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Politics 101

Hurtado a No Show for Local Televised Debate. Here’s Her Reason.



Melissa Hurtado, left, bailed out on a debate for state Senate with David Shepard. (GV Wire Composite/David Rodriguez)
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Is there something in the water Bakersfield-based politicians are drinking?

Photo of GV Wire's David Taub

David Taub

Politics 101

State Senator Melissa Hurtado, D-Bakersfield, pulled out of a debate for the 16th state Senate District at the 11th hour last night. She was scheduled to face David Shepard, R-Porterville, at the KGET-17 studios in Bakersfield, with a simulcast on KSEE-24.

This came one week after Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, pulled out of his congressional debate late with Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford.

Like Salas, Hurtado complained that a Shepard TV ad was too mean.

“Political campaigns can be messy, tough and a relentless rough road, but we all must draw the line when candidates recklessly fan the flames of risky rhetoric and false fearmongering,” Hurtado’s campaign said.

One TV ad Shepard is running accuses Hurtado of not supporting police or sex trafficking laws.

“That type of debate serves no one, so I call on my opponent to stop trivializing violent crime in pursuit of his newfound political ambitions,” Hurtado said.

Hurtado has engaged in her own nasty ads against Shepard, accusing him of trashing a rental house, and being a carpetbagger. Hurtado herself changed her residence from Sanger to Bakersfield so she could run in the 16th district.

“Let me be straight.  My opponent calls me ‘dangerous’ in his television advertisement, but he is the only person in this race who has been sued and accused of assaulting a woman,” Hurtado said.

Also in Politics 101 …

  • School board member pleads in DUI case.
  • Big check for Fresno LGBT group.

Martinez Pleads No Contest in DUI Case

Fresno County Board of Education Trustee James Martinez (Facebook)

Facing a trial for a 2020 DUI arrest in two weeks, Fresno County Board of Education trustee James D. Martinez pleaded no contest.

Martinez, who also serves as director of operations for the Fresno State student government, will serve 10 days in the adult offender work program, serve three years probation, and pay a $1,895 fine. He must also attend a Level 1 alcohol program for three months.

Court records show Fresno police stopped Martinez on Nov. 8, 2020, at 12:29 a.m. at Van Ness and Olive avenues, in the Tower District, for not properly stopping at a red light or stop sign.

In his deal, Martinez pleaded no contest to a DUI with a blood alcohol level 0.15 or higher. Another DUI charge was dropped. The court records found his BAC level was 0.14. He could have faced a maximum of six months in jail.

Martinez did not respond to a phone call or text message.

LGBT Check

The Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission’s LGBTQ+ Resource Center received a $100,000 check in a presentation by City Councilman Luis Chavez on Tuesday.

The funds will be used to provide supportive services and financial support to enhance the health and well-being of individuals of all ages in the LGBTQ+ community, a Chavez news release said.

The money comes from the city’s budget, approved last June.

Luis Chavez holds giant $100,000 check for Fresno EOC LGBTQ Center

Fresno City Councilman Luis Chavez (center) presents a check to the LGBTQ+ Center. (Special to GV Wire)

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

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