Municipal elections are scheduled for April 7 in Glendale. Along with the city council, school board and other seats, voters also will be electing Glendale’s next treasurer. Former Glendale City Councilman Rafi Manoukian is running for the treasurer’s seat. Asbarez sat down with Manoukian who shared his perspective on some issues.
Asbarez: As a former Glendale council member and now candidate for the city treasurer’s position, what are some of the challenges you see the city facing in the coming years?
Rafi Manoukian: The number one issue facing all local governmen’s has to do with navigating the economic crisis we are all feeling. Our city is facing a shortfall in its budget as tax revenue has been decreasing. While the treasurer’s responsibility is focus on managing the city’s cash flow and reserve funds, this new economic reality is something we have to monitor closely. We have to make the necessary adjustmen’s in how we manage our city so that we are responsible stewards of the city’s assets. Just like many households are facing tough budgetary decisions in this situation, the city also will have to make some tough choices in the months and years ahead so that we maintain the fiscal health of our city. If elected, I hope to bring my experience to the management table and contribute to the important dialogue on these critical issues that impact all of us.
Asbarez: From the time you were first elected to city council almost a decade ago, what changes have you observed in the Armenian community during that period?
Rafi Manoukian: The American Armenian community certainly has matured over the years and emerged as a respected voice in American politics. Like any community that comes of age, this is a process that takes time to develop and is done through a lot of hard work. Many organizations and institutions throughout our community have been instrumental in this process. For example, the ARF has played a key role in building necessary institutions that have helped perpetuate the Armenian identity by creating political awareness throughout the community. Meanwhile, the ANC has been organizing our grassroots. They have been active nationally, in the halls of Congress where their activism has been invaluable, as well as locally in communities around the country. Efforts such as their internship programs for our youth, voter registration and voter education have all made considerable contributions to the political maturation of the community and made it possible for more people to participate in the American democratic process.
I appreciate and welcome the work of these organizations and look forward to working with all organizations that stand ready to promote understanding and involvement in the civic life of the City of Glendale. We all have a stake in our city and need to work together as a community for its future and success.
Asbarez: You mentioned getting involved in the civic life of Glendale can you explain your perspective further? What are things you would like to see happen?
Rafi Manoukian: We have to realize that we all have an important stake in the future of our city. This means we have to bring our community, Armenian and non-Armenian, together on critical issues so that there is meaningful dialogue. Dialogue will build respect and greater understanding of various points of view. I am convinced that there is more that unites all of us who live in Glendale than what divides us. We need to focus on those uniting factors. I’m always inspired when I see our youth get involved in the elections, including those who are volunteering on my campaign. We need to encourage that sort of voter participation in the democratic process but it also needs to carry forward past elections. We need to demonstrate that we care for the future welfare of our city through our actions and participation in the life of the city such as encouraging volunteerism in charitable causes and getting involved in our neighborhoods and schools. Glendale has a bright future and the more we get involved the better we can make it.