By Linda Tubach
Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig has led the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to decide to sue the State of California to stop the replacement of S— Valley’s racist and sexist name as mandated by AB 2022. And he is doing this with our tax dollars, secretly, in closed session. This is a violation of the intent of the Brown Act, which requires notification on a public agenda at least 24 hours in advance so that public tax dollars are not spent without public knowledge and input.
Ironically, Magsig has told his Facebook followers that this is not about the “s—” word but rather about the process failing to include local input. This is a complete lie, and Magsig has only himself to blame for not facilitating public input.
Instead of holding real community meetings for dialogue, he chose to pander to the racism and sexism of some poorly informed constituents, to build his base. He lied about sponsoring a “community” meeting behind the local library, inviting just his Facebook followers and members of a Dunlap church, and stacking the meeting in favor of his own views.
He lied again on the so-called ballot mailed to 93675 households when he kept the name “S— Valley” as an option after a federal order and AB 2022 clearly outlawed the slur and required a replacement name.
Furthermore, Magsig is lying about the name change process itself, which requires extensive periods for public input. Every resident of zip code 93675 and Magsig himself had the opportunity to comment on both the state and federal decisions to rename S— Valley.
After U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s Order 3404 in November 2021, the public comment period was open from Feb. 23 to April 25, 2022. And then, because S— Valley fell into the special category of “populated place” (as opposed to geographic feature), the U.S. Board on Geographic Names announced more time for public comment, before its final decision in January 2023.
In addition, AB 2022 included public hearings before it passed unanimously, and the California Advisory Committee on Geographic Names (CACGN) invited public comment both before and during its decision-making meeting on Nov. 18, 2022.
The opportunities for public comment were announced by members of the Rename S— Valley Coalition at a Bear Mountain Library meeting last summer and at a Board of Supervisors meeting in October 2022. Magsig was present at both meetings, and both were well attended by the small group of vocal residents opposing the name change.
The community heard about the CACGN meeting in November that they could call in to, but no one besides the Residents for Renaming called in. Of all the written comments submitted to the CACGN, including an online petition supporting the name change signed by hundreds, only one person opposed the name change to Yokuts Valley. This is a matter of public record memorialized in the minutes of the CACGN meeting.
Shame, shame on Supervisor Magsig. He lies to use racism, sexism and ignorance to build his popular base. He refuses to represent everyone in the community, just those who agree with him. Magsig was asked for more than two years to sponsor a community meeting at Bear Mountain Library to dialogue about the name. He publicly refused to sponsor a community meeting on something he disagrees with.
Magsig alone is responsible for failing to provide opportunities for public input and information. He foments division instead of reconciliation in our community and does not deserve to hold public office. He should be recalled.