All the polling shows Joe Biden leading a close race to decide the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nominee.

And, here in the Valley, a sampling of local elected Democratic leaders indicates they are just as split as the nation’s voters.

For example, state Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) is bundled up in Iowa, stumping for Joe Biden.

Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias says he is backing Biden as well.

But Kingsburg City Councilwoman Jewel Hurtado (no relation to Melissa) is a boisterous supporter of Bernie Sanders.

Photo of GV Wire's David Taub

David Taub

Politics 101

Meanwhile, Fresno councilman Nelson Esparza has endorsed Elizabeth Warren.

Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno) supported Kamala Harris, but he hasn’t announced who he is backing after she dropped out of the race.

Arias Celebrates Immigrants as He Takes Gavel

Arias took the gavel as the Fresno City Council president on Thursday.

“There’s a moment in somebody’s life where they decide they want a better life than what was handed to them,” Arias said, with his young son sitting on his lap.

In his speech, Arias recalled how his mother brought him to the U.S. from Mexico when he was two days old. Arias gained legal citizenship in the 1980s.

“I’m a proud immigrant, and a proud council president for this city,” Arias said.

He shared with the audience that as a child he hid from immigration authorities but always returned to school when the coast was clear.

New Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias, with his son, Diego, takes the gavel at the Jan. 16, 2020 city council meeting. (City of Fresno)

 

Party Time for Arias

Arias held a City Hall reception following the council meeting.

Many local Democratic leaders stopped by to pay their respects, including Andy Hansen-Smith, who succeeded Michael Evans as chairman of the Fresno County Democratic Party.

Evans will still be involved in local Democratic activities but now is working with the state party.

Mayoral candidate Andrew Janz stopped on by, as well, as did at least four of Arias’ council colleagues: Esmeralda Soria, Paul Caprioglio, Mike Karbassi, and Esparza.

Brand, Caprioglio Still Hold Campaign War Chests

Even though neither has an upcoming election, Fresno Mayor Lee Brand and councilman Paul Caprioglio have plenty of cash in their election bank accounts.

According to the latest filings, Brand has $430,833 cash on hand for the period covering the last six months of 2019. The mayor is not seeking reelection in 2020 and presumably is retiring from politics.

Brand spent $3,424 in the second half of 2019. The mayor donated $1,000 to the Remember Our Fallen event. He also returned a $1,000 contribution from H Spees, Brand’s director of strategic initiatives at City Hall.

Caprioglio has $74,532 remaining and spent $5,705 in the second half of 2019. He is termed out after serving as the District 4 councilman since 2013. He donated $5,000 to Valley Caregiver Resource.

Shift3 Excited for Salesforce Event

Shift3 Technologies, a Fresno tech company, is excited that Salesforce is holding a business conference in town this week.

The San Francisco-based marketing behemoth hosts CenCal Dreamin’ on Thursday at Bitwise South Stadium (700 Van Ness in downtown Fresno).

Jeana DeBois, director of growth marketing at Shift3 Technologies, says that Salesforce’s presence in Fresno is a big deal.

“We’d like to believe that Fresno is becoming more well known for its tech industry and its talent,” DeBois said. She predicted that similar events are headed to Fresno.

Irma Olguin Jr., CEO of Shift3 and its parent company Bitwise Industries, will be one of the keynote speakers.

Tickets are listed at $85 for the all day event.

Labor Leader Magdaleno Is Retiring

Marina Magdaleno

Marina Magdaleno, the leader of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Stationary Local 39, is retiring.

Magdaleno led the fight against 2013’s Measure G that would have privatized Fresno’s residential garbage pickup.

Her last day is March 31.

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