Pasadena ANC Visits Local Armenian Businesses With State Assemblymember Portantino

ANC tour with Portantino 2009 (Medium)

From left to right: Lerna Kayserian Shirinian, aide for Assemblymember Anthony Portantino, State Assemblymember Anthony Portantino (D-44), and Pasadena Watch Company owner Kevork Zeytounsian.

PASADENA, CA – Leaders of the Pasadena Armenian National Committee took California State Assemblymember Anthony Portantino (D-44) on a tour of Armenian American businesses in the City of Pasadena on December 11, 2009 to help the Assemblymember better understand the challenges facing Armenian American business owners in this challenging economy and what actions, if any, the State can take to improve the economy.

Since November 2006, Portantino has represented California’s 44th Assembly District, which is home to a large and very active Armenian American community.

“We are pleased to have hosted a walking tour of Armenian American businesses for Assemblymember Portantino,” remarked Pasadena ANC Executive Director Ishkhan Boghossian. “I believe the Assemblymember got a diverse view of the many Armenian owned businesses here in Pasadena. From visiting an auto body shop, to a restaurant, to a retail store, he saw that our community is engaged in every aspect of our region’s economy,” added Boghossian.

“In this tough business climate it was extremely valuable for me to spend time with Armenian-American business owners in my district. It is always important to support local shop owners and businesses and the Armenian-American community has had a long and successful record of entrepreneurial accomplishment.” Remarked California State Assemblymember Anthony Portantino (D-44) “During this Holiday season I wanted to hear first hand about the challenges and successes these owners have been having as we see small businesses continuing to play a greater role in our economic success.” Added Assemblymember Portantino.

The business tour with Assemblymember Portantino began with a brief visit to the new Pasadena Armenian Center on Foothill Boulevard. Following that visit, Portantino met with Varoujan Derderian, longtime owner of Johnnie’s Auto Body. The company, established by Derderian and his brother in the 1960s, is well known in the area as an outstanding business. The tour then took Portantino to the Pasadena Watch Company, where proprietor Kevork Zeytounsian talked to the Assemblymember about some of the economic challenges facing his business sector. The tour concluded with a visit to Café Santorini, where Vazken Haitayan gave Portantino an overview of the business environment facing restaurants.

Assemblymember Portantino was elected to serve the 44th Assembly District in November, 2006. The district encompasses, in part, areas with large Armenian American populations, including Altadena, Duarte, La Cañada Flintridge, Pasadena and South Pasadena.

Assemblymember Portantino served nearly eight years on the La Canada Flintridge City Council and two terms as its Mayor.  He has served as President of the League of California Cities Mayor’s and Councilmember’s Department and the Executive Board of the California Contract Cities Association. He is also a past member of the Pasadena City College Bond Oversight Committee.   While serving as Vice Chair of the Santa Monica Mountains Advisory Committee, Assemblymember Portantino was very active in preserving open space in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

Anthony currently serves as the Chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Higher Education and is a member of the Government Organization, Human Services, Labor and Employment and Revenue and Taxation Standing Committees.  He is also a member of the Assembly Select Committees on the Preservation of the California’s Entertainment Industry, Foster Care, and Community Colleges.

The Pasadena ANC advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the area’s Armenian American community and promotes increased Armenian American civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels.

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