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Glendale City Council hopefuls feel the heat at forum

Candidates face tough questions in final pre-election forum Wednesday.

March 21, 2013|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com

The final City Council candidate forum Wednesday was perhaps the most direct in calling candidates out on their perceived faults.

From having Councilwoman Laura Friedman defend her voting record to asking longtime City Hall critic Herbert Molano how he could work with the very municipal employees he's bashed for years, several of the 10 candidates were forced to defend their reputations as they face the April 2 election.

Two candidates, Chahe Keuroghelian and Zareh Sinanyan, were absent from the forum hosted by the Northwest Homeowners Assn. at New Life Christian Church.

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Friedman said she was unapologetic of her votes that some may consider an interference of personal choice, such as her approval of banning single-use plastic bags from Glendale grocery and convenience stores. She added that Glendale wasn't alone in banning plastic bags, but rather was following Los Angeles County and several cities across the state.

“If we're being a nanny city, so is the county,” Friedman said.

For his part, Molano denied that he had overly criticized city officials, although he has called many corrupt.

“I do not agree with your basic premise,” he said to moderator Will Rogers.

Rogers also called out Councilman Ara Najarian for seemingly abandoning Friedman last week when the council discussed removing Sinanyan from his seat on a city commission because he allegedly posted vulgar comments online.

Both incumbents worked together to put the item considering Sinanyan's removal on the council agenda, but when it came time to vote, Najarian chose to preserve Sinanyan's spot on the Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee because there was “a shadow of a doubt that those [comments] were actually his.”

Najarian said he didn't want to push for Sinanyan's removal because Councilman Rafi Manoukian threatened to reveal information Najarian wouldn't want publicized.

“I took those threats quite seriously,” he said.

To that, Rogers opined: “What is he worried about?”

When asked what they would have done, several of the other candidates said they would have removed Sinanyan.

Sinanyan has not directly denied that he wrote comments, which mostly center around Armenia's geopolitical enemies, posted on YouTube and other sites. However, he has said the comments do not reflect his values and ideals.

Longtime City Hall players weren't the only ones who faced tough questions.

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