As an Armenian American who has participated in every local, statewide and national election since I was 18, I truly believe we learned more from this loss than any other (“Yousefian out, Friedman in,” Wednesday). As a community, we have begun an important cleansing process that will eventually help us in coming to terms with our mistakes.
With this election, many Armenians like myself realized that the Armenian National Committee has proven to be a lap dog for special interest groups, not Armenian Americans, and in doing so, has created an opportunity for us all to realize our mistakes and correct them. Many of us believe it is crucial to have Armenian American representation, but it is just as important to have competent representatives. Hopefully, these results will create some much-needed change in committee leadership as well as a change in the thought processes of many voters.
Racism is a huge issue in our city. I have seen it and I have lived it, both in our schools and in the public realm in general. But it is also apparent that thoughtful non-Armenian Americans will vote for Armenian candidates — as long as they reach out to the whole community and execute their decisions in a professional manner. That is what we saw last week with the election of Greg Krikorian, Ara Najarian, Armine Hacopian and Ardy Kassakhian, who won with large numbers of votes that included both Armenian and non-Armenian support. Krikorian was a shining example.
Winning with 11,700 votes, a truly collective number of Armenian and non-Armenian votes, Krikorian’s victory was a clear indicator of the “common sense” movement I have been discussing. Kassakhian also proved to be a shining star. Despite no one running against him, he garnered 12,406 votes, a clear collective indication of his outstanding job performance. Well done.
Despite recent victories, there continue to be Armenian American candidates who believe they have a lot to offer the city, when, in reality, all they have to offer is either fear-mongering or political tactics — candidates such as Naira Khachatrian, Hasmig Aslanian, Vartan Gharpetian, etc. I think it’s about time that these individuals come to terms with the obvious fact that they are splitting votes and just making fools out of themselves.
Some of these individuals have lost time and time again, and others thought they had a good chance with their petty schemes to lure votes via council member paycheck donations. For these candidates, I have two words: bon voyage. As voters, we disregarded these foolish antics, and we are ready to continue fighting the next round.
Most importantly, however, I believe that the agents of incompetence will not be as safe as they thought they were, something Councilman Dave Weaver should be wary about.
Armenians like myself and others are demanding more substance and accountability from their representatives. We made a statement yesterday when we did not reelect Councilman Bob Yousefian. We will no longer support anyone and everyone who has an -ian or -yan at the end of their last name, and that is a fact we committed to and expressed vividly in last week’s elections.
And whether the Armenian National Committee decides to shove incompetence down our throats or not, we will get accustomed to our newly found independence, and this move will prove to be a positive step forward for our community and our city as a whole.
PATRICK DEROHANIAN is a Glendale resident.