Addressing Calwa’s Needs
As a member of the Fresno community, it has come to my attention that the neighborhood of Calwa located in the south-southeast of Fresno has been experiencing numerous issues for several decades. The neighborhood, as many do not know (including some residents), is divided into three governmental jurisdictions: Fresno City, Fresno County and a special Recreation and Park District. Those residents that fall outside of the city limits experience numerous issues, including policing and public safety, cleanup, pet control and no streetlights for blocks.
Calwa is identified as one of our nation’s communities with the highest concentrated poverty rates. When residents call the city or the Fresno Police Department for help in an emergency and find out they do not reside in the city, they are redirected and no police assistance is deployed, many residents have said. This situation, I’ve learned in speaking to others in the community, makes many residents feel uneasy and scared.
It is our duty to educate others on the unfair and unjust issues that residents of Calwa experience every day, and I hope this letter can help bring attention to this neighborhood and get our neighbors the help they need to live in a safe and clean community.
Fracking All About Profits
I read where the Fresno Bee has endorsed fracking for California in order to provide jobs and reduce dependence on foreign oil. A few points on this preposterous position:
As to foreign oil, let’s be real. There is no domestic or foreign oil. It is all corporate oil, and it will flow anywhere on the planet where it will extract maximum profit for transnational corporations. They have no problem with screwing the American consumers or any others to increase their already world-record gains. Their agenda, as always, is to privatize all profit and socialize all cost and liability, leaving behind superfund toxic wastelands wherever they go.
And let us not forget the insane lack of extraction fees these corporations pay in our state. Then there’s the obvious points of consuming and despoiling our precious water resources—how is this possibly going to work out?
As for employment, do we assume all jobs are good? Building and operating crematoria was good income for workers in Nazi Germany. Building nuke plants in Fukushima and Diablo Canyon paid some wages—an utterly insignificant fraction of the long-term costs in death and permanent irreversible local and global destruction. I think we could be a little wiser and more discriminating in the use of our labor and resources. We could employ our entire state if Governor [Jerry] Brown would only step up his carbon policies a notch (beyond cheap talk) and get rooftop solar on every structure in the state.
Which leads to my main point for your consideration: even now the power monopolies are fighting rooftop solar expansion. The fossil fuel corporations are stepping up their game in the face of the clear fact that if we continue to burn the fossil fuels we have located we will all fry and/or drown in the carbon-fueled climate catastrophe we are creating. Does the Fresno Bee wish to refute this fact somehow, or are we all just deaf, dumb and blind ostriches and lemmings?
The fossil fools are fighting a life and death propaganda battle against reality, just as the nuke and tobacco industries have spent massively to obfuscate the inescapable truth. In this case, they will raise the false fears of unemployment and shortage, insisting it is a matter of “drill or die.” But, as usual, you must upend or reverse their statements to find the truth.
We can have all we need and still protect the planet for ourselves and future generations, and to drill is to die, as in planetary human and mass extinctions. We are still only aware of the very tip of the carbon-fueled iceberg toward which we are heading, seemingly at full speed! To pursue this metaphor, Governor Brown’s proposed fracking safeguards are just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
The Nobel Peace Prize winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate declared with 95% certainty that human activity is causing the climate to change, and an overwhelming majority of climate scientists has endorsed its report.
I can only assume that the Fresno Bee editorial is actually considering first and foremost the corporate bottom lines rather than the survival of our species. What a waste. It may be still be possible to turn around the juggernaut of climate disruption but not by fracking—only through the concerted and united efforts of the peoples of the world, and especially those economies which profit and despoil the most. We may not even need to sacrifice toward this end—only think from a different box.
We could ask ourselves, “Are there really values we believe in beyond the right of the insanely wealthy to increase their profits at absolutely any cost?” We’ve shown the world how to consume and ruin the planet—maybe we could offer an alternative path before it’s too late. Then again, maybe not. Maybe we no longer have the time, maybe not the will. I personally am not of the mood to throw in the towel. What about you?
Family Court Issues
I read your article about Mr. Perger. I thought you might find my experience in the family law court interesting.
I am no stranger to the “justice” system in Fresno. I have been a paralegal for 25 years, attended law school and was studying for and sitting for the bar when I was introduced to the little kingdoms in Fresno County known as the TRO (temporary restraining order) courts, aka family court.
