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Protest Rally to Reopen Fresno Set for Wednesday



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A protest rally to reopen businesses in Fresno and the state during the COVID-19 pandemic is scheduled for City Hall on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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David Taub

Politics 101

The event is being hosted by Ben Bergquam, a conservative activist with Frontline America. He said community leaders reached out to him to help set the event up. He expects hundreds to attend.

“I’m only a voice, this event is about you,” Bergquam said in a Facebook post on Monday. “This is about the people of the Central Valley, the people of California that our sick of this.”

Also in Politics 101:

  • Board of Supervisors holds special meeting.
  • A lesson in city government.
  • Fresno golf courses can reopen. 

The Fresno County Republican Party is also pushing the event.

“We here in Fresno, just like the rest of the state and even the country, are devastated with the shutdown, which just keeps going on and on,” Fresno County GOP chairman Fred Vanderhoof said.

Two outspoken business leaders during the pandemic tell Politics 101 they plan to attend: Mike Shirinian, owner of restaurants The Elbow Room in Fresno and Riley’s Brew Pub in Clovis; and furniture seller and TV pitchman “Crazy” Bernie Siomiak.

Board of Supervisors Will Hold Special Meeting

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors will hold a special meeting Tuesday to discuss two items in closed session: a meeting with county administrators over a “threat to public services and facilities,” and a discussion about the Rowell Building in downtown Fresno.

The county and building owner Lance-Kashian and Co., have been negotiating for years for a lease and/or purchase to house the district attorney’s office at the location on Tulare Street and Van Ness Avenue. Last year, the sides agreed to a 20-year lease for $17.3 million for the first 10 years, with an option to buy after that for $18 million.

There are no specifics about the discussion.

A Lesson in City Government

The coronavirus pandemic has altered the way governments meet. Gov. Gavin Newsom suspended aspects of the Brown Act, the state’s open meeting laws — mainly no longer mandating in-person meetings.

But the Brown Act rules requiring that even closed session meetings start with an open session haven’t changed. That open session allows for the council to announce what they will meet in closed session about, and for the public to make any comment, according to Brown Act analysis provided by the League of California Cities and past council practice.

When the council met on Zoom on April 30 for a single closed session item, Politics 101 was blocked from joining the meeting. A technical glitch, council president Miguel Arias said.

When the council began its April 23 meeting in closed session, the video and audio were garbled on Zoom. It was not apparent if the council followed the normal procedure to start a closed session, nor is it seen in the archived video on the city’s website.

Mayor Brand Allows Golf Courses to Reopen

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand said Monday in an evening news release that city golf courses can reopen as soon as signage with social distancing and health protocols are in place.

The announcement also will result in the reopening of disc golf at Woodward Park.

Here are the rules for the golf courses:

  • Keep social distance in the clubhouse and pro shop, and on tees and greens.
  • No direct physical contact between golf course employees and guests.
  • All golfers must walk the course, unless carts are necessary to meet ADA requirements.
  • All pull carts must be washed and sanitized before use.
  • Maximum of 4 players per tee time.
  • Tee times should be spaced to regulate the number of players on the course at any time.
  • Food and beverage areas should be open for grab-and-go service or delivery.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email