MAILBAG

It is time to move on from ballot vote

A headline on the front page of the weekend edition of the Glendale News-Press read “Fight against ordinance isn't over.”

There was also a question with the article: “What should opponents to the passed ballot application ordinance do next?”

In the interest of unity within our city, the opponents should accept the decision by the majority of the City Council and not promote further divisiveness.

Bringing on a lawsuit or gathering signatures to place the issue on the ballot of our next municipal election will do nothing but create more divisive feelings among the residents of Glendale.

I am very disappointed in the divisive action that Mayor Ara Najarian and Councilman Bob Yousefian took in this matter. Had they supported Councilmen Dave Weaver, Frank Quintero and John Drayman in their effort to save future campaigns from the costly distribution and collection of absentee ballot applications, the issue would have been immediately resolved.

There was nothing racial about the proposed ordinance. But Najarian and Yousefian chose to contest the ordinance, and it turned into a very divisive racial issue.

This ordinance, as amended by City Atty. Scott Howard, clearly stated that it would not violate any voters' rights, and would not disenfranchise any voters. If the ordinance in any way did that, the city attorney could not endorse it.

Furthermore, as amended, the ordinance clearly stated that organizations and individuals could still help voters submit absentee ballot requests. The only change was that the requests would be mailed directly back to the city clerk and not to some organization or business. The mayor, being a lawyer, certainly should have understood this. Unfortunately, he chose to oppose the ordinance, thereby opening up the door to the divisive actions that followed. This was truly an unfortunate circumstance.

The driver behind the mobilization of the opponents of the ballot request ordinance was clearly the Armenian National Committee. Now that the ordinance has passed, the Armenian National Committee can be the driver behind tearing down the divide between Glendale residents and really promote unity within all the ethnic citizens we have in our city.

Their ability to register voters, educate voters and make sure they send in a ballot request form has not been deterred one bit by the passage of this ordinance.

As it was stated at last Tuesday's council meeting, this was the first step in voting reform, which is so vital in guaranteeing a level playing field for all those wanting to seek an elective office. The financial burden on candidates has grown to ridiculous levels. This ordinance was a vital step in making the process fair.

ALBERT HOFMANN

Glendale

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Councilman showed true colors at meeting

I believe City Councilman Dave Weaver owes an apology to all the residents who attended the City Council meeting on Feb. 19 (“Application ordinance passes,” Feb. 20).

His behavior was not the behavior of an elected official. He began by criticizing those who had taken time out of their busy lives to spend four hours in the City Council building just waiting to exercise their right to freedom of speech. As an elected official, he should be willing to listen to his constituents, not put them down or complain about them. It's simply un-American to sit up there on that dais and say that you're sick of listening to the people who put you in that chair. Even Councilman John Drayman stated that it's his job to listen to his constituents, whether he agrees with them or not.

Weaver also said discouraging words to a group of young individuals who attended the council meeting to voice their opinions. Not only did he criticize the signs they made, which was their right to do under the 1st Amendment, but also asked for them to be put down. Weaver needs to review the Constitution of the United States and issue an apology to those young individuals.

Furthermore, he doesn't seem to believe in the Voting Rights Act since he doesn't seem to believe in non-English-speaking voters.

I think it's about time the residents of Glendale look through the character their council member portrays and take notice of ideals that lay hidden inside until his temper is broken.

ASTINE SULEIMANYAN

Glendale

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Opponents could take a different tack

Regarding the Saturday question, “What should opponents to the passed absentee ballot application ordinance do next?”: The opponents need to use their telephone: the Voter Information Guide, page 191, for the 2006 General Election gave the following instruction in red ink: “If you have been denied any of these rights [voters' rights] or if you are aware of any election fraud or misconduct, please call the secretary of state's confidential toll-free Voter Protection Hot-Line at 1 (800) 345-VOTE (8683).” (Note: I dialed this number on Saturday, and it is operational.)

I do not see how the opponents can say the ordinance is discriminatory. They need to explain more specifically the nature of the discrimination.

It is curious that the apparent protesters are mostly of Armenian and Korean ethnicity. The absentee vote protocols are well established and do not include a requirement that application forms sent to potential voters be returned to the candidate who mailed them. It raises the suspicion that the ordinance protesters are holding a card up their sleeves that, if played, will skew the outcome of the game in their favor.

HENRY GENTRY

La Crescenta

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There's hope in beef alternatives

Bravo to Joanne Hedge for her fine Community Commentary on Friday, “'Why the Beef?' is the better slogan,” and bravo to the Glendale News-Press for printing it.

This sad incident is a chance for all of us to realize how many wonderful, healthy and tasty alternatives to red meat (actually all meat) and dairy exist. It's also a chance for us to include them in everyone's diets, most especially those of our children, so that they can grow up healthy for life.

And, the more we use healthy alternatives, the fewer animals suffer the horrors of factory farming worldwide. Contrary to those idealized California cheese commercials, the lives of dairy cows are short and miserable. We won't even get into pigs who never get to touch grass and earth, or hens who live six to a cage.

BARBARA TURRELL

Glendale


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