In 2011, I was informed that a close relative had molested a minor female child in close relation to me. I called this family member and inquired about the allegation. It was denied and we called the police. Shortly after, I was served a Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order. I pled my case to Judge Adolfo Corona, I requested Corona be recused from the case as he was a friend of the family of a victim in my husband’s felony trial. He refused.
Corona was presented with evidence of this family member’s unstable mental condition, and witnesses told Corona about the molestation incident and that a police investigation was ongoing. Corona told me to mind my own business and issued a six-month restraining order and took way my firearms.
Next, this same family member was sued for his debt and had his wages garnished. He demanded I pay his bills. I refused and he again requested a restraining order to make me pay his bills. I defended myself, but this time Corona made a one-year order and took my firearms. I appealed this order.
I subsequently filed suit for defamation against the other party herein. Again, this family member requested a restraining order because I filed a civil suit. Judge [D. Tyler] Tharpe ordered a five-year restraining order and took my firearms.
There is no filing fee for these restraining order requests. There were no court reporters present to take down the oral argument. If a party wants a court reporter they must pay for it themselves, a cost few can afford. Recently, I got the opinion from the appellate court. It states that based on the petition and my written response the court should not have made this order. Therefore, it must assume something was said on oral argument that led Corona to make the order. The appellate court even commented at the lack of reasoning in Corona’s order as it seemed to be based on nothing within Family Law Code 6300 or the Domestic Violence Protection Act.
I am petitioning the California Supreme Court for a review of this decision and am appealing the order from Tharpe, also a very ambiguous order.
This type of problem is well documented by the Sacramento Family Court News. This is a huge due process, freedom of speech and right to bear arms issue. Oh, and the appellate court talked about the Second Amendment violation but refused to deal with it.
Still Feels the Sting
Dear City of Fresno,
I lived there for about five years. Every city has its ups and downs, strengths and weaknesses, points of pride and shame. I know I did not always contribute as much as I could have. But the issue of Fresno’s treatment of the homeless population still stings me.
When I moved to the area downtown, not far from then encampments, I began to notice my neighbors who didn’t have housing. I began taking firewood and blankets to the camps. Somehow, I ended up talking with Mike Rhodes, whom many of you know. Happy Birthday belated, Mike!
Mike told me about a group called the Firewood Brigade. The group was small but pretty well organized. We spoke primarily over e-mail and helped each other meet the needs of our neighbors. We got to know people we likely wouldn’t know otherwise. For me, the most powerful realization was the existence of a society among people who live in one of the camps.
Getting to know people, whether other volunteers or my old neighbors, was empowering and reinforced my belief in social justice. I frequently experienced people asking for things I took for granted. I respected people, many of whom I never met, because of their determination to help. I was lucky to know all these people, Fresno, and I don’t think many of the people living there feel the same way.
I watched, sadly and from far away, while the city destroyed people’s homes again. Did they really think it would be feasible for people to reclaim their property? Didn’t they learn what it does to people’s hearts when even their own city doesn’t seem to care? I don’t understand. I had students in my Platteville, Wisc., sociology classes watch videos and listen to the NPR stories. Maybe they will have an explanation.
I know that many of you are still working on this issue, and I want to truly express my gratitude. I recognize that you face an uphill battle. I don’t envy the work. To those who believe it is best to tear down areas of people’s belongings, consider that there really was a social structure there. There were leaders, organizers, people who maintained order. People were neighbors, sometimes protected each other.
I understand that crime has been a serious problem. But I wonder something. How would you feel if the city had the authority to tear down your home and take your belongings because your neighborhood had a lot of crime?
And if this reaches anyone who was in the encampments when I was there, I hope things have gotten better. If not, I hope they will get better soon. Thank you to all of you who enriched my life.
Bridget Conlon Mayfield, Ph.D.
Fossil Fuel Reality
Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm the atmosphere 6°C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6°C planet will sustain only half a billion humans. The human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. So what kind of civilization will exist during the process of the 8.5 billion dying?
The Koch brothers and most of their petroleum employees will be dead by then, but maybe not their grandchildren. What will they do to survive the coming chaos?