Central Valley Progressive PAC – December 2018

Next Meeting: Saturday, January 12

The next meeting of the Central Valley Progressive PAC will be Saturday, January 12, at 3:30 p.m. at the Fresno Center for Nonviolence, 1584 N. Van Ness Ave. (on the southeast corner of McKinley and Van Ness). On the agenda will be the election of new officers for the CVPPAC. We will also discuss suggested changes to our process for allocating money to endorsed
candidates. If you have any questions, call CVPPAC President Pam Whalen
at 559-994-9390.


Progressives Win: Where Do We Go from Here?

By Mike Rhodes

The Republicans no longer have control of the Fresno City Council. All
three of the candidates the CVPPAC endorsed won and will join with
Esmeralda Soria in District 1 to provide a voting bloc that could lift our
progressive values and implement them into policy.
We expect more support for immigrant rights, environmental justice
and a sympathetic ear when the struggle for a living wage is comes before
them. All grassroots and progressive groups should seize the moment and
work with the new majority at City Hall to make sure their issues get the
needed attention they deserve—such as more funding for parks, an end to
the shameful harassment of the homeless and continued improvements to
public transportation.

Congratulations to Miguel Arias, Luis Chavez and Nelson Esparza for
their wins, which we believe will fundamentally change the political
landscape in this community.
I asked Chavez for his thoughts on the outcome of the election. He
said, “I’m extremely optimistic about the future of south Fresno, this last
election cycle was historic. It was a true example of what happens when
working men and women vote.
“This cohort of council members will shape what Fresno looks like for
the next 20 years. It’s a new day for south Fresno and the renaissance it’s
experiencing with investments in infrastructure, housing developments,
schools (K-12 and higher learning) and homeless services. I’m looking
forward to being part of the team and working with my colleagues.”
CVPPAC-endorsed candidates also won school board races and
captured a State Senate race against an incumbent. Pretty impressive!
Here are the victorious elected officials we endorsed:
Miguel Arias in Fresno City Council District 3
Luis Chavez in Fresno City Council District 5
Nelson Esparza in Fresno City Council District 7
Veva Islas in Fresno Unified School District Trustee Area 4
Magdalena Gomez in State Center Community College District (SCCCD)
Trustee Area 4
Annalisa Perea in SCCCD Trustee Area 5
Kimberly Tapscott-Munson in Fresno County Board of Education District
1
Melissa Hurtado in State Senate District 14
Five of the winning candidates are CVPPAC members. Whalen,
reflecting on the election, said, “In 2013, progressives won a huge
victory when we defeated Measure G and prevented the privatization of
the City of Fresno sanitation department. Since that time activists in the
labor, environmental and social justice movements have been laser
focused on building a progressive eco system capable of winning local
elections.
“The results on Nov. 6 are the fruit of that work. We all rowed
together and we won. The CVPPAC was a major player in this coalition.”
Howard Watkins, who is on the executive board of the CVPPAC,
added, “Our endorsed candidates ran quality, grassroots campaigns.
The members of the CVPPAC stepped up with our organization’s
financial support, targeted Facebook ads and individually supported
candidates with our time, money or both.”

All progressives were disappointed that Trump lapdog Devin
Nunes was not defeated. His victory is explained in part by the
significant Republican registration advantage in the 22nd Congressional
District. It will be hard to wait for both Nunes and Trump to be removed
from office for treason and do the perp walk out of Congress and the
White House.
In analyzing what must be done for progressives to win more
races, an end to partisan gerrymandering is high on the list. Equally
important is the need to stop voter suppression.
Michael D. Evans, an at-large member of the CVPPAC executive
board, said “Voter suppression is a massive problem throughout the
nation and, unfortunately, we are seeing subtler forms of suppression in
the Central Valley.
“When one side cares only about power at any cost, the fairness
and transparency of the voting process holds no meaning for them. On a
fair playing field with every registered voter being given the opportunity
to cast a ballot, progressive candidates will prevail.”
Simone Cranston-Rhodes, the group’s secretary, summed up the
election by adding, “This past midterm election had the highest turnout in
the last 50 years. Every day, the results from this election have gotten
better and better.
“Newly elected Governor Gavin Newsome has promised to pass
legislation that will give the rights to childcare providers to collectively
bargain, the biggest newly organized group in the past 20 years. Central
Valley progressive Melissa Hurtado has taken back State Senate District
14, which we lost in a low voter turnout special election in 2013.
“And in the north valley, we helped flip the House with Josh Harder
winning Congressional District 10. By the time this is published in
December and a million more ballots are counted, we could have even
more good news. But it is undeniable we know when more people vote,
the better it is for the majority of the people.”
Loretta Kensinger, the CVPPAC vice president, was impressed
with the outcome of the election. She said, “The many firsts for women
of color nationally, coupled with the record number of women both
running and winning at all levels, is well worth celebrating for all who
desire truly representative democracy.”
The CVPPAC’s ability to continue moving Fresno and this region to
the left will depend on progressives continuing to row in the same direction as we develop a strategic plan for the 2020 elections. Whalen
added that “everyone should join the CVPPAC because we need
everyone to work together to achieve Medicare for All, a living wage and
free college tuition for all.”

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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