Candidates Visit Town Council

By Brandon HENSLEY

It’s been a month-long tour of appearances across Glendale and La Crecenta for candidates in the April 5 elections, so what was another forum to speak last week?

Five candidates running for the Glendale Unified District school board spoke to the audience at the CV Town Council March 17 inside the La Crescenta Library community room.

Dan Cabrera, Jennifer Freemon, Nayiri Nahabedian, Todd Hunt and Vahik Satoorian spoke briefly – they were allotted three minutes – to garner votes for the election.  Mary Boger, Ami Fox and Ingrid Gunnell were not at the meeting due to their busy schedule, although Gunnell’s husband filled in for his wife.

Cabrera, a recently retired Glendale High teacher,  mostly thanked the Town Council just for having meetings that allow free speech. He said, “People are getting shot in the streets just to have meetings like this.”

“More than anything I want to thank you for having meetings like this,” Cabrera continued. “I hope every single person here is registered and votes.”

Freemon, a parent and former teacher herself, said the board needs to have a variety of new voices. She said it is important “that we have some of those younger parents that are bringing a new set of expectations.”

Freemon said she wants to communicate more with the community, and wants to find out “what people are passionate about.”

Nahabedian, the lone incumbent who spoke, praised the Crescenta Valley area for various reasons. She acknowledged Linda Evans, former CV High principal who was in attendance, and recognized the work of the CV Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition.

“I have been a fierce advocate for smaller classrooms, for safer school and for excellence in teaching and learning,” Nahabedian said, when it came time for her to discuss her accomplishments.

Hunt ran for a school board position in 2007 and lost. He said he’s back to try it again.

“I believe I will bring a voice that our schools up here in the northern part of the district need down at the headquarters and the flatlands,” he said, while noting that he lives in La Crescenta.

Hunt said “a lot of people talk a big game,” but he wants to be consistent and follow through with his actions, while adding that he has the knowledge to help balance a budget.

Satoorian, who said he has been a treasurer for several nonprofit programs over the years, advocated for more after school programs. Most of all, he said he wanted to plan ahead for kids graduating in 2015 and beyond.

“I want to see that for the next four years and five years what the board is going to do, what teachers are going to do to make sure that our students will [fulfill their potential].”

Then Evans got up and talked about her endorsement for Measure S. She cited how Measure K, the late 1990s bond the district received, helped CV High usher in the new century.

“It completely transformed what we were able to do as a high school,” she said.

And that was her reasoning for supporting Measure S. She said there are pockets of advanced technology at CV High, but, “Measure S would allow us to bring that technology to more classrooms.”

Evans talked about her granddaughter, who will be born this spring.

“And when I’m out and I’ve got my [Measure S] button on … I’m doing this for her too, and for all of the children,” she said.

Tami Carlson, president of the Glendale Teachers Association, was also on hand to talk about the bond. She called it a “great measure,” but was mostly concerned about increasing class sizes and the potential number of teachers that may lose their jobs.

Carlson said around 60 teachers have been notified they may be laid-off after this school year, which would increase class size.

“No matter how great the  technology is or how beautiful the building is if we don’t have teachers in the classroom to work with students the education in our schools won’t be as great as they have been,” she said.

If passed, the bond does not allow for any money from it to go toward class size. Carlson wanted that changed. She said if Measure S passes, the district would have almost $20 million to spend on class sizes.

“It won’t take that much. It won’t even take probably half that” to keep sizes where they are, she said.

A Measure S panel will be held at the La Crescenta Library on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The next CV Town Council will be held April 21 at the library at 7 p.m.