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Fresno County Democratic Party (FCDP)
Newsletter for March 26, 2019
Fresno City Council Votes No on Anti-Panhandling Bill
An anti-panhandling bill was introduced at Fresno City Council last week. The bill was the brainchild of outgoing City Council Member Steve Brandau and was co-sponsored by Paul Caprigolio and Luis Chavez (both Democrats). The bill would have penalized residents who transferred money or any item to panhandlers at designated stop signs.
                News of the bill galvanized the community, which showed up in large number to speak against the proposed bill. Community members such as the chair of the Fresno County Democratic Party spoke against the bill and criticized the two Democrats who co-sponsored the bill. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer also spoke against the bill claiming that it was an unpractical use of police resources.
                Earlier, Council Members Esmeralda Soria, Nelson Esparza and Miguel Arias (all Democrats) held a press conference where they voiced their opposition to this legislation. The mayor, Lee Brand, also hinted that he would veto such bill.
                Due to the overwhelming public outcry, the bill was defeated 3-2 with Chavez abstaining (Esparza was absent).
Jim Costa Supports Ag with Farm Bill
Our region continues to play a pivotal role in feeding America and the world. A series of bills were introduced and passed that will continue to support the farmers in our region and ensure that we have a sustainable water supply. Rep. Jim Costa is a leader on this issue in Congress; read about the work he continues to support here.

Local Politics Recap with Andy Hansen-Smith

Free Regional Park Admission
At the March 21 Fresno City Council meeting, Council Member Garry Bredefeld (R–District 6) proposed free admission to the three regional parks, including  Woodward and Roeding parks, for any current/retired military personnel, law enforcement and firefighters. Other members noted that the Council recently passed the Balanced Budget Act, which stipulates the Council must show where the lost revenue would be found. Parks brings in $2 million a year in fees.
Council Members Esmeralda Soria (D–District 1) and Miguel Arias (D–District 3) suggested other worthy occupations should get free admission as well such as teachers, doctors, carpenters, kids and seniors. Arias noted that public school teachers have faced terrible mass shootings these past few years.
Bredefeld agreed that there are many valuable occupations, but he wanted to honor this special group much like commercial entities such as restaurants offer discounts to the military. Soria asked if law enforcement would include only City of Fresno officers or would Clovis, Lindsay and other cities also be included. Arias and Soria prefer the government not pick winners and losers but either give free admission to all or to none.
City Manager Wilma Quan will conduct a survey over the next three months to see how much such a discount would affect parks revenue and come back to the Council in July.
Andy Hansen-Smith 
Womens History Month Honoring Local Heroes
Throughout March, we will highlight local women who have left a legacy in Fresno County and have worked toward the advancement of female equality.
Hon. Elma P. Sterling
Elma P. Sterling was born in New Orleans to Alphonse and Alice Bolds in the early 1900s. There, she attended Catholic school at the Convent and later graduated cum laude in physics and chemistry from Xavier University. Elma married Feltus L. Sterling Sr. in Oakland in 1947 and established the Sterling Funeral Home in 1949 in Fresno.
Elma was dedicated to Fresno’s community values, the political process and the civil rights movement; she marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Ala., in 1963. She worked at Fresno area voting polls every election for more than 40 years. In February 1969, she was appointed to the Fresno City Council, becoming the first African American to hold that position.
Elma was a member or officer of multiple organizations, clubs, social groups and professional associations. Some of these included the California State Association for Colored Women Clubs, the National Association of Colored Women’s Club, the Fresno County Democratic Women’s Club, American Legion Post #511 and the NAACP. Moreover, she was a founder of Fresno’s African American Historical and Cultural Museum. 
Elma’s legacy to serve was passed on to all of her children, who are still active in local and national politics.
For Women’s History Month, Join the Campaign to Reach Gender Equality in Sacramento
  • In its first five years, Close the Gap CA recruited or gave instrumental early guidance to one-fourth of the women currently serving in the California Legislature. 
  • Close the Gap CA is a successful campaign to increase the number of progressive women serving in the California Legislature by recruiting them to run in targeted open and purple districts. The campaign recruits accomplished women who are pro-choice, pro-public school funding and support paths out of poverty. By partnering with progressive organizations across the state, Close the Gap CA aims to achieve gender equality in the CA Legislature by 2028.
  • WOMEN ARE WINNING. Women picked up a record 10 seats in Close the Gap CA’s target districts in 2018. Importantly, this class of women is progressive and two-thirds women of color. With two more pick-ups in other districts around the state, women now make up 30% of the Legislature, up from 21% in 2017. Close the Gap CA played an instrumental role in these historic gains.
  • RECRUITING WORKS. Close the Gap CA is a campaign to increase the number of progressive women serving in the California Legislature by recruiting them to run in targeted open and purple districts. The campaign recruits accomplished women who are pro-choice, pro-public school funding and support paths out of poverty. By partnering with progressive organizations across the state, Close the Gap CA aims to achieve gender equality in the California Legislature by 2028.

