BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Well, it’s finally over, except for the counting. As usual, some are happy, other sad, at the outcomes of the various races. It was a mixed bag for most people. Following the same format as my final set of recommendations before the election, an overview of the outcomes follows.
The Main Event
As I’ve repeatedly written and detailed, the biggest race for the Armenian community in the U.S. was for California’s 43rd State assembly seat. Here, Glendale School Board Greg Krikorian, a long time political, community, and Armenian activist ran and lost against a severely tainted incumbent whose actions have led to disenfranchisement of the Armenian community in his district. Before doing my analysis, I want to wait until all the votes are counted and the final numbers are in, since many ballots remain to be counted. This will also give me a chance to compile more of the sleazy tactics used by incumbent Gatto’s campaign on Election Day.
The Armenian Angle
The next biggest race of interest to the Armenian community was Danny Tarkanian’s. Unfortunately, he lost despite the polls previously showing he was slightly ahead. Please see the accompanying table for how the rest of our compatriots across the country fared.
This race held the biggest surprise for me, not so much by way of Romney’s loss, but how quickly that was evident. I had expected the final outcome to be unclear for days or weeks. But it seems I was reading too much right-wing literature, and not heeding those who were closely, mathematically, analyzing the polling leading up to Election Day. Also interesting is the news that the Obama campaign very scientifically, methodically, analyzed massive amounts of data, throughout the campaign to determine their strategy and tactics. The CNN.com article “How Obama’s data crunchers helped him win” about this explains it quite thoroughly. They did not rely on the “experts” who typically rely on their guts and sense of political smell. This broaches a new era in the mechanization of elections.
I don’t know yet if my proposal that people in areas with heavily Armenian populations vote for minor party candidates got any traction. I’ll look at the final numbers and see if that holds true.
Regardless, it’s now time to creatively find ways to get the re-elected administration to be far better on Armenian issues.
California Ballot Measures
We’ll keep this one simple. Here’s a table with my recommendations and the actual outcomes. But, it’s worth noting Proposition 30, which had been slowly losing support over the last severally weeks, ultimately passed. The ANCA had decided to endorse it approximately two weeks ago. A strong showing from Los Angeles County helped salvage this prop, Governor Jerry brown’s signature policy initiative in this election. Thus has the Armenian community assisted the governor, and saved millions of students at all levels of education from withering cuts. Unfortunately, the same good fortune did not greet Prop 30, the one that would have labeled foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The very simple notion that people have a right to know what’s in the food they’re eating was trounced by tens of millions of dollars in misleading advertising by the industries that use these kinds of food products.
The vicious race between two Democratic Congressmen in California’s 30th Congressional District, one of the most expensive and closely watched in the country, ended with Brad Sherman defeating the longer serving and more policy oriented Howard Berman. This race had been of interest both because there is a respectably-sized Armenian population in the district, the ANCA organized debate between these two titans of the San Fernando Valley, and Sherman’s mentorship and ongoing support of Mike Gatto, a bane of the Armenian community.
The Odds & Ends
The Los Angeles County Measures A and B passed, as I’d hoped. But sadly, Measure J, the really important transit infrastructure funding measure is failing by about 1.45% with hundreds of thousands of votes yet to count. It requires a two-thirds super-majority to pass. Measures HH and MM, which appeared only on the ballots of those who live in the Santa Monica Mountains, also passed easily. This, too, is a good result.
In the LA County District Attorney race contrary to the ANCA’s endorsement, Jackie Lacey defeated Alan Jackson.
This election produced a fairly mixed set of results from my perspective. I can say I’m satisfied, overall, but not pleased, not least because of the glaring travesty of Mike Gatto’s reelection…