Glendale races funded early

Los Angeles Daily News, CA
Aug 6 2004

Glendale races funded early

Mayor’s bankroll bulges months before election

By Naush Boghossian
Staff Writer

GLENDALE — With city elections still eight months away, Mayor Bob
Yousefian already has raised $63,594 for his re-election campaign.

Councilman Frank Quintero raised $39,133 in contributions between
Jan. 1 and June 30, while Councilman Dave Weaver collected $8,500,
according to campaign finance reports.

Councilman Gus Gomez is running for a Superior Court judgeship in
November, and his election could leave the council with four seats up
for grabs.

“It’s very early to be raising that kind of money for an April
election,” Councilman Rafi Manoukian said. “It discourages people who
are planning on running for the office by having funds that large
available for a candidate.”

Quintero disagreed, saying that people who want to run for a council
seat will not be swayed.

“I think in the political process, whoever is determined and
interested is going to run,” he said.

Early fund raising is becoming more and more common in politics, said
Democratic consultant Rick Taylor.

“I think politics has changed in general. These days you have someone
campaigning for state Assembly 1 years away from the election. I find
it to be the way you do business in politics today,” said Taylor of
West Los Angeles-based Dakota Communications.

Also, the increasing cost of running campaigns drives the need to
raise more money, Quintero and Yousefian said.

“Glendale is a large city — the third largest in Los Angeles County
— and the days you can run a campaign on a shoestring budget are
unfortunately over,” said Yousefian, who expects to spend about
$100,000 on his campaign.

Taylor agreed, saying times have changed since candidates in small
cities could spend $17,000 on a campaign and win.

“I think in all small cities the amount of money spent now is 15
times what they used to spend just a handful of years ago,” Taylor
said. “Today things have changed dramatically, and part of that
change is the consultant factor — hiring people to run their
campaigns, to have better-looking mail and all those things that go
in(to) a modern-day political campaign.”

But Weaver, who held a fund-raiser in July, questioned the effect of
contributions to Yousefian from as far as Nevada.

“In my opinion, there are more individuals and groups out there that
are trying to gain influence on the council with their large
donations,” Weaver said. “We’re starting to see moneys come in from
outside the community and more development money showing up from
people who could potentially do business in the city of Glendale.”

Rafi Manoukian changed the face of Glendale politics and the amount
of money required to run a campaign in this city, Yousefian said.

In 1999, Manoukian registered 4,000 Armenian voters — where there
were 800 before — and successfully ran against 13 people for an open
seat by spending nearly $100,000. In 2003, he received the largest
number of votes in an election in Glendale’s history.

“At this point, I wouldn’t put any kind of weight on the amount of
funds raised,” said Manoukian, who always began raising funds in
December. “But, it certainly gives them a leg up on everybody else.”