Defeating Measure G means getting out the vote in “blue” precincts, especially in southwest and southeast Fresno. Call 559-275-1151 if you can help.

Letters to the Editor – March 2013

Fresno Police Accused of Excessive Force

I am writing to you as a local business owner, a concerned citizen and, unfortunately, as a victim of assault by a Fresno police officer, who violated my basic human rights under the pretext of a noise complaint.

In short, the Southeast Fresno Police Department received a complaint regarding the noise coming from an event I was holding in my home on the morning of Dec. 2, 2012. They arrived on the scene and informed me they had received a noise complaint. I was very cordial with the officers and fully cooperative. When one of the officers attempted to enter my home, I told them I would not give them permission to enter. The conversation ended; I asked the officers if they had any more questions for me, and they did not reply.

As I was walking back inside, they proceeded to grab me by my necktie and throw me to the ground, causing tendon damage in my left knee and red bruising around, my throat. They would not identify themselves by badge number or name when asked; they did not read me my rights or give me any sort of field sobriety test, but continued to charge me with being drunk in public when I was neither intoxicated nor in public. Furthermore, I was not exhibiting any behavior that in any way indicated I was a danger to myself or others.

These violations are not a rare occurrence and need to be brought to the public’s attention. This is in no way an isolated incident; taxpaying citizens are abused every day by police officers claiming to be upholding the law. As informed and educated citizens, we cannot sit by in our homes and allow these “peace officers” to abuse us along with their powers. I was in no way being hostile or uncooperative, and yet I was assaulted because I would not let them into my home without a reason.

The 4th Amendment was enacted to protect us from these violations, and yet the police are never held accountable when they infringe upon them. I was not given a breathalyzer or a field sobriety test because they knew it would prove they had no cause to arrest me, let alone physically assault me. The officer also jerked me around by the handcuffs the entire time leaving red bruising around my wrists rather than directing me by my arm, shoulder or elbow. This kind of treatment is absolutely unnecessary and just goes to show the mentality of some of our officers.

I felt compelled to share this incident with you, in order that some light be shed upon the misuse of our police force’s power and authority. It also begs the question of why these officers are so quick to spend inordinate amounts of time on a noise complaint rather than allocating their time, resources and our tax dollars to fighting violent crime and the rise in theft, etc. Thank you for taking time out of your day to give attention to my concerns.

Ian Kinsey
Fresno

The Road Forward

(Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to “The Road Forward,” which appeared in the February issue of the Community Alliance newspaper.)

What it means is that we have the critical mass needed to vote in a mayor who isn’t out sell the Fresno City to the highest bidder. And it sheds light as to why the Trash Scam petition received 40,000 signatures in support to give the trash issue to the voters, even though City Council voted otherwise.

What this map does is it gives a wake-up call to the progressive Fresno citizens. It means you don’t have to fear being alone or that your views and comments will make you look strange. What it’s saying to progressives is relax, speak out, have that conversation, put that sign on your door, wear that T-shirt, attend that City Council meeting, challenge that teacher. Because you are the norm; it’s the opposition who is the outcast. The more you show your views the more you will encourage others and leave the Red trembling.

Voting pattern in the City of Fresno Blue = Precincts voting for Barack Obama Red = Precincts voting for Mitt Romney Many people believe that Fresno is a conservative community. To help dispel that myth, the Community Alliance newspaper has produced this map that illustrates voting patterns in the City of Fresno. This map not only shows overwhelming support for the more progressive candidate in the race but also shows what many refer to as the “Tale of Two Cities.” The affluent north Fresno precincts voted for Mitt Romney and the rest of the city voted for Barack Obama.  It is interesting to note that the voter turnout in the far north precincts is much higher than it is in the rest of the city. For example, Precinct 366 (Cedar and International) had 81% voter turnout and 77% voted for Romney. On the other end of town, in Precinct 8 (Church and Elm), we saw 39% voter turnout, with 96% voting for Obama. If voter turnout was the same throughout the city, Republican Party candidates would not have a chance, except in their increasingly isolated corner of the city.
Voting pattern in the City of Fresno
Blue = Precincts voting for Barack Obama
Red = Precincts voting for Mitt Romney
Many people believe that Fresno is a conservative community. To help dispel that myth, the Community Alliance newspaper has produced this map that illustrates voting patterns in the City of Fresno.
This map not only shows overwhelming support for the more progressive candidate in the race but also shows what many refer to as the “Tale of Two Cities.” The affluent north Fresno precincts voted for Mitt Romney and the rest of the city voted for Barack Obama.
It is interesting to note that the voter turnout in the far north precincts is much higher than it is in the rest of the city. For example, Precinct 366 (Cedar and International) had 81% voter turnout and 77% voted for Romney. On the other end of town, in Precinct 8 (Church and Elm), we saw 39% voter turnout, with 96% voting for Obama. If voter turnout was the same throughout the city, Republican Party candidates would not have a chance, except in their increasingly isolated corner of the city.

Sure, we need more voter registration and turnout. But if everyone who reads this article registers just five voters and encourages their friends and neighbors to vote then we’ll really have something. I suggest driving through a south-of-Shaw neighborhood in a car with the passenger yelling reminders to vote through a bullhorn. If it gets just a few more individuals to the polls then it’s worth it.

Victory is really within our reach. I’m sure the local conservative politicians are aware their time is short. Although they’ll never show it.

