GLENDALE–During the Glendale City Council meeting on Tuesday, the issue of the pending smoking ban for the City of Glendale was discussed. The smoking ban, if implemented, would have banned smoking from all public areas, including streets, sidewalks, outside dining areas, and multi-unit residences. Yet, the smoking ban was not the issue that roused controversy during the meeting. Spiteful commen’s made in the Pasadena Weekly by Councilman Dave Weaver were improperly attributed to Mayor John Drayman, causing accusations and rebuttals.
In a Pasadena Weekly article published on June 26, 2008, entitled "Butting In," Councilmember Dave Weaver made racially charged commen’s about the Armenian-American residents in Glendale when referring to the smoking ban currently under consideration by the Glendale City Council. During the interview with the editorial, Councilmember Weaver referred to the Armenian community as being the large population of Glendale that enjoys smoking and opposes the smoking ban ordinance. Without any facts to support his biased assertions, he spread false stereotypes of Glendale’s Armenian-American community in an effort to build support for his proposal on the basis of inciting anti-Armenian sentimen’s in the community.
To make matters worse, when the issue was brought forth during discussion of the smoking ban ordinance, Councilman Dave Weaver failed to take responsibility for his statement to the Pasadena Weekly, instead hiding behind the newspaper’s mistake where they incorrectly attributed the quote to Mayor Drayman and allowing his colleague to take the heat. After more than an hour of discussion where further information was being revealed before the council, Weaver hesitantly admitted that he was the one who spoke to the newspaper in that manner, not Mayor Drayman.
This was not the first time that Councilmember Weaver made spiteful commen’s towards the Armenian-American community. During the January 22nd, 2008 meeting of the City Council, Weaver went as far as to question the intelligence of non-English speaking voters and noted that if one does not understand English, he/she has no business voting.
To further investigate this incident, representatives from the Armenian National Committee-Glendale Chapter (ANC) met with the editor of the Pasadena Weekly, Kevin Uhrich, and reporter Carl Kozlowski on July 31, 2008 to gather further facts surrounding Mr. Weaver’s statement. The ANC voiced outrage at the published article, which also made unfounded statemen’s and cast racist stereotypes about the Armenian-American community. The Pasadena Weekly verified that the commen’s printed were Mr. Weaver’s and that he was clearly referring to the Armenian community when discussing the matter. The editor apologized for printing the article with inadequate research. The editor also agreed to allow the ANC Glendale to correct the false impressions l eft by the original article through a full-page article that will be published in the upcoming issue.
"The Armenian National Committee- Glendale is appalled by the commen’s made by Councilman Dave Weaver. As an elected official, Councilman Weaver has a responsibility to serve all of his constituents and is held to higher standards. Councilman Weaver has engaged in a pattern of spewing hatred and spreading repulsive stereotypes about Glendale ‘s Armenian-American community," stated Elen Asatryan, Executive Director of ANC-Glendale. "His biased opinions towards the Armenian-American community are unacceptable and we expect a public apology from Councilmember. Weaver during the next Glendale City Council meeting," added Asatryan.
Interestingly enough, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee-Glendale Chapter, Elen Asatryan, relayed the results of the survey headed by the organization during the same council meeting, which further proved Counncilmember Weaver’s commen’s to be biased and ethnically .
The survey, which was conducted over a period of 12 days, introduced the opinions of the populace of Glendale over this controversial ordinance. Of the 740 respondents of the survey, there appeared to be a divide in the peoples’ support for the ordinance. 61% of the survey takers claimed to be non-smokers, 45% supported the ban on smoking on streets and sidewalks, while 70% of the survey-takers believed that the smoking ordinance s hould be placed on the ballot. The survey also found that 63% of the survey-takers believed that the banning of smoking infringes on personal freedoms and civil liberties. ANC Glendale also surveyed 38 restauran’s in Glendale , 79% of which opposed the smoking ordinance. 78% of the surveyed restauran’s believed that their business would be negatively affected.
The members of the City Council commended the ANC Glendale for the survey and stated that the results will be used in determining their vote. Upon reviewing the provisions and forming a consensus, the smoking ban will be voted on at a later time.
The Armenian National Committee Glendale Chapter is urging Glendale residents to log on to their website at www.ancglendale.org and send emails to the Glendale Mayor and Councilmembers requesting them to condemn Councilmember Weaver’s continuous unethical behavior on the dias and to request a public apology from the Councilmember.
Those interested in viewing the July 29th meeting of the Glendale City Council meeting may do so by visiting http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/video_archives.asp.
The Armenian National Committee-Glendale Chapter advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the city’s Armenian American community and promotes increased civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels. It is the voice of this vibrant community, which seeks to advance and enrich Glendale .