Elections 2022

In our ongoing efforts to better acquaint our readers with the candidates they’ll be voting on within Glendale, CV Weekly posed questions to each of the candidates. Note that we had to limit their responses due to space limitations. To learn more about each candidate consider visiting their website.

Candidates for Glendale City Council

The following three questions were posed to the candidates; their responses are below in alphabetical order by first name:

  1. Briefly, in what part of Glendale do you reside and what is your family background? 
  2. What do you think is the most pressing issue facing the City of Glendale over the next two years? 
  3. If elected (or re-elected) what do you think is the most important thing that you bring to the City Council? 

Anita Quinonez Gabrielian:

  1. I live in the Verdugo Woodlands neighborhood in a beautiful Spanish Colonial house my late husband and I bought and restored over three decades. I am an immigrant from Nicaragua who married an immigrant from Armenia. Our parents made great sacrifices, valued education and hard work. Our story – we met one summer in community college, he served in the U.S. Air Force, we reconnected at USC, we were married and raised three accomplished daughters. All five are proud USC alumni. We’re part of the beautiful and diverse fabric that is Glendale.
  2. Emerging strongly from the pandemic is our short-term challenge. We should support small businesses, our thriving high-tech industry and enhance our reputation as a safe and attractive destination to live, work and play. In part, we can do this by fully funding police and fire, preserving and modernizing our water & power facilities, more efficiently delivering city services to residents and businesses and supporting arts and culture. We’re also faced with the challenge of major employers such as Disney and Dreamworks relocating thousands of jobs out of the city. We must invest, develop and implement a strong economic development plan that weaves in our rich city resources, our attractive geographic location and increase our commitment to investing in infrastructure.
  3. I bring policy-making experience, a diverse perspective, a commitment to the environment and a planner’s background. This will enrich City Council discussions, consider a long-term perspective, lead to more robust and transparent decision-making and ensure investment in infrastructure and environmental sustainability.


Ara Najarian:

  1. I live with my wife Palmira in the Verdugo Woodlands neighborhood. I have been a Glendale resident since 1980 and bought my first home in the Woodlands in 1991. I was born and raised in Ohio. My father is a retired surgeon and my mother is a retired nurse. My two sons attended Glendale schools and have graduated from college and law school. I have three siblings, two of whom live in Glendale and the other in La Cañada.
  2. The most pressing issue in Glendale is public safety. Crime is on the increase statewide but Glendale has done a good job of avoiding much of the crime that our other neighboring cities face. I will continue to support our police and fire departments and offer them all the resources that they request from Council.
  3. No one brings to the City Council the level of experience that I bring. As a four-term mayor, I know how the city runs and am very familiar with the needs of all areas of Glendale. We face constant challenges at the city including land use, environmental, safety, recreation, infrastructure and social issues. The city needs a steady hand on Council to ensure that all decisions by Council are thoughtful, measured and in the best interests of all the residents and areas of the city.


Dan Brotman:

  1. I live in the Verdugo Woodlands.
  2. Housing affordability: Young people starting their careers, and the elderly on a fixed income, are increasingly being priced out of the city. We must provide more housing of all types, especially downtown and along our commercial corridors, while balancing that against the need to preserve the quality of our neighborhoods.Speeding/reckless driving: Too many innocent pedestrians and bicyclists are being injured every month. We must increase traffic enforcement while implementing the design changes called for in our Pedestrian Plan.

    Energy: We must make a final decision on how to replace the aging Grayson Power Plant. I have pushed to reduce or eliminate the need to invest in new fossil fuel power. GWP has done a lot already but can do more.

    Longer term, we need to address issues around waste reduction, especially as we close our landfill, and climate adaptation as our region becomes hotter and drier.

  1. My background is as an economist, financial professional, professor, community organizer and policy maker. I’ve lived in many cities and countries so I have a broad perspective on the issues we face. I led a grassroots campaign to push Glendale to be more innovative so I know how to build coalitions and drive change. On Council, I’ve proven to be someone who challenges business-as-usual approaches. I’ve also demonstrated that I’m not just about the big policy ideas but also about solving everyday problems. Anyone who has ever emailed me knows that I always respond, promptly and substantively.

Elen Asatryan:

  1. I currently reside in the Verdugo Viejo neighborhood of Glendale. I’ve been a proud resident of Glendale for 30 years and grew up in south Glendale. My family moved to Glendale in 1992 searching for the American Dream when I was at the formative age of 10. My mother Stella and father Gagik raised me and my two siblings, Lusine and Eric, to work hard, help our neighbors and give back to our community. I am a proud former student of Columbus Elementary, Toll Middle School, and Hoover High School. The proudest title I hold is being an aunt to my nephews Robert, 12 and David, 10.
  2. Pressing issues facing Glendale are as diverse as our communities – some of which include homelessness, housing, sustainability, public and pedestrian safety, as well as difficulties navigating city hall and access to services, particularly for the most vulnerable in our community and our small businesses.
  3. I will bring to the Council my deep love for Glendale, my professional background in policy and my proven track record of helping our residents and small businesses cut through the bureaucratic red tape. For the last 20 years, I’ve taken immense pride in serving as the bridge between residents, small businesses and our city hall and bringing diverse groups together to find common solutions. I know how to get things done. I will bring that same determined and unifying spirit to tackle our most challenging problems. I will lead with courage, integrity and empathy to chart a new course for our City–grounded in our common vision of efficient, responsive, and transparent city services. Together, we’ll make Glendale a model city to live, work and play in. My mission has always been clear – to leave a positive footprint for future generations. I hope to earn your trust and your vote.


