Ron Kaye: The incessant buzzing of the gadflies

June 10, 2011|By Ron Kaye

“If you kill a man like me, you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me,” Socrates declared in arguing that his role as a gadfly was “to sting people and whip them into a fury, all in the service of truth.”

Barry Allen is no Socrates.

But as much as the power structure of Glendale dismisses him as being an annoying hyper-critical person, he scored the kind of victory gadflies sometimes do in nailing former Glendale Councilman John Drayman.

It’s far from clear whether Drayman is a crook, but Glendale cops and the FBI are asking a lot of questions and have serious suspicions that allow them and the media to use the word “investigation” in the same sentence with his name.


Drayman — a colorful figure who became the first-ever Glendale City Council member from Montrose — is an innocent man until proven guilty in a court of law. That distinction was largely lost Thursday morning among the 20 deeply concerned citizens who were in the back room at Foxy’s restaurant for a meeting of Allen’s Vanguardians.

“Bribes, Embezzlement, Conspiracy, Building Code Violations, Search Warrants – all the elements of Drama,” according to Allen’s email blast for the meeting.

He promised his fellow citizen watchdogs — the vanguard of a revolution that hopes to bring honesty, efficiency and transparency to local government — a presentation of the photos, documents and other evidence against Drayman, as well as a “special guest.”

The “special guest” turned out to be none other than Rafi Manoukian, the former Glendale mayor newly returned to the City Council to fill Drayman’s soiled shoes.

Like Allen’s army, Manoukian is obsessed with a desire to know every single detail of every single thing government does and to question the who, what and why of it.

In just a short time back on the council, he has made a nuisance of himself with his incessant questions about such issues as why the cost of medical insurance for city employees has jumped 500%, and his demands for endless details of city revenue and spending.

He got under fellow Councilman Dave Weaver’s skin to the point that he stormed out of a recent budget session, demanding Manoukian be silenced so they could get on with their task of balancing a budget with an $18-million deficit.

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