SAN FRANCISCO–Armenian-Americans of the Bay Area welcomed San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown to Vaspouragan Hall to show their support for his re-election in November and to contribute to his campaign.
In her introduction on behalf of the Armenian National Committee–Roxanne Makasdjian spoke about Willie Brown’s long-established connection to the California Armenia’s. "We know of few other politicians who have stood by this community for as long and as solidly as he has–" she said. "As our numbers grew and our issues became more complicated over the 40 years he’s been in politics–Willie Brown has never backed off and never flinched in his support. Whether on issues related to Genocide recognition–immigrant concerns–educational curriculum–he understood what these issues meant to us and he understood their moral significance.
Makasdjian lauded the mayor for his support of the ballot measure approving the transfer of Mt. Davidson Cross to the Armenian-American community. "As mayor–he embraced a creative solution to solving the issue of separation of church and state – to allow the cross to be sold to private owners. His confidence in this controversial issue went a long way to securing the 68 percent Yes vote which followed."
Mayor Brown expressed his delight at being welcomed so warmly by the crowd. He spoke about his pride in holding the office of mayor in a city like San Francisco. "This is like a living museum–and we are the curators," he said–discussing the various historic landmarks in the city which he feels are important to preserve.
He also praised the ethnic diversity within the city and spoke out against recent hate crimes against ethnic groups. "San Francisco is still quite a challenge in terms of managing the city–" he said. Mayor Brown called out to the government of Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide. "You ought to be principled. You out to just say–’Yes–that was genocide,’ so your nation and your people won’t be confused."
Mayor Brown also expressed his enthusiasm for the planned staging of the opera Arshak II by the San Francisco Opera in the year 2001.