Mayor Carroll W. Parcher, "Mr. Glendale," has announced he will step down from office when his term expires in April, after serving 10 years on the Glendale City Council.
Retirement of the 81-year-old Parcher, who was virtually assured reelection had he chosen to run, is expected to draw a large number of candidates into the council race. Parcher said he will not endorse a candidate to succeed him.
Two other council members whose terms expire this year, Ginger Bremberg and John F. Day, are both seeking reelection for the first time.
Candidates in the council race have until Jan. 24 to gather 500 signatures of voters to qualify for the race.
In announcing his decision at the council meeting Tuesday, Parcher said, "I feel that I have contributed whatever I have to offer to city government and that it is time now to step aside and give others a chance to make additional contributions."
The position of mayor is largely a ceremonial one in Glendale. The mayor is elected each year by the council from its five members. Parcher has served as mayor four times, more than anyone else in the city's history.
Although Parcher is leaving City Hall, he said he plans to retain his position on the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority. Calling the future economic development of the airport "a very important job," he indicated that he would like to be reappointed to the authority by the Glendale City Council when his term on the airport board ends May 31.
Parcher said he wants to play an active role in decisions involving the proposed relocation and construction of a new terminal building and to reduce noise from aircraft.
Parcher's departure from the council will end 40 years of wielding power in the "Jewel City," first as publisher of the Glendale News Press, then as councilman. Widely considered the city's eminent native son, Parcher will retire as mayor 79 years after his father, Wilmot Parcher, promoted Glendale's incorporation in 1906 and became its first mayor.
Parcher's three previous terms as mayor were in 1977, 1979 and 1980. He was elected again last year in a surprise compromise that ended a race for the position by former Mayor Bremberg and Day.
Parcher retired in 1972 as publisher of the News Press. He was appointed to the council in 1975 when a seat was vacated by Councilman Dan McWilliam, who resigned to move to Canada.
During his time in office, Parcher has been acclaimed for his ability to effect compromise among opposing parties, helping to resolve disputes over such issues as controls over hillside development, angle parking and the median strip design of Brand Boulevard downtown.
Honored at Plaza
Parcher Plaza, a bricked and planter-decorated outdoor square completed in 1983 at the civic center, is dedicated to "Mr. Glendale."
Parcher said he is "looking forward to doing some of the things I have put aside to engage in the interesting and important, but increasingly time-consuming responsibilities of a councilman."
Parcher said he plans to take a Caribbean cruise and to visit his son and daughter who live on the East Coast.
Parcher said he has no regrets over any votes he cast during the past decade, calling his council service "an upbeat experience."
He said the council's role as a redevelopment agency in shaping the downtown "has been one of the most exciting things I have seen happen." He predicted that future redevelopment projects in the city will bring about a "people-oriented downtown instead of sterile streets of tall buildings."
Milner Praises Parcher
Councilman Jerold Milner lauded Parcher for being a "very, very important leader in the City of Glendale for a long time." He said the retiring mayor "is one of those people who are a moderating influence and always help find the middle ground so that people feel they have been treated fairly.
"The fact that Carroll has spent the last 10 years after his 70th birthday in the critical position of a council member and mayor is indicative of his dedication to the city in which he was born and has lived his entire life. There are very few people like him and it will be a long time before we see another."
Bremberg said Parcher has held "a wonderfully powerful position in the city which he has never abused."
So far, three other candidates have filed in the City Council race besides the two incumbents. They are Mark A. Doyle, a sociology professor at Glendale College; Larry Lousen, a sign painter; and Carl W. Raggio Jr., president of the Glendale Unified School District.