ANCA-WR Announces Endorsements for L.A. City Council

LOS ANGELES — Following weeks of engagement with candidates, the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region has announced its endorsements for Los Angeles City Council.

“Ensuring our community’s active participation in the electoral process is one of the core functions of the ANCA Western Region,” remarked the organization’s chair Nora Hovsepian, Esq. “We are proud to endorse these exceptional candidates for Los Angeles City Council, who have demonstrated a profound commitment and dedication to serving our community,” Hovsepian continued. 

“As our compatriots in Armenia and Artsakh continue to stare down the genocidal aggression of Turkey and Azerbaijan, it is incumbent on our community to be actively engaged in the democratic process to ensure the Armenian-American voice is heard,” Hovsepian concluded.

With the primary elections approaching on June 7th the ANCA-WR will continue to announce its full slate of endorsed candidates in the coming weeks. 

Council District 1: Gilbert Cedillo
Councilmember Gilbert Cedillo has shared a strong relationship with the Armenian-American community throughout his time in elected office. Prior to being elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 2013, Cedillo served in both the California Senate and State Assembly where he regularly co-authored resolutions recognizing and commemorating the Armenian genocide. 

Since being elected to City Council, Cedillo has been a strong supporter of the city’s diverse, multicultural communities – advocating for the provision of language services during the 2015 city elections, including Armenian language accessibility.

Cedillo has been a champion for underserved and marginalized communities for decades, advocating for immigrants, low-income communities, working families and the homeless. 

“I am honored and proud to have the endorsement of a longtime ally, the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region. I wholeheartedly support their vision and mission to bring better political empowerment and opportunity to the Armenian American community. Your continued guidance and advice on policy and legislative issues is always appreciated. I look forward to continuing working with you to educate and improve the lives of Armenian American brothers and sisters for the betterment of all,” remarked Cedillo.

Los Angeles Council District 1 includes Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, Westlake, Pico-Union and Elysian Park.

Council District 3: Bob Blumenfield
Councilmember Bob Blumenfield has been a long-time friend of the Armenian-American community, having served as a member of the California State Assembly representing the southwestern San Fernando Valley prior to being elected to Los Angeles City Council — where he represents a large Armenian community in Woodland Hills, Reseda, and Tarzana.

In a demonstration of his dedication to representing the Armenian community, Blumenfield accompanied the ANCA-WR on a delegation of city and state officials to Armenia and Artsakh in 2013 during his first year on council. Blumenfield has remained a tireless champion in the years since, supporting the council’s efforts to recognize and commemorate the Armenian genocide while confronting denialism and hate in all its forms. Blumenfield stood strongly in solidarity with the Armenian community following hate crimes against the Holy Martyrs Ferrahian High School and AGBU Manoogian-Demirjian School – which is located in his district – following anti-Armenian hate crimes in 2019.

Blumenfield has been committed to holding Turkey and Azerbaijan accountable for their aggression, standing in solidarity with the Armenian-American community of Los Angeles during the invasion of Artsakh by Azerbaijan in 2020, and co-authoring a letter to Mercury Public Affairs calling on them to drop the Republic of Turkey as a client over their military support fo Azerbaijan’s assault on the Armenian people.

“I strongly value my relationship with the Armenian-American community and have been proud to stand with you in raising awareness about discrimination against Armenians and recognizing the Armenian Genocide,” remarked Blumenfield in correspondence with the ANCA-WR.

Los Angeles Council District 3 includes the densely Armenian populated areas of Tarzana, Encino, Sherman Oaks, and Valley Village.

Council District 5: Sam Yebri
Sam Yebri has a long history of community advocacy. As a member of the Iranian-American Jewish community, Yebri has been intimately involved in grassroots community activism — co-founding the organization 30 Years After dedicated to empowering and promoting civic engagement amongst the City’s large Iranian-Jewish community.

Having fled Iran at a young age before settling in Los Angeles, Yebri has built deep personal, professional and political relationships with many Armenian-Americans bound by shared experience. He has marched alongside the community on Armenian Genocide Rememberance Day, and has led joint Holocaust-Armenian Genocide remembrance events to build bridges between the Armenian and Jewish communities.

During the Artsakh War, Sam Yebri expressed his vocal support for the Armenian people and strongly condemned the actions of the Azerbaijani government — joining a list of prominent local Jewish-American activists in expressing his support for the right to self-determination for the Armenian people.

As a new candidate, Yebri has pledged to work closely with the Armenian community of Los Angeles to ensure the community is protected amidst the disturbing rise in anti-Armenian hate crimes, to promote education and awareness efforts surrounding the Armenian genocide, and to strengthen ties between the City of Los Angeles and the Republic of Artsakh.

“I am honored to earn the endorsement of the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR). Los Angeles is fortunate to be home to one of the largest and most vibrant Armenian communities in the world outside of Armenia, and I look forward to proudly representing and continuing to serve as a robust champion for Armenian-Americans in the 5th District and throughout Los Angeles,” Yebri remarked in a statement.

Los Angeles Council District 5 includes Beverly Crest, Bel-Air, Westwood, West Los Angeles, Pico-Robertson, Fairfax, Hancock Park, Windsor Square, and Larchmont

Council District 7: Monica Rodriguez
Councilmember Monica Rodriguez has been a strong supporter of the Armenian-American community since she was elected in 2017 to represent the 7th district, which encompasses the densely Armenian populated areas of Sunland-Tujunga, Sun Valley, Shadow Hills and Sylmar.

