* LA District Attorney addresses issues of concern to Armenian Americans GLENDALE–The Armenian National Committee Political Action Committee announced today its endorsement of Gil Garcetti for Los Angeles District Attorney. The ANC-PAC decision came at the conclusion of a lengthy process–during which the DA candidates’ records and positions were carefully examined.
On Saturday–Oct. 21–the ANC-PAC held a meeting with Los Angeles County District Attorney Garcetti discuss a number of issues of concern to the Armenian American community. Among these issues were crime prevention–outreach to the Armenian American community–and juvenile crime.
"The ANC-PAC endorsement reflects Mr. Garcetti’s firm commitment to a number of issues of concern to the Armenian American community–as well as his willingness to engage the Armenian American community in decision making processes," explained Souzi Zerounian-Khanzadian.
Following the meeting–Garcetti directed a letter–excerpts from which appear below–outlining his positions and thoughts on Armenian American issues–as they were discussed at the meeting.
Excerpts from letter by Gil Garcetti:
Diversifying the Office
I have deliberately sought to make the District Attorney’s office look more like the county it represents. Women now make up 50 percent of the office and ethnic minorities account for one third of all prosecutors–in large part because I instructed my staff to recruit and train attorneys who not only brought with them a knowledge of the law–but also possessed different language and cultural skills.
Recruiting Armenian-American Prosecutors
I am proud to say that our office has some of the finest Armenian-American prosecutors in the nation. However–given the growing size of the Armenian community in the southland–it is critical that we hire more. Towards that end–I will continue to work directly with the Armenian Bar Association and regional law schools to provide Armenian-Americans students with internships in the D.A.’s office. If we provide Armenian-American students with an introduction into the inner workings of our office–I believe more of them will seek out the D.A.’s office upon graduation from law school.
Seeking justice–prosecuting criminals and protecting innocent citizens are all integral components of being D.A. But unlike my opponent–I also believe a district attorney must work with the community to prevent crime–not simply prosecute it. I have 12 full-time prosecutors who job it is to zero in on truant students and get them back into the classroom. To date–these prosecutors have helped more than 51,000 potential dropouts stay in school throughout Los Angeles County–including the Pasadena Unified School District. In my next term–I will expand my anti-truancy initiative to the Glendale Unified School District so that greater numbers of students can receive intervention and assistance.
Addressing Juvenile Crime
I am well aware of the tensions that exist between certain youths in the Armenian-American and Latino communities. These tensions–unfortunately–have resulted in violence in Glendale as well as in Grant High School. The problem deserves a comprehensive strategy that incorporates governmental as well as community-based solutions. As I stated to you in our meeting–if I am re-elected–I will convene a meeting with L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca–Glendale police and city officials and community leaders to seek a regional–comprehensive solution.
House Resolution 596
In September–I wrote to Congressman Benjamin Gilman–Chairman of the International Relations Committee–requesting that legislation concerning the systematic persecution of Armenia’s by the Ottoman Turks be sent to the House floor for a vote. I supported this legislation because I feel deeply that Armenia’s were singled out for extermination by the Ottoman Turks–and that such acts constituted Genocide. I was saddened and disturbed to find out that this legislation did not even make it onto the floor–denying the full House of Representatives the opportunity to vote on this crucial matter. In the future–I will continue to fight for legislation that I feel seeks to properly recognize and characterize this period in our history.