Politics 101: Sherriff a Step Closer to Federal Judgeship, Clovis Residents Love Their City - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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Politics 101: Sherriff a Step Closer to Federal Judgeship, Clovis Residents Love Their City

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Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirk Sheriff testifies to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary in November 2023. (GV Wire File)
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The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary advanced Kirk Sherriff’s nomination to serve as a Fresno federal judge, 12-9, on Thursday morning.

President Joe Biden nominated Sherriff, as Assistant U.S. Attorney, and chief of the Fresno and Bakersfield offices, last year.

Sherriff testified at the committee during his nomination hearing last November. Thursday was a vote without further discussion. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) was the only Republican to vote in favor.

The committee voted to advance 20 nominees at the meeting.

“Advancing and confirming highly qualified, diverse nominees to the federal bench has been one of this Committee’s and Senate Democrats’ greatest successes. Today’s business meeting adds numerous nominations to the Executive Calendar and gives us a tremendous start to another year of bringing balance to the federal judiciary and ensuring a fairer justice system for all,” chairman Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) said.

The nomination will now move the full Senate floor at a date to be determined.

Voting in favor: Alex Padilla (D-California); Laphonza Butler (D-California) Durbin; Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island); Chris Coons (D-Delaware); Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut): Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii); Cory Booker (D-New Jersey); Jon Ossoff (D-Georgia); Peter Welch (D-Vermont); Graham;

Voting against: Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa); John Cornyn (R-Texas); Mike Lee (R-Utah); Ted Cruz (R-Texas); Josh Hawley (R-Missouri); Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas); John Kennedy (D-Louisiana); Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina); Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee).

Sherriff would replace Ana de Alba, who was elevated to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.


Also in Politics 101 …

  • Dyer in DC;
  • Positive news on Fresno animal shelter;
  • Parks Commission nominee approved;
  • River board approves millions for project;
  • Clovis citizens are happy.

Dyer in DC

Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer did not attend Thursday’s Fresno City Council meeting. He was in Washington, DC instead, attending a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

On Thursday, Dyer met with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and also participated in a meeting on homelessness.

92% of Clovis Residents Recommend Living There

A survey of Clovis citizens finds them optimistic about the economy and quality of life.

The survey, conducted every two years by the National Community Survey, asks Clovis citizens, for thoughts about the economy, public safety, and general sentiment. Surveys were mailed to 3,000 residents, with a 13% return rate, or 394. That is considered “excellent,” according to city officials.

Results were relayed to the city council Tuesday evening.

Clovis residents gave its city high evaluations, from overall economic health (83%); overall feeling of safety (84%); and opportunities for education, culture, and arts (71%).

The community says investing in pubic safety is “essential” (80%). Clovis residents also care about the future of housing, with 67% saying there are not enough options for youths and 52% saying there are not enough options for adults.

The numbers are better than the 2021 post-COVID survey. For example, 96% of Clovis respondents in 2019, recommended living in the city to someone who asks; that number dipped to 83% in 2021. In 2023, the number improved to 92%.

Clovis scored lower in air quality and contacting elected officials.

Animal Shelter Update

The city-run Fresno Animal Center is reducing its inventory of cats and dogs, City Manager Georgeanne White updated the Fresno City Council on Thursday. Last month, the council reluctantly voted to halt intakes because the shelter was overcrowded.

The shelter currently has 29 cats (10 of which are adoptable), and 286 dogs.

“That is a huge, huge reduction,” White said.

City Council President Annalisa Perea announced she is mothering a foster shepherd puppy. The shelter has 132 dogs and 159 cats awaiting fostering to adopt, White said.

White said staffing problems are also getting resolved. The city took over operating its shelter from Fresno Humane Animal Services in December. White expected FHAS management to transition to city employment. They did not, catching the city off guard.

White said an updated shelter policy could come next month.

Soto Approved to Serve on Parks Board

Last year, Dyer wanted to appoint Christina Soto to the Parks, Recreation, and Arts Commission. The city council at the time was bogged down in technical details on who gets appointed to the board and replacing whom, and Soto did not make it.

On Thursday, Dyer appointed Soto — a clerkship coordinator with UCSF Fresno — again, and without objection or discussion, the council approved 7-0. The big difference was last year, Soto was set to replace Kimberly McCoy — a move the city council did not want to support.

This year, Dyer nominated Soto to replace the late Francine Oputa.

River Board Spending $9 Million on River West

A state board with local influence voted to spend more than $9 million on the River West trail project.

The San Joaquin River Conservancy board met for the first time this year on Wednesday. Comprised of Fresno and Madera-area representatives and state officials to craft policy and spending along the San Joaquin River, the body will spend millions on the long-planned trail.

Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) secured a $15 million allocation in 2021. The board has spent more than $5 million since then on operations and maintenance.

The money will be spent on access points through Spano Park, Riverside Drive, and near Perrin Avenue — all in north Fresno. It took decades, lawsuits, and acrimony for the board to get to this point. No board member opposed the spending plan.

Also Wednesday, the board chose Madera County Supervisor Bobby Macaulay as chairperson; and Kacey Auston, representing the Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District on the board, as vice-chairperson.

 

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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