She has made regular public statements on the Armenian Genocide and Artsakh, introducing resolutions to the City Council level commemorating the Armenian genocide and supporting the right to self-determination of the Republic of Artsakh. During Azerbaijan’s invasion of Artsakh in 2020, she stood firmly in solidarity with the Armenian people, participating in a city-wide press conference condemning Azerbaijan’s aggression and co-authoring a letter to Mercury Public Affairs demanding they end their relationship with the Republic of Turkey over its support for Azerbaijan’s assault on the Armenian people.

Celebrating the contributions of the Armenian-American community to her district, she renamed a square in Tujunga after William Saroyan, and has supported and participated in the annual Armenian Cultural Festival in Tujunga.

“I’m proud of the support and friendship I’ve enjoyed with the Armenian community in our city and my district. Protecting residents from harassment has been among my top priorities. Sadly the racism and hate that has been leveled at members of the Armenian community has been the most disheartening, but inspired my fight to show greater support,” remarked Councilmember Rodriguez in a comment to the ANCA-WR.

Council District 13: Mitch O’Farrell
Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell proudly serves the community of Little Armenia, and has been a stalwart supporter of the Armenian community throughout his time in elected office. O’Farrell has been committed to ensuring the needs of the Armenian community are met, guided by long-serving Armenian-American staffers. 

Councilmember O’Farrell has regularly provided financial and political support for the Armenian Relief Society’s Social Services Center, ensuring that community members are able to access vital services; from housing assistance, employment services, social security and immigration support. O’Farrell has also been a valued friend to the Rose and Alex Pilibos School, also based in his district, supporting neighborhood revitalization projects in the school’s vicinity.

Councilmember O’Farrell has also been committed to highlighting the history and contributions of the Armenian-American community to his district, and the City of Los Angeles. On the centenary of the Armenian Genocide in 2015, he unveiled the Armenian Genocide Memorial Square at the intersection of Hollywood and Western in honor of the 1.5 million victims. O’Farrell has also spearheaded the development of the “Gateway to Little Armenia” art installation, a long-awaited passion project that broke ground in 2019. The project, which is expected to be completed in 2022, is a celebration of the many contributions of the Armenian-American community to the cultural fabric of Los Angeles.

O’Farrell has been actively engaged in supporting Armenian Genocide commemoration events in his district and throughout the City of Los Angeles at-large, and stood strongly in solidarity with the Armenian people during Azerbaijan’s invasion of Artsakh in 2020 — condemning the Azerbaijani government’s aggression, and supporting the fundamental right to self-determination for the Armenian people.

Los Angeles Council District 13 includes the densely Armenian populated areas of Atwater Village, Echo Park, Hollywood, Little Armenia, and Silver Lake.

“I’m deeply humbled and honored to receive the endorsement of the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region in my campaign for re-election to the Los Angeles City Council. As a Native American, I feel a deep sense of kinship with the Armenian-American community and feel privileged to represent Little Armenia on the Los Angeles City Council. Marching alongside my friends in the Armenian community, demanding justice and recognition for the genocide brought me closer to the community, and I continue to advocate for the rights of the indigenous population of Artsakh and have partnered with local Armenian-American organizations to promote civic engagement, social services, and the arts. This year, we will unveil the beautiful Little Armenia Gateway, highlighting the Armenian-American community and their culture and heritage in the heart of Hollywood,” O’Farrell told the ANCA-WR.

“Whether it’s investing in our small businesses, assisting renters in CD13 with hundreds of millions in rental subsidies, building more affordable housing, and keeping our streets and public rights of way clean and secure, I am proud to have empowered and supported this resilient, vibrant, determined and hardworking community, alongside all communities across Los Angeles!  I look forward to continuing to serve on behalf of the Armenian-American community and all Angelenos,” added Mitch O’Farrell.

Council District 15: Tim McOsker
Tim McOsker has a long history of public service. While working with James Hahn while he was City Attorney and later Mayor of Los Angeles, McOsker developed close ties with and was a strong advocate for the Armenian-American community – calling on jurisdisctions to recognize the Armenian genocide, participating in Armenian cultural and community events, and in hiring, promoting and supporting Armenian-American leaders.

As a new candidate, McOsker has pledged to represent the voice of the Armenian-American community on city council, and to be an advocate for strengthening ties between the City of Los Angeles and the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh. He has also committed to promoting greater awareness and education on the Armenian genocide in schools, to confront genocide denials and the disturbing rise in Armenophobic hate crimes, and to work with community leaders to push for city-wide support for Armenian-American cultural institutions and service orgnizations.

“The City of Los Angeles has had a strong relationship with the people of Armenia and the Republic of Armenia, and I look forward to continuing to support and expand this existing relationship, in my capacity as a City Councilmember,” remarked McOsker to the ANCA-WR. “As City Councilmember, I will continue to reaffirm my commitment to the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh, devote more resources and staff time to better understanding the needs of these communities locally, and regionally, and ensure that our entire team is well-educated on crimes committed by Azerbaijan.”

Los Angeles Council District 15 includes San Pedro, Wilmington, Harbor City, South Los Angeles, and Watts.

The ANCA-WR previously announced its endorsement of long-time friend of the Armenian-American community Kevin De Leon for the Los Angeles City Mayoral race.

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

Please note: this article was originally published in the Asbarez.