Gov. Gavin Newsom started his Valley tour Tuesday night (July 23), appearing at a fundraiser in Coalinga at the business of a noted Republican donor.
John Harris, chairman of Harris Farms and a philanthropist, is known to support conservative causes. Earlier this month, he hosted Vice President Mike Pence for a fundraiser for the Trump 2020 campaign.
However, his GOP support is not exclusive. He’s donated to Democrats in the past (Sen. Dianne Feinstein, for example).
Among the topics discussed at the Harris Ranch Inn & Restaurant, according to Newsom, were water issues, stories of success in Bakersfield, and Fresno business Bitwise Industries receiving $27 million in venture capital funding.
“I care about the Central Valley,” Newsom said of the meeting. “I am committed to this part of the state. … At the end of the day, we were talking about the attention this community deserves and how we need to elevate the conversation about what’s going right with the Central Valley.”
Harris Assesses Newsom
Harris praised the governor.
“I was very pleased that it all came together so well, and hope and think folks enjoyed the evening and came away from it with a feeling of knowing the governor better, liking him. He was all I thought he’d be, easy to talk with, a quick study, and appearing to care,” Harris told GV Wire.
Newsom said they also talked about funding the proposed Temperance Flat and Sites reservoirs.
“That’s created a lot of frustration. Trust me, I heard it last night,” Newsom said of a state water commission decision last year. The commission approved only $171 million of the $1 billion sought by Temperance Flat backers from Proposition 1 bonds.
Newsom said he supports the idea of above-ground water storage.
The California Cattlemen’s Association and Western United Dairies sponsored the event, which was a fundraiser for Newsom.
Scooting Around the Issue
Could rental scooters finally come to Fresno?
The Fresno City Council will hold a workshop Thursday to discuss what the regulations might look like, but no vote is scheduled.
Last year, the city sent a cease-and-desist letter to scooter operator Bird, after their devices started appearing in Fresno.
Among the proposals are a $5,000 permit application fee and an annual fee of $100 per device. The maximum fleet size would be 300 devices (scooters, bicycles, or pretty much anything that moves that isn’t a car). The devices could be parked on the sidewalk, as long they do not impede pedestrians and leave at least 6 feet of space.
Another proposal: an “economic equity program” providing reduced fares for economically disadvantaged riders.
The speed limit for scooters would be 15 MPH.
Councilman District 4, Where are You?
It’s July at Fresno City Hall. Which means meetings are scarce, and District 4 councilman Paul Caprioglio is scarcer.
He will not attend the only July council meeting Thursday. Rather, he is scheduled to call in (as council members are allowed to do) from the Conoco gas station in Big Sky, Montana.
Last month, I wrote a column stating the only good reasons council members should not be at council meetings are sickness, emergency, or military service.
Vacationing in Montana, as Caprioglio has done in July since joining the council, is not a reason I mentioned.
I asked him about scheduling his July vacation on a council date, despite the fact council dates are set the prior December.
He asked if I would have him fly home to attend, then return to his vacation.
“I’m committed to my community,” he said in a testy conversation. “This is part of my ritual. No one questions my sincerity, my commitment.”
Caprioglio said his five weeks of vacation are a time to recharge and be with his family. He asked me to look at his attendance record. Here it is (for July meetings) stretching back to 2014 (the oldest available on the city clerk’s website).
Caprioglio’s July Attendance Record
|Year||Missed a July meeting in person||Note|
|2014||Yes||Missed July 24 and July 31; attended in person July 17|
|2015||Yes||Called in from Montana on July 16; attended in person July 30|
|2016||Yes||Called in from Montana on July 28; attended in person July 14|
|2017||Yes||Called in from Montana on July 20 late, missing the first two hours; cast only one vote before leaving again.|
|2018||Yes||Called in from Montana on July 26|
For the sixth year in a row (at least), Caprioglio will not attend a July council meeting in person. In 2017, he only called in for one item, to discuss block grants. He missed a vote to regulate marijuana cultivation, which failed on a 3-3 vote.
Department of Endorsements
Andrew Janz picked up the endorsement of the Central Labor Council for the 2020 Fresno mayoral race.
“Andrew Janz is going to make a generational impact on the city of Fresno. His career as a district attorney has given him invaluable qualities that our mayor’s office is so often lacking. He is principled, innovative and has undeniable integrity. These qualities alone set Andrew apart from recent mayors and others seeking the office in 2020,” CLC executive director Dillon Savory said in a news release.
Janz is running against police chief Jerry Dyer, councilman Luis Chavez, Central Valley Community Foundation COO Elliott Balch, and perennial challenger Richard Renteria. Another entrant, Brian Jefferson, has filed exploratory paperwork.
CLC also endorsed Mike Karbassi in the upcoming District 2 Fresno City Council special election.
FPOA Backs Alonzo, Karbassi
Nathan Alonzo, a candidate for the District 4 seat next March, received the endorsement of the Fresno Police Officers Association. The police officers union previously endorsed Karbassi in the District 2 special election.
“What we looked for in a candidate was a person who could work collaboratively with our mayor and other councilmembers, and is respectful of labor and the insight we bring to the table. Nathan has a vision for a safe, yet prosperous future for Fresno,” FPOA President Todd Frazier said in a news release.
Alonzo’s 2020 opponent, Tyler Maxwell, worked as a civilian member of the police department, before transitioning to the office of councilman Nelson Esparza.