Think Again: Furthering the legacy of Larry Zarian

December 18, 2011|By Zanku Armenian

My 2-year-old son is obsessed with trains. The living room feels like a constant construction site with a mix of Lego parts, Thomas the Train pieces and all sorts of materials used to build the ever-expanding railway system in our house.

He has also learned an Armenian nursery rhyme about trains that he’s always murmuring.

As real trains go through Glendale blowing their horns, the topic in the house inevitably turns to trains. So in November when I attended a special event at the Glendale train station, the meaning wasn’t lost on me.

With his recent passing, officials decided to dedicate the train station to former Glendale Mayor Larry Zarian to honor his contributions to the community. The station is now known as the Larry Zarian Transportation Center.


One of the reasons for dedicating the train station is that Zarian was deeply involved in transportation issues on the local, state and national levels and was a strong advocate for public transportation. A couple of ways he did this was by serving on the board of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority and on the California Transportation Commission.

A large number of area political leaders were there for the dedication event and spoke about Zarian’s special contributions, but also about his character. They spoke of Zarian’s unwillingness to compromise his values when faced with conflicting choices; his diplomacy skills in bringing sides together for the benefit of the community; and his tenacity in getting things done — just to name a few.

I found this commentary very touching and appropriate for the person I had come to know over the past decade; both as an American and as an important figure in the Armenian community as the first American of Armenian descent to be elected to office in Glendale.

But I couldn’t help but also feel a little irony because a few of the people speaking of these virtues or at the event also have fomented community division as a path to their personal power. This is something Larry and I spoke about often on his television show, and he was always deeply disappointed to see such behavior.

In our off-camera conversations, Larry always stressed the importance of sticking to the issues and what is best for the greater good of the community; not letting political ambitions bring out the worst in us by driving wedges in the community.

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