What a Ride III- Glendale & Special & Burbank

Not only was the election with me as a candidate very illuminating (see What a Ride II), but Glendale’s April  7th and California’s May 19th Special elections must also serve as eye-openers.

Let’s start with California.  As you’ll remember, the big issues were fours propositions, placed on  the ballot by the legislature as part of the solution to a large budget deficit.  All but one of the six  measures failed.  The one penalizing legislators is the only one that passed.  That’s odd, because voters are  part of the problem, having tied the hands of the legislature through various initiative ballot propositions  (i.e. those put their through petitions).  Now, the State Senate and Assembly are in a situation similar to  having an over-constrained set of equations in math.

Both ends of the political spectrum voted against these ballot measures, though obviously for  different reasons.  The Democratic end because of limitations placed on future ability to expand expenditures  in better times, the Republican end because of opposition to taxes.  But the latter side’s legislators have  been doing that since these problems began.  At this point, they’re simply being obstructionists, not  governing but grandstanding.  Had a reasonable action, the RESTORATION of the highest tax bracket— eliminated  in better financial days— been taken when first necessary six or seven years ago this whole mess might have  been avoided.  So now,  the Republicans, and obviously their constituents who keep electing them and therefore  must agree with this approach, should bear the brunt of the budget pain.  I say let the cuts being made fall  largely on their districts.  Since they’re so convinced the state government “wastes” money, they should have  no problem living without the benefit of those expenditures.

On my other electoral recommendations: It looks like Paul Koretz (for whom I recommended a vote) will  win a very close race for LA Council District 5, though the count is not yet final.  In the LA City Attorney  race, Carmen Trutanich has won.  You’ll remember I recommended a coin-flip-hold-your-nose-vote on this one.   For the LA Community College Board, one of my endorsees won- Nancy Pearlman, but not the other, Angela  Reddock.  Finally, in the 32nd Congressional District, my candidate Judy Chu emerged as the Democratic  candidate with the most votes in that special election.  It is a heavily Democratic district, so she’ll win in  the runoff.

Let’s move on to Glendale.  As you know, the results are perceived as a disaster from an Armenian  perspective.  This was due to internal divisions and personal vendettas on the one hand and external  manipulation n the other.  Armenian turnout was in the vicinity of 42%, certainly higher than the overall  average, and something to be proud of.

Internally, a small segment in our community with business, specifically building/development related,  felt outright wronged by the incumbent Armenian City Council members and took it upon themselves to seek the  former’s defeat.  They succeeded in knocking one of them out.  How?  By supporting other candidates and, more  importantly, scattering the Armenian vote by fielding more Armenian candidates.  In this, they were aided and  abetted by other candidates and political operatives.  Three of the seven Armenian candidates who ran stood NO  CHANCE WHATSOEVER of wining.  Unsurprisingly, they placed ninth, eleventh, and twelfth, out of the twelve  candidates.  These people should be shunned in the community.

Another bellwether race was that for Glendale City Treasurer.  Rafi Manoukian, challenging the  incumbent, got 10,449 votes.  But by my count (possibly by no more than 25 due to  misspelled names, by the  County), 10820 Armenians voted, just over 42% of the total 25,651 turnout.  You figure out what this means.   Here again, internal rivalries and antipathies cost votes.

The school board election results, while not positive, were at least not disastrous.  The Armenian  incumbent and a non-Armenian ANC endorsee won.  However, the two know-nothing Armenian women, who have run  before and are huge spoilers, did their job again.  Somehow these two fear- and hate-mongers who are an  embarrassment to our community must be removed from their cable TV perches whence they spew their inanity and  win over the ill-informed newcomers to this society.  But for them, another well qualified Armenian would  likely have gotten elected.  The city clerk (uncontested) and college board (four candidates vying for three  seats) results were unsurprising and positive for the Armenian community.

Two important issues must be addressed.  When personal interests and community needs conflict, a  mechanism for constructively addressing such clashes must be instituted.  Otherwise, we’ll forever be  bewailing our losses, as we’ve done for the same reasons over the last three Glendale elections.  The other,  who has a rightful claim to Armenians’ votes?  Any i/yan?

Finally, Burbank, home sweet home.  I’ve received compliments for a well run campaign.  There were  some early stumbles, but in the General Election, those were remedied.  Armenian turnout approached 38%, here  again well above the overall average.  What’s really a mystery is how the person who finished fourth in the  primary was able to more than double her vote count in the General election, coming about 200 votes shying of  toppling an incumbent.  Scuttlebutt has it that a serious effort was made by Republican Party operatives,  though I have difficulty believing that was sufficient.  Partly, it may have resulted from voters who wanted  to throw out one or the other of the incumbents jumping on her bandwagon because she was closest to the top  three votegetters in the primary, which included the two incumbents.  Another explanation floating around in  the community is her parents’ long-time ownership of a restaurant and the familiarity that engenders.  Likely,  it is a combination of these factors.

The anti-Armenian sentiment in Burbank is also stronger than I thought.  Not necessarily in terms of  the number of people who bear such ill-will, but the depth of it among those who do.  Hopefully, within few  years will clear this up as the familiarization and integration processes progress, outreach and education  efforts expand, and the older generations pass.

But the most amusing incident came the weekend after the election.  For this, you’ll have to watch  this or other newspapers of the Garen for Council website.  It should be up within two weeks.  Enjoy it.

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