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Did Soria Break Pledge Not To Accept Oil Money in Campaigns?



Esmeralda Soria took a pledge not to accept gas and oil money, but apparently she has for her Assembly race. (GV Wire/David Taub)
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Assembly candidate Esmeralda Soria, a Fresno Democrat, made a pledge not to accept oil or gas money. Based on financial filings, that vow may have been broken.

When she ran for Congress two years ago, Soria signed the Green New Deal pledge. Local environmental activist Fresno Sunrise Movement posted a video of the occasion.

“I pledge to not take contributions over $200 from oil, gas, and coal industry executives, lobbyists, or PACs,” the pledge reads.

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David Taub

Politics 101

She also made similar pledges in 2020 and this year to No Fossil Fuel Money, another activist group.

Soria, a Fresno city councilwoman now running for Assembly in the Merced-based 27th District, has seemingly gone back on her word. Financial documents show that Soria accepted $4,900 from Sempra Energy and $1,000 from petroleum services company Nwestco, LLC.

“My singular priority has always been — jobs for the Central Valley. As the state makes the transition to a new energy economy, the Central Valley can’t be left behind. Working with all employers in the energy industry is critical and I have done so my entire career,” Soria said through her campaign team.

Her campaign opponents are not convinced.

“She’ll say anything to get elected,” said Mike Karbassi, a fellow  Democrat and member of the Fresno City Council.

“The acceptance of this money speaks for itself,” said former Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin.

One Week for Soria to Respond

No Fossil Fuel Money said it will give Soria one week to respond about the apparent pledge violation. If she doesn’t return the money, she no longer will be listed as a pledge signer.

“It’s disappointing to see Councilmember Soria taking contributions from fossil fuel companies after pledging to the youth of her district to reject this dirty money,” said Collin Rees, political director of Oil Change U.S. (the group behind No Fossil Fuel Money).

“We hope Soria returns this money immediately and recommits to representing the people of Fresno and the 27th District, rather than big polluters like Sempra driving climate chaos and blocking desperately needed climate action.”

Sunrise Movement did not respond to requests for comment.

Also in Politics 101

— A look at fundraising in Assembly District 27.

— Raises coming to the Clovis City Council.

— Kevin McCarthy returns to the Fresno-Clovis area.

— What a rabbi running for office told Fresno Republicans.

Money in AD 27

Assembly District 27, a newly redrawn district without an incumbent, covers parts of Fresno, Madera, and Merced counties.

Although campaign financial information does not have to be reported until April 28, any contribution of $1,000 or more must be documented within 24 hours.

Through Tuesday, Soria reported $81,000 in large contributions.

Other figures include Pazin raising $52,200, agricultural retailer Amanda Fleming raising $6,700, and Karbassi raising $27,500, including $4,900 from Granville Homes.

Darius Assemi, president and CEO of Granville Homes, is the publisher of GV Wire.

Pazin and Fleming are Republicans; Karbassi is a Democrat.

Karbassi held a fundraiser in Fresno last night.

Twitter site Central Valley Political News first reported on Soria’s fundraising.

Clovis Council Votes for Raises

It will pay more to serve on the Clovis City Council.

On Monday, the council voted 3-1 to give itself a 4% raise — to $1,513 a month — starting with the winners of the coming November elections.

The city council declined a raise in 2020 because of the pandemic. The council chose 4% to be in line with the raise city workers received. Other options included 15% or none at all.

Vong Mouanoutoua was the no vote; Bob Whalen was absent as he was out of town.

Whalen, Drew Bessinger, and Jose Flores are up for re-election in November. Whalen is running unopposed for a county judge seat.

McCarthy Returns to Fresno

Now running in a district that covers Clovis and parts of Fresno, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is making himself familiar with the area.

McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, is set to headline the annual Fresno County Republican Party Lincoln-Reagan-Trump dinner, taking place Monday night.

This is at least McCarthy’s third appearance in the area since officially announcing his candidacy for the 20th Congressional District. His campaign recently opened an office in Clovis.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy returns to Fresno next week. (GV Wire file)

Line of the Night

State Senate candidate Amnon Shor of Fresno speaks to the Fresno County Republican Party. (GV Wire/David Taub)

“I believe in the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, and the Ten Commandments,” Rabbi Amnon Shor told Fresno County Republican Party members on Tuesday night.

Shor is running for the 14th District seat in the State Senate in a race that includes incumbent state Sen. Anna Caballero, a Merced Democrat.

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