It’s so very easy now—a Progressive Fresno is right there for the taking.

There’s the movie Alexander about Alexander the Great. The movie was released in 2004 with Angelina Jolie as Alexander’s mother and Colin Farrell as Alexander the Great. In a scene after the death of Alexander’s father, he tells his mother he does not want to be king. His mother tells him that it is his right, that so many people wanted his father dead, that the people are in favor of Alexander. Then his mother pauses and her voice breaks as she looks around at the kingdom, then looks at Alexander and yells, “Take it, it’s yours!” So I say the same thing to Fresno Progressives, take it, it’s yours.

But you must “take it.” It will not be turned over to you. Alexander the Great had to fight battles, outsmart the enemies that tried to undermine him and shake off the naysayers who tried to hold him back, but fight on he did. And even after he triumphed and had won more than enough he did not stop.

We should take our lessons from Alexander the Great. But we are more fortunate than he was. Our battles will be without bloodshed. Our battles will be of voter registration, getting people to come out and vote, speaking out against lies and replacing them with facts, and being brave enough to continue speaking out. And in the end we will reap the spoils of a more tolerate, more equal, more informed and more prosperous Fresno for all.

Even Alexander the Great was not handed his victories. But when he saw the opportunity he took it and conquered. Fresno is there for our taking. Take it, it’s ours!

Christine Leo
Fresno

And a More Cynical Point of View

“As shown by innumerable polls and all elections featuring high voter turnout, Fresnans are not conservative and we are not (as a whole) racists or ‘fill in the blank’ -ists. People everywhere want more equality, more justice, less war, less prisons and a bright future for our children and our planet. This holds true for the nation, our state and Fresno.”

If this were actually true—then the voters would not have voted for either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama. Both candidates are just two sides of the exact same coin. Wake up people…

Pearl Smith
Luther, OK

A Letter from the Unarmed Man Shot in the Back by the Fresno Police

I would like to first thank Mike Rhodes for a wonderful job at supporting the community. I would like to shed some light upon an issue that takes place in our very own court system. Every individual is entitled to a fair trial and a jury is instructed to give and oath and set aside their differences to provide a well-contemplated verdict based upon actual evidence. The jurors are told that the burden of proof is on the District Attorney and that each defendant is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

What I would like to understand is who is making sure the selection of the juror pool is fair to those who stand trial? Is there a thorough background check on each sworn juror to be sure that questions answered are truthful by that juror? It is each individual’s right to have a fair trial, but if the jury pool is tainted then our government justice system fails us all.

It’s sad to say but nowadays a person can be convicted on just a police report when the officer was never actually present during the commission of that crime. A person can make up a story, then later in a trial say he doesn’t remember and the District Attorney can use the officer and his police report to convict the defendant based upon the report he wrote. How is that justice? How can a person not remember if a crime was committed against them—unless they made it up?

Our constitutional right to face our accuser and cross-examine is being violated. How does a person get convicted if a witness doesn’t remember anything? A person can make up a story against someone else with whom he has a vendetta and eliminate that person by just a police report and never be cross-examined properly, due to someone supposedly forgetting.

Our court system doesn’t allow anyone to be safe these days, even in the comfort of their own home. Most jurors that are selected seem to be employed by government agencies or are tied in through family members. Would anyone want a person who works for government or tied to it to make a judgment when the government is the accuser? Who will win?

Angelo Fernandez
Fresno

Saving Postal Workers Jobs and Keeping Good Service Is a Priority

As many of you are aware, on Feb. 6, the postmaster general announced that he was unilaterally ending Saturday mail delivery as of the week of Aug. 5, 2013. A coalition of labor groups, businesses and other interested parties oppose this move for the following reasons, among others:

  • Not only will tens of thousands of letter carrier and other postal jobs be lost, but millions of private-sector jobs depend on the U.S. Postal Service (printers, teamsters, machinists, etc.). The postmaster general is on record as saying that eventually he wants to cut delivery frequency to as little as three days a week.
  • It goes without saying, but such a move will lead to non-union companies (such as FedEx) grabbing business away from the USPS, as the mailbox will not be the exclusive domain of the union letter carrier.
  • Fifty percent of businesses have stated that they prefer that six-day mail delivery be continued. Many small businesses depend on Saturday delivery.
  • The nation’s largest food drive happens on the second Saturday of May each year. If Saturday mail service were discontinued, millions of American families would suffer from possible starvation.
  • The postmaster general’s action violates Article 1, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution, which states that Congress exercises ultimate control over the postal service, not the postmaster general.
  •  This action will result in customers looking for alternatives to using the mail, which will ultimately result in the demise of the USPS.

I am asking all of you to contact your Congressional representative by phone this week and ask him to cosponsor H Res 30, which expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that six-day mail delivery be continued. The numbers of our local Congressional representatives are as follows: Jim Costa (CD 16) 559-495-1620; Devin Nunes (CD 22) 559-323-5235; and David Valadao (CD 21) 559-582-5526.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Eric Ellis
Fresno

Learn to Dance!

The Binational Center for the Development of Indigenous Communities (CBDIO) has begun a new project that would offer free classes that consist of folkloric dances from the state of Oaxaca and classes in reading and writing in the Mixtec language. To register and for more information, please call CBDIO’s office at 559-499-1178.

Miguel Villegas
Fresno

  • 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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