LOS ANGELES (KPCC) – Paul Krekorian officially assumed office in the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday, becoming the first Armenian-American member elected to that body in the City’s history. Krekorian’s 14 percent margin of victory on December 8, certified by the council Tuesday afternoon, was due in large part to grassroots support from neighborhood activists and leaders throughout the district.
Krekorian fills the Second District seat vacated by Wendy Greuel in July, when she became city controller. He will finish out the year-and-a-half remaining in her term. He will be representing the northeast San Fernando Valley.
Krekorian’s first City Council meeting will be Wednesday.
“This city faces tremendous challenges right now, and I’m eager to get to work in starting to address them.” Krekorian said. “I’m confident that with the continuing engagement of the public in demanding positive change, we can weather the current storms and get this city back on the road to greatness.”
City Clerk June Lagmay administered the oath to Krekorian while he was surrounded by his wife, his 4-year-old son, his daughter, friends and staffers at the media briefing room behind the City Council chambers.
The ceremony was held hours after the City Council formally certified the results of Dec. 8 runoff election in which Krekorian defeated former Paramount Pictures executive Christine Essel.
Krekorian received 10,810 votes 57 percent of the total, even though Essel spent about twice as much on the campaign as he did.
“The campaign is over. Now is the time to govern and in a time of crisis like the city is now facing, it’s really going to take our entire focused collective efforts working together to solve the problems that are ahead of us,” Krekorian said.
“I don’t expect to be a go-along-to-get-along kind of council member,” he added. “I expect there will be times when I will make some waves among colleagues and take different approaches than they do, but I think it’s incumbent upon all of us as elected officials to pull together and make sure our oars are all in the water at the same time, because we face challenges that I think are pretty much unprecedented, certainly in my lifetime and maybe in the last century.”
Krekorian said he believes the biggest issue facing his district is “a crisis of confidence in the city government.”
“I think there’s widespread feeling within the Second District that the Valley has been neglected for far too long, that decisions are made downtown that don’t take into account the unique nature of the neighborhoods of the valley and they want to know that their voice is heard.”
Krekorian also vowed to focus on public safety; limit development in such a way that balances economic gains with the quality of life in local neighborhoods; stimulate the economy; and develop jobs.
“I know that building on his past record, (Krekorian) is going to do an extraordinary job here,” City Council President Eric Garcetti said. “We look forward to welcoming him tomorrow, which happens to be Armenian Christmas, which is fitting for the first Armenian-American to serve in this Council chambers.”
Krekorian was elected to the Assembly in 2006, and eventually became its assistant majority floor leader.
Before that, Krekorian was a lawyer for 20 years and served on the Burbank Unified School District Board of Education.
Krekorian received his law degree from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in political science from USC.
The Second District stretches from Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills to Big Tujunga Road in the Verdugo Hills. It includes parts of Lake View Terrace, La Tuna Canyon, North Hollywood, Shadow Hills, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Sunland, Sun Valley, Tujunga, Valley Village, Valley Glen and Van Nuys.