City Hall, 861 Asbury Ave. By Donald WittkowskiCity Council members Karen Bergman, Keith Hartzell and Peter Madden will, no doubt, feel extraordinarily confident of their chances of winning re-election when they step into the voting booth.That’s because the three incumbents will face absolutely no opposition in Ocean City’s May 8 municipal election.No other Council candidates submitted nominating petitions by Monday’s filing deadline, ensuring that Bergman, Hartzell and Madden will run unopposed for a new four-year term on the governing body.Mayor Jay Gillian, however, will be challenged by former Councilman John Flood in the mayoral election. As previously reported by OCNJDaily.com, both Gillian and Flood turned in their nominating petitions last week, setting up a clash between two experienced, high-profile politicians.Bergman, Hartzell and Madden, though, will face no such drama while running unopposed in the election for the three at-large Council seats. All three said Monday they believe the lack of opposition suggests that voters are satisfied with the direction the city is heading during their time on Council.“Generally, people are happy with the way things are going in Ocean City,” Madden said. “Right now, we’re working together and getting things done.”Incumbents Karen Bergman and Peter Madden are touting their teamwork.Madden, 40, who has served as Council president for the past two years, is seeking his second term. He is the broker and manager of the Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach real estate office on Battersea Road.Bergman, who has been touting the teamwork between Council and Gillian’s administration, agreed with Madden about voter sentiment.“I think people are happy,” she said. “I don’t think people want to break up our team. That’s a good thing. I’m proud to be part of the Council and the administration.”Bergman, 56, won election in 2016 to fill the unexpired term of former at-large Councilman Michael Allegretto, who resigned in 2015 to become the city’s director of Community Services.Bergman served as a Second Ward councilwoman from 2008 to 2012, but chose not to seek re-election in 2012. She returned to the governing body in 2015, when she was unanimously appointed by Council to temporarily fill Allegretto’s vacant seat leading up to the 2016 election. She is the director of catering at the Flanders Hotel.Keith Hartzell, seen here during the Eagles’ Super Bowl run, is Council’s longest-serving member.Expressing surprise that no other candidates are running, Hartzell said he always assumed he would have an opponent when he began campaigning in January. Despite running unopposed, he said he still plans to go door to door to meet with voters in the next two months heading into the election.“I’m extremely humbled that I’m not going to be challenged. I hope that’s an indication that we’re doing a good job,” he said.Hartzell, 61, is the longest-serving member on Council. He first won election in 2006 and is seeking his fourth term. He is the regional sales manager for von Drehle Corp., a manufacturer of paper towels and tissue products.City Council includes seven members altogether. Council’s four ward seats were up for election in 2016.In the past two years, Council and the mayor have been focusing on an array of capital improvements, including beach replenishment, upgrades to the tourist-friendly Boardwalk, a series of drainage projects to reduce coastal flooding and the dredging of the shallow back bays.
GLENDALE – The blood-stained carriage and the smoldering city still seemed fresh to the Rev. Vartan Dulgarian as he recalled personal memories of what many believe was the first genocide of the 20th century. “The garbage wagon – all the bodies just piled up – the blood was flowing for three days,” Dulgarian, 96, said Monday as he recounted memories of a massacre of Armenians in Izmir in 1922. The city on Turkey’s Aegean coast, then held by Greeks, was set ablaze by invading Turks. He had lived there with his mother and sister, and was being marched away with dozens of others to the slaughter when he recognized a Turkish grocer whom he had worked for during the past three summers. “He was the head of the soldiers,” he said. “I went up to him and embraced him. He said, ‘Oh, you are here?’ He said, ‘Put this child in my cart and put a fez on him.’ He took me back to my mother.” Dulgarian eventually got on a ship to Greece, then ended up in Egypt before coming to America decades later and settling in Glendale. As old age claims more survivors of the mass slaughter known as the Armenian Genocide – which Armenians say began on this date in 1915 – Dulgarian is among the handful of eyewitnesses still able to tell his story. In a way, he’s planting seeds in the minds of the next generation that he knows one day will bear fruit. “I am 96 years old,” he said. “All the bloody things happened in my life … it’s important for the new generation to know that these people have been brutalized, and massacred, so they know their history.” Dulgarian’s story is a slice of forbidden history still disputed in the halls of power in Europe, a story the U.S. government does not recognize as genocide. Armenians and many historians have asserted that Ottoman Turks began the displacement and slaughter of some 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in Turkey on April 24, 1915, a campaign that lasted until 1923. Its 92nd anniversary today will be marked by remembrances in Glendale, home of the largest Armenian community outside Armenia. In L.A., a march from the Little Armenia neighborhood to the Turkish consulate is planned. Meanwhile, Turkey has acknowledged that large numbers of Armenians died between 1915 to 1923 but has denied that it was genocide. Instead, its leaders say the death toll is inflated and that the massacres were the result of civil unrest during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey took out a full-page newspaper ad Monday, paid for by its embassy in Washington, which invited Armenia to “study the historical facts jointly.” The idea of a joint historical commission has been touted by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan since April 2005 – and has been rebuffed by Armenian leaders. “We think that there are two narratives here that are diametrically opposed to each other,” Turkish Consul Timur Soylemez said Monday. “It is a matter that belongs to history. … In order to reconcile this history, we need to look at it in a sober, sincere and genuine way.” For Levon Marashlian, a historian at Glendale College, the proposal is actually a step back. “It’s an effort to divert attention from the main issue,” he said. “There is so much evidence already that it’s a genocide that a study – the kind Turkey wants – would not be productive. It’s like proving again the Civil War happened.” The ad also supports efforts to “examine history, not legislate it.” U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, is making his annual push to pass an Armenian Genocide recognition bill in Congress. But the White House and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have sidestepped the issue, as Turkey is a key regional ally. “The crime of genocide is the highest crime according to international law,” Soylemez said. “You don’t throw these allegations around lightly. The solution is not in the U.S. The solution is between Turkey and Armenia.” But for many who have lost relatives in the massacres or during the subsequent exile in the Syrian desert, healing can only begin with recognition. “We’re still trying to get away from the desert,” said Raffi Momjian, executive director of the Genocide Education Project, a San Francisco-based nonprofit focused on Armenian Genocide education. “We can’t do that until we get the proper recognition.” And those nightmarish memories will always be etched in Dulgarian’s mind. “In my life, always I pray for the people,” he said. “I (forgive) them. But I can never forget the genocide.” [email protected] (818) 546-3304 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!