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On Education: Glendale school board not quite the political springboard

November 15, 2012
(Cheryl Guerrero/Staff…)

Glendale Unified school board members are 0-2 in consecutive 43rd Assembly District races.

Local businessman and Republican candidate Greg Krikorian last week resumed his seat on the dais at district headquarters after conceding to Democratic incumbent Mike Gatto.

“I really want to thank everyone [who was there] along the way,” Krikorian said at a board meeting the day after the election. “I met so many new voters, new friends.”

Perhaps he will find Nayiri Nahabedian an empathetic colleague. The current school board vice president waged her own unsuccessful, and sometimes contentious, campaign for the seat in 2010.

Krikorian finished with 40% of the vote, 25,036 ballots behind Gatto’s final count of 75,372. By some measures it was a respectable showing against a well-established, better-funded candidate.

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Still, it is clear that Glendale Unified is no political launching pad. At least one other board member has pursued state office. In 1996, Sharon Beauchamp, who had previously served 16 years on the school board, ran to replace Newton Russell to represent the 21st Senate District. She finished fourth in the Republican primary. (Adam Schiff went on to win the general election.)

Meanwhile, the La Cañada Flintridge City Council has produced state Sen. Carol Liu and state Assemblyman Anthony Portantino. And the Burbank Unified school board helped launch the career of Paul Krekorian, who climbed from his district-level position to the state Assembly and then on to his current job on the Los Angeles City Council — all in less than a decade.

What’s more, our school board members don’t seem to wear 43rd Assembly District races particularly well.

Unseating an incumbent is always tough. But if Krikorian had set himself above the campaign fray and projected the attributes that have served him so well during 12 years in elected office he might have better positioned himself for a competitive rematch in 2014.

I am talking about the Krikorian who can claim containing the district’s once-skyrocketing energy costs as a signature accomplishment. I am talking about the Krikorian who dresses in drag for the “Father’s Follies” program at Verdugo Woodlands Elementary School.

Instead, the school board member spent months exchanging accusations with the Gatto camp about alleged misleading campaign literature, and who was snooping into whose personal affairs.

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