Isabel Valencia Tevanyan

  1. I have resided in North Glendale and my family background is from Peru.
  2. Mental health issues and housing. Mental health is a big concern in my opinion because a large amount of our community is relying on substances, whether it’s over the counter or not. The outcome of this issue affects all of us in our community and has a long-term effect we need to focus on now. My second main issue would be the way local government has not been ready for the excessive amount of the population increase in comparison to the housing available in the city.
  3. I represent the silent people that occupy the city of Glendale. Majority of these people do not have a voice; I am eager to be someone to represent these voices and be a part of our city’s decisions.

Jordan Henry:

  1. My home is in the Crescenta Highlands neighborhood of Glendale. Born in Indiana, I come from a long line of dairy farmers, pastors and educators. My wife Elise and I moved to Los Angeles in 2012, and we chose to raise our family in Glendale.
  2. As a landscape architect, I’m deeply concerned about the climate, yet Council must pursue environmental sustainability without compromising the health and safety of our most vulnerable citizens.The repowering project at Grayson Power Plant is a drastic improvement over the first proposal. A Tesla megapack battery would be installed and the five natural gas generators would someday be reconfigured for 100% hydrogen fuel. Council voted unanimously to put the Grayson project on hold until December 2022 – against their own appointed commission’s vote in support of the project.

    In 2024, under state emission mandates, Glendale will no longer be able to purchase high-efficiency, natural gas generators. If we do not commit to the repowering project now, we will miss this window to expand our grid before we experience rolling brownouts and exorbitant utility rates. Poor, vulnerable people will suffer the most when our strained electrical grid cannot meet demand.

  1. As a landscape architect, I know the best community planning is led by the community itself. I will make sure the residents who are most affected by development are the primary stakeholders. I will fight against SB 9 and 10, which will rapidly urbanize single-family neighborhoods in Glendale. Zoning authority must strictly remain at the local level.


Karen Kwak:

  1. I live in a one-bedroom apartment in South Glendale with two cats.
  2. Housing affordability – the same issue I’ve been fighting for the last five years.
  3. During the pandemic, we have seen how tenant-landlord issues affect everyone in Glendale, where 67% of residents are renters. I worked with community groups and the City Council to create the new Tenant-Landlord Committee, so we can come together to discuss problems and find common sense solutions.I have big dreams for our city and specific ideas on how to make them real:
    – A new model of affordable housing and the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) to give renters a chance to buy the building they live in
    – Right to counsel and anti-harassment laws for fair and safe housing
    – Public banking to save money for the city and serve our people
    – Council districts so that areas like South Glendale are represented in city hall
    – An Ethics Commission to keep our politicians honest
    – Healthy trees and clean water for everyone

    At a time when it is easy for people to live in bubbles where everyone thinks the same way, I encourage different voices to talk to each other and work for positive change.


Vrej Agajanian:

  1. My beginnings were very humble. All seven of my family members and I had to live in a room no larger than 120 square feet. Since the age of 8, I had to work to help support my family. Despite my difficult childhood, I studied diligently in order to attend a top engineering school. Afterwards, I would become an entrepreneur owing two U.S.-based T.V. channels on Charter-Spectrum. I have lived in Glendale for 40 years now and reside in Verdugo Woodlands.
  2. The most pressing issues for Glendale are the core issues that cities have always faced. I ran my first campaign on increasing affordable housing and supporting small businesses. Since my inauguration, we have increased affordable housing by 40%, or over 500 units, within a span of only two years. This is a greater year-over-year number than even Los Angeles, which is 20 times our city’s population. In fact, it is a record-breaking amount for any city in the United States. As for businesses, we have succeeded in cutting red tape, especially for permit issuance. Unlike other cities in LA, we averted a great number of bankruptcies by providing local pandemic relief aid under my mayorship.
  3. I am the only professional engineer (P.E.) on City Council. There are many decisions that Council has to make in regards to adopting new technologies. My unique background in science has helped me to properly evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of those decisions.

Candidates for GUSD Board of Education

The following two questions were posed to the candidates for GUSD Areas B, C & D; their responses are below in alphabetical order by first name:

  1. What is the most pressing issue facing GUSD Area B [C, D]?
  2. What is the single most important experience you will bring to the GUSD board if elected?

Candidates for Area B

Ingrid Gunnell:

  1. The pressing issues facing our district are teaching truth, improving salaries and working conditions, and mental health supports. We need to ensure that our students are taught accurate information that is inclusive, accurate and reflective of society; ensure that our faculty and staff have wages and health benefits that allow them to live and raise families on wages from one job; workloads that are manageable; and mandates that are funded. Addressing the severe mental health needs of our students and adults by prioritizing the hiring of mental health professionals.
  2. I have a breadth and depth of experience as a 24-year teacher and teacher adviser, working with our youngest students, students with special needs, families, and educators. I have advocated for increased revenue, lower class sizes, expanded student opportunities and inclusion of all students. I am community- and solution-oriented and prioritize listening and lifting up issues from school site stakeholders.


