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Council meets school board for debate

In an election forum, candidates discuss differences and find common ground.

March 15, 2011|By Melanie Hicken, melanie.hicken@latimes.com

CENTRAL GLENDALE — Candidates for the City Council and school board had a chance to pose questions to each other during an election forum on Tuesday hosted by Glendale homeowners.

Among the topics they asked each other to discuss was the relationship between the two governing bodies, which has been strained at times in the past.

“We don’t need to have a difficult relationship with the city because we share the same values and the same goals,” said incumbent school board member Nayiri Nahabedian in response to one of several questions moderator and former Mayor Larry Zarian posed to various candidates related to the relationship.

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Nahabedian and incumbent Mary Boger are running against challengers Jennifer Freemon, Daniel Cabrera, Todd Hunt, Vahik Satoorian, Ingrid Gunnell and Ami Fox. All but Fox were at the forum hosted by the Glendale Homeowners Coordinating Council at the Central Library.

Nahabedian and other candidates said the bodies would benefit from increased communication, loosely referring to contentious statements between some members in the past.

Mayor Ara Najarian and school board President Greg Krikorian have battled in previous years over the utility rates charged to the district. Krikorian has called for a 20% rate reduction for school facilities.

When asked on Tuesday if they would support a price break, City Council candidates were split, with incumbents John Drayman and Dave Weaver saying it could result in higher rates for other customers and other candidates saying it should be considered.

“This is the taxpayer’s money, not our money,” said challenger Rafi Manoukian, a former councilman.

Boger downplayed the “occasional spats” between the council and school board, contending that on the whole, the groups already work well together.

“We are very much like an old married couple,” she said. “We have an occasional fight, but believe me, no one is looking to get a divorce.”

She cited joint-use projects at Columbus Elementary as evidence of the organizations working together to maximize local resources.

Still, other areas of potential discord were apparent at the forum when the candidates were given a chance to drill candidates vying in the other race.

When asked by school board candidate Freemon whether they would support devoting more city resources to staff Glendale Police Department officers at schools campuses, council candidates were split.

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