By Mary O’KEEFE
The candidates for Crescenta Valley Town Council were introduced to the public at Thursday’s monthly council meeting.
The elections will be held on Nov. 3 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Nov. 4 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Sadler Hall at St. Luke’s of the Mountains Episcopal Church, 2563 Foothill Blvd. The entrance to the parking lot for the church is on Cross Street.
Registered voters who live within the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County/La Crescenta and Montrose are eligible to vote. There are seven candidates running for three council seats and three alternate council seats. Voters can vote for up to three candidates.
Absentee ballots must be received by Friday.
The seven candidates are: newcomers Sarah Todd, Daniel Kim and Christ Kirikian and incumbents Mariam Barnes, Desiree Rabinov, Jo Ann Stupakis and Charles Beatty. (For detailed information on the candidates’ background and education, visit the CVTC website at thecvcouncil.com.)
CVTC Vice President Mike Claessens monitored the candidate discussion on Thursday. All candidates had a similar understanding of what the role of the council is to the community.
“The primary job of the CVTC is to facilitate community-wide forums to inform the public and to gather opinions of the residents,” Kim said.
“Our main role is to respond to the community when it asks a question,” Beatty added.
All candidates mentioned communication as the key to getting the public involved in local matters and in helping to educate community members on a variety of issues.
The council is the liaison between Supervisor Kathryn Barger of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the community. A portion of La Crescenta is in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County and is bordered by the cities of Glendale and La Cañada.
Rabinov said that if she is elected to stay on council, she would like to reach out to nearby cities to discuss common concerns.
“Our job at the council is to listen to the public,” Todd said.
When asked what issues the council may have missed or need to work on, Kim said he was not aware of any specific issue that had been missed by the council but, if elected, would want to focus on traffic issues.
Rabinov added the council could focus on the Safe Routes to Schools program that would work on traffic issues.
Stupakis pointed out the low turnout at the CVTC meeting on Thursday. There were many empty seats at the meeting. She said the turnout surprised her when she was first on the Council.
“It surprised me because our community has opinions,” she said. “I think we have to find a way to reach out to [the community].”
Beatty echoed her opinion.
“If there is a problem, [the community] has to come to us,” he added.
Barnes pointed out that communication and outreach is what she has been working on while serving on the Council and wanted to continue her role on the CVTC to continue that goal of reaching more people.
Claessens asked the candidates to share their opinions on community diversity. The CVTC had recently approved a non-discrimination policy.
All agreed the Council needed to attend events that celebrate all cultures in the area. Kim mentioned the Korean Armenian Festival in the past that was headed by former Councilmember Dr. Suh and present CVTC President Harry Leon.
Kirikian suggested that as councilmembers they should attend different cultural celebrations and they could share their experiences on the CTVC website and through social media.
What all had in common was their obvious respect and love of the community. All had lived in the area for a long period of time and appreciated the work of the Council and the volunteer spirit of Crescenta Valley residents.
All also felt a responsibility to give back to the community that gave so much to them.
“It’s simple,” Kirikian said. “Being a citizen of this planet I feel it is a moral obligation to give back.”