Important Changes Affecting California Voters Coming in 2020

Several changes in the political calendar will affect California voters. Please discuss these with your family and friends so that we are all prepared for 2020. The presidential primary will be held on March 5, 2020. Various counties are moving to the vote center model from the current precinct model, which means everyone will receive their ballot in the mail and voting will take place over several days. Finally, the 2020 Census will determine the amount of funding and the number of Congressional representatives California will have. While the courts have ruled that including a question about citizenship is unconstitutional, it has instilled fear in undocumented immigrants who probably will not step forward to be counted.

Naturalization Ceremony
Volunteers are needed for intensive, fast-paced voter registration at the monthly Naturalization Ceremony in downtown Fresno at the breezeway between the Valdez Center and the Saroyan Theater on M Street. Our team is there between 10 a.m. and noon. For more information, contact Marlin Dick at Experience in voter registration and proficiency in foreign languages (Spanish, Hmong, Punjabi) are especially helpful.
The 2019 dates are as follows: April 16, May 14, June 18, July 16, August 20, September 10, October 22, November 19 and December 17.

New Democratic Headquarters Grand Opening

The grand opening the of the new Democratic Party Headquarters will be April 12, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 1033 U St. next door to the current office. Double the square footage of the current space, the new office features a conference room, several small offices and spacious storage areas.

In preparation for the move, we are looking for volunteer movers for Friday and Saturday, March 29 and 30. Please call the office at 559-495-0606 this week from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Poor People’s Campaign Bus Tour

On April 1-12, 2019, the Poor People’s Campaign Bus will be arriving in Fresno. In preparation for that event, the Poor People’s Campaign Steering Committee is looking for volunteers to assist with preparation and logistics for the event. The steering committee meets every Monday at 1106 W. Woodward from 6p.m. to 8 p.m. Please call Aline Reed for more information at 559-470-5172.


Club Announcements
The monthly membership meeting will take place tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Sequoia Brewery in the Tower District. Andrew and Heather Janz are the guest speakers.

Democratic Clubs

Participate in one of more of the Democratic clubs in Fresno County.
California Latina Democrats–Fresno County, 559-859-6203 or
. Meets 3rd Monday of each month, 6 p.m., at Yosemite Falls Café, 4020 N. Cedar Ave.
Central Valley Hmong Democratic Club, 559-349-8304 or Contact for meeting time and date.
Clovis Democratic Club, 559-322-9740 or Meets 3rd Thursday of each month, 6 p.m.,at Seven Restaurant, 25 Shaw Ave., Clovis
Democratic Women’s Club–Fresno County, 559-439-3176 or Meets 4th Monday of each month, 11 a.m., at Ramada Inn, 324 E. Shaw Ave.
Democratic Women in Action, 559-907-7813 or Meets 1st Monday of each month, 6 p.m., at Yosemite Falls Café, 4020 N. Cedar Ave.
Fresno County Young Democrats, 559-761-6236 or Contact for meeting time and date.
Fresno Stonewall Democrats, 559-709-8016 or Meets 2nd Tuesday of each month, 5:30 p.m., at Marie Callender’s, 1781 E. Shaw Ave.
Kennedy Club of the San Joaquin Valley, 559-435-4043 or Meets 1st Saturday of each month, 9 a.m., at Marie Callender’s, 1781 E. Shaw Ave.
San Joaquin Valley Democratic Club, 559-312-3925 or Meets 3rd Wednesday of each month, 6:30 p.m., at Denny’s Restaurant, 1110 E. Shaw Ave.
Sanger Democratic Club, 559-977-5956 or Meets third Tuesday of each month, 7 p.m., at Denny’s Restaurant, 536 Academy Ave., Sanger.
West Fresno Democratic Club, 559-268-0511 or Meets 3rd Saturday of each month, 9 a.m., at Rocio’s Mexican Restaurant, 1131 B St.
Help Us Elect More Democrats in Fresno County!
Bonta California Progress Foundation 2019-20 Scholarship
The Bonta California Progress Foundation invites high school seniors and entering or current first-year college students especially those who are low-income and/or from disadvantaged backgrounds to submit an application in response to this scholarship announcement.
   In 2017, Assembly member Rob Bonta launched the Foundation with the purpose of supporting communities, organizations, and individuals that lift up the social, economic, educational, civic and environmental well-being of Californians and advance progressive values in California and around the world. To this end, the Foundation will provide a limited number of scholarships to students with a record of academic achievement, leadership and service to their communities, who would benefit from additional support to realize a higher education. To submit an application, visit this page.
California Retired Teachers Association Scholarship
To promote new teachers in the local area, the Fresno County (Division 10) California Retired Teachers Association is offering ten $6,000 tuition scholarships to either Fresno State or Fresno Pacific University. For more information, visit here.
Copyright © 2019 Fresno County Democratic Central Committee, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 5795, Fresno, CA 93755

Paid for by the Fresno County Democratic Central Committee. FEC ID # C00518605, FPPC ID # 743910.
1035 U Street, Fresno, CA 93721. Not authorized by any candidate or committee.