Breathers citywide are eager to learn who will take home a coveted golden inhaler—The Smoggie—at this year’s inaugural awards event for Fresno’s worst votes and quotes on air pollution and climate change. Politicians at the local, state and federal levels are eligible, as are all public agencies, regulators, administrators and any other responsible adult.
The first-ever Fresno Smoggies awards banquet will be held at 5 p.m. on Jan. 14. Attendees will be served authentic homemade meals at their own kitchen or dining room tables—provided they cook—as they gather around the radio for this broadcast-only event of Climate Politics on KFCF 88.1 FM, live streaming at kfcf.org. Formal wear is encouraged.
In the interest of time and taste, no acceptance speeches will be allowed, but the show will feature extensive quotes from winners of this dubious distinction. Honorees will be selected based on their disregard for human life and the future of the planet as demonstrated on the public record through word and deed.
Fresnans suffering from respiratory-related illnesses, parents of small children and anyone else looking beyond the next election cycle is encouraged to submit nominations and suggest categories; the goal is to recognize every culprit, maybe even wake a few up. Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a citation for the source.
To crown the evening’s misbegotten glories, a special grand prize will be awarded—The Perea. Named for Chevron lobbyist Henry T. Perea, the disgraced former Fresno City Council member who went onto the State Assembly only to quit for a “generational opportunity” in Big Pharma then Big Oil & Methane, this oil derrick–shaped digital trophy will be presented to the local elected official who most embodies that ol’ Perea spirit of situational ethics and transactional politics. It’s a heated competition.
Smoggie nominations submitted so far include yokels offering such nuggets as “For what it is worth, I’ve always found dairymen/women to be very strong believers in ‘common sense,’ and in this increasingly ‘woke’ world we are going to need more and more of it, particularly in our MC3 renewal process.”—Tony Boren, Fresno Council of Governments, Measure C Renewal, Public Records Act Request
“I would hate to see folks coming after people for their daytime positions.”—Nasreen Johnson, State Center Community College trustee, Caglia Environmental Services, the Fresno Bee.
“Schools are letting people make decisions for our kids that were breast-fed until they were 4 years old. Soft and shouldn’t be in the kid business.”—Nick Papagni, FoxSports Radio, Pro Smoky Football, the Fresno Bee
“I made it clear publicly that the (developers’ rezone) application as submitted does not have my support. But doing nothing would also not have my support in the resolution that works.”—Miguel Arias, Fresno City Council member, industrial development facilitator, the Fresno Bee
“[The red zone] is the 4th level in the air index quality. There are two more levels after that. Our policy as an organization is we cancel events when it hits anything over 201.”—Mike Herman, California Classic Weekend director, YourCentralValley.com
“I think the Council has shown to do its due diligence [sic] when it comes to these projects.”—Luis Chavez, Fresno City Council member, Arias emulator, Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC)
“To have a bright line in the sand that says a 220-pound football player is a sensitive individual, there’s got to be a little common sense that plays into this.”—Jamie Holt, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Department of Public Perception, the Fresno Bee
“They just pick those numbers out of their ass…The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) comes up with shit that doesn’t make any sense.”—Buddy Mendes, Fresno County supervisor, dairy methane generator, the Fresno Bee
“This agreement is an example that we can facilitate the coexistence of creating new jobs without impacting the health and safety of our neighbors.”—Miguel Arias, Fresno City Council member, again and again, the Fresno Bee
“Unpaid Advisor. Requested clarification from City [stet] regarding the definition of ‘employed or contracted.’ I am neither for business #2 but I am advising them.”—Henry R. Perea, former Fresno City Council member, registered lobbyist, Public Records Act Request
The Stakeholder Award
A special category has been created for the industry representative, or their political puppet, most directly driving dangerous pollutants deep into our lungs. Many issues offer potential nominees. From backers of the Elm Avenue rezone proposal or a Calwa biomass plant, to the sprawl mongers and dairy lagoon pearl divers, competition is fierce for the top dishonor.
A current favorite is the methane production team of Producers Dairy, BMW, Bloom Energy and California Bioenergy, which are busily planning for increased diesel exposures in the Tower District while greenwashing dairy methane as a renewable electricity source for luxury vehicle owners. Yay, Fresno!
Send in your nomination to email@example.com. Create a category for it. Include your source. Then join us for The Smoggies on Jan .14 at 5 p.m. on Climate Politics, KFCF 88.1 FM.