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Fresno’s GOP, testing California’s new Sanctuary Statehood.

Fresno’s GOP, testing California’s new Sanctuary Statehood.

It was April 4th of this year when a group of us, 10 young adults, attended the Tulare City Council meeting in support of its member Jose Sigala’s motion for a resolution in support of Senate Bill 54, the State Sanctuary Bill. It is wrong to assume having 3 Democrats on the city council would guarantee a yes vote. The resolution to support the bill failed due to a lack of a second to the motion.

The City of Tulare sits 30 minutes south of Fresno, and is known to be the Ag and Dairy Capital of the World. The City of Tulare is also the hometown of our infamous, Intelligence House Committee Chair Congressman Devin Nunes.

A common phrase used in politics is “All politics are local,” and this group of activist couldn’t agree more.

Read Respect falls short here when anyone stands up to the status quo. For instance Tulare City Mayor Carlton Jones, who was recently captured on video intimidating the son of newly elected Tulare Regional Medical Center Board Director Senovia Gutierrez during a council session, is in cahoots with the status quo. Unfortunately, the County of Tulare is simply unable or unwilling to fix this situation.

One activist Ted (who asked to be kept anonymous) stated, “yes, we win some and lose some, but there is no excuse for Mayor Jones not to have informed us that the city had been receiving several calls that the Alt-Right made threats of violent “Trump style protest” if the city passed Sigala’s motion. “We were all concerned for our safety, especially when we saw about 20 police officers, all in full riot gear, running out of a back room into a large police van waiting out front. That’s was on top the city wide heightened police presence,” Ted explained. He also recounted how the Tulare County Sheriffs deputy had to escort, a fellow activist from one of the poorest communities in Tulare County that night, 25 miles to his home. With much concern Ted said,” they tried to run him off the road a few blocks away, after the City Council meeting.”

This is a clear example of how California’s Central Valley has become the front lines in the struggle between the wealthy, powerful elite establishment and the working class. This narrative has the makings of a classic biblical David and Goliath storyline, but that has recently changed.

The appearance that a 36 billion dollar a year dairy industry owned by Republican local political players has its influence. Tactics like this are common place in Mississippi, but in the blue state of California? Both Nunes and Congressman David Valadao run very profitable dairy businesses but represent the poorest communities in the nation along with House Majority Leader Congressman Kevin McCarthy and State Senator Andy Vidak who’s voting record tells the truth on how he feels about the Latino community. Locals have come to call them the Portugués Mafia, for their blatant use of intimidation tactics.

Who would imagine that the local Republican establishment would stand in the way of democracy but disallowing a Mexican born Latina American citizen take her democratically elected seat after an overwhelming victory. This incident among others as brought significant activism after decades of constraint. Now constraint as transformed into an invigorated group of people who seek fairness, justice and equal representation.

Respect falls short here when anyone stands up to the status quo. For instance Tulare City Mayor Carlton Jones, who was recently captured on video intimidating the son of newly elected Tulare Regional Medical Center Board Director Senovia Gutierrez during a council session, is in cahoots with the status quo. Unfortunately the County of Tulare is simply unable or unwilling to fix this situation.

In response to the increased activism in a region were the majority of its residents are Latino, Fresno County’s Republican Party announced that their annual Second Amendment fundraiser’s main attraction would be the recently pardoned former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona.

Let’s make things clear, the Local GOP establishment is not in need of money, but a need for continued control and oppression of a very proud people. This is the very same ground that gave way to the Farmworkers Movement in 1965 joining the Filipino strikers on September 16. This is the same ground Cesar E. Chavez, Dolores Huerta and so many more to marched to Sacramento.

On September 29th from 4pm-9pm at the intersection of S. Clovis Ave. and E. Kings Canyon Rd in Fresno will demonstrate if their stance for immigrant, women and LGBTQ equality is a pleasure of a Democratic Supermajority or is it their conviction.

The scene is peppered and marinated in gasoline, for the spark that will be heard around the world.

As for the Sanctuary State Bill authored by Senate Pro-tem Kevin de Leon, it was recently passed by our legislature earlier this month. We are moving forward.

Respectfully,

Art Rodriguez

(209) 204–2785

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