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Plenty of cash is on hand for Glendale campaigns

Disclosures show personal loans play a large part in election campaigns.

February 22, 2013|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com

Money is flooding in for City Council candidate Zareh Sinanyan, who has raised $31,815 in cash donations, the most so far of the 12 candidates competing for three seats in the April 2 election.

“I knew that I would be one of the leaders, but I thought the incumbents would have raised more than me,” Sinanyan said. “I hope in a way that shows that people have confidence in me.”

The two incumbents, Laura Friedman and Ara Najarian, aren't far behind, though.

Friedman and Najarian took in $24,844 and $22,245, respectively, according to financial disclosure forms released Friday. Najarian also made a $2,500 loan to his own campaign.

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Although the two incumbents have surpassed the fundraising totals they logged during the same filing period in 2009 — the last time they both campaigned for office — Najarian said he's focusing less on sending out expensive mailers and extreme fundraising this time around.

“You just get to the point where you're chasing money for the next mailer,” Najarian said.

The councilman raked in $72,196 in total contributions in 2009, but this time, he's also fighting to keep his seat on the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority board.

He faces a vote in that contest March 7.

Herbert Molano, a businessman and longtime City Hall critic, reported $31,000 in his campaign war chest, but $30,000 of that was in the form of a self-made loan.

“This is my way of showing that I'm serious about winning this campaign,” he said, adding that he plans to not collect money from city unions to avoid the appearance of being beholden to their influence.

Molano's not the only candidate who lent to themselves. Sam Engel, Glendale's former neighborhood services administrator, reported a self-made loan of $5,000, bringing his total to $6,685. Bankruptcy attorney Roland Kedikian lent himself $10,000, making up almost all the $10,050 he reported.

Both said they plan to jump-start campaign fundraising this month. While Kedikian plans to host a few meet-and-greets, Engel said he's focusing on going door to door.

“Our goal is to make direct contact with as many voters as we can,” Engel said.

Edith Fuentes, a former city planning official, has raised $13,446 in cash donations. Although she had set a goal to raise $50,000, she's lowering her expectations by about $10,000. But, she said, raising money is vital to political success.

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