BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Believe it or not, we’re only a month away from elections, November 8. Mind you, there aren’t too many of them, but some states have their gubernatorial elections in odd numbered years, as do various municipalities, at least in California. So if you’ve got an election where you live, you’re mostly on your own, do some research then get out and vote. But there are some candidates and elections brewing already that are of note and interest to our community, more on those in a bit. The most important election right now, from an Armenian perspective, hard though it may be to imagine, is the City of Montebello, CA.
This city of some 62,000 people has been home to Armenians in significant numbers for nigh on half a century and boasts both an Armenian cathedral and Genocide memorial monument. Yet this is the first time we have an Armenian candidate running for City Council there who’s got a good chance of being elected, though it’s going to be a tough fight. This candidate is Jack Hadjinian.
Jack, a third generation Montebello resident and Mesrobian School graduate, has been active for years. Not only has he chaired the local ANCA, but he’s even been president of the Montebello Chamber of Commerce. He’s also running for a position that will force him to confront very difficult challenges, since the city’s finances are a mess, with the possibility that the mess is not just the product of the budget difficulties all municipalities are facing, but the result of shady dealings. Jack’s not afraid to confront these problems, and is a straight enough shooter to work with everyone to solve them.
If you live in Montebello, vote for him. It would be even better if you voted by mail before the election so Jack’s campaign can focus on getting more voters on his side who aren’t part of his natural constituency. Also, as ever, elections cost money, and every bit helps. You can send checks made out to “Jack Hadjinian for Montebello City Council 2011” and mail them to 1012 W. Beverly Blvd #115, Montebello, CA 90640.
Moving to other locations, Los Angeles has a special election in its 15th council district to replace Janice Hahn who was recently elected to the House of Representatives, and San Francisco has its regularly scheduled election. Both of these are cities with whom our community interacts greatly so Armenian voter turnout is important.
Looking forward, a few elections (with their primary and general stages) promise to be important for our community, not least because they are in areas where the Armenian vote is not as great a factor as in Montebello. One is Brad Avakian’s run for Congress in Oregon. You’ve already read about him and are probably lending your support. Another interesting candidacy, announced just days ago, is Adrin Nazarian who will seek election to a newly created State Assembly seat in California’s San Fernando Valley. Adrin is a graduate of Ferrahian (the first Armenian school in the U.S.), an AYF alumnus, and long-time political activist, currently working as Paul Krekorian’s chief of staff. Then we have the Los Angeles mayoral race. While that’s about a year and a half off, some candidates have already declared, and others are expected to join the fray. This will be a challenge for our community’s electoral machinery because so many of the candidates, declared or potential, have been supporters of our issues.
Make sure you do your part. Vote, contribute, and motivate others to do the same.