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Dem Opponents Zing Costa for Attending Trump Christmas Party
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 4 years ago on
December 13, 2019

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Rep. Jim Costa’s political opponents are making hay of the fact the Fresno Democrat reportedly attended President Donald Trump’s congressional holiday party at the White House on Thursday night.
In Costa’s defense, holiday cheer should be a bipartisan issue.

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David Taub
Politics 101
But two of Costa’s election opponents, fellow Democrats Esmeralda Soria of Fresno and Kim Williams of Merced, don’t see it that way.
Williams, a longshot in the race, personally criticized Costa’s attendance on social media.


Clara Varner, who is Soria’s campaign manager, hit Costa with a Twitter post saying “We can do better” than someone “rubbing shoulders with Trump.”


Only six Democrats from the House attended the party, which took place while the Judiciary Committee considered the articles of impeachment against Trump. Three of the six were from California: Costa, fellow Valley lawmaker Josh Harder, and Gil Cisneros of Yorba Linda. Cisneros is a veteran, a former Republican, and the 2010 winner of a $266 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot.
Costa’s office didn’t respond to GV Wire’s request for comment.
 and  of Axios got the scoop on the Democrats attending the party.

Will Field of Seven Result in Fresno Mayoral Runoff?

The field for the Fresno mayor’s race is set at seven.
Which in reality means, will the five other candidates prevent former Fresno police chief Jerry Dyer or Fresno County prosecutor Andrew Janz from achieving an outright win on March 3?
As with all local elections on the primary ballot, if one candidate achieves a majority, he or she is the winner. If not, the top two advance to a runoff in November.
Qualifying on the last day, Brian Jefferson and Richard B. Renteria joined longshots Nickolas Wildstar, Bill Gates, and Floyd D. Harris Jr.
Jefferson has made frequent appearances speaking at the Fresno City Council. Renteria ran in 2016 for mayor and garnered 2,090 votes or 2.5%.
On the campaign trail, Janz is holding a series of town hall events. Politics 101 hears that Dyer is keeping a busy schedule of meetings and fundraisers.

2020 Mayoral candidates Brian Jefferson (left) and Richard Renteria.

Cooley Promoted

Phillip Cooley
Fresno Police Chief Andy Hall has promoted Capt. Phillip Cooley to a deputy chief position. The vacancy was created when Hall became chief.
Cooley is now one of four deputy chiefs. He joins Michael Reid (support division), Lydia Carrasco (administrative division), and Patrick Farmer (investigations division).
Hall was named interim chief in August to replace the retiring Jerry Dyer, before assuming the full-time job in October.
Cooley takes over the patrol division.

Hedging Their Bets

The Assemi Group has contributed $4,000 each to the two candidates in the Fresno City Council District 4 race. This week, Tyler Maxwell received the group’s money.
Earlier in the year, the Assemi Group contributed the same amount to Nathan Alonzo.
GV Wire publisher Darius Assemi is part of the Assemi Group.

A Raise for Clovis City Manager

Luke Serpa
Clovis likes the job that city manager Luke Serpa is doing.
The city council will vote to give Serpa a 5% raise at its Monday meeting. That would bump Serpa to $232,020 in base salary.
The council may want to consider a contract extension as well. Serpa’s three-year deal signed in 2017 expires at the end of June 2020.
By comparison, Fresno’s city manager — Wilma Quan — earns a  $236,250 base salary in a deal signed in 2018.

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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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