FRESNOThe Fresno County Board of Supervisors’ recent decision to call for more oil drilling in our county and across the nation would not provide any relief to this gas crisis and would directly harm the health of Central Valley residents.
Even completely removing regulations and safeguards, as Supervisor Steve Brandau suggested, would not have any timely effect on the gas price spike from Putin’s war in Ukraine. If any new oil did come online, its fumes would only further ruin our valley for agriculture and human life by adding to our terrible air quality and the baking droughts from global warming.
Calling for more oil extraction here in the Valley is particularly simple-minded. Fresno County is nearly completely reliant on groundwater for household use, but now the supervisors want to add fracking.
The area in western Fresno County near existing oil extraction sites is already one of the most polluted groundwater areas, and any expansion of this poisonous industry would only introduce further pollutants and harm local residents. The Central Valley already suffers from some of the worst air quality in the world under our current oil-dependent system. Expanding extraction in California will just further poison us.
Not only is the supervisors’ plan rife with negative consequences, it has no chance of achieving its supposed goal of immediate relief. New production takes years, and it is physically impossible for California to produce enough oil to change the price of the global fuel market we are yoked to.
The only long-term solution to protect ourselves is a transformation from carbon burning to electrification. Oil prices have always seesawed through this “boom and bust” cycle, and that cycle hurts businesses that need to predict next year’s costs, particularly farmers.
The gas crisis caused by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine shows the extreme vulnerability of our carbon-powered economy. As prices at the gas pump climb with each volley of Russian missiles, we see that Governor Newsom’s plan to end the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035 was the right decision. If previous administrations had moved sooner, this disruption to global oil would hurt us less.
We need to get electric power into the hands of working Californians and cut our dependence on the fickle price at the gas station. Non-carbon electrification will help our economy by providing stability as well as safety.
Doubling down on the carbon economy only presses our necks closer to the knife of oil baron autocrats like Vladimir Putin. We need to build a green energy fortress to protect our society. We need power that we cannot run out of, and we need power that does not poison us to burn the world.
FRESNO—The Fresno County Democratic Party strongly condemns the Fresno State College Republicans decision to host far-right Internet personality Tyler Russell. The Canadian YouTuber and livestreamer is a self-styled leading voice of the “Canada First” movement.
Among his supporters, the terms “Canada First” and “America First” are used interchangeably, a flub that sweeps away the political theater Russell refers to as his “optics” to expose the White supremacy underneath.
The Fresno State College Republicans had previously booked Russell for a virtual event in August. However, after Antisemitism.org posted to Twitter expressing their horror at the union, the Fresno State club canceled the event on the day it was scheduled.
The Fresno State College Republicans did not cite any reasoning at the time. Looking back, it is clear all they feared was the visibility, not Russell’s actual messages of cultural supremacy and intolerance. Rebooking him after outside attention waned is the proof.
The College Republicans knew exactly what they were getting with Russell. During a 2020 protest in Ottawa, amid a mixture of flags of Canada, Donald Trump and the Confederate Army, Russell delivered the speech that helped secure his right-wing credentials.
On that day he was a small part of the much larger protest against any potential government efforts to recognize, as the Idle No More movement phrased it, “all of the lives lost to the Canadian State¾Indigenous lives, Black Lives, Migrant lives, Women and Trans and 2 Spirit lives¾all of the relatives that we have lost.”
In his speech, Russell instead mourned the fate of the Proud Boys, a recognized hate group in Canada. He announced that to be called racist was a badge of honor.
Russell has since bragged on his online forum about infiltrating a Palestinian solidarity rally with the goal of harassing Jewish counter protesters and inciting greater conflict between the groups.
The Unabomber’s manifesto is suggested reading for young joiners of Russell’s movement. On his moderated chat forum for his supporters, voiced hesitation that some more extreme rhetoric could be interpreted as a call to violence is countermanded by the man himself. Russell responded, “No. We will do whatever it takes to win.”
The Fresno State College Republicans have begun to develop a concerning pattern of behavior. In August, the club was also criticizing veterans and calling most military service members “glorified DMV employees.”
This, combined with two separate invitations to Russell, shows a troubling trend in Fresno’s Republican landscape. We like to think that as a city we have moved on from the years when Fresno State’s first gay pride parade was met with drive-by protests from Ku Klux Klan members in full regalia, but perhaps, as Russell might phrase it, only the “optics” have changed.
fresno⎯The Fresno County Democratic Party applauds the Fresno Unified School District’s decision to rename the former Forkner Elementary School to H. Roger Tatarian Elementary School.
Roger Tatarian’s decades of work for the public good with Fresno State and the Fresno Bee warrant this recognition. As the executive director of Fresno State’s Institute for Media and Public Trust and executive editor of the Bee following his tenure as editor-in-chief of United Press International, he demonstrated an admirable commitment to our city by returning to his hometown to enrich our community.
It is also welcome that Tatarian is the first Armenian name to grace one of our local schools, and his story as a child of immigrants raised and educated in Fresno can be an aspirational example for the many students of Fresno Unified who are also part of the immigrant experience.
The name Tatarian is replacing also represents Fresno but instead harkens to our darker past that we still strive to overcome. The original J.C. Forkner was a wealthy property developer whose company implemented strict racial covenants to prevent anyone perceived as a lesser ethnicity from living in the Fig Garden area.
Indeed, Tatarian’s family would have been banned, as the documents explicitly refused sale to “Asiatics, Mongolians, Hindus, Negroes, Armenians or any natives or descendants of the Turkish empire.” In this racial exclusion, Forkner represented the kind of endemic racism that has shaped our country but now must be overcome.
Renaming Forkner Elementary to honor Tatarian is a small step in a good direction. Combating racism does not only mean that we should prevent new offenses, but it also necessitates identifying and, where possible, taking steps to rectify old harms. There might be some people who disapprove of changing the name of Forkner Elementary out of a sense of nostalgia or a hesitancy toward any change, but no good can come of keeping Forkner’s name on the school.