will be dealing with monumental issues. Many times communities feel lost in the state and federal budget shuffle but the power of change can start at the local level.

Crescenta Valley Weekly wants readers to get the information they need to make intelligent, thoughtful choices. We start this week with those running for Glendale City Council.

The problems facing the City Council are several, especially in the economic department. With the city facing a lack of funding from the state, why would anyone be willing to run for the council?

Dave Weaver, a current councilmember who lives in the Glenoaks Canyon area, explains why he is seeking reelection.

“I am running for City Council because I enjoy helping people and my community. We are in tough economic times and I have worked on 14 city budgets. I am quite familiar with the budgetary process and this year will be the toughest one in order to balance the budget. We have a great city and I really want to help develop more of the city’s foundation for the future of our children and their children,” said Weaver.

“I have lived in Glendale all my life – 71 years – except for two years in the Navy. I have been married for almost 43 years and have two children and three grandchildren,” he added. “I’ve been president of my homeowners association and the Glendale Homeowners Association. I’ve served on more than 10 boards of directors, including schools, credit unions and community organizations.”

Another familiar face in this year’s race is Rafi Manoukian who last served on the City Council in 2007.

“I was on the council for eight years. When I got off in 2007, the economy was still good,” he said.

Times have changed and Manoukian feels his background can be valuable to the City Council. His is concerned about the city budget that he said will be facing greater deficits in the future.

“My background as a CPA and my experience in the private [sector] and with the government gives me a unique perspective,” Manoukian said.

Manoukian discovered Glendale over 25 years ago when he found his “soul mate,” a hometown Glendale girl.

“I became a Glendale resident in 1987 but I was here [a lot] since I was engaged in 1984,” he said. Ever since then Glendale has been his home. “I love Glendale, it is a great city that has a lot of culture.”

He added that he loves the charm of the city, which has the best of both worlds: a metropolitan side with a variety of restaurants and entertainment but still keeps its small town feel.

“The [people in Glendale] are charming and friendly. I like going to the grocery store and being greeted by name,” he added.

Garen Mailyan will be another challenger for the April 5 election for City Council. He said his spirituality led him on this path. He credits God as the main reason for running this year.

“God has given me talents in politics, and I’ve been interested in politics since a little age,” Mailyan said.

Mailyan came to Glendale from Armenia in 1991. When in Armenia, he said he would “scavenge the communist newspapers to try to find something to satisfy my intellectual thirst for knowledge.” If elected, he wants to help fix the budget and control spending.

“The problem is that the people who make the decisions do not control the spending,” he said, adding he wants to set up workshops and get people to talk about the main issues.

Mailyan also said councilmembers should be limited to two terms. “If two terms are good enough for presidents, then it should be good enough for the City Council.”

Contender Mike Mohill is a self described “city watchdog.” He is a familiar face at almost every city meeting. He is passionate about Glendale and the direction in which he feels the city is heading.

His interest in city business was aroused in 2007 when the city was discussing the indigenous tree ordinance.

“That night I read about it and thought, ‘This is micro-managing,’” Mohill recalled.

He went to the City Council meeting and began talking during oral communication and from that point on has been a fixture at the bi-weekly meetings.

He and his wife can often be found walking their Glenoaks Canyon neighborhood with flyers on a variety of issues.

Mohill is a product of the Glendale Unified School District and has lived in Glendale for 60 years. He is a Vietnam veteran and said that he, too, loves the city.

“I love the culture and diversity,” he said.

He is a retired businessman who worked in sales for 27 years.

A familiar name on the ballot is Chahe Keuroghelian who has thrown his hat in several local elections.

“I have lived in Glendale for 11 years, but have worked in Glendale in both the public and private sectors for over 25 years,” Keuroghelian said. “I’ve worked as a journalist, a teacher, a public information officer for the police department, an interpreter and an immigration consultant.

“I’ve never had any intention of getting some high paying position. Working on the City Council is public service. I’ve been an advocate for economic and social justice at the grassroots level. A lot of my work has been with immigrants, trying to get them to become citizens and get them involved in the decision-making process. That’s how I want to get involved. It comes from my teenage years in Lebanon. I’ve always stood up for individual rights.”

John Drayman, an incumbent councilmember, said he is not running away from the city’s problems, but rather running for re-election because he wants to help.

What’s Drayman’s goal? “To get as much of Glendale’s piece of the national economy as we can get and to retain as much of our local quality of life as we can hang on to,” he said adding the challenge will be the city of Glendale doing more with less.

He also cited problems with mansionization and the Design Review Board, which oversees approval for construction of local buildings.

Drayman lives in Montrose and grew up in La Crescenta. He cited the area’s diversity as a reason for living here, and said  Glendale-La Crescenta is one of the most dynamic cities in the country with a school system that is top notch in an area with a family feel.

“We have a very tight-knit sense of community,” he said.