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Manoukian's nominees have curious ties

May 04, 2011

Councilman Rafi Manoukian's nomination of Richard Espiritu to the Traffic and Parking Commission is perhaps the most illustrative example of the new and improved Manoukian.

In a 2008 Glendale News-Press article: “Court records show that Espiritu has been convicted twice for driving on a suspended license in Glendale and, in 2001, for the 'unauthorized entry of a dwelling' — a conviction that led to three years of probation and restitution fines.”

It went on to state, “Even in terms of his advocacy for disabled access, Espiritu appears to have misrepresented himself as a doctor at dozens of City Council meetings over the past two years.”

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Manoukian's nomination of Vartan Gharpetian to the parks commission is interesting too. Parks commissioners represent the interests of Glendale residents with regard to recreational facilities and our open spaces. Yet, while serving as chairman of a Design Review Board — tasked with protecting residential and neighborhood integrity issues — Gharpetian did just the opposite, creating a private advocacy group about which then-fellow commissioner John Cianfrini stated in a 2007 Glendale News-Press article “the group was organized to counteract the influence of the city’s 19 homeowners associations.” The conflict of interest led to Gharpetian being unseated.

The new and improved Manoukian also nominated Aram Kazazian for Glendale Water & Power Commission, but in a 1997 News-Press article chronicling Kazazian's circumventing of city ordinances to build a 13,750-square-foot house, “El Tovar” — some 6,000 square feet in excess of the legal limit — the article states: “The City Council referred the mystery to a San Diego law firm, which detailed its investigation in a 36-page report delivered last week. The report assigns much of the blame for the situation to Kazazian, who allegedly used his position on two city building commissions to manipulate normal land-use procedures to his advantage.”

I could go on about Manoukian's nomination of Brian Ellis, a Bob Yousefian retread to the Design Review Board, or Razmik Grigorian to the Arts & Culture Commission, who previously pushed for the creation of a new arts department, or Greg Astorian to the Planning Commission who, as a prominent Realtor and consultant, would be the very perception of conflict of interest, but why continue?

The big question is will Council members Frank Quintero, Dave Weaver, Ara Najarian and Mayor Laura Friedman demonstrate any evidence of having spines and express objections to these nominations by voting “no”?

Mark Lassiter
Glendale

P.C. or not, there is value in tradition

The English managed to put on an especially beautiful traditional event without setting fires, looting stores, overturning cars or beating up on innocent bystanders. How quaint and old-fashioned.

Haven't they learned anything from us about how to throw a real party?

Like it or not, the English people honor and preserve their traditions and pass them down with pride. What legacy will we leave behind for the next generations?

There are some people here who set out to destroy our traditions as quickly as they can in the name of political correctness. There will be nothing left to pass down.

I would rather be quaint and old-fashioned than nothing at all.

Rosemary Klem
Glendale

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