Whats Wrong With This Picture?


On Sunday, March 7, I attended the 43rd Assembly District Candidate Forum organized by the Unified Young Armenians at the Glendale Public Library.

I was hoping to see the candidates on the same stage debate the issues and explain why we should vote for them.

Seated on stage were three candidates Chahe Keuroghelian— a Democrat, Nayiri Nahabedian— a Democrat, and Sunder Ramani— a Republican. Mike Gatto— the third Democrat, was absent.

As I watched the candidates answer questions from the moderator, my frustration grew more and more. I kept asking myself “What’s wrong with this picture?” Then I realized, Mr. Gatto was absent. That’s what was wrong with this picture.

By his absence, Mr. Gatto was inviting greater attention to the two Armenian candidates. Why not? They are the other two candidates seeking the nomination of the Democrats. Mr. Ramani is the only Republican vying to be the Republican nominee for the June 8 run-off.

I know. I know. The April 13 election is a special election. The probability of any candidate winning more than 50% of the votes is slim to none. Therefore, I believe it will be decided on June 8 in a run-off between the candidates with the highest votes representing the Democratic Party and the Republican Party (the Libertarian Party candidate and another Democratic candidate have withdrawn from the race).

As I stated in an earlier article, our opposition has learned that the easiest way to prevent our community from gaining more influence and electing an Armenian-American in Glendale (and its surrounding areas) is by dividing our votes among two, or more, Armenian-American candidates.

By dividing the Armenian voting bloc, the third candidate and his handlers dilute our community’s importance and our ability to influence the outcome of elections.

Will our community be able to overcome this sinister manipulation by our competitors? Will our opponents in Ankara rejoice that Armenians our losing sight of the big picture by being distracted over which non-electable Armenian-American should receive their votes?

The importance of the 43rd Assembly District race is much greater than what the Assembly member can do for us as a state legislator. It is about demonstrating to our competitors in Glendale and our opponents in Ankara that we are sophisticated voters who will put aside our internal differences for the sake of Hai Tahd.

We can demonstrate our sophistication by rallying our support behind the candidate with the best chance of winning. In so doing, we are not saying that the other Armenian-American is not a good person or we disagree with his views on issues. We are saying that our national interests supersede our personal ones. This is especially true in the race for the 43rd Assembly District previously held by now Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian.

Before writing this piece, I tried to collect some information on how Nayiri Nahabedian and Chahe Keuroghelian are doing with securing endorsements, raising funds, and getting their message to non-Armenian voters— all key measures of potential success in any election.

According to the California Secretary of State website, Nayiri Nahabedian has filed her report for the period ending on February 27, 2010 showing that she has raised more than $143,000. Mike Gatto reports having raised $160,000 in the same period and another $220,000 in 2009. Chahe Keuroghelian, on the other hand, has not filed an electronic report on how much he has received in contributions.

Nayiri Nahabedian has announced support from an impressive array of non-Armenians, including several elected officials, and influential organizations representing local labor unions, teachers, health care workers, professionals, peace officers, students, and women. Oh, yes. She also has the support of many prominent Armenians including the political factions of the ARF (Dashnaktzootiun) and ADL (Ramgavar Party). Chahe Keuroghelian has no website. It does not appear that he has any support from non-Armenian groups or officials.

Non-Armenian and Armenian registered voters have received several different mail pieces from Nayiri Nahabedian including an absentee ballot request form. Nayiri has been addressing and visiting non-Armenian voters and neighborhood organizations. Chahe Keuroghelian has limited his voter outreach to appearing on Armenian language paid television programs primarily in Glendale and Burbank. He also has motivated Armenian volunteers contacting Armenian registered voters. Remember, the district includes residents of North Hollywood, Van Nuys, Toluca Lake, Silver Lake, Valley Glen, and Atwater.

This election will not be won by Armenian votes alone. It can only be won by a candidate withd appeal to a broad group of Armenian as well as non-Armenian voters. Unfortunately, Chahe Keuroghelian appears to have very little, if any, support from the non-Armenian community. The most honorable thing he can do is suspend his candidacy and urge his supporters to vote for Nayiri. Thus, he will help unify our community behind one candidate and help us win on April 13.

That’s what can be right about this picture.


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  1. Aris said:

    Great article, I’ve heard many people express these same thoughts. However, I do wish that you had opened this article with the second to last paragraph to really drive the point home from the beginning.

    Mr. Keuroghelian does not seem to comprehend the damage he does to this community through his consistently unsuccessful campaigns for office. He has unfortunately gained the undying loyalty of a small segment of registered voters, so perhaps the best strategy is not to ask him to bow out, but to convince his bloc of voters that voting for him is akin to throwing your vote away.

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  3. christo said:

    After reading this article I just didn’t understand why the author was asking Mr. Keuroghlian to step aside. When I got home last saturday night, a friend called me and said Time warner just added USArmenia on channel 695 in the wsfv. For the first time in many years I watched Armenian programming on cable. I watched Mr. keuroghelian for the first time pitching his candidacy for the 43rd assembly seat. Watching him conduct a rehearsed interview was at most pathetic. Although, I don’t reside in the 43rd district, however a more articulate, mainstream, and all inclusive candidate should represent this district. My impression of him was “another aspiring politician promising everything including the kitchen sink, but lacking any substance. I totally agree that Mr. Keuroghlian’s candidacy is there for one reason and one reason only and that is to split and confuse the Armenian voters. I just hope that his supporters would realize the damage they are causing to Ms. Nahabedians campaign.

  4. sergik said:

    If Mr. Keuroghlian does not realize what kind of damage he is causing, then he should be told personally by one of our prominent leader or by all Armenian political parties in California. Then if he doesn’t suspend his campaign, then I would say he is under Turkish government payroll, and should be labeled as traitor.

    • Osik said:

      Dear Sergik,
      I have not decided yet who I’m gona vote for because I haven’t heard a major state level issue from any of those two, I watched part of the Shahe’s fund raising on TV all they do is complaining about the other side and I’m sure if they see your comment they will complain about your tactic, look you are using the oldest meddle Eastern scare tactic when you say “he is on Turkish payroll” that’s low and unfair, although he personally isn’t anti Dashnak but right now unfortunately he is surrounded by some anti Dashnak scavengers like Balaian, Roudik and etc. and if you watch him carefully on those stolen moments when they attack the organization instead of Nayiri; he looks very uncomfortable; so I’m begging you to stop that “Highest Crime” allegation tactic like In Iran when police wasn’t able to stick anything on some suspect the magic allegation was badmouthing the Shah where if you don’t give up and try to go to court then it is his word against yours and apparently from where you are from being on Turkish payroll is a similar false allegation.
      Just to be fair I should say I’m getting bombarded with mailers from Nayiri but like Shahe she hasn’t represent any major State level issue yet; she is still talking about Art, music and etc in schools; I think she should shift into a heavier gear because from here to Sacramento is all uphill from now on and requires having solutions for more complicated State level issues..

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