Biography

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.

Bill PaparianPaparian 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.