“I’ve opened a re-election (campaign) for the Assembly and I’m looking forward to continuing to serve in our state Capitol. And I’m grateful that my community has continued to support me,” the Fresno Democrat told Politics 101 on Wednesday.
He also shot down rumors he will challenge Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer.
“That’s not true at the time. And I believe it’s important to stay focused on the job that I’m doing well right now,” Aramubla said.
Arambula made a play for the Assembly speakership, but it gained no traction. Assemblyman Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) won that battle and will assume the gavel from Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) later this week.
Republicans have been hammering home the point that because of legislative Democrats, the gas tax will increase on July 1. Arambula responded to the GOP talking point.
“I think the voters had their opportunity and weighed in on this and believe that it’s important for us to fix our roads. I’m focused on making sure we get our fair share of resources and the focus on infrastructure so we can transform our community,” Arambula said.
Arambula has two terms of Assembly eligibility remaining. If he runs and wins both times, he would term out in 2028.
As for Dyer, he has yet to attract an opponent for the March 5, 2024 primary.
Also in Politics 101 …
- A renewed talking point: Fresno first for HSR.
- How will the $20 million HSR federal grant be spent.
- City prevails in police shooting death.
- Why the city council did not settle the case.
Fresno Will Be First for HSR, and Dyer Wants Visitors in ‘Awe’
The concept of high-speed rail has been more than 50 years in the making for U.S. transportation.
And, Fresno is proud to be the first.
During a Wednesday news conference touting a $20 million federal grant to renovate the old train depot, four different speakers emphasized the point that Fresno would be first in the nation for high-speed rail.
That is a longtime selling point from high-speed rail backers. But now it’s getting a renewed emphasis.
Plus, the claim is true. Fresno is the only publicly-funded HSR under construction. Lines from Los Angeles to Las Vegas; and Houston to Dallas are in the planning processes and are privately funded.
Mayor Jerry Dyer said so in his comments and repeated them when speaking with Politics 101 after.
“The fact that Fresno’s going to have the first high-speed rail station in the nation — that is absolutely true. That’s what is so exciting. That’s why Fresno is on the map across not just California but across the nation. We want this high-speed rail station. We want this train depot station to be the envy of America when people come through Fresno. We want them to be in awe,” Dyer said.
Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer was one of several touting Fresno as “first” in the nation for high-speed rail at a Wednesday, June 28, 2023, news conference. (GV Wire/Chad Mooney)
The ‘First’ Coming in 2033
The California HSR line is being built middle out, meaning it is starting in Fresno, and will eventually connect San Francisco to Los Angeles. The estimated opening is now 2033.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority celebrated a $20 million federal grant to renovate the train depot at H and Mariposa streets. The depot hasn’t been active since 1971 and serves as office space. HSR planners say the building will be seismically retrofitted and could serve as a passenger waiting area.
The depot will be separate, but nearby from the actual tracks and loading platform.
The parking lot will also be transformed into a public green space and plaza. CHSRA will match the federal funds with $13.2 million, for a total of $33.2 million.
Jury Rules in City’s Favor in Police Killing
A federal jury favored the city of Fresno in a civil trial, where the police department was accused of negligence in a 2016 killing of a suspect.
The family of Raymond Angel Gonzalez accused the police, especially Lt. Zebulon Price, of negligence in the killing. After chasing the suspect in central Fresno, Gonzalez allegedly disposed of a weapon on the ground and fell to the ground himself. When Gonzalez appeared to reach for the weapon, Price shot and killed him.
Attorneys for Gonzalez tried to convince the eight-member jury that the suspect was surrendering, and did not deserve to be shot. They were seeking $6 million.
“Yes, we are obviously not happy with the verdict,” said plaintiff’s attorney Humberto Guizar. “However, we feel the judge did not give a fair trial, as she allowed prejudicial evidence to come in that was clearly against clearly established law.”
Judge Jennifer L. Thurston presided over the trial. She was nominated for the position by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2021, succeeding the legendary Lawrence J. O’Neill.
Janz Recommended Going to Trial
As the trial was about to start, the Fresno City Council met in a special closed session meeting to discuss the case on June 15. The decision was made not to settle, and the case proceeded.
A source with direct knowledge of the discussion said the city attorney recommended not settling.
“The facts and law were on our side. The jury could not have reached any other verdict,” City Attorney Andrew Janz said in a post-verdict news release.
Janz did not have an estimate of how much third-party attorney Bruce Praet will be paid for his defense of the city. But, Janz said, it was “definitely not $6 million.” He said the city can file a motion to recover fees from the plaintiffs.
For more on the trial, read Pablo Lopez’s account in Fresno Spotlight.