By Tim Willert
GLENDALE CITY HALL — Rafi Manoukian succeeded Gus Gomez as Glendale mayor Tuesday night, pledging to represent “the entire community” by making himself as “accessible as possible.”
As expected, the City Council followed tradition by voting unanimously to select Manoukian — chairman of the Glendale Redevelopment Agency — for the ceremonial position.
“I’m pleased that my colleagues have given me the opportunity to lead the city,” Manoukian told the audience, which included his parents, wife and three children. Manoukian called on members of the community to respect one another and “make sure that we leave Glendale a better place for our children.”
“We need to embrace each other and respect our differences and look at our differences for strength, rather than use them as a reason for division,” Manoukian said.
Manoukian announced plans to set up a sidewalk office on the first Thursday of every month next to the Farmer’s Market on Brand Boulevard.
Councilman Frank Quintero, who nominated Manoukian, called him a consensus builder with an “excellent moral compass.”
After switching seats on the dais with Gomez, Manoukian, a 41-year-old accountant and Air Force veteran, thanked his predecessor for his leadership during a tenure punctuated with controversy.
“He showed a tremendous amount of patience,” Manoukian said. “I learned a lot from him. I think the whole council came together to rally around Mayor Gomez.”
Gomez was the subject of an unsuccessful recall effort after ordering the American flag lowered to half-staff in April 2001 to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
“Over the last year, I’ve had the pleasure of wearing many hats: those of prosecutor, of husband, of father, of mayor,” he told the audience. “I’m hanging up the mayor’s hat for now.”
Council members Bob Yousefian and Dave Weaver complimented Gomez on his quiet but effective stewardship at council meetings.
“I was proud to serve under your leadership,” Councilman Bob Yousefian told Gomez. “You showed a lot of patience with us, and I appreciate that.”
Yousefian then turned to Gomez’s parents, who were seated in the audience with his wife, Glynda, daughter Amanda and other family members.
“You need to be proud,” Yousefian said. “You raised a good son.”
A reception for both men, their families and friends followed the meeting at a Brand Boulevard nightspot.