Central Valley Briefs


Rent Control in Delano?

In a groundbreaking effort to address the housing affordability crisis, concerned citizens of Delano have turned in thousands of signatures to qualify a rent control initiative for the November ballot.

The rapid spread of unaffordable rental prices at the hands of corporate landlords has reached Delano’s front doorstep. Indeed, 62.6% of renters in Delano are rent-burdened, paying more than 50% of their income on rent and needing protections from runaway rent hikes.

Skyrocketing rents have been indiscriminate in leaving families struggling to make ends meet, including elders living off Social Security benefits, and putting long-term residents at risk of displacement.

Johnny Itliong, son of legendary labor organizer Larry Itliong, said, “My father always said this fight is about housing. We cannot afford to wait another 60 years to bring a solution to the housing crisis!”

Citizen-led initiatives are rare in Delano, but with more than half of renters considered rent-burdened (including 85%‒90% of low-income and farmworker families), many residents feel they have no choice but to take on corporate landlord greed themselves.

The proposed rent control initiative aims to stabilize housing costs, protect vulnerable communities and foster a more equitable city.

Taxpayer Deception Act

On May 23, Fresno City Council Member Luis Chavez announced he is putting forth a resolution for the City to join hundreds of local governments in opposing a forthcoming ballot measure, the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act. The act has been more appropriately referred to as the Taxpayer Deception Act.

Chavez was joined at a press conference in Fresno organized by the Alliance for a Better California by civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, labor leaders and community organizations.

The Taxpayer Deception Act would wreak havoc on the ability of local governments to sufficiently fund local services by placing barriers to raising revenue.

“We have to remember we have a government of the people, by the people, for the people,” said Huerta.

Fresno State Professor to Research Political Polarization

A Fresno State political science professor, Dr. Lisa Bryant, was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow and will receive a stipend of $200,000 for research related to political polarization. Her research seeks to understand how and why society has become so polarized and how strengthened cohesion can fortify democracy.

Bryant’s project is titled “Polarizing the Process: Partisan Effects on Election Officials and Trust in Elections.”

Bryant says that her research will examine how partisan polarization is affecting the administration of U.S. elections and how it affects career bureaucrats who serve the public as local election officials.

“When we lose faith in the processes that secure our democracy, democracy itself is threatened,” Bryant said. “I deeply respect and admire the work of election officials and the impartial way most of them perform their duties.

“I hope my research can help explain why trust in their profession has declined so that we can rebuild trust in election officials, administrative processes and election outcomes.”

Organic Stone Fruit Jubilee and Small Farm Expo

The opportunity to meet and support local small family farmers and to help promote healthy sustainable living is the focus of the Organic Stone Fruit Jubilee.

The event takes place on June 22 from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Kingsburg Historical Park (2321 Sierra St., Kingsburg). Tickets are $10 at the gate and $8 online (fruitjubilee.com) ahead of the event with children 12 and under free. Single entry is free with an EBT card.

Eight local fruit farmers and several vegetable farms will be showcased along with numerous varieties of stone fruit including white and yellow peach and nectarine varieties, plums, pluots, apriums and other specialty organic tree fruits.

Taste and purchase some of the sweetest and most delicious stone fruit in the region, if not the world.

This is a family-friendly event with a Kids Craft Corner, live music by Good Medicine and local food trucks and beverage vendors, as well as fruit popsicles made by The Gnarly Carrot from the participating farmers’ fruit. For more information, visit fruitjubilee.com.

Radio Bilingüe Names New Co-Executive Director

José Martínez-Saldaña joined Radio Bilingüe as co-executive director in April. Previously, he was deputy director of operations at the Youth Alliance in Hollister, where he provided leadership in the areas of finance, human resources, IT and youth impact centers.

A social justice minded transformational leader, mentor and coach, Martínez-Saldaña is grounded in community-centered collaboration and service and has decades of administrative experience directing educational programs at various colleges, from community colleges to universities.

From 2010 to 2015, he was executive director of the Salinas United Business Association, where he focused on securing long-term sustainability for small business in a former redevelopment zone committed to revitalizing the community.

A Mexican immigrant, Martínez-Saldaña was born in Michoacan and raised from the age of eight in a farmworker family in East San Jose. He has a master’s in higher education leadership from American Intercontinental University and an Ed.D. (ABD) in organizational leadership from the University of La Verne.

Dr. Kapoor Recognized

A special event in early May honored Dr. Sudarshan Kapoor, professor emeritus of Fresno State’s College of Health and Human Services, for his recent designation by the National Association of Social Workers as a Social Work Pioneer for his groundbreaking work in the field of social work and peace enhancement.

“Dr. Kapoor was, and continues to be, at the forefront of Fresno’s civil rights movement,” says Eddie Varela, president of El Concilio de Fresno. “He was an ardent and vocal supporter of Cesar E. Chavez and La Causa.”

Social Work Pioneers are chosen for their contributions to exploring new territories and building outposts of human services across the United States.

Dr. Kapoor’s commitment to advocacy and peace has stretched across the decades and left an indelible legacy, most notably at Fresno State, where he has spent the past 56 years teaching and inspiring.

Born in Punjab, India, his grandparents, teachers and Mahatma Gandhi inspired his lifetime approach of nonviolent advocacy.

“[Gandhi] was a major influence in my life when I was growing up in India, and particularly after his assassination,” says Dr. Kapoor. “That he became the victim of violence, that he was preaching nonviolence…that hit me very hard and affected me very much, and his teachings have always been a part of my life.”

Fresno Bee to Cut Back Print Edition

Last month, the Fresno Bee announced that it would be scaling back its print edition from six days per week to three days: Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Delivery will be through the mail, with the “Sunday” paper arriving on Saturday.

The Bee says that the quality of its print edition will be enhanced.

“This transition will allow us to invest in making our digital experiences better, including a big update to the digital edition,” says Christopher Kirkpatrick, senior editor of the Bee, “and a new tool for commenting on stories.”

Kirkpatrick says that the Bee must transform its business “to thrive in 2024 and beyond.”


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x