PASADENA—In response to the fall-out of the public discussion held during the June 6, PUSD Board meeting regarding the challenges of redistricting PUSD and the possible underlying aspirations of select Taskforce members whose names were mentioned during the public meeting, the ANCA – Pasadena Chapter clarified where things are and where they should stand for the ANCA and Pasadena’s Armenian American Community in this endeavor.
Specifically, the issue’s main focus was Measure A, which will convert the Pasadena Unified School District from its current at-large system to a sub-district format for the future election of board members. The process has fueled a contentious argument over the adoption of sub-districts and more specifically the sub-district boundaries. School board members accused the redistricting task force appointees Wednesday, June 6, of drawing those lines to improve their own political fortunes.
Some members of the Task Force Assigned on the redistricting efforts, PUSD board members contended, were in support of sub-districting for self-serving purposes, as the quote from board member Ramon Miramontes had asserted.
“Those maps are for the benefit of Ken Chawkins and others on the task force like Chris Chahinian,” PUSD board member Ramon Miramontes said. “If Ken Chawkins, Chris Chahinian or someone in the Armenian Coalition runs for school board, we’ll know the maps are self-serving.”
Chawkins ran for school board nearly a decade ago and lost; Chahinian launched a failed attempt to win a seat on the City Council. Redistricting task force member Roberta Martinez ran an unsuccessful campaign for school board in 2007.
As the main and core representative of the Armenian-American community of Pasadena, The ANCA – Pasadena Chapter was compelled to announce that at no time was there an outreach or “largesse” from the PUSD task force toward the ANCA – Pasadena Chapter, leaving the PUSD Board to think that Mr. Chahinian is the sole representative of the Armenian Community in Pasadena. An elaborate plan that Mr. Chahinian thought might work but didn’t. Furthermore, the Armenian-American community of Pasadena has not supported, nor does it find favorable, the concentration of the Armenian population of Pasadena into a single Council District or School District. In fact, the self-proclaimed voice and representative of the Armenian Community in the city of Pasadena, Mr. Chris Chahinian, has been involved in such utter self-serving rhetoric and dalliance for far too long without merit, and this is something that could place the Armenian community’s long-standing relationship with the city of Pasadena into disrepute.
Therefore, as the letter plainly states, The ANCA – Pasadena Chapter, through its involvement with the Pasadena City Council Re-Districting process, has publicly stated on numerous occasions that it is neither ethical nor favorable to “colonize” ethnic groups into single districts.
Below is the text of the Pasadena ANCA Letter:
Dear PUSD Board Members,
The ANCA – Pasadena Chapter has worked with the Pasadena community and government officials to improve the quality of life of all Pasadena community members. It is the oldest and largest Armenian-American community organization in the City of Pasadena with an active membership of over 1,500 Pasadena community members. The ANCA – Pasadena Chapter has provided facilities for youth programs; supported other community organizations during citywide events; fostered programs to improve the quality of education of Pasadena’s schools; and participated in historic events such as redistricting efforts.
The scope of work and the purpose of the ANCA – Pasadena Chapter are directed towards fostering an integrated and healthy Pasadena community for the livability and enjoyment of all Pasadena community members. With this mission in mind, the ANCA – Pasadena Chapter responds to the public discussion held during the June 6, 2012 PUSD Board meeting regarding the challenges of districting PUSD and the possible underlying aspirations of select Taskforce members whose names were mentioned during the public meeting.
Creation Of Armenian Districts
As the main and core representative of the Armenian-American community of Pasadena, The ANCA – Pasadena Chapter announces that the Armenian-American community of Pasadena has not supported, nor does it find favorable, the concentration of the Armenian population of Pasadena into a single Council District or School District. The ANCA – Pasadena Chapter, through its involvement with the Pasadena City Council Re-Districting process, has publicly stated that it is neither ethical nor favorable to “colonize” ethnic groups into single districts.
The ANCA – Pasadena Chapter further maintains the position that districting and redistricting is intended to create, or to adjust, political boundaries specifically to sustain proper and sufficient representation across the entire and diverse population of the City. The ANCA – Pasadena Chapter does not exercise, endorse, nor support political capitalization of (re)districting processes.
PUSD Redistricting Task-force Members
The ANCA – Pasadena Chapter publicly exclaims that the Armenian-American population of Pasadena received absolutely no outreach from the PUSD Districting Taskforce; whether to obtain feedback or to disseminate information regarding the districting process. The sole Armenian-American Taskforce member, a one Khachik “Chris” Chahinian, does not represent the Armenian-American population, or any of its youth-focused, faith-based, or civic organizations. Mere ethnicity is inadequate to grant one individual the merit to qualify them as a representative of any community ethnic group.
Whether in PUSD affairs or general city affairs, the Armenian-American community has not endorsed nor considered Mr. Chahinian as its community representative. Initially, the Armenian-American community was not considered during the Taskforce member selection process. Consequently, the PUSD Districting Taskforce did not provide the required outreach to the Armenian-American community; and, as such, the Armenian-American community, nor the ANCA – Pasadena Chapter shall be associated with any unfavorable conduct or ramifications of the PUSD districting process.
Community Coalitions And Elections
The Armenian-American community of Pasadena does not recognize the existence of an “Armenian coalition.” The Armenian-American community has a wide-array of civic and faith-based organizations that work to provide unique services to the Pasadena community. These civic entities have been in existence for generations, and, as such, have not subscribed to any “coalition.” The Armenian-American community, with its unity and integration across the entire community spectrum does not recognize an authentic need to form a concentrated political entity. Armenian-Americans and their ethical and legitimate community representatives and organizations work closely with all Armenian and non-Armenian community members to increase the leverage of all non-profit organizations’ degree of providing services. The Armenian-American community does not recognize the existence of an “Armenian Coalition,” and therefore, shall not be associated with any political mechanisms or platforms used to produce personal political capital.
Armenian-Americans, as all Pasadenans, share the same civic responsibilities bestowed upon all residents of our citywide community. As such, Armenian-Americans have exercised the same equal rights and privileges extended to the general population. For decades, Armenian-Americans have participated in the City’s local economy; contributed to employment; improved neighborhoods; invested in education; and participated in local government affairs. Therefore, the participation of an Armenian-American in local city or school district elections shall not constitute an involvement in an “Armenian coalition.” The suspected, possible, and self-motivated aspirations and political agendas of select individuals mentioned during public discussion should be publicly clarified to prevent associating Armenian-American’s with a “coalition;” to avoid undermining the altruistic and dignified efforts of legitimate Armenian-American community representatives; and, slandering the involvement of Armenian-Americans in normal and common political proceedings including participation in fair elections.
We hope that the aforementioned shall be taken into consideration and addressed to the public. The ANCA – Pasadena Chapter welcomes questions and inquiries and looks forward to continued work directed toward the benefit of our Pasadena Community.
ANCA – Pasadena Chapter Chair