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Soria, Patterson Support Retail Theft Crackdown, Prop 47 Revise



Two Fresno Assemblymembers introduce legislation to combat retail theft. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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Two Fresno Assemblymembers, a Republic and a Democrat, are supporting measures to crack down on retail theft.

Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, is co-sponsoring AB 1772, which would roll back portions of Proposition 47, the 2014 voter-passed initiative that reduced criminal penalties — specifically for retail theft.

“Phony propositions that promised safety actually increased lawlessness. That’s Proposition 47,” Patterson said at a news conference last week. “I’m so tired of this Legislature deciding that the fate of repeat criminals is more important than the fate of repeat victims.”

The bill, authored by Assemblymember James Ramos, D-San Bernardino, would allow imprisonment for criminals convicted of petty theft or shoplifting who have two or more prior theft-related convictions. If the Legislature approves the bill, it would then go to the voters.

The Assembly Public Safety Committee will hear the bill, but there is no date set.

Meanwhile, Esmeralda Soria, D-Fresno, introduced AB 1960, which provides sentence enhancements based on the value of property stolen. She is also co-sponsoring AB 1772.

“Our communities are hurting. Crime, especially retail theft, is not only a problem in my district.” Soria said in a news release. “This is an issue affecting the entire state. We must address it with urgency and action. This bill will do that and our cities will be safer as a result.”

Also in Politics 101 …

  • U.S. Attorney confirmed as federal judge.
  • Battle over Cesar Chavez Boulevard continues.
  • Candidate list set for special election.

Sherriff Confirmed as Federal Judge

The U.S. Senate confirmed Kirk Sherriff as federal judge for the Eastern District of California on Wednesday.

The 54-45 vote saw three Republicans join all 51 Democrats in supporting Sherriff: Susan Collins, R-Maine; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

Sherriff is the chief of the Fresno-based U.S. Attorney’s office. He will now serve a lifetime appointment on the bench.

He received praise from the chief judge for the district, Kimberly Mueller, who called him “a public servant at heart.”

“His prior public service as a law clerk and teacher, along with his early work as a civil lawyer in a prestigious law firm, round out his resume such that he is fully prepared to join our bench and provide dedicated and distinguished service now as a jurist,” Mueller said in a news release.

During his confirmation hearing last November, Republicans grilled Sherriff about his connection to the ACLU.

The Eastern District has an average load of 1,064 cases per judge, the federal court system said.

Sherriff replaces Ana de Alba, who was nominated and confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Kirk Sherriff during his November 2023 confirmation hearing in Washington. (GV Wire file)

Council Approves Cesar Chavez Signs. Injunction Hearing Scheduled.

Despite continuing opposition, the Fresno City Council approved a $142,287 contract with Kroeker Inc. for more than 200 new street signs bearing the name Cesar Chavez Boulevard.

Most of the city-controlled portions of Kings Canyon Road, California Avenue, and Ventura Avenue will now be renamed after the late labor rights leader. Fresno County did not approve renaming its portion of the road.

Several residents spoke against the street renaming, especially the renaming of California Avenue.

“We were told our ancestors, our forefathers, that that was the place for people who look like me to reside. There were restrictions placed within the city of Fresno that prevented people like me from living where some of you now live. But we made West Fresno something out of nothing. That became our area of our commerce,” said Bob Mitchell, a member of the Golden Westside Planning Committee. Mitchell is Black.

“There’s a history with every street that a family lives on, and California has our history,” Mitchell said.

An opposition group 1 Community Compact — which filed a lawsuit against the city last year — is now seeking an injunction to block the street renaming until a February 2025 trial. Judge Jon Skiles is scheduled to hear the injunction on March 12.

Among its grievances, the group said it never received proper notification that the council would discuss a name change.

Councilmember Garry Bredefeld suggested that the council wait until the lawsuit is resolved. However, the motion passed, 5-1, with Bredefeld voting no and Mike Karbassi absent from the dais.

Community activist Bob Mitchell spoke out against renaming a Fresno street for Cesar Chavez. (City of Fresno/Screengrab)

Special Election Candidates Set

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber announced the final list of candidates running in the March 19 special election for the vacant Congressional District 20 seat.

The candidates are:

  • Kyle Kirkland, R-Clovis; owner of Club One Casino*
  • Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield; state Assemblyman*
  • Mike Boudreaux, R-Springville; Tulare County Sheriff*
  • Marisa Wood, D-Bakersfield; educator*
  • Benjamin Dewell, NPP-Tehachapi; Eastern Kern APCD variance board member*
  • Harmesh Kumar, D-Concord; clinical psychologist
  • Anna Zoë Cohen, R-Bakersfield; high school employee
  • David Fluhart, NPP-Caliente; cannabis grower
  • James Cardoza, NPP-Fresno; real estate photographer

*Also running in the March 5 election for the full-term seat.

If a candidate wins a majority of votes, the winner will be sworn into Congress for a term that expires Jan. 3, 2025. If there is no majority winner, the top two vote earners advance to a May 21 special election.

The special election takes place two weeks after voters on March 5 will decide which candidates will advance to the November general election for the full-term seat.

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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