By SKEPTIK SINIKIAN
Every time it’s Spring in Los Angeles it seems as though people act stranger than usual. Maybe it’s the warm weather or hormones. Or maybe it’s just the fact that I live in Glendale and the upcoming June primary elections are driving everyone nuts. I’m going to delve into this topic because I feel it’s important that someone knows what’s going on in their community–particularly when it comes to politics.
To most Armenia’s–discussing politics means sitting in a backyard at a family barbecue and discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts and tying that in to vague recollections of the civil war in Lebanon or remembering where they were when Khrushchev banged his shoe on the lectern at the UN or when the US Embassy was taken over in Iran. Don’t act like you’ve never been part of any of these conversations! I don’t even go to that many family barbecues and I’ve overheard more of these conversations than I’d care to remember.
What amazes me the most however–is that whenever it comes to politics in America–domestic issues–Armenia’s are overall very apathetic. Unless a decision made in Congress raises the luxury tax on BMWs or Mercedes Benzes–they’d rather not vote or be involved. But over the last six years–this has changed in areas like Southern California and most visibly in Glendale where practically 8 of the city’s 15 elected officials are Armenian. There’s even an elected clerk and most people can’t tell me what a clerk’s responsibilities are! Even stranger was that three or four Armenia’s ran for that job!
It seems as though insanity ensues whenever these elections roll around–be they in April or June. Lawn signs pop up in the most random places which make you wonder who in the world climbed up to the side of that hill to place it there and who did they think would see it or be impressed by it. "Look honey–the coyotes have endorsed Hovik Hovikian for Ombudsman of Glendale!" My favorite is the Armenian grocery stores that will try to appeal to everyone by putting up everyone’s signs as though to say "We have no principles–we just want your money! Our lahmajunes love EVERYONE!!" I’d bet some of these places are the same ones that sell Turkish products instead of Armenian ones.
So what does this mean for our community? Well–for one thing–there are a few important races involving Armenia’s on the state level. And no–it’s not Senator Poochigian’s bid for the Republican nomination for Attorney General. He’s running virtually unopposed and will run away with the nomination. There’s a race in Anaheim/Yorba Linda (President Richard Nixon’s old stomping grounds) in which an Armenian-American–Marty Simonoff is vying for the Republican nomination. He’s been active in the community and quite outspoken. Good guy and deserves any support the Armenia’s in Orange County and Montebello can give him. But the real battle royale is taking place in Glendale in the 43rd Assembly District where the election has gotten uglier than one of Michael Jackson’s passport photos.
Why has it gotten so ugly? Well–for one–Latino leaders see this seat as belonging to a Latino candidate even though Armenia’s outnumber Latinos in Glendale. The other reason is because one of the candidates–Glendale councilman Frank Quintero–has been using a handful of clueless Armenian to bolster his involvement in the Armenian community. That’s all fine and dandy but when the opponent is an activist leader in the Armenian community like School Board President Paul Krekorian–then there is virtually no comparison. Krekorian is leading the race by many accounts–support amongst the Democratic party faithful–various polling–and general likeability. At one point he was even leading in money–but because some of our community members are more interested in their bank accounts than advancing the general public’s interest–Quintero has raised over $100,000 from Armenian developers–banquet hall owners–and other business owners. Here’s the list of folks that looks like the menu at the Chicken Ranch in Texas. (That’s a brothel and yes I’m making that connection) Look at the names for yourself if you don’t believe me. www.aroundthecapitol.com/electiontrack/lookup.php?committee=1279156
This is an interesting site and you might even be interested to see who some our "community leaders" are looking out for our interests. Krekorian has worked his tail off for the Armenian-American students in Burbank and being a leading voice in the Democratic party in California when few other individuals were doing that. Quintero has been in a few marches and says "parev" on TV and some Armenia’s are ready to name their newborn daughter Frankush. It’s insane and doesn’t make sense.
The election is June 6 and if you don’t think that this is important than read the following article from Capitol Weekly–a Sacramento inside publication that tracks races. www.capitolweekly.net/news/article.html?article_id=743
So vote! Make your voice heard! Because if the right guy for the job (that would be Krekorian for my slower readers) doesn’t win on June 6? well–let’s just say that opportunities like this one don’t grow on trees. I just hope that the Quintero donors realize their mistakes before it’s too late.
All of this election insanity and the Armenian community reminded me of the following anecdote. One day while campaigning against Dwight Eisenhower during the 1952 presidential election–Adlai Stevenson was approached by a female admirer. "Governor," she enthused–"every thinking person will be voting for you."Madam–that is not enough," Stevenson replied. "I need a majority!"
So tell your family. Tell your friends. Get out and vote. Because on June 6–being smart or committed is not enough. We need a majority!
Skeptik Sinikian urges everyone go out and vote on June 6 and make the wise choice. If you disagree with Skeptik–you can reach him at [email protected] or visit his blog at www.sinikian.blogspot.com.