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Politics 101

Pence Returns to Valley Monday to Campaign for Valadao



Mike Pence, seen in a 2019 visit near Lemoore, returns to the Central Valley on Monday. (GV Wire File)
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When then-Vice President Mike Pence visited near Lemoore in July 2019, it wasn’t an official campaign event for David Valadao. But, it was close.

Photo of GV Wire's David Taub

David Taub

Politics 101

Pence, in town to push the Trump administration’s agricultural policy, introduced Valadao to the audience. At the time, Valadao was between congressional terms.

Monday morning, Pence returns to the Central Valley with the express goal of sending Valadao back to Washington by beating Democratic challenger Rudy Salas.

Richard F. Spencer of Harris Construction and Valley growers John and Carole Harris are hosting the Valadao fundraiser headlined by Pence in Fresno.

Also in Politics 101 …

    • Rezones approved for southwest Fresno
    • Dyer supports Measure E.
    • Woodward event postponed.
    • Fresno City Council continues to not reveal Esparza criminal defense vote.

Rezone Zone: Southwest Project Amended and Passed

A controversial land use project in southwest Fresno that even the state attorney general chimed in on was passed 7-0 by the Fresno City Council on Thursday. The plan was heavily tweaked from its original form.

Councilman Miguel Arias offered a compromise — rezoning only the northern one-third of the 92 acres from mixed-use to light industrial. There was a long list of uses that would be banned.

The council also instructed planning staff to come back in three months with a plan to allow light industrial uses for the remainder of the land, known as an overlay.

Arias described the issue as “complex” several times. And, the compromise appeared to satisfy neither developers nor community groups.

Several developers made the argument that thousands of jobs would be lost if the rezone was not approved. Without the proper rezone, they cannot get bank loans to improve facilities and truck fleets.

They also said that having the area zoned as light industrial is better for the environment than high-density housing. One reason: they would use less water and sewer capacity.

Opponents questioned whether any of those jobs went to west Fresno residents.

“Our community has been redlined and disinvested,” said longtime advocate Dr. Venise Curry. “It is co-signing on the death certificates of … African Americans, Latino Americans, Hmong Americans. ”

The council passed another rezone in west Fresno allowing Busseto Foods to consolidate four plants into one area at the southeast corner of West and Church avenues.

Several speakers complained this would harm the environment. Arias argued the opposite was true — by consolidating four locations in one area, there would be less truck traffic and miles traveled for employees.

Dyer Supports Measure E

Count Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer among those supporting a local tax measure to fund Fresno State. Measure E would raise the Fresno County sales tax by one-fifth of a percent to fund educational programs and facilities at the university.

He is featured on Twitter and in a TV ad.

The measure is estimated to raise $36 million a year for 20 years.

Campaign fundraising records show that the entirety of the Measure E campaign is funded by Spencer, the developer magnate behind Harris Construction.

So far, he has contributed (under the entity “Richard F. Spencer and Affiliates) nearly $1.2 million.

Woodward’s Town Hall Talk Postponed

Because of an illness, the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall event next Wednesday with legendary journalist Bob Woodward has been postponed because of a health issue.

The event will be rescheduled, and ticketholders should keep their tickets, organizers say.

Grammy-winning musician Rosanne Cash will deliver the next Town Hall speech on Nov. 16.

City Council Transparency Watch: 113 Days

It has been 113 days since the council voted in closed session to fund council president Nelson Esparza’s legal fees. A scheduled discussion about the item at Thursday’s meeting was postponed.

A memo from outside counsel recommended the city council reveal the vote to cover Esparza’s legal defense against accusations of attempting to extort then-city attorney Doug Sloan. Esparza faces two counts — a felony and a misdemeanor — when he returns to court for an Oct. 27 arraignment.

Council vice president Tyler Maxwell pulled the item from the agenda with no explanation, nor any return date. Maxwell did not respond to Politics 101’s request for comment.

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