The Prevention of Elen Asatryan’s Mayorship: The Unfortunate Byproduct of an Old Policy


The weekly Tuesday meeting of the Glendale City Council began at 6 p.m. with roll call, after which Mayor Ardy Kassakhian introduced the Glendale AYSO soccer team (who won western states championship on March 12) to conduct the flag salute.

The city clerk, after reporting that the agenda for the regular meeting was posted on March 15, offered some empowering words for women.

“[Women] represent the very best of America,” said clerk Suzie Abajian.

The city council then discussed the agenda preview for the meeting of Tuesday, March 28 in which the appointment of Stephen Ryfle to the Los Angeles County Vector Control Commission was discussed.

After consent items were finalized, councilmembers/staff discussed matters not listed on the agenda. Councilmember Daniel Brotman announced the groundbreaking of one of the largest affordable housing projects in Glendale, located at 515 Pioneer Drive. The residences will be for families and individuals earning between 30% and 80% of the median income for the county.

Elen Asatryan commented that a policy passed a year and a half ago prevents her from serving as mayor during her term. In addition, if Asatryan were to try and run for mayor again the policy would prevent her from serving a second term. Asatryan stated that she understood that the policy was well-intentioned. In fact, she agreed with most of it.

“I know that this policy was not written for me or was not meant for this to happen, but the byproduct of this policy is simply not fair,” Asatryan said. “There hasn’t been a single councilmember in recent history who has not had the opportunity to serve as mayor during their term.”

There was only one female council member who was unable to serve as mayor (reasons for which are unknown) and that event occurred at least 25 years ago. Asatryan stated that she has “grave concerns” regarding the meeting for the appointment for the next mayor, which will take place on April 4. However, given the limited time to address the issue, the council will be unable to rectify the issue before April 4. In light of this, Asatryan told the council that she wants to reconsider the policy issue at a later date. She also made it clear that she wants to be considered for the Housing Authority Chair on April 11 because (according to a separate resolution) the Housing Authority Chair ultimately decides who the next mayor will be. The council took this event seriously and agreed to revisit the dilemma.

According to Councilmember Ara Najarian, the council will vote on Thursday to allocate $500,000 to fund a bus service for South Glendale residents to visit Deukmejian Wilderness Park. This will provide opportunities for Glendale residents to visit the park who otherwise might be unable to.

A motion was passed authorizing the city manager or his designee to execute annual amendments with CDM Constructors, Inc., extending the existing agreement for the operation and related engineering services at the Glendale Chromium Operable Unit, for annual terms, for a total of five years. This is an EPA Superfund site that was identified in 1986 as being a source of contaminated groundwater.

The council voted yes on a motion to continue Mechanical and Field Service at the Grayson Power Plant, adding the amount of $180,000 to replenish the contract amount for the emergency service work provided to Unit No. 4 Boiler Waterwall Tube Cleaning.

The council voted in favor of revisions for the nomination and selection process for boards and commissions. These included revisions to term limits, and the addition of youth commissioners to the Arts and Culture Commission, Parks, Recreation & Community Services Commission, and Transportation & Parking Commission. 

The city council then turned its attention to an ordinance proposed by the Community Development Dept. that would authorize a statutory development agreement between the City of Glendale and Adelfia Properties II, LLC to work on the Lucia Park Project at 620 N. Brand Blvd. and 625 N. Maryland Ave. The council voted yes on the ordinance, marking a development partnership between the City of Glendale and Adelfia Properties and the conclusion of the meeting.