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What Randa Jarrar Thinks of Ben Bergquam Arrest
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 5 years ago on
February 2, 2019

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Ben Bergquam, a Fresno based right-wing activist known for heckling at political events, was arrested earlier this week for trespassing at Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mansion. He calls it his latest political stunt.
“The whole idea is to expose the hypocrite Democrats. We went to test to see if everyone is welcome,” Bergquam told Politics 101.

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Politics 101
David Taub
The answer was apparently no.
The California Highway Patrol, in charge of protecting the governor, arrested Bergquam, along with fellow activist Laura Loomer on Wednesday (Jan. 30), the Sacramento Bee reported. Per Bergquam’s custom, everything was streamed on his Facebook page, with more than 90,000 followers.
The pair hopped the fence onto Newsom’s lawn. Bergquam said they were portraying immigrants who “hop the wall” at the California-Mexico border.
Bergquam and Loomer were booked into Sacramento County jail and later released. Pictures posted on his Facebook page show them wearing sombreros and serapes. Bergquam also wore a fake mustache. He called this character “Pancho Benny.”
Social media commenters called Bergquam’s outfit racist. One tweet came from Randa Jarrar. She’s the Fresno State professor and author known for the firestorm she created last year after tweeting about the passing of former First Lady Barbara Bush.

When Jarrar returned to teaching at Fresno State in September 2018, Bergquam was on hand, heckling her as she entered and left her classroom.
She wrote: “One of the white supremacists who was harassing me last Fall at work has finally been arrested for being a racist.”
Bergquam feels his critics just have thin skin.
“It is hypocritical for people to assume my identity. We can’t use humor if it might offend somebody,” Bergquam said.
In all, he spent six hours in custody before being released from jail, with a Feb. 28 return court date. He says this is the first time he’s been arrested for political activity.
Bergquam hosts a radio program on AM 1680 KGED in Fresno. He was back in the station’s Tower District studio yesterday (Jan. 31).

Utility Rates Going Up?

While the money back guarantee vote provided the top story from Thursday’s meeting, the Fresno city council also heard plans to raise utility rates for trash, water and sewer services.
The Dept. of Public Utilities presented the plan in a workshop. The city intends to initiate a required Proposition 218 process, as it is known, at the council’s Feb. 14 meeting.
The department cited the need to replace aging facilities and equipment, including pipelines. The city experienced 114 main breaks in 2018.
The specific rate increase was not discussed at this meeting. The last increase for trash services occurred in 2009; the last sewer increase in 2010; and the last of a five-year water rate increase ended last year.
Public utilities director Michael Carbajal told ABC 30 rates would go up $21 a month over the next five years if approved.

Airport Expansion Plan Means Increased Rates

Also at Thursday’s meeting, the airport department revealed its plan for a $115 million expansion over the next three years.
The plan calls for building a parking structure to add 600 parking spaces ($45 million) and expand the terminal with a larger baggage facility, improved security checkpoint, and a new concourse— for $69 million.
To pay for the expansion, the airport recommends increasing airline landing fees and terminal rental rates; increase parking fees; and increase fees on shuttles and taxis.
The only specific rate increase listed is for long-term public parking, rising from $8 to $12 per day. Other increases would be at the discretion of council and federal pricing methods.
The airport also wants companies like Uber and Lyft, to “pay their fair share.” That could translate into is a surcharge to take you to the airport.
Uber pulled out of serving Fresno Yosemite airport in 2017, but officials say they “remain in contact with Uber and are encouraged they will return.”

Bill of the Week—Repeal of Posse Law

Are you concerned that you might be forced to join a posse to find someone who’s escaped jail?
Good news. SB 192 proposed by Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) would repeal Penal Code 150, a 147-year old law, which fines any “able-bodied person 18 years or older” who refuses to join such a posse.
The law, enacted in 1872, imposes fines of $50-$1,000 on anyone who refuses to join or provide aid, in a posse, to retrieve someone who has escaped imprisonment.
Hertzberg’s law would repeal that. However, the right for a sheriff (or other law enforcement agency) to create a posse remains.
Dave Kopel, a law professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, says it is unlikely that anyone has been fined under the code over the last half-century. He also notes that California’s posse comitatus law is different than a similarly named federal law.
The federal version limits the powers of the federal government in using the military to enforce laws within the United States without approval from Congress.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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