The June 3 Special Glendale City Council elections present Armenian-American voters with two choices: a. Build on our progress, or b. Be perceived as a community that can be easily divided and weakened.
During April 24 political rallies, participants shouted “united we will not be defeated”. These words reflect more than just unity for the sake of unity, they mean unity for a common purpose: seeking justice for the crime perpetrated against the Armenian people and nation.
In Glendale, our common purpose goes beyond those rights related to Hye Tahd. More than 35% of Glendale’s residents are of Armenian descent. The Armenian-American residents of the City, whose population increased rapidly in the late 1970’s and 1980’s, have for more than 3 decades sought equal opportunities in employment and business, fair treatment by law enforcement, and affordable housing for the elderly and those on limited income.
Progress on addressing issues disproportionately affecting Glendale’s Armenian-American residents has been slow and, often times, sporadic, because of the difficulty in electing, or re-electing, a sufficient number of public officials who share the community’s vision and are willing to support necessary changes.
The fact that an overwhelming percentage of non-Armenian voters continue to vote against Armenian-American elected officials, despite these officials’ having a positive record on issues of concern to them, has coalesced Armenian-American voters behind candidates of Armenian descent. In addition, this has led many to conclude that there is an anti-Armenian bias.
Councilman Ara Najarian, School Board member Greg Krikorian, and City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian were re-elected in April 2013 for a third term with the highest number of votes but received a minority of their votes from non-Armenian voters. These individuals, with an excellent record of service as elected officials, would not have been re-elected without the votes cast by Armenian-American voters.
A large majority of Armenian-American voters do not seem to have a similar bias toward non-Armenian candidates. Jennifer Freemon, who was endorsed in 2013 by the Armenian National Committee of America – Glendale (ANCA – Glendale) for one of the School Board seats, received a significant majority of her votes from Armenian-American voters.
Voters who have chosen to vote from home will soon start receiving ballots for the June 3 State Primary Elections. Glendale’s voters will be asked to elect an individual to fill the remaining term of the vacancy created by the election of Councilman Rafi Manoukian as City Treasurer. They will have to choose one person from the field of five contenders.
The ANCA – Glendale has endorsed Vartan Gharpetian because of his proven record of service to the City and Armenian Community, his stance on issues that disproportionately affect the Armenian-American residents of the City, and his ability to forge a consensus on these issues.
The ANCA – Glendale urges its supporters to volunteer for Vartan Gharpetian, contribute to his campaign, and elect him to office to fill Councilman Rafi Manoukian’s vacant seat.