Saturday, April 20, 2013

Glendale City Council Member Zareh Sinanyan Admits Responsibility For Online Comments

In response to deeply felt criticism of his hateful online comments from members of the gay and Muslim communities at his first ever city council meeting, Glendale City Council Member Zareh Sinanyan has now publicly admitted responsibility and expressed regret for those comments.

He was particularly moved by the eloquent words of Glendale High student Zehra Siddiqui, who noted that Muslim students in Glendale are often bullied for their religion, and that it's important for role models in the community to take responsibility for their actions, whether good or bad.

From Ron Kaye's column in the Glendale News-Press:

"She was the one who got to me. After she spoke all I could think about was, 'Why would I say something that would insult someone like her?' I would just hope that she would forgive me, I didn't mean those things. They were obviously made in anger. 
"I will do my best to represent her to the best of my abilities. I see her as the future of America. By my actions, I will show who I really am, that those words are not me." 
Clearly, Sinanyan will be living in a fish bowl for quite a while, at the center of tensions over the ascendance of Armenians in the political, economic and cultural life of a city that was very different a quarter century ago when his family arrived in the area. 
For him, and for Glendale, this presents a great challenge to overcome divisions and a great opportunity to move forward and build a greater city together.

I absolutely agree with the closing line. I hope Sinanyan will continue in the spirit of healing and accountability and fully defuse tensions by also apologizing for attacking others, including me, rather than immediately taking responsibility for the comments he has now admitted to writing. If he offers such an apology, I will consider the matter resolved and wish him best of luck on the council.

Sinanyan is smart and was well prepared at the community forums. We both share a sincere interest in South Glendale issues and I'm sure he can put this behind him, both for his own good, and the good of the city.

Zareh, get in touch:


Salman Farooq said...

Really shocked by this development.

I didn't expect to ever feel any respect for him after everything that happened, but surprisingly I was moved. My only concern now is that the council can still work together civilly, despite the tension between members this incident caused.

Also, not that it matters, but everyone that vocally claimed "conspiracy!" on various blogs and newspapers have been remarkably quiet. The silence is deafening.

Anonymous said...

Scott, do you have Stockholm Syndrome?

I mean, really? Have you been checked out?

I don't mean that to come across as nasty as it appears. You have been great on this issue -- up to now.

5-6 years of hate, erased by a "gee, I have regret now that I have been elected and the story refuses to die"??? That can't be right Scott.

"Let's move on?" Really? Has Sinanyan acknowledged that Muslims have culture? That they are not all bad? That it is wrong to use the f-word to describe gays? Saying he "regrets" something is not the same. He has not shown that he acknowledges the wrong in his comments.

If anything, your attitude stands for the message that a racist jerk can make these outrageous comments for 1/5 of his LIFE, get ELECTED in Glendale, and then say, "gee I regret" to a "journalist" like Ron Kaye who is clearly biased.

And then all is forgiven?

I know we all want this to be done. I know that that path is easier. I know this is humiliating to Glendale.

But forgiving an unreconstructed racist just because he expressed "regret" is ridiculous Scott.

Has he apologized to Gatto or Friedman or the Turkish CIA or you? Just the other day you noted how he was on TV saying Friedman was like a Turk and implying she secretly was the racist.

And now all is forgiven? I know they've been hard on you. So I ask again, do you have Stockholm Syndrome?

Scott said...

I’m not making any excuses for the content of the comments, and I agree with you that his admission in Kaye’s column is short of a full apology. That said, it was a good first step and long overdue. If you read my post more carefully you’ll see that I don’t consider this resolved until he apologizes for attacking everyone in sight, including me, instead of taking responsibility. Now that everyone knows he actually did it, the ethnically-charged counterattacks are indefensible and he absolutely needs to apologize for them.

But once he offers that apology, that’s it for me on this particular issue. For better or worse, he won the election by 356 votes. It’s overwhelmingly likely that he’s going to be on the council for four years. A recall effort would be bitter, divisive, and is unlikely to succeed. I want what's best for Glendale. I believe the best way forward is for Zareh to finish the apology he started yesterday and make nice with those he attacked. Then everyone should chill out, be nice and hope for the best.

Rdk3000 said...

How do we initiate a recall? I don't want this clown having any say in what goes on in this city.

Anonymous said...

That is disappointing, Scott.

Zareh has pulled the slick, politically consulted mea culpa. It is dumped on a Friday on likely the biggest news day in recent memory-- He admits and buries in the news cycle. His political strategy involved giving the story to pay-per scribe Ron Kaye who accordingly handles his subject with glowing affection and offers the denouement drivel "to build a better city." Zareh never answered reporters and residents questions when asked about these hate comments when they surfaced. He lied and accused others and sullied their reputation. I know there a lot of women and LGBT members who arent buying this sophisticated yarn. You have been spun Scott.

Anonymous said...

You've now gave Sinanyan and the ANC a raod map on how to call you off: email me and apologize.

Let's imagine this in the 1950s, shall we? A southerner gets elected in an election where turnout was ridiculously low and based on ethnic lines. The southerner is a KKK member, and has a long history of racist, sexist, and various anti-religion comments.

So a newspaperman just says, "hey, he got elected. That's mellow. It's done"


I think not.

Do you really in your heart think that this jackal has changed his mane?

