MONTBELLO–-San Gabriel Valley Armenian National Committee (SGV-ANC) honored members of the Montebello City Council at the local Armenian Center on Sunday–February 22. Nearly 100 people turned out to give kudos to Montebello Mayor Norma Lopez-Reid–Mayor Pro-Tem William Molinari–Councilman Robert Bagwell–City treasurer Gerri Guzman–and Montebello Police Chief Garry Couso-Vazquez–as well as former Montebello Police Chief Steve Simonian–for their tireless public service. Simonian is currently Chief of Investigations for the LA County District Attorney.
In his opening remarks–master of ceremonies and ANC member Jack Hadjinian recognized the Armenian community as an integral part of the City who "will continue to be a proactive group in Montebello."
ANC Chairman Seto Boyadjian–who delivered the evening’s message–explained the grass-roots nature of the Armenian National Committee–and described the issues the ANC is interested in on the local level–such as civic education of the Armenian community–participation in the political process–voter registration drive–a projected sister-city program–and teaching of the Armenian Genocide in the Unified School District’s curriculum.
ANC Western Region Chairman Raffi Hamparian detailed ANC’s statewide and nationwide efforts–stressing the fact that the achievemen’s of these efforts are anchored on the active participation of the local ANCs.
Mayor Norma Lopez-Reid–who is also an elementary school principal–thanked the ANC for its message of civic service and education–explaining that those twin messages resonated deeply with her. She also indicated her excitement about the possibility of establishing sister-city ties to an Armenian city–and pledged her support towards its accomplishment. Councilmen Bagwell and Molinari also spoke of their appreciation for the contributions Armenia’s have made to the city–along with their dedication to community and family.
At the conclusion of the program–chairmen Hamparian and Boyadjian presented a copy of Peter Balakian’s best-selling book The Burning Tigris to the City Council–along with a $500 contribution from the Armenian Cultural Foundation to the City’s graffiti removal program.
The officials also had an opportunity to meet and speak with the representatives and members of the local Armenian organizations.
In should be noted that the 2003 November elections–with the ANC endorsement of the winning candidates making a difference in the two races involved–according to the candidates themselves–resulted in maintaining the strong relationship between Armenian-American voters and the Montebello City officials.