Pelosi wants genocide recognition

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last week during a visit to Burbank that she will push for a congressional vote on an Armenian Genocide recognition bill.

Pelosi came to the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church in Burbank on Aug. 4 for a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser. The event was attended by several members of the Armenian National Committee of America, as well as members of Congress, including Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) and Laura Richardson (D-Long Beach). Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was also present, said Ken Hachikian, chairman for the Armenian National Committee.

The event was sponsored by Edvard Akopyan of Glendale and Levon Ayrapetyan, organizers said. About 100 people plunked down between $2,500 a couple, to a VIP payment of $30,000 per person, to be at the event, Hachikian said.

Pelosi has long been a supporter of the Armenian American community, he added.

"The speaker regularly attends the congressional commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in April of every year," Hachikian said.

A Pelosi staffer said Pelosi did not promise a vote on House Resolution 252, a measure co-sponsored by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and George Radanovich (R-Mariposa) to formally recognize as genocide the atrocities committed by Ottoman Turks against 1.5 Armenians between 1915 and 1921.

But according to Hachikian, Pelosi said Congress' failure to formally recognize the tragedy undermines the nation's moral authority in the world.

"She said we should have a vote, and was very forceful about the importance of the U.S. recognizing the genocide," Hachikian said. "I let her know we are looking to her for her leadership on this issue. We feel there are enough votes if the speaker would put the efforts of her office behind this."

Hachikian said Pelosi also discussed ongoing negotiations of Armenian-Turkish protocols and the political situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The Armenian National Committee will continue to work on the genocide resolution with several Democratic lawmakers, including Schiff, Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles), Howard Berman (D-Los Angeles), Frank Pallone (D-New Jersey) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

The measure has 140 co-sponsors in Congress, according to the committee.

Turkish officials have criticized the measure and warned that its passage would undermine relations between the three nations.

Gatto meets with Armenian church leader

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) met with Archbishop Hovnan Derderian at the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church this past week to discuss plans for the consecration of the new cathedral.

According to Gatto, Derderian discussed preparations for a Sept. 11 consecration with a visit from His Holiness Karekin II, the leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Sherman aiming to end China's trade status

Rep. Brad Sherman (D- Sherman Oaks), whose district includes part of Burbank, has proposed revoking China's "Most Favored Nation" trading status in order to help address the United States' massive trade imbalance.

The trade deficit with China has grown from about $84 billion in 2000, when the favored status was granted, to nearly $227 billion in 2009, according to Sherman's office.

Sherman wants to end China's special status for six months and push the Obama administration to negotiate a new trade relationship with China.

"The U.S.-China trade relationship is horrendously lopsided, and it has not lived up to the promises of those who encouraged us to give preferential trade treatment to China," Sherman said in a statement. "In the year 2000, we were told that it would allow for almost unlimited trade and would create opportunities for Americans to manufacture items and send them to China; that it would boost the U.S. economy and create jobs. Unfortunately, we have seen the opposite occur."

Lease renewed for firefighting helicopter

Seven helicopters played a key role in quickly dousing the Griffith Park fire on Monday. Later this month, local firefighters will be able to add another air tanker to their firefighting equipment.

On Tuesday, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich announced the L.A. County Fire Department renewed its lease of an S-64E Helitanker from Oregon-based Erickson Air-Crane.

The craft has a 2,500-gallon tank to drop water, fire retardant or foam mix on wildland blazes. It also carries a scoop to refill from fresh or sea water sources as shallow as 18 inches deep in less than 45 seconds, according to Antonovich's office.

The helitanker is scheduled to begin operations Monday, and be based out of Van Nuys Airport.

Monday's 5-acre blaze in Griffith Park was suppressed in less than an hour by firefighting crews from the city of Los Angeles, Glendale and Burbank.

Democratic Club meeting at BJ's

On Aug. 19 the Glendale Democratic Club will have a social hour at BJ's Brewhouse, 101 N. Brand Blvd., from 6 to 8 p.m. For more information, call (818) 844-0160.

Schiff to speak at Glendale Kiwanis Club

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) is scheduled to be the guest speaker at the Aug. 27 meeting of the Glendale Kiwanis Club. The club meets at the Glendale Elks Lodge at noon every Friday at 120 E. Colorado Blvd.

For more information on the club, call Secretary Vic Legerton at (818) 434-3935.

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