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Fresno Supervisors Sue to Keep Banned Squaw Valley Name



Fresno County will sue over the use of the Squaw Valley name. (GV Wire File)
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The fate of the name of Squaw Valley could be headed to a courtroom.

Fighting back against a state law removing “Squaw” from place names, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted to initiate litigation against the state.

David Taub

Politics 101

By a 3-2 vote in closed session on Tuesday, the board voted ask a judge for declaratory relief — in essence asking a judge to interpret the law.

“Over 3,000 residents of Squaw Valley have made clear to me that they felt that their voice has been left out of the process,” Supervisor Nathan Magsig, who represents the area told Politics 101. “I personally believe that it is my responsibility and duty as a supervisor to stand up for the rights, speech rights as as well as any other rights that might be trampled upon by the residents who I represent.”

Last year, the state legislature passed AB 2022 that specifically banned the word “squaw” in place names. It applies to “any location or publicly owned structure in this state, including, but not limited to, navigable waters of the state, geographic features, parks, state or local roads, bridges, and publicly owned buildings” according to the law.

The bill, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, starts Jan. 1, 2025.

“The word ‘squaw’ is a profoundly offensive term that epitomizes the racism and sexism Native American women face. Language that sexualizes, degrades, and dehumanizes Native American women encourages and sanctions violence against them,” the ACLU said last year.

The federal government ceased recognition of place names that include the word “squaw” in January. It now identifies Squaw Valley — an unincorporated community in eastern Fresno County — as Yokuts Valley.

Magsig, R-Clovis, said the county still recognizes the Squaw Valley name.

The bill passed without a “no” vote in both the Assembly and state Senate. The entire Central Valley delegation voted for the bill except for then-Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals, who did not cast a vote.

Supervisors Steve Brandau, Buddy Mendes and Nathan Magsig voted to initiate the lawsuit; Sal Quintero and Brian Pacheco voted against.

Also in Politics 101 …

  • Supervisors want to clean up racist deeds, but not charge a fee.
  • Heywood who? TBJ may have exposed Harmony silliness.
  • State GOP selects new leaders.

Supervisors Say Yes to Changing Racist Deeds, No to Fees

The Fresno County Supervisor agree that property deeds that restrict who can buy land based on race are wrong and should be replaced. But, they declined to charge property owners an extra fee to make it happen.

Although long since ruled unenforceable, racist covenants still exists. Fresno County Assessor-Recorder Paul Dictos asked the supervisors to charge a $2 fee to record documents to clean up old deeds.

The supervisors said no. They said Dictos should us $13 million remaining in a modernization fund first.

“I think you should use what you have before you go ask the public for more,” Supervisor Brian Pacheco, D-Kerman, said.

The assessor-recorder office estimates 6.6 documents need to be reviewed, dating back to 1854.

The supervisors voted 5-0 to move ahead with the clean up plan, but without the implementation of a fee.

A Joker for a Coms Director?

The Business Journal in Fresno published a story on Monday exposing Harmony Communities for having what they say is a fake communications director.

Last year, Harmony took over the beleaguered Trails End mobile home community in north Fresno. Some of their moves to clean up the dilapidated living quarters angered residents. At least five, attorney Mariah Thompson says, are facing eviction.

When The Business Journal had questions, “Heywood Jablóm” answered them on behalf of Harmony. If you read the name again, it sounds like an immature joke 15-year old boys tell each other.

The Business Journal found no record of anybody with the name “Jablóm.”

Politics 101 directly asked Harmony Communities CEO Matthew Davies about the issue of dealing with local media through a possibly made-up spokesman with a silly name. He requested an email instead. At least it was his real email, we think.

Davies did not respond by the time of publication.

Moreno, Rankin Win State GOP Posts

Lisa Moreno won her election to represent the Central Valley region in the state Republican Party.

The GOP held its organization conference last weekend in Sacramento.

The former regional chair, Corrin Rankin, won election to party vice chair. Lisa Millan Patterson was re-elected overall party chair.

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

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