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Council nixes commission candidate

His first choice vetoed, councilman quickly nominates two others.

June 01, 2011|By Melanie Hicken, melanie.hicken@latimes.com

CITY HALL — The City Council on Tuesday rejected the nomination of Aram Kazazian — who is tinged with controversy after illegally constructing a massive home in the Montecito Park neighborhood — to the Glendale Water & Power Commission.

But no sooner had the council voted 3 to 2 to block Kazazian than Councilman Rafi Manoukian offered up two more nominees likely to cast a critical eye on the utility’s operations.

In Kazazian’s stead, Manoukian nominated school board member Greg Krikorian, who has publicly called on Glendale Water & Power to give the school sites a price break — a stance that has lead to public tussles with the City Council.

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“I’m concerned as to whether someone who has that view and represents one of our largest customers is the best choice for the seat on the commission,” Councilman Ara Najarian said Wednesday.

City attorneys are vetting the nomination to make sure there would be no legal conflicts, should Krikorian be appointed.

If Krikorian cannot serve on the commission, Manoukian nominated Glendale resident Harry Zavos, who has become a regular at City Hall in the past year discussing Glendale Water & Power budget issues.

Manoukian defended his nominees as people who have shown an interest in important utility-related issues.

Manoukian cited Kazazian’s focus on water rates and building up the city’s recycled water infrastructure during his failed 2009 City Council campaign.

“I believe he has an interest and he could make an unbiased contribution to the commission,” said Manoukian, who was joined by Councilman Frank Quintero in voting in favor of his appointment.

While the others on the dais did not explain their votes, Kazazian was the subject of controversy in the 1990s, when he built a 13,750-square-foot house on El Tovar Drive in the city’s Montecito Park neighborhood. A report from an independent investigator found that Kazazian’s role on the city’s Board of Zoning Adjustments helped him bypass city codes to build the mansion.

For his part, Krikorian on Wednesday said he was flattered by the nomination and would strongly consider serving if it is determined appropriate by city attorneys.

“I see it only as a benefit personally,” he said of the potential dual roles. “Not only being a small business owner and a homeowner, being on the Board of Education gives me a bigger picture of the challenges ahead.”

 
 

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