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Ron Kaye: Taking a closer look at Greg Krikorian

June 24, 2012

It's not a state secret — just about everybody knows California is broke and the Legislature is broken, and has been ever since voters took the law into their own hands and passed Proposition 13, stopping the government from jacking up taxes every time they wanted a buck.

Essentially, our Assembly and Senate representatives have been on strike for more than 30 years no matter whether the governor was a Democrat or Republican — mostly Republican — or which party was calling the shots in the Legislature, mostly Democrats.

Voters have tried everything to break the stalemate in Sacramento, from term limits to locking up money for schools in Proposition 98. A lot of people thought things would change with an open-primary system and creation of an independent citizens commission to draw districts that were fair instead of gerrymandered in a way that made almost every seat safe for far-right Republicans or far-left Democrats.

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On June 5, those reforms were tested and found wanting. Every indication from the primary elections is that the same old ideologues on the fringes of the political spectrum will rant and rave at each other and none of the people's problems will be solved.

That's why the curious case of Greg Krikorian is worth taking a look at.

In the 43rd Assembly District that runs from La Cañada through Glendale and Burbank into the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village and Silver Lake, voters have elected Democrats by 2-to-1 margins in recent years.

Yet, Krikorian, a longtime Glendale school board member who only jumped into the race against incumbent Democrat Mike Gatto at the last minute in March when no other challenger emerged, came within 12 percentage points in the primary.

He was outspent 15 to 1 — more than $4 a vote for Gatto to 35 cents a vote for Krikorian, who faces a voter registration gap of 44% to 26% and a Gatto campaign war chest of more than $700,000 versus the barely $50,000 he has.

Owner with his father, John, of a magazine publishing business that produces “Senior Living” and “Business Life,” Krikorian conceded he only has “a chance” to upset Gatto.

“The New York Giants with Eli Manning came in from nowhere and won the Super Bowl. No one thought the L.A. Kings were going to do it. No one thinks Krikorian is going to do it. But we are. I know I got a chance. We can do it.”

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