THE DOG EAT DOG WORLD OF LOCAL POLITICS

BY SKEPTIK SINIKIAN

I know. I know? I missed you too! I can’t tell you where I was or what I’ve been up to–but what I can say is that I needed a vacation–a long well-deserved one too–I might add. But it looks like I made it back just in time to witness Glendale’s battle royale–municipal elections. There’s an old Soviet joke that asks "Is politics a science?" And the sarcastic response is "No. If it were a science–it would have been tested on dogs first!" Well–it looks like Glendale might be the first place where science is actually tested on dogs or so it seems from the way the upcoming Glendale municipal elections are playing out. For city council alone there are at least 800 Armenian candidates. OK–that’s an exaggeration but that’s what it seems like. For the other posts–City Clerk–School Board–Community College Board–Treasurer and others–there are more Armenian candidates participating in these elections than for some parliamentary seats in Armenia!

You can’t step foot anywhere in Glendale nowadays without coming across someone’s lawn sign. They’re popping up all over the place from restauran’s to tire shops. But this is the nature of elections and we–the innocent voters–have to endure the deluge until April 5th. I’ve been relatively quiet throughout this whole process but I have been monitoring the activities of all the candidates and I have to tell you that it makes my skin crawl thinking that some of these candidates may actually stand an outside chance of getting elected (sound of hand slapping Skep’s forehead.)

My favorite pastime is going through the stack of mail that awaits me every evening when I return home. There it is–just sitting in my mail box–waiting to sway my opinion. Here’s a word of advice to those sending out mail?SPELL YOUR OWN NAME CORRECTLY!!! I received a mailer from a Mayor of Glendale whose name I won’t mention to protect his anonymity but I will say this that his name is three letters–THREE LETTERS–and it was still misspelled. I won’t expand on this because it’s too easy.

Another mailer had the City of Glendale’s official seal on it–placed there illegally I might add by a candidate who is running for a position whose key responsibility is to enforce election codes and fair practices. I read the mailer carefully and realized that this candidate–to whom we will refer to by her initials PM–had: a) no clue as to what she was running for–and: b) wanted to impress her audience with the fact that her husband was a cop. If it were only so simple to win over a voter’s confidence then maybe she’d actually stand a chance of gaining a few votes–but it seems as though the cards won’t be in her favor with other–more worthy opponents in this particular race. What’s really sad is that she’s put 50,000 dollars of her own money in this race and seems to have absolutely no clue about running a campaign. Talk about trying to buy your way into politics. Or as Dan Rather said during the last Presidential Election–"This reminds you of that old Will Rogers line–’it takes a lot of money just to get beaten." My election night prediction for this political amateur is that she loses big time.

There was one other mailer that caught my eye and of course it was by another Armenian-American candidate for City Council. What caught my eye was the unnatural appearance of this pompadour combed above his forehead reminding me of an Iranian Chris Isaac. What caught my eye was the fact that the hair had been cut-and-pasted into the photo. Let me repeat this line so it will sink in. The hair had been cut-and-pasted into the photo. How bad was the original shot that the designer felt the need to add fake hair? Why not just cut the head and paste it onto Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body? I don’t know if I can trust any political aspirant who can’t even be honest about his own coif.

If it was just mail that irked me–then I’d let you call me an intellectual snob but we’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg. If you really want to kill some brain cells–watch Armenian cable television and some of the interviews and shows that these clowns appear on. On any given night–there’s a candidate on TV trying to convince the viewers that they are the greatest gift to Armenian Americans since "lavash" bread. It’s enough to make a person want to cancel their cable subscription. One of the aforementioned candidates for city clerk (PM) speaks poor English and even poorer Armenian. Makes one wonder what her native language actually is. Shouldn’t a person aspiring to public office at least speak English fluently if they’re planning on serving the general public?

Another candidate is only 22 years old (or a recent college graduate) and is trying to convince viewers that she’s served the community proudly through the years. Now I’m not a smart man. I don’t claim to have all the answers but out of the all the candidates running for council–only two or three have legitimate service in the Armenian-American community and from the sea of candidates for the Clerk’s race–only one (and here’s a hint–he’s not a woman) has any legitimate claim to having served his community with distinction. Alas–the way these campaigns are being run–the winners may end up being people who think that serving the Armenian community means having worked a year or two at the front counter of Zankou Chicken instead of having done something of actual substance and meaning.

I know some of you may think that I’m being a little rough on "our" candidates. But really–they’re not MY candidates. In fact–if you want them–you can have them. I’d rather vote for an articulate–intelligent–experienced person who will represent me and my community with distinction than for someone who will make Balki Bartokomous from "Perfect Strangers" seem like President Ronald Reagan.

In spite of my rather "harsh" criticisms–I want to point out that I have not endorsed anyone in this column. I’m not telling you who I think deserves your vote. That’s for you to decide according to your own discriminate tastes. But do learn about all the candidates–study their stances on the issues and their records of service. Don’t vote for a pretty face or a nice head of hair no matter how much Photoshop work has been done to it. But do vote. It’s the only way to ensure your right to whine about the miserable state of things later on.

Until next time–I’m Skeptik Sinikian–and I approve of this message.

Skeptik Sinikian is not a professional political analyst or consultant but does on occasion offer up political pearls of wisdom in exchange for a plate of Zankou Chicken. If you agree or disagree with him–rest assured–he couldn’t care less but would love to hear from you anyway at SkeptikSinikian@aol.com or visit his outdated website at www.sinikian.blogspot.com.

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