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Hot Dog! Former Intern Franks Buys a Piece of Fresno Grizzlies.
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 5 years ago on
March 14, 2019

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Derek Franks is now part owner of the Fresno Grizzlies.

Not bad for a guy who started with the team as an intern in 2004 and dressed as a hot dog.

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Politics 101

David Taub

The Pacific Coast League team announced it offered Franks, currently the team president, the opportunity to buy stock in the privately-held team. He accepted

“This ownership group has treated (my wife) Sarah and I like family since they bought the team,” Franks said via email. “This is a proud moment for our family.  To be a part owner of the Grizzlies is a dream come true, especially since it’s my hometown club.  For this to happen during a time when the long-term vision for the franchise has never been greater makes it all the more exciting.”

Fresno Sports and Events purchased the team last season. The team did not disclose details of the transaction.

As one of Franks’ first duties in marketing, he dressed up in a hot dog suit for an on-field promotion.

Arias Digs Into Parking Audit

The Fresno City Council heard about the recently released parking audit at Thursday’s meeting. It was essentially the same information a council committee heard Monday.

This time, councilman Miguel Arias (District 3) asked questions.

He grilled city controller Michael Lima about the nuts and bolts of audits, such as who orders them and who gets to see the rough drafts.

When Arias asked Lima about the timing of the parking audit, City Manager Wilma Quan jumped in. She defended the nine months it took between the end of the audit period (March 2018) and the rough draft’s availability (January 2019).

“I think based upon all the work that was done and all the other audits that the auditors were juggling, and everything else that was going on, that was pretty remarkable in terms of … ,” Quan said.

Arias cut her off.

“Thank you, City Manager, but I have the floor.”

The CMAC public access cameras captured an exasperated look on Quan’s face. A video of the interaction is above.

While no vote took place, Arias asked for draft audit reports to be shared with the council finance and audit committee.

Gavin’s Law

In wake of the tragic death of school administrator by a hit-and-run driver, Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) wants tougher penalties.

Portrait of the late Gavin Gladding

— Gavin Gladding

Patterson introduced AB 582 — Gavin’s Law — that could tack on a DUI charge for drivers who leave the scene of a crime. It would also increase the prison time for such drivers depending on the extent of injuries and damages.

Gavin Gladding, a vice principal at Fort Washington Elementary School, died after being struck by a hit-and-run driver on Friant Road last September. Gladding was training for a marathon.

Rogelio Alvarez Maravilla received three years in prison after pleading no contest.

The bill has the support of Fresno’s top law enforcers — Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims.

A community rally for Gavin’s Law takes place Friday, 4 p.m., at Keith Tice Park in northeast Fresno.

Ellis in Town

Kimberly Ellis, a candidate for the Democratic Party state chair, spoke to 50 people at a BWOPA meeting Monday night.

Ellis, an Oakland party activist, lost a contest two years ago to Eric Bauman for the leadership role. Bauman resigned in disgrace last year after allegations of sexual harassment.

Other candidates for the job are Southern California labor leader Rusty Hicks, current party vice chair Dakara Karimore-Hall, and Lenore Albert, whose license to practice law was suspended by the State Bar.

Hicks visits Fresno on Saturday, speaking 3 p.m. at Tuolumne Hall.

The state party convention starts May 31 in San Francisco.

Amaral’s New Job

Johnny Amaral left one water job for a new one, moving from the west side of Fresno County to the east.

Portrait of Johnny Amaral

— Johnny Amaral

The Friant Water Authority hired Amaral as chief of external affairs. He held a similar role with Westlands Water District.

Previously, Amaral was chief of staff for Congressman Devin Nunes.

“Like other areas of the Valley, there are many issues that need attention and action, and I am proud to be joining a talented team of people that are dedicated to finding solutions and working collaboratively with our neighbors,” Amaral said in a news release.

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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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