Op-Ed: Misconduct charges against Choi are baseless

The News-Press has always been an important vehicle for information in Glendale because of its focused coverage of the local news. That's why it was curious that the paper's Los Angeles-based opinion columnist would use the News-Press to write a conspiracy theory attack piece about a Los Angeles City Council race in Hollywood ("Brains, talent, too much ambition," Ron Kaye, May 19). Apparently, your columnist believes that if a story somehow involves Armenians, well, that must be a good enough reason to write about it in a Glendale paper.

The writer's assumption that all Armenian-Americans are expected to act and think and vote in one way is the kind of casual bigotry that the people of Glendale have been working so hard to rise above. It is disappointing that the News-Press took a step backward by publishing this screed after so much progress has been made by so many.

In the Hollywood race, I along with many other community leaders, Armenian and non-Armenian, endorsed John Choi, a good man who would have been a good council member. Other Armenian Americans supported Mitch O'Farrell, also a good man whom I'm sure will represent his district well. How that difference in opinion is "divisive" or amounts to a controversy is beyond me.

It is clear, though, that there have been serious charges of voter fraud and intimidation tactics that suppressed the Armenian community's participation in that election. Every other news organization that covered those charges, including the L.A. Times, the L.A. Weekly, Frontiers, Patch.com and NBC News, fairly described misconduct and potential illegality by people who were working against my endorsed candidate. Your columnist stands entirely alone in the media world in asserting that it was the Choi campaign that was responsible for this misconduct, and worse, suggesting that I would in any way condone it. Simply stated, that assertion is an outrageous and despicable lie.

As someone who has worked for more than two decades to increase voter turnout and democratic participation, I will never tolerate anyone attempting to trick voters or subvert democracy. To the contrary, if voters in Hollywood or anywhere else have been defrauded or intimidated, I will not rest until all of the culprits are brought to justice, no matter who or where they may be. If the News-Press wishes to write about such misconduct, I would hope that it would make at least a rudimentary effort to investigate the facts and report them responsibly.


PAUL KREKORIAN is a member of the Los Angeles City Council, representing the second district.

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