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LA: Council Wants Mailer Investigated

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  • LA: Council Wants Mailer Investigated

    By Eugene Tong, Staff Writer

    Los Angeles Daily News, CA
    June 29 2006

    GLENDALE - City officials are asking state Attorney General Bill
    Lockyer to investigate a negative campaign mailer in the 43rd Assembly
    District race that offended members of the local Armenian community.

    The City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday night
    requesting a state investigation but stopped short of holding its
    own inquiry.

    "Unless something dramatically changes, we would be going on a fishing
    expedition," Councilman Ara Najarian said.

    Councilman Frank Quintero, who lost to Burbank school board member Paul
    Krekorian in the June 6 Democratic primary, has denied any connection
    to the mailer, which was financed by an independent committee, the
    Oakland-based California Latino Leadership Fund. A report in Capitol
    Weekly, a political publication, traced the group's financing to the
    state Latino Caucus in Sacramento.

    At Tuesday's council meeting, Quintero pressed for an inquiry that
    could clear his name.

    "I will either make the motion or second that motion," he said. "I've
    condemned the mailer when it first came out, and I've followed up
    with a letter to the attorney general and the secretary of state. ...

    We absolutely had no idea that was taking place."

    The mailer attempted to link Quintero's Armenian-American opponent
    to terrorism by way of the Armenian National Committee of America,
    which endorsed Krekorian. A former ANC leader no longer tied to the
    advocacy group was convicted in 2001 of possessing stolen explosives
    and assault weapons.

    "It's easy to deplore these acts," said Zanku Armenian, an
    ANC Western Region representative. "But it's important to have
    accountability. ... We the citizens of Glendale are waiting for real
    answers, but we can't wait forever."

    The flap damaged Quintero's standing with the Armenian-American
    community, in which he had cultivated political ties for decades.

    Councilman Bob Yousefian, a member of the council's Armenian-American
    majority and a Krekorian supporter, still faults Quintero for the

    "It came out on a Friday night," he said. "On Friday night and
    Saturday, not once did Mr. Quintero come out and say he had nothing
    to do with it. If it was me, I would've been on TV Friday. ... Maybe
    the attorney general can get to the bottom of this."

    Some speakers at the meeting, including several Armenian-Americans,
    flocked to Quintero's defense.

    "I do not believe whatsoever the mailer would've come from his office,"
    Glendale resident Aram Kazazian said. "This is a mailer that came
    without his knowledge."

    Resident Larry Cole said Quintero has no reason to apologize. "Since
    when does somebody who has no culpability take responsibility
    anyway?" he said.

    Laurie Collins, president of the Glendale Democratic Club, asked the
    community to withhold judgment and not to pit the Armenian community
    against local Latinos.

    "Two wrongs don't make a right," she said. "This issue is very
    important, and it's a cloud on our election process."