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Charbel Kamar

Businessman Charlie Kamar wants to make decisions, not merely support them.

February 11, 2011|By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com

Since arriving in the United States from Lebanon 30 years ago, Charbel “Charlie” Kamar has bootstrapped himself from gas-station manager to owner of that business to one of the more active figures in local affairs.

Kamar, 58, moved to La Cañada Flintridge from Montrose after purchasing the La Cañada Union 76 gas station in 1999. His wife Taleen is a real-estate agent, and their 7-year-old son George attends Palm Crest Elementary.

While Kamar has served for five years on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and volunteers with the local Merchants Association, his deepest commitment appears to be supporting local public education. Kamar, who said he graduated college in Lebanon, has been an active supporter of the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation, donating both time and some of the proceeds of his business to that cause.

Civic involvement helped Kamar raise $4,470 for his election bid as of Jan. 22, including donations from schools boosters and Planning Commissioner Michael Cahill, according to campaign documents.

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Kamar says his candidacy arose out of a desire to increase his service to the community from supporter to decision-maker. He credits both the LCUSD Governing Board and City Council with jobs well done, and said his decision to make a run for council came only after incumbent Greg Brown announced that he would not seek reelection.

Valley Sun: Briefly explain why you want to be on the council and your top priority if elected.

Charlie Kamar: I’ve been serving this community, which I love, for 23 years. I’m trying to raise my service to a higher level. I figure I can help more by being a decision-maker. I’m going to try my best to help the schools, which are facing budget cuts, and help local merchants. We have a lot of [commercial] vacancies that we need to fill.

What would you describe as the city’s most important accomplishment over the past several years?

I give them a lot of credit for making the community safer. Year by year, crime is going down. And all of the fields for the schools are open because the city maintains them and helps pick up the tab. We’re blessed to have the opportunity for our community to enjoy them after school hours.

What would you identify as a missed opportunity?

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