The Fresno County Democratic Central Committee voted 17-9 on Wednesday to sanction Community Alliance — a local progressive newspaper — because of the words of writer Kevin Hall.
“Kevin Hall has constantly displayed a pattern of abusive racially insensitive rhetoric on his Twitter accounts,” the resolution read.
The resolution further criticized Hall for telling “lies” about Fresno City Councilmembers Nelson Esparza and Tyler Maxwell. Esparza also serves as vice-chair for the county party.
Hall has long been critical of GV Wire and its publisher, Darius Assemi. Hall once berated a person I was interviewing at City Hall just for speaking with me — while the interview took place.
The Democrats called for Community Alliance to no longer publish Hall’s articles and said they won’t share the paper’s content on its social media account or display copies of the paper at its headquarters until he’s gone from the publication’s pages.
Response from Community Alliance
Mike Rhodes, executive director of the Community Alliance Newspaper, is “deeply saddened” by the Democrats’ vote.
“Submitting to the demand to ban Kevin would violate our core principle of being an independent publication. We can’t allow anyone to dictate what content is included in the paper. If we went down that slippery slope, it would undermine the key role that independent media plays in the functioning of an open democratic society,” Rhodes told Politics 101 in a statement.
Rhodes said the newspaper is always willing to correct factual errors and publish op/eds from the Democratic Party.
The Community Alliance is a 501©(4) governed by a nonprofit board of directors, which oversees the newspaper. The Community Alliance website states that the board “is responsible for all major decisions affecting the paper, personnel and significant financial issues.”
Elected Leaders Support the Condemnation
Several elected leaders who serve on the central committee voted for the proposal. They included Esparza, Tyler Mackey (Pinedale County Water District Board of Directors), Annalisa Perea (State Center Community College District trustee, and running for Fresno City Council), and Jewel Hurtado (Kingsburg City Councilmember).
An alternate for Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, voted in favor. Magdalena Gomez (SCCCD trustee) and Phil Arballo (running for Congress) voted no. Arballo’s vote was cast by an alternate.
The resolution was sponsored by Navkaran Gurm, an Esparza staffer; Nabil Kherfan, a Maxwell staffer; and Bryan Beltran, president of the Fresno County Young Democrats.
Also in Politics 101
— Craig Scharton is moving to South Carolina.
— Kevin McCarthy raises millions and millions.
— Merced sheriff crosses party line for Assembly endorsement.
— Nastiness between Hurtado and Parra in state Senate race.
Another Fresno Figure Moving to South Carolina
Craig Scharton, a former Fresno city councilman and leader of the Fresno Downtown Association, says he’s moving to South Carolina.
“I’ve often said that the only thing that would cause me to leave Fresno were if my grandkids moved. Well, that’s what is happening,” Scharton said on Facebook.
He’s not the only notable Fresnan drawn to the Palmetto State. Former city manager Thomas Esqueda retired from his City Hall post earlier this year to move to South Carolina to be with family.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, announced that he’s raised $31.5 million in the first three months of 2022. That is on top of the $13.1 million he raised in 2021 for his own political account.
He also takes credit for $104 million raised for other campaigns helping Republicans.
Axios reports that McCarthy is the top fundraiser in Congress, outraising House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last year by less than a million.
“Our nation is suffering greatly under the Biden-Pelosi regime and the American people deserve better. Let’s Take Back the House!” McCarthy said in an email statement.
In the June 7 primary, McCarthy is running in Congressional District 20, which will now include east-central Fresno and Clovis. If the Republicans gain control of the House, McCarthy is likely to become Speaker.
Four others are running in the race. Only one, Democrat Marisa Wood of Bakersfield, posted financial figures. She raised nearly $418,000 in 2021.
Merced Sheriff Supports Karbassi Over Former Sheriff
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke is endorsing Mike Karbassi over the man he succeeded.
“Mike is a man I could trust. I could give him the keys to my house without any reservation. I figured if I can trust the man, I can trust him as our next representative in the assembly,” Warnke said in a news release.
Karbassi, a Fresno city councilman, is running for Assembly District 27 against city council colleague Esmeralda Soria, former Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin, and Amanda Fleming of Firebaugh.
Karbassi and Soria are Democrats; Pazin and Fleming are Republicans.
What’s notable is that Warnke is a Republican as well.
“I’m not running against Vern. Creative political differences got in the way,” Pazin tells Politics 101, without elaborating what those differences were.
A Nasty State Senate Race
Over in state Senate District 16, which includes all or parts of Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Kern counties, things are heated.
Incumbent Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Bakersfield, created an anti-Nicole Parra website, blasting her political opponent for misspending money from her campaign account and not paying her debts.
“Nicole Parra wants to be elected to the State Senate where she would oversee the state budget and state spending. But Nicole Parra managed her own money so badly that she was sued repeatedly for not paying her bills, which totaled thousands of dollars in debts,” the website says.
Parra, D-Bakersfield, is a former assemblywoman.
“My first hit piece! Hurtado is losing, so I was expecting this,” Parra responded on Facebook. She explained she paid her debts after her clients did not pay her.
Parra is also challenging Hurtado to a debate.
Others in the race include Delano Mayor Bryan Osorio, a Democrat; and Republicans David Shepard, a farmer from Porterville, and Gregory Tatum, a pastor from Bakersfield.