The San Dimas City Council race, before any of the issues have been hashed out, is already ripe for controversy.
One of the candidates, Sid Maksoudian, as already made considerable noise in the community when he tried to get a permit for his business in downtown San Dimas.
Maksoudian runs Chalet Gourmet, an upscale liquor store. When he first sought to open the store over the summer, he ran into problems with some business owners in the community and City Councilman Denis Bertone – one of the incumbents Maksoudian will be running against.
“There are a small group of entitled individuals who have been running this city without any respect for what the majority wants,” Maksoudian said. “They really don’t know what they are doing and they have been at it for a long, long time.”
Maksoudian, during his issues in getting his business permit, didn’t make friends with other business owners. Heidi Daniels, an owner of a local wine shop and tasting room, was ousted by Maksoudian concerning a health permit. Supporters of Daniels often opposed Maksoudian.
In addition, Bertone didn’t want Maksoudian’s store because it represented an over concentration of alcohol in the area.
The council eventually voted in favor of Maksoudian, 3 to 2. Daniels’ wine shop is also still open.
Bertone, who was first elected to the council in 1988, welcomes Maksoudian to the election season.
“He has issues with everything that is happening in the city,” Bertone said. “I actually look forward to his candidacy and we will let the people of San Dimas decide how they want this city run.”
Maksoudian, if elected, would end the long runs of members on the council, like Bertone.
“I want term limits,” he said. “Council members should not have a dynasty.”
As for newcomer Jeffrey Kahn, the 27-year-old Wells Fargo banker is betting on his financing powers to propel him to the top of the election heap. A volunteer ski patroller who hopes to open a marketing business soon, Kahn was inspired by President-Elect Obama to run for City Council.
“The reality is if you understand what the people want and need, all you have to do is follow the hope and the dream,” Kahn said.
Kahn declined to make any campaign statements, but instead discussed his background. A graduate of Cal State L.A. with a degree in finance and a minor in economics, Kahn developed a number of small businesses while in school.
His father lives and owns a small business in San Dimas and whenever Kahn spent time there, he enjoyed it. When the time came – about 8 years ago – to put his flag down, he chose San Dimas.
“I want to help the community and serve the community,” he said.
More to come soon on incumbent Jeff Templeman, as well as newcomer Kevin Kenney.
Templeman has been on the council since 1996 and has been elected three times since.