By Garen Yegparian
Yup–the Burbank election is here. Tuesday–February 22 is the primary election in my fair city. Hot on its tail are the LA City–LA Unified School District–and LA Community College District (the latter two impacting numerous cities) primaries–March 8–Pasadena primary–also March 8–Glendale–April 5–then possible runoffs in Burbank–April 12 and Pasadena–April 19–and finally LA general–May 17. And come Autumn–other cities where Armenia’s pack some punch–such as San Francisco and Montebello–have their municipal elections scheduled.
Then there’re exciting-issue-based elections such as the one in Rosemead with an anti-Walmart slate running. Let’s hope they win and put a crimp in the style of that bane of human existence!
As I’ve discussed in recent articles–it seems Armenia’s are running for office en masse–qualified or not–willy-nilly–wise or whacked–disruptive/divisive or constructive.
But enough pounding on those losers–now–it’s time for the other side of the formula–the voters and voting.
Now’s the time that voters have to think. What do we want? Do we just want someone who has no appropriate preparation for office? Do we want someone who’s just in it for the money? Burbank elected officials get nominal pay–but LA councilmembers get paid handsomely–and Glendale’s pay is not too shabby either–though probably not enough to live on. Do we want someone who’s demonstrated community service? Do we want someone who represents us? Who springs from the same concerns as we have? Do we want someone whose motives for running are questionable? What if one candidacy’s a put-up job to sow discord among a certain constituency? Have the candidates been challenged on these issues? Do they sound believable when they respond?
The nice thing about local elections is that you can actually get close enough to enough of the candidates to get these or other questions answered. You can really smell ’em! Go to candidate forums. Go to the coffees people hold in their home for favored candidates- for that matter–host one of these yourself. Listen to people’s commentary. Follow the local newspaper’s letters and op-ed sections. Track who’s giving how much money to who which candidate- it’s all public information usually housed in the city clerk’s office (or other whoever is that jurisdiction’s election official). Watch for endorsemen’s by the ANCA or some of the smaller Armenian political groupings. Look for who the Sierra Club–National Rifle Association–Americans for Democratic action–the political parties–local interest groups (e.g. homeowner associations)–chambers of commerce. Always remember too–sometimes you can tell more about a candidate by observing what forces oppose him/her that those in support! Have fun with this stuff. It can truly be a joy.
In Burbank–with an all-mail-ballot–time is running out–remember Monday is a holiday with no mail service. But you can walk in your ballot on election day or even Saturday–February 19–special 10-2 office hours at city hall. The holiday also impacts LA and Pasadena elections in that the voter registration deadline falls on that day–so it’s probably already too late unless the Registrar of Voters makes a special accommodation. There’s only one week left for absentee ballot requests for LA. In Glendale–that process is just about to commence–so if you plan to vote by mail–get your request in soon.
The ANC is always willing to help. For Burbank call (818) 562-1918 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For Glendale it’s (818) 243-3444. Or call the Western Region’s offices for other references (818) 500-1918.
Remember–who gets into local office impacts your life on the most immediate level. Make sure the right people get in. Which means VOTE.