Vice President Kamala Harris’ office is in disarray, news site Politico reported this week. Staffers are leaving and there is general unhappiness and dysfunction between Harris and her staff.
“It’s not a healthy environment and people often feel mistreated. It’s not a place where people feel supported but a place where people feel treated like s—,” said one source who was quoted in the Politico article.
Two locals who headed Harris’ U.S. Senate office in Fresno had a different take. Before her election as vice president, Harris served as U.S. senator from 2017-2021.
“I had a very positive experience working for then-Sen. Harris, especially under the leadership of then State Director Julie Rodriguez. I am not sure what the current status of the Vice President’s office is now,” said Matt Rogers, Harris’ Central Valley district director.
Rogers now works as a consultant.
Another former local Harris staffer, James Martinez, gave Harris a positive review.
“During my time in then-Senator Harris’ office, the Vice President was a strong, decisive leader with a clear vision for how to best serve her California constituency. Working in her office was one of the great highlights of my career and I would do it all over again in an instant,” Martinez said.
Martinez went on to become an elected member of the Fresno County Board of Education. He served as Harris’ associate field representative.
“Was the experience tough and demanding, and unpredictable? Absolutely! But that’s in any political office. The experience renewed my drive to serve and ultimately inspired me to run for office myself. I owe a great debt of gratitude for how she managed her staff, she works hard and expected her staff to do the same, and only the best from them every single day. She is probably one of the most approachable and relatable politicians I’ve had the pleasure of serving. When she smiles and laughs, she lights up a room,” Martinez said.
During her term as senator, Harris made two Central Valley stops. In July 2017, Harris toured Fowler Packing. Last September, she made a campaign stop touring Creek Fire damage with Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Also in Politics 101:
- Meux Home makes official controversial list.
- Jewel Hurtado wins scholarship.
- Judges continue to serve on state committee.
Meux Home is Controversial, Says History Board
It took nearly eight months to make it official, but the Fresno Historical Preservation Commission finished its report on controversial names of city-owned facilities.
Only the Meux Home, the downtown museum named for a Civil War doctor, made the list. Dr. Thomas Meux served on the Confederate side during the war, before moving to Fresno.
Meux served as president of the Fresno County Medical Society and was a member of the Fresno County Democratic Club.
In October 2020, the Fresno City Council tasked the HPC with conducting research on controversial names in the wake of nationwide civil unrest during the past summer.
The commission concluded that Meux’s name is controversial enough for city consideration. Members voted 7-0 on Monday to forward Meux’ s name to the Fresno City Council.
It is now up the council to decide whether to take any action, such as removing the Meux name.
The home is already on the national and local registers of historic places.
Councilwoman Wins Scholarship
Jewel Hurtado recently visited the State Capitol, posing for pictures with several legislators.
She has reason to celebrate. She is one of 51 students to win a $5,000 California Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation scholarship. The 22-year old Kingsburg councilwoman plans to attend Cal State Bakersfield.
The Political Reform Act says that such a scholarship has to be reported on Hurtado’s campaign financial forms, but likely does not count against gift limits. It could cause Hurtado to recuse herself on future votes if CLLCF business comes before the council.
— Alex Lee 李天明 (@alex_lee) June 28, 2021
Judges Picked Again for State Commission
Two Fresno judges will continue serving on a state committee that helps decide court policy.
Last week, Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye announced appointments to the Judicial Council. Both Brad Hill, justice at the Fresno-based Fifth District Court of Appeal, and Fresno County Supreme Court justice Jonathan Conklin were re-appointed.
The three-year terms renew Sept. 15.
Among the important policies the Judicial Council decided in the last year were altering bail, and the opening and closing of courts during the pandemic.