The Revue Café, a coffee shop in Fresno’s Tower District, removed copies of the Community Alliance newspaper from its shelves and told our distributor that it no longer wanted our paper in the store. The owner said she did not agree with our politics and that we were controversial. This action, we have come to find out, is consistent with their hostile policy of discouraging progressive groups who want to meet or hold events at the Revue. The Democratic Party, the Fresno Center for Nonviolence and others have been snubbed.
We have responded by putting a newsstand on the public sidewalk near the Revue, so our readers will still have access to this newspaper. But the hostility from conservative business owners and other reactionary forces is a challenge we face when providing alternative/independent news and analysis from a progressive perspective.
But you can help. If you know of businesses, community centers, churches, etc., that would like to distribute copies of this paper, you can become one of our grassroots distributors. Bulk copies of this newspaper are available at the Fresno Center for Nonviolence, 1584 N. Van Ness Ave., in Fresno (open 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Monday–Friday). With your help, we can reach out far and wide with our message of peace, social and economic justice.
To see a map of our current distribution locations, visit www.communitywalk.com/map/index/466696. Let us know if you would like to add a new distribution location, and we will add it to the map.
The Community Alliance is also interested in receiving your thoughts, analysis, and news. This could be in the form of a letter to the editor, an article for our Opinion and Analysis from the Grassroots section or a news article. We are particularly interested in well-researched news stories about local issues.
This month, we are fortunate to have an article by Vic Bedoian, who is closely following the attempt by Fresno Nuclear to put a nuclear power plant in our backyard. The Community Alliance has provided ongoing coverage of Fresno Nuclear, which first suggested putting its facility in southwest Fresno. When opposition to that plan emerged, they said they would put the plant in western Fresno County and pump the water necessary to cool it from the ocean, right across the San Andreas earthquake fault (not a good idea). Now, they are talking about pumping water from the depleted aquifer to cool the reactor.
We are not sure if this group is attempting to soak up billions of tax dollars from the federal government to build this boondoggle, if they are trying to get water rights that they can turn around and sell to Los Angeles (think Chinatown, the movie) or if it is some other scheme they are up to. For example, there was a huckster up in Idaho who was recently arrested for defrauding investors in a scheme to build a nuclear power plant in that area. Whatever is going on here, we will continue to follow the story and let you know what we find out. We applaud the large turnout at the Board of Supervisors in opposition to building this unnecessary, dangerous, and ill-conceived monstrosity.
We could use more writers, like Vic, who have a special interest in one of the many issues affecting us here in the Central Valley. We had a major story on police accountability in the July issue, but we need a writer who can stay on top of this story. Now that the Office of Independent Review has been dissolved by the City of Fresno, there is absolutely no independent body investigating officer involved shootings (OISs).
I asked Donald Gross, the acting public information officer for the Fresno Police Department (FPD), about its policy regarding OISs. I wanted to know what criteria is used to bring in an outside agency, like the District Attorney’s Office, when there is an OIS. Gross wrote, “We do not have written guidelines…If investigators believe there is the possibility of criminal exposure for the officer(s) we request the DA to respond to the scene. We do not use any outside agencies.”
In other words, there is nobody investigating the police; they can shoot an unarmed man in the back, like they recently did, and absolutely nobody is going to question them about it. The Community Alliance newspaper needs a reporter who can stay on the issue of police accountability until there is a change in policy that results in civilian control being restored over the FPD. Somebody needs to write articles that shine a light on this problem until improvements are made.
We would love to have better coverage about the attacks on the commercial sanitation workers whose department was just privatized by the City Council, under relentless pressure from Mayor Ashley Swearengin. If you are interested in following the issues at City Hall, analyzing what happens there and writing news stories for this newspaper, give me a call.
Progressive activists in Fresno and the Central Valley are working on many issues, including immigration reform, stopping the endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, environmental justice, marriage equality, ending homelessness and many others. We need reporters working on all of these issues.
In addition to my interest in getting new writers to cover “beats” for the Community Alliance newspaper, I have a concern about the current state of the progressive movement in Fresno.
One of the problems we have in the progressive community is that just about everyone is focused on the one issue that they feel most passionately about. While it is understandable that a great deal of effort is put into organizing around single issues, there is little effort going into building unity or a common strategy that would benefit all of the groups.
That is why I’m excited about an event that will be happening in Fresno on October 1, featuring Jim Hightower as the keynote speaker. The purpose of this event is to bring progressive activists from all the different groups together, so we can have a larger voice in this community. Possible outcomes include a council that would meet regularly to coordinate or initiate actions of benefit to the progressive community, a community calendar or something else that might emerge at the October 1 event—maybe an idea that you have that you can share with us. I encourage all Community Alliance readers to save that date and attend this event, which I believe will be inspiring and historic.
You might also be interested to know that I have been invited by the Oakhurst Democratic Club to talk about alternative/independent media on Saturday, August 6. If you want to hear what I have to say about this important topic, the event will be held at the Ol’ Kettle Restaurant, located at 40530 Highway 41 (Oakhurst) in front of the Shilo Inn. Breakfast is at 9 a.m. and my presentation starts at 9:30 a.m. Hope to see you there.