Bill Paparian is a native Californian, and was educated in public
schools. He received his B.A. degree from Cal State Northridge and
following his Vietnam era military service in the Marine Corps attended
Southwestern University School of Law on the G.I. Bill where he received
his Juris Doctor Degree. He is married and the father of three sons.
Paparian has been an attorney in private practice in Pasadena since
1980. He is a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s
Indigent Criminal Defense Appointments Program providing complete legal
defense services through the trial level for indigent criminal
defendants. In the first post 9/11 civil rights case involving FBI
misconduct, Paparian successfully represented environmentalist and
anti-war activist Josh Connole who had been wrongfully accused of acts
of domestic terrorism.
During Paparian’s 12 years of service as an elected public official from
1987 to 1999 he was well known for his crusade to bring a “Living Wage”
ordinance to Pasadena, his active involvement on behalf of affirmative
action and against bigotry and hate crimes, and his strong commitment to
seeing diversity as a strength and asset.
Paparian served as the Vice-Mayor of Pasadena from 1994-1995 and as
Mayor of Pasadena from 1995-1997. Paparian’s service as the Mayor of
Pasadena in support of the military and veterans was recognized by the
Secretary of the Navy who awarded Paparian the Military Outstanding
Volunteer Service Medal. The citation reads in part: "Mayor Paparian’s
leadership, professionalism, and selfless dedication throughout
reflected great credit upon himself, the city of Pasadena, and were in
keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United
States Naval Service."
During his tenure in public office he chaired the Public Safety
Committee, the Business Enterprise Committee, and the Legal Committee.
He also served in many local, regional, and state appointed positions
including the California State Social Services Advisory Board, the
Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, the Los Angeles County
Sanitation District, and the Emergency Preparedness Commission for the
City and County of Los Angeles.
Paparian is perhaps best known for his efforts to end the U.S. blockade
of Cuba. While serving as Mayor of Pasadena he convened a conference on
the future of U.S.-Cuba relations at Occidental College that was
co-sponsored by the United Nations Association and the Department of
Diplomacy and World Affairs. He was twice called to Washington D.C.
where he testified at a hearing on U.S. Economic and Trade Policy toward
Cuba before the House Committee on Ways and Means, and at the U.S.
International Trade Commission Hearing on the Economic Impact of U.S.
Sanctions with Respect to Cuba. Paparian has traveled frequently to Cuba
to coordinate the delivery of critically needed medical supplies and
equipment to the children of Cuba and has worked closely with the Cuban
Council of Churches and Havana’s pediatric hospitals in responding to
their medical needs.