BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
It’s that time again, elections, local ones in some LA County cities, are upon us. For those living in Glendale, Burbank, and surrounding areas, it probably seems like a never ending election, what with the Winter/Spring 2009 local elections, followed closely by the Fall 2009 special election in the City of LA’s 2nd Council district (Paul Krekorian), followed by the April 2010 special election to replace Paul in the State Assembly, followed by the June California primaries, and finally the November2010 elections countrywide. And now, there’s talk of a California-wide special election in June of this year regarding budget and taxation issues!
Let’s stick to what’s coming between now and May. There are many municipalities where elections are being held, but four of them stand out in importance to Armenian voters—Burbank, Glendale, Los Angeles, and Pasadena. In addition, an often overlooked, but important, election is the one for LA Community College Trustee.
Before going into some details, it seems to me that an overarching theme/concern/issue presents itself. Regardless who the candidates are for whichever position, whether they happen to be Armenian or not, there’s something more important at this moment in time. Turnout, voter participation, engagement! Our foremost goal in this electoral round should be to get out and vote in the greatest possible numbers. This will not only show strength, but convey the deep concern members of our community have for the places they live, work, study, play, eat, etc. in.
First up is Burbank, with its Primary Election on February 22. If any seats remain unfilled, then the General/runoff election will be held April 12. It is an “all mail” election, so ballots must be RECEIVED by the City Clerk by the nominal date of the election. Ballots postmarked by the date but received after it will not be counted. The ANCA-Burbank has already issued its endorsements (listed on the organization’s website and appearing in the media). No Armenians are running for either the two council or three school board seats up, which in some ways makes a strong Armenian voter turnout even more important.
Next up are the cities of Pasadena and LA, with primaries on March 8 (with possible runoff on April 19 and May 17, respectively, conditioned in the same way as Burbank). Both have Armenian candidates, though the one in LA’s 12th council district, Armine Chelebian, is vastly out-fundraised by the likely winner. In Pasadena’s 4th council district, Khatchik Chahinian, is in a crowded race of 5 contenders, and I have no handicapping information on this race yet. Both cities also have school board elections. Of course LA’s encompasses many other cities within those districts. I want to call particular attention to the LA community college trustee positions that often go overlooked and underappreciated (folks in Burbank are even included in this and very few cast a vote because it is on a different day than the that city’s elections!). These are people who make decisions that impact the lives of thousands of young Armenians among the tens of thousands of students attending the nine-campus system. These candidates are very worthy of our scrutiny and votes. Please look at these races closely.
Finally, there’s Glendale, the focus and locus of many Armenian’s concerns and electoral aspirations. It has only one round of voting with a plurality of votes sufficient to elect candidates to office. This time, thanks to efforts among the candidates, the number of potential Armenian candidates vying for the two available city council seats is reasonable, three out of six total. You’ll recall the last three rounds have had many more Armenians, resulting in a massive spoiler effect. However, it is an odd mix of individuals which bears more comment at a later time. Meanwhile, please be sure to mark your calendars for this election, April 5. There are also good candidates running for school board and community college trustee. No doubt there will be much information about this election in the Armenian media as the races heat up and progress while various organizations issue their endorsements.
Please be sure to vote, no matter who you think is best.