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Council candidates meet in Montrose forum

March 22, 2011

Candidates for Glendale City Council told an election forum audience on Monday that, given the recent earthquake in Japan, they would evaluate local preparedness to ensure the community was as ready as it could be for a similar event.

Strengthening ties with other local governments and state and federal agencies would be part of that effort, they said.

The six candidates for City Council also reiterated their platforms at the election forum sponsored by the Montrose-Verdugo Chamber of Commerce at the Sparr Heights Community Center. The tone of the evening was relatively muted compared to other recent forums, where question-and-answer periods have sometimes elicited shouts from the audience and heated exchanges between candidates.

Incumbent City Councilmen John Drayman and Dave Weaver defended their records against the slate of four challengers, including repeat candidate Chahe Keuroghelian, former councilman Rafi Manoukian, newcomer Garen Mailyan and City Hall gadfly Mike Mohill.

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In addition to disaster preparedness, the candidates addressed the relationship between the City Council and Glendale Unified school board, the proposed Long Beach (710) Freeway underground extension and how to stoke greater civic engagement.

All candidates generally agreed that tougher stances on soaring city employee pension costs would be needed to bring Glendale’s expenses in line with stagnant revenues, which for the past several years has caused multi-million dollar budget gaps.

Mailyan again pounced on what he said was a cultural divide in Glendale, and Mohill, whose heated political exchanges with Drayman have garnered much of the attention in the race, repeated his critiques of the two incumbents.

The six candidates will soon enter the home stretch for the April 5 citywide election, which also includes races for school board, Glendale Community College trustees and Measure S, a $270-million school bond.

All of the candidates are midway through a grueling schedule of at least a dozen election-related forums and public speaking events.

-Jason Wells

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