Lerna Amiryans:

  1. The pandemic has created many unique and pressing challenges for our students, educators and parents at GUSD. Although we still do not know the extent of this impact, we must proactively work towards improving everyone’s access to academic resources and mental health services.
  2. Societal norms and culture always start from the top down and, as an elected member, I will bring inclusivity and compassion. As my past public service will show, I will increase engagement with all stakeholders in the district, foster a healthy work environment, always provide avenues for feedback, create safe spaces for courageous and comfortable conversations to take place and connect with the students and teachers. Our schools are a big part of a community, and my plan is to unify GUSD in a polarized time like this.


Candidates for Area C

Armina Gharpetian:

  1. I am a 34-year resident of Verdugo Woodlands (in Area C), a mother of three children and a healthcare professional. A majority of the issues related to education are not unique to District C. The most pressing issue in the past two years has been the pandemic. I am especially proud of my leadership role as the board president to keep our students and employees safe and healthy during the most challenging times in the history of GUSD. Every important decision made by the Board encompasses all of our 30 schools and 25,000 students.
  2. When reelected, my commitment to our entire GUSD community will be to continue fulfilling my responsibility by:
    – Being fiscally responsible to maintain District’s financial stability
    – Increase safety and security of our campuses
    – Ensuring health and wellness of our students and staff
    – Providing high quality of education and resources to every student


Kathleen Cross:

  1. GUSD must retain our students by ensuring our schools have robust programs that are desirable, equitable and supported from TK through high school. Many of these great programs already exist in our elementary schools; yet we lose too many students when they move on to middle and high school. GUSD must address this head-on. While bills like SB 830 offer legislative fixes, focusing on strong enrollment will always be imperative to fiscal solvency. The District should also work with the City of Glendale on solutions to the high cost of living that is forcing teachers and families out of GUSD.Related to enrollment is the need to hire and retain excellent teachers, principals, and staff for our schools. Our schools are only as strong as the people who run them, and we need to make sure our contracts have compensation and benefits to attract and keep the very best educators in our schools.


Candidate for Area D

Shant Sahakian:

  1. As a proud lifelong resident, product of our public schools, and GUSD parent, it has been the honor of a lifetime to serve our community as a member of the Glendale Unified School District Board of Education representing District D.During my first term, I have advanced 21st century academic programs that prepare our students for college, career, and life success and supported initiatives that promote healthy, safe, and inclusive schools for all. During my tenure as school board president, the school district implemented a full and safe reopening of school campuses, made historic investments in school programs, people, and infrastructure, and adopted essential reforms including my term limits proposal for school board members.

    The pandemic has produced and exacerbated unprecedented challenges for our students and school community. Our highest priority must be providing our students with the academic, social, and emotional support they need to recover, accelerate, and prepare for their bright and successful futures.

  1. As a school board member, I have provided strong leadership as we collectively navigated through one of the most challenging time periods in our school district’s history and I have worked tirelessly with our students, parents, families, teachers, and staff to address our school community’s greatest needs. I look forward to the opportunity to continue my service on behalf of the most valuable assets in our community – our children.


Candidates Glendale City Clerk

The following two questions were posed to the candidates; their responses are below in alphabetical order by first name:

  1. What is the most important role the City Clerk’s office plays within the City of Glendale?
  2. What is the single most important experience you will bring to the City Clerk’s office if elected?

Greg Krikorian

  1. The most important role of the city clerk is to administer democratic processes such as elections, access to city records, and all legislative actions ensuring transparency to the public.
  2. I bring 22 years as an elected member of the Glendale Board of Education, where all five of my children graduated from. During that time, I built a foundation of trust, integrity and confidence with Glendale’s residents, businesses, educational leaders, civic organizations and elected officials.  As an active business and community advocate, I have faithfully served the community in which I live and work.Earning a master’s degree in organizational leadership and bachelor’s degree in business administration has equipped me with essential knowledge in effective strategic communications and governance. I have substantial practical experience in connecting and collaborating with the community and its residents as well as local and state public administrators and policy makers to find effective solutions to the issues that affect all of our residents. I would be honored to continue to serve the residents of Glendale as City Clerk.


Suzie Abajian:

  1. The most critical role of the City Clerk is ensuring that city elections, council meetings, and commission meetings take place in a fair and transparent way. Transparency enables public trust and galvanizes civic engagement. 
  2. When elected, the most important things I will bring to the City are my experience and qualifications. As someone with administrative experience in a public agency, I know how to work with staff, interface with the public and ensure organizational compliance with the law. As a former school board clerk and president, I have a deep understanding of the California Brown Act, the California Public Records Act and fair political practices. My experience as a 24-year educator and professor will be invaluable in launching educational initiatives through which residents can learn about city operations and the electoral process. I will ensure transparency through good information governance and open data initiatives while taking into account cyber security.