BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
These are the dates of the local elections that are fast approaching, Burbank on the 28th and other cities on the 7th, with another very Armenian-wise important one coming up on April 4 in Glendale.
It is very important that our community votes in large numbers. That builds up our credibility and clout. If you don’t know where your polling place is, Los Angeles County has a web page to provide that information.
In Burbank, everyone received their ballot by mail. If you haven’t, go to the City clerk’s office in City Hall, call 818/238-5852, or contact them via Facebook or Twitter. It’s too late to mail your vote in, but there are a number of drop-off locations and extended hours listed on the elections page. The Burbank ANCA’s endorsements have already been reported, please vote in support of them.
In Pasadena, City Council and School Board Elections are being held, with the ANCA’s endorsements expected in the next few days. Watch for them. Meanwhile, I can only recommend voting for Elizabeth Pomeroy, whom I’ve known for many years, and is running for reelection to the School Board’s 5th district seat.
At the LA County level, there is only one item on the ballot – a quarter cent sales tax to help pay for homeless and other services important for the well-being of marginalized people in various types of need. Vote Yes on Measure H.
For the LA Community College Board, we will be voting for three positions. My recommendations are: Seat 1- Steven Veres, Seat 2- Ernest Moreno, and Seat 3- Nancy Pearlman. I know the first and third and happily support them, and am just going with the incumbent in the second person’s case.
Things get a little more interesting in the LA Unified School district races. All three districts in this election are in areas with sizeable Armenian populations. Our communities’ vote will make a difference. In District 2, the incumbent, Monica Garcia, has been a supporter of the Gulen charter schools. We must vote AGAINST her. Please vote for Lisa Alva who has been endorsed by the LA Times. The paper explains that she supports strong oversight when it comes to charter schools, the very opposite of Garcia who is overly accommodating of them, hence the Gulen connection. In District 6, the ANCA has endorsed Steve Zimmer, the incumbent, who is likely to win and with whom a relationship exists. It may be difficult to not vote for the Armenian, Greg Martayan, who is also running for that seat, but his chances of winning are very small. In District 6, Araz Parsegian is one of six candidates. Araz has been fairly active in community life, at tleast as far back as my own 2009 candidacy when he volunteered to help. He has a tough fight going, so every Armenian vote going to him will matter, and could well get him into the runoff. Much of this district overlaps with LA City council district 7, where Karo Torossian is running. These two candidates’ presence should reinforce both’s chances.
Thus we transition to the LA City council where, in addition to Karo’s race, with a 20 candidate field, a number of other elections are relevant to the Armenian community. Karo’s district includes Tujunga, Sylmar, and the northeast part of the city. Currently working in LA Councilmember Paul Krekorian’s office, he has learned the art of city governance over the course of six years. He has long been active in developing and mobilizing our community to become presence in electoral politics. Be sure to vote for him!
LA Council District 5 (parts of the San Fernando Valley near the Ferrahian school and the western parts of the city) is also very important to our community. There, incumbent Paul Koretz, who has been very supportive of our community and helped with many needs, is facing a strong challenge. It is the only decent thing to do to vote for him.
In LA’s Council District 3, the West San Fernando Valley, incumbent Bob Blumenfield is running unopposed, but still should get your vote. In district 13, which includes a sizeable part of Hollywood’s Armenian community, Mitch O’Farrell should get your vote. He’s the incumbent and has been good with our community. One thing I noticed is that a significant number of city council candidates, across all districts, are listed as members of their local neighborhood council. It’s interesting that those bodies are now producing a crop of people running for higher office.
The three Los Angeles city-wide offices are up for election this year. For Mayor, vote Eric Garcetti, who has a long-time, positive, relationship with our community. He has drawn ten challengers, though it is highly unlikely any of them stands a chance. The City Attorney, Mike Feuer, and City Controller, Ron Galperin, are both running for reelection unopposed, it’s easy to vote for them.
Residents of the City of Los Angeles will also be considering four propositions. Two relate to the regulation of newly legalized marijuana, Measures M and N. Forget about N, it was put on the ballot, but it’s supporters have moved on and are now supporting M which was crafted by city staff after much study and public input. This measure authorizes and empowers the city to regulate and tax all aspects of the marijuana business from growth to transport to ultimate sale. Without this, a huge business opportunity will be lost to entrepreneurs and the city would miss out on large potential revenues. Vote YES on M.
The other very important proposition is Measure S. It is intended to remedy problems related to development. However, in trying to address legitimate issues, it goes too far and, if passed, would have a negative impact on jobs, revenue for the city, and even housing for the homeless. The very fact that it exists has already moved the city council to take steps in the right direction, which is to have updated rules that are consistently applied. More needs to be done, but S is akin to using a sledgehammer to kill a fly. Plus, its credibility is undermined by the fact that its foremost proponent stands to benefit directly if it passes, which is unseemly. Vote NO on S. There is also Measure P, which amends the city charter to bring it into line with recent changes in state law. Vote YES on P.
I was surprised, and pleased, to see an Armenian, Harout “Art” Kaskanian, running for City Council in Gardena. Not too many Armenians live in that city, so this gentleman’s candidacy will be very different from the ones we most often witness in heavily Armenian areas. I wish him the best of luck. Perhaps some readers can contact him and offer to help with his campaign.
In three weeks, we’ll revisit elections to discuss the results of the ones noted above and look forward to Glendale’s April 4 polling and the people to support for that.
VOTE, VOTE, VOTE! It’s incredibly important for Armenian political growth.