Wednesday, March 28, 2007

First Vietnamese, Persian Mayors

Not only is new Rosemead mayor John Tran probably the first Vietnamese-American mayor in California, and the United States as a whole, but as he points out, since they don't vote for mayors in Vietnam, he's quite possibly the first elected Vietnamese mayor in the world. I suppose it's worth noting that the position he was directly elected to was a city council seat, and that the mayor's job rotates through the council members. But it's close enough.

In other ethnic mayor firsts news, the L.A. Times corrects itself by noting that Beverly Hills mayor Jimmy Delshad is the first ethnically Persian, not the first Iranian-born, mayor of a U.S. city. Coyly, however, they don't reveal who the previous Iranian-born mayors are. This reminds me of how last year the Times reported that Loma Linda was one of a "handful" of cities in the country whose mail is delivered on Sundays instead of Saturdays, but didn't let us in on where any of the others are.

UPDATE: Aha! The L.A. Daily News beats the Times by identifying Iraj Broomand as a previous Iranian-born mayor. Broomand served as mayor of Westlake Village a few years ago (details online are sketchy about when he was actually mayor; he was elected to the City Council in 1997 and was defeated in 2001). I don't know what his ethnic background is; maybe he's a Kurd or Azeri or something, if the Times is right and Delshad is the first Persian. I'm not familiar with how the classification of Iranian ethnic groups goes; Delshad is Jewish and also apparently considered Persian. If I have any Iranian readers who could sort all this out, that'd be appreciated.

UPDATE 2: I spoke with a half-Persian friend who said that Persian Jews tend to consider themselves both as subsets of Persians and subsets of Jews. Works for me.

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