ANCA Glendale Disappointed at Najarian for Supporting “Astonishing Increase.”
GLENDALE—The Armenian National Committee of America Glendale today expressed its strong disappointment with Glendale Council Member Ara Najarian’s decision to vote for what the organization called “an astonishing increase” in electric rates.
Councilmember Najarian was joined by Councilmember Laura Friedman and Mayor Dave Weaver in voting for electrical rate increases of 8 percent in 2013, 7 percent in 2014, 5 percent in 2015, 2 percent in 2016, and 2 percent in 2017.
“The compounded effect after public benefit and utility taxes will mean that residential customers’ rates will increase by more than 30 percent,” stated ANCA-Glendale Executive Director Talar Malakian.
On Tuesday, August 13, over 100 community members gathered in Glendale City Council chambers for a second week, to watch the deliberations and subsequent voting on the resolution introduced by Councilmember Najarian.
“The City Councilmembers were elected by the people to serve the people,” said Ruben Malian, an upset Glendale resident. “I put signs for Ara Najarian on all the lawns on my street, and I have voted for him every time. And then he does this to the people that elected him. He did not even consider us.”
Adoption of Najarian’s resolution, prevented the consideration of more modest increases proposed by Councilmembers Zareh Sinanyan and Frank Quintero. Sinanyan and Quintero tried to persuade their colleagues that the proposed increase was excessive and that a lower rate increase of three to four percent per year would be sufficient.
“Councilmembers were presented extreme positions and doomsday scenarios to secure a majority of three votes. A more modest rate increase was not given proper consideration. A set of assumptions were used by the City’s management that did not allow adequate discussion and consideration of alternative proposals,” wrote ANCA Glendale Chairman Berdj Karapetian in an open letter.
The ANCA-Glendale survey of residents and businesses in July had revealed that more than 88 percent of them opposed the proposed level of increase in rates. Within a one-week period, more than 1,000 people signed a petition circulated by the ANCA-Glendale urging the Council to adopt more modest increases in rates. Although Glendale City Council voted to approve the excessive rate increases, Council did decide to buffer the increase on low-income residents by authorizing a greater discount for low income residents.
The increases will be put into effect this fall and raise the rates by more than 17 percent by next July.
The ANCA-Glendale advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the city’s Armenian American community and promotes increased civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels.