Elections 2014 – The Final Installment from All Over

Garen Yegparian

BY GAREN YEGPARIAN

It might seem a bit early to wrap up discussion of elections, but with just over two weeks to go, many people will already be casting their votes by mail, so the information has to get out there. You’ll find quite an eclectic mix of recommendations below, which might even lead to a smirk or chuckle.

First, I want to mention Armenians running for office in parts of the country that don’t necessarily have significant Armenian constituencies. They deserve recognition, though I can’t advocate a vote for or against them since time constraints preclude being able to really look at their records and policy positions. For this, my thanks go to the ANCA – Eastern Region’s new staffer, Armen Sahakian who did some quick research and dug up the following list of candidates in http://votesmart.org/. This is all last name based, so it might be that one or more are not Armenian. In the list that follows “Inc” means incumbent, “New” means the person is not currently in that office, “Dem” means Democratic Party, “Rep” means Republican Party, and the last bit of information is the main town in the district and its number:

Gary S. Azarian; Inc; Rep; Running for New Hampshire State House- Rockingham 8
Charlene F. Takesian; Inc; Rep; Running for New Hampshire State House- Hillsborough 37
David K. Muradian; New; Rep; Running for Massachusetts State House- Worcester 9
Mary Lou Marzian; Inc; Dem; Running for Kentucky State House- District 34,
Dan Darian; New; Dem; Running for Missouri State House- District 115
Katherine S. Kazarian; Inc; Dem; Running for Rhode Island for State House- District 63
Karen R. Tallian; Inc; Dem; Running for Indiana State Senate- District 4
Ross C. Paustian; Inc; Rep; Running for Iowa State House- District 92
Nelson Millian; New; No Party Affiliation; Running for Florida State House- District 110

There are also many local (city, town) elections in areas where readers live, though not with the kind of density that exists in places such as Watertown, Fresno, or Glendale. For those, along with federal and state legislative recommendations, please refer to ANCA’s endorsements, or do some research about the candidates by going to the endorsement lists of organizations whose principles and activities you espouse and support.

Let’s return to California, and specifically Los Angeles County, but with a quick stop in Contra Costa County. It seems we have a compatriot, Richard Asadoorian running for reelection as a member of the Contra Costa County Board of Education, Area 4. Much like the list above, I can’t make a recommendation but do want to recognize him. If you know of other Armenians running for office in various jurisdictions, please communicate them to me. I think it pays to compile a list of these brave people.

In LA, there are some races worth addressing. Aside from the obvious Sheriff (vote for Jim McDonnell), Assessor (vote for Jeffrey Prang), and Board of Equalization District 3 (vote for incumbent Jerome Horton), there are two County Supervisor seats open (because of term limits) and a number of water board races that deserve your attention. The Supervisor positions are very powerful. Each represents some two million people and administers huge sums of money. They are allowed to serve three terms. So once elected, they will likely serve for twelve years. My recommendations are Hilda Solis for the 1st Supervisorial District and Sheila Kuehl for the 3rd Supervisorial District.

The category of offices I want to address next may seem strange to many readers, since not all areas have them— water boards. These are analogous in function to the departments of water and power many cities have, though obviously they just deal with the wet stuff. But, rather than being appointed by a given city, they are elected and serve more than just one city. Why bother with these? Water is a tremendously important issue in the arid southwestern U.S. With the multi-year ongoing drought, it is even more of an issue. Some locales in central California have already had wells run dry and are trucking water to people! The recommendations that follow are those of the Sierra Club, an organization in which I am involved and trust. They are from Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Not all the races are included because not all the positions had candidates which the organization deemed good enough to endorse.

In Los Angeles County:

Director of the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District – Bryan Urias

In Orange County:

Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD) — Steve LaMar and Peer Swan

Metropolitan Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) Division 5 — Satoru “Sat” Tamaribuchi OR Jose Vergara (this is dual endorsement, chose only ONE)

Orange County Water District (OCWD)—
Division 1: Robin Peace Marcario
Division 7: Wendy Leece

South Coast Water District (SCWD) — Norm Denton and Richard Gardner

Please remember to vote. If you are registered as a permanent absentee voter, you received your ballot some two weeks ago— just fill it out and send it in. If not, you’ve received a sample ballot book. It has an absentee ballot request form on the back cover. Fill it out and mail it IMMEDIATELY, and you, too, will be able to vote from the comfort of home. You have a little over a week remaining to do this. Please note that this information applies to California, other states have differing procedures.

Remember, cliché though it may sound, our vote is our voice. If you care about yourself and the interests of the Armenian community, you should make sure not to miss this opportunity to strengthen our political presence by participating in the November election.

Heck, if you don’t agree with my recommendations, the ANCA’s endorsements, other organizations’ recommendations, just can’t decide for whom to vote, or outright despise all the candidates and ballot measures, mail in or turn in a blank ballot. At least you will be recorded as having voted!

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