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Union leads spending in school board race

Candidates' budgets fall short of previous years as Boger spends the least of all.

March 29, 2011|By Megan O'Neil,

The political action committee for the Glendale teachers union has emerged as the dominant financial player in the race for school board, spending tens of thousands of dollars in what otherwise has been a low-budget campaign cycle.

The Glendale Teachers Public Education Improvement Fund raised $19,754 between Feb. 25 and March 22, according to the most recent campaign finance disclosure forms filed at the city clerk’s office. The contributions came from the Glendale Teachers Assn. — which funnels a portion of its union member dues to the committee — as well as from its parent organization, the California Teachers Assn. The fund already had a balance of $45,414, according to the filings.

The group’s campaign expenditures have topped $41,000. Much of that money has been spent on election mailings promoting union-endorsed candidates Ingrid Gunnell, a challenger, and incumbent Nayiri Nahabedian. They’ve also paid for fliers criticizing incumbent school board member Mary Boger.


“We feel it is important to be involved in the GUSD board race so we can campaign for candidates who we feel share our advocacy of doing everything for the students, first and foremost,” said union President Tami Carlson.

Fundraising and spending by the union’s political action committee has outstripped that of the eight individual candidates. Nahabedian, first elected to the board in 2007, tops the fundraising list with $19,322, followed by challengers Vahik Satoorian, with $14,344, and Todd Hunt with $8,905, according to the latest campaign disclosure filings.

Fundraising among the Glendale Community College Board of Trustees candidates has been similarly muted, with incumbents Vahe Peroomian and Tony Tartaglia raising $10,972 and $4,911, respectively, well below their 2007 figures. Challenger Vartan Gharpetian has raised $5,724.

Changes in city campaign finance law, including a new $1,000 limit on individual contributions, and a tepid economy have combined to slow the pace of fundraising, candidates said.

“I think it is a good thing,” Tartaglia said of the new campaign finance rules. “I don’t think people can buy campaigns as they have in the past. These $100,000, $200,000 campaigns aren’t happening. I think the public deserves people who are going to get out there and get real support, and not just have somebody write them a large check.”

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