Like for like, kind for kind. He needs to come out on Armenian TV in support of the Democratic Party's platform, of which he purports to be a member. That means same-sex marriage, and inclusion for all. He needs to do this in Armenian.

He needs to apologize to Laura Friedman on the same TV station. He needs to tell the Armenian voters that he and the ANC ran a purposeful smear campaign worthy of the politburo to mislead them into feeling themselves attacked.

Will he do this? No. Will you still speak up for right and wrong? It looks like the answer is no. I agree with the posters above.

Scott said...

You all make good points, but the ramifications are up to the voters, not me. From day 1 I’ve made a fact-based case that he was responsible for the comments based on the evidence. That’s my role. He has now admitted responsibility for the comments. If others were directly insulted by the comments and find his weakly worded “regrets” unsatisfactory, they should stand up and press that point. Zareh absolutely needs to apologize for the ethnically-charged counterattacks too, they were despicable and are utterly indefensible now that everyone knows for sure that he did it. If others want to pursue removing him from office, that’s up to them and I’ll cover it.

But I made my case; he’s admitted that he wrote the comments; and he still owes those he attacked under false pretenses, including me, a sincere apology.

He claims his actions will show who he really is. Well, the ball is in his court. It’s up to him to make things right and build bridges or it’s up to the voters to hold him accountable. Whatever happens, I'll cover it.

Schtick Cheney said...

The local press (and now Tropico) are treating Zareh SInanyan like a domestic abuser.

After inflicting domestic violence, the perp seeks forgiveness. The domestic victim too often grants it and the perp is often viewed/"loved" more favorably than if he had never inflicted any abuse.

What about Zareh and his camp maligning Laura Friedman, Ara Najari and even Mike Gatto, Scott Lowe, and the GNP reporters. Now this pathology has evolved into "isnt Zareh a great guy for coming clean?"

Remember, this wasnt one offensive comment years ago.Our Glendale City Councilman had a dangerous and consistent pattern of posting hateful and violent threats over years against women, homosexuals, Muslims, and Latinos. His most hate post was just earlier this year. This hate hobby is a serious problem.

This man is a hateful, lying, and manipulative individual and now Glendale's dwindling press corps wants his love. Take a look at yourselves.

grey james said...

These are very good and valid comments and if you are that passionate about the matter you need to go to city council Tuesday night AND TELL THEM. Tell them how angry you are and why. Tell them this is not a done deal just because he gives some weak (and HUGELY incomplete)boo-hoo to a GNP columnist. Tell them they might want to consider adopting into the city charter dismissal based on ethics violation or some criteria therein. Tell them anything, just tell THEM.

(see you there!)

Anonymous said...

Zareh showed courage in admitting that some of the comments were his and he is ashamed of them. He is a great human being and will help Glendale become a fairer and less racist place.

Scott said...

It must have been incredibly difficult for him to admit it. An apology for the response will also take courage and is necessary. I hope his future actions will truly demonstrate a commitment to those ideals.

Anonymous said...

There are two other aspects of this that most (if not all) non-Armenians do not get. First, Zareh said some very very hateful things to fellow Armenians in some youtube comments. Similar to the words and descriptions used against non-Armenian. His hate was not solely towards non-Armenians, nor was it a cause of a stupid reaction to other idiots on the internet. Second, he not only lied about being the author but he also lied about the issue, he went on Armenian pay cable tv and described the issue as being an anti-Armenian issue. He accused Armenians who bring up the issue of being traitors, and non-Armenians of being racist. He lied the ENTIRE Glendale community to get elected. Now he is using the Armenian Genocide as an excuse for his actions (nice timing). He is a manipulative a**hole and should be recalled.

Anonymous said...

All of you guys need help, move on live Sinanyan alone, I am sure you guys have more important things to do in your life. Reading all this comments for passed few months on Glendale News Press on Tropico station, et al all I can say Sinanyan is not the racist one you guys are, look around and see what is going on there are more important things in life then be racist and start attacking Sinanyan for been Armenian and saying some staff for 6 years ago really? All I can say is grow up, take a vacation, live and be happy, and lets give everyone a chance. Good night and may all you live happy and grateful

Anonymous said...

Salman, there is absolutely nothing to respect. It was everything that is wrong about politics. He lied when something could hurt him and as soon as he it no longer could, and he had something to hang his hat on (the words of a young woman), he came forth. 160 vote swing in this election would have made a difference, and none of the timing here was an accident. Also, most of what was said in that article was also a misrepresentation of the truth and begs for emotional responses rather than grounded ones.

3:36 is absolutely spot on.

9:47 is not. 5 years ago, he was still a 35 year old grown man. Chances are earned not given.

Anonymous said...

The city badly needs an ethics code specifically addressing conflicts of interest. All of Zareh's comments are from years ago, so its impossible to have an ethics code that addresses things that were said or done before he was a city councilman. The city of glendale shoulf create a human rights commission like cities such as San Francisco. This body can make sure that gays, other minorities and people with disabilities are treated fairly by the city. We can all agree that Glendale is not as tolerant as it should be. Glendale used to be an extremely right wing place but it has changed a great deal since there are more immigrants. We need a human rights commission.

Anonymous said...

AB 9, Seth's law, mandates that every CA school must implement programs to prevent anti-gay bullying at school. Does anyone know whether GUSD did anything to implement this? I know this is off topic, but it's important. Thanks.