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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What If They Elected A Monster And No One Cared?

Enlightened local voters and progressive Democrats are mortified that Zareh Sinanyan, accused of posting horrifically racist, sexist, and homophobic comments online, just got elected to the Glendale City Council.  The mood we've heard this morning, after seeking comments from several local elected officials, is outrage at the silence on this issue that led to this outcome.  One prominent local activist in an e-mail cited the Ginetta Sagan quote, "Silence in the face of injustice is complicity with the oppressor."

By now, most insiders have read the facts and made their own determinations.  Scott Lowe, a journalist at the Tropico Station, a website focusing on Glendale issues, has covered it very well.  For those that missed the coverage, here are the essential links:
The Case Against Sareh Sinanyan 

Zareh Sinanyan Refuses to Deny Racist, Sexist Comments 

Sinanyan Loses Several Endorsements 

Additional Point-By-Point Coverage of Scandal 

We are among those who remain speechless that any group would defend, much less vote for, someone like Sinanyan, accused of making these commentsThe comments call African Muslims "monkey boy[s]," Asian Muslims, "Mongol Tatars," repeatedly call men "faggots" and women "cunts."  (We apologize for the raw language, but there is no way to sugar coat them).

As always, we name winners and losers in this sad saga:

Kudos to the elected officials who promptly and publicly pulled their endorsement of Sinanyan, refusing to countenance this type of thing.  We are talking about Adam Schiff, Paul Krekorian, Eric Garcetti, and Wendy Greuel. They showed that they know how to read research reports, that they know how Google works, and that they have backbones.

Shame on the elected officials who endorsed Sinanyan and then did not speak out in the face of the scandal: Anthony Portantino and Adrin Nazarian.

Kudos to the Tropico Station Blog for not only covering the issues, but offering an unbiased, fact-based analysis of them too.  For example, is it credible when a guy's supporters makes wild claims that foreign intelligence posted the comments in his name, five years ago, repeatedly?  Most credible publications would at least subtly pass judgment on the incredulous nature of the denials here.  Many did not.  Which brings us to:

Shame on the Glendale News Press for copping out: merely "covering the coverage," i.e., only covering the story as a "he-said, she-said" and only covering the Council hearing instead of the comments themselves.  Worse still, shame on them for repeatedly calling the comments merely "vulgar."  Sorry GNP, but calling Muslims "fucking cockroaches" is not just "vulgar."  Threatening homosexual rape on someone is not just "vulgar."  Such comments are hate speech, and need to be labeled appropriately.

Shame on the so-called human-rights groups that have yet to do anything on this issue.  We're talking about the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Stonewall Democratic Club, the Courage Campaign, etc.  Because of your inaction, children in Glendale have gotten the message that if they post stuff like this online, it's OK.  You won't suffer any consequences.  In fact, you too, can be elected to public office.


Shame on the Armenian National Committee for not only refusing to withdraw their support of Sinanyan, but for shamelessly lashing out at the people who dared to point out an issue with the comments attributed to him.  This spectacle has called their endorsement in question for any candidate who gets it.  In the simplest terms, here they acted as an organization that condones hate.

We only get the government we deserve.  Thanks to low voter turnout, a silent tolerance of "my ethnicity at all costs" attitudes, and the failure of so many to speak out, Glendale now has Zareh Sinanyan on the council for four years.  And that makes the citizens of Glendale the biggest sufferers in this whole mess.

Without an apology from Sinanyan, and an admission that he made these comments but has learned from his mistakes, we don't see how he can govern.  This is not over.  We are counting on the good souls out there to demand more from their government, their NGOs, and their media.  Stay tuned.