The Valley Votes – 2020 Elections Coverage

This year, Valley Public Radio is doing elections coverage differently. We’re asking listeners and residents, what do you want candidates to talk about? Are you concerned about healthcare, housing, or homelessness?

We put out a survey from July through October to find out. 

More than 150 residents throughout the San Joaquin Valley took the survey.
The most concerning issue for many is how the economy will recover from COVID-19. Others identified housing and homelessness in local communities as a major issue; others were most concerned for the environment. 

As we interview candidates and continue our election coverage, we’ll keep these responses in mind. 

You can keep up with our coverage on this page, or send questions about our process to Laura Tsutsui at ltsutsui@kvpr.org. 

On this week’s Valley Edition: We sit down with candidates Jim Costa and Esmerelda Soria to talk policy and politics as both vye for the 16th Congressional District seat.

 

Plus, you’ve heard her as a panelist on ‘Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me!’ the NPR news quiz show: this weekend, comedian Paula Poundstone is coming to Fresno. The standup comic tells us why improvisation is key to a good show. 

We also ask if community efforts to clean up the San Joaquin Valley’s dirty air are working.

Soria for Congress and Costa for Congress

As the race to represent the 16th congressional district heats up between incumbent Jim Costa and fellow democrat Esmeralda Soria, both candidates stopped by the KVPR studio to talk with FM89's Kathleen Schock about the key issues facing the district, and the attention grabbing television ads from the Costa campaign.  

Alex Hall / KQED

President Donald Trump was in Bakersfield for a short visit Wednesday to sign a Presidential Memorandum to commit more water to San Joaquin Valley farmers. He spoke to an invitation-only crowd of about 2,000 people.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

After taking the lead in the New Hampshire Primary, Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will make his second campaign trip to the Central Valley, this time in an effort to ensure eligible citizens cast their ballots in California's March 3 primary.

On this week's Valley Edition: There's only one proposition on the ballot this year, Proposition 13. Some say it will deepen state debt, while others think it’s the fix for California’s aging schools.

Plus: We’ll speak to a California native who served in two presidential cabinets. Secretary Norman Mineta was pivotal in convincing the U.S. government to formally apologize to Japanese Americans after their internment during World War II. 

 

Julie Boesch

The sole proposition before voters in March is Proposition 13, a $15 billion bond that would help to upgrade the state’s K-12 schools, colleges and universities. FM89's Kathleen Schock talked about the measure’s potential impact, and its confusion with the 1970s property tax law, with Calmatters reporter Ricardo Cano, Fresno State political science professor Jeff Cummins, and Julie Boesch, Superintendent of Maple Elementary School District in Kern County.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

A White House Official has confirmed to Valley Public Radio that President Donald Trump will be in Bakersfield on Wednesday. This will be Trump’s first visit to the San Joaquin Valley since his election campaign in 2016.

According to the White House, Trump will visit Kern County with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to give remarks to farmers about water supply and delivery in California and other Western states.

On this week’s Valley Edition: The valley’s rich cultural diversity is an asset, but what if you’re a farmer, and important safety videos aren’t made in a language you understand? We hear from a team of educators producing a series of training videos in Hmong. 

Plus, the legacy of a Fresno resident who used baseball to break down barriers, even when he was interned during World War II. Now he’s been nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Also, we’ll hear from more candidates running for mayor of Fresno. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

On the same day as the Iowa Caucuses, presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg took a different tactic and instead, campaigned in the Golden State. The former New York City mayor told a modest crowd at Fresno City College  that he would do a better job than President Donald Trump representing the San Joaquin Valley’s prominent Latino community. 

“A president who demonizes immigrants from Mexico and Central America, it's just unacceptable,” said Bloomberg. “The Central Valley issues are Latino issues, and Latino issues are American issues.”

Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio

The family of a local legislator has made significant donations to a committee formed to oppose the mayoral campaign of former Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

Campaign filings show that between October and November, Juan and Amy Arambula, the parents of Fresno County Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula, donated nearly $100,000 to a political action committee called “Rising Together, No on Dyer for Mayor 2020,” which has created a Facebook group with hundreds of followers and published at least one video attack ad against the former police chief.

Esmeralda Soria For Congress

Fresno City Councilmember Esmeralda Soria grew up in a farm worker family. That legacy wasn’t lost on her on Tuesday when a well-known labor activist and civil rights leader endorsed her 2020 campaign for Congress.

Targeting wealth inequality and the climate change crisis, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders addressed a large crowd at Fresno City College Friday amid a sea of “Bernie” signs and episodic chants of his first name. 

Sanders spoke about a litany of proposals his administration would support including health care as a human right, free college education, the legalization of marijuana in every state, expunging the records of people arrested for marijuana crimes and erasing student debt. 

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders sat down for a brief interview with Valley Public Radio before he addressed a large crowd outdoors at Fresno City College Friday.  He  spoke with News Director Alice Daniel and FM89s Kathleen Schock about climate change and the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, which aims to transform public housing into energy efficient homes. He also addressed DACA, education reform, unsafe drinking water and air pollution in the Valley.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

After cancelling California rallies due to a health scare in October, presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will be coming to Fresno this week. Sanders’ campaign is hosting a “Green New Deal Rally” at Fresno City College Friday evening at 6 p.m. The free event at the Veterans Peace Memorial Lawn is open to the public.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

  One more candidate has thrown his name into Fresno’s Mayoral Race: The Rev. Floyd Harris Jr. announced his run Monday night during a protest against Fresno police shootings. The Fresno civil rights leader says his decision was influenced by the recently released video footage from 2017 that shows a Fresno police officer shooting 16-year-old Isiah Murietta-Golding in the back of the head. That video is now the focus of a civil rights lawsuit. “We need leadership with backbone that cares about people first and has compassion,” Harris said.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

Presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will no longer be coming through the Central Valley this week. His campaign reported this morning that he experienced chest discomfort during a campaign event in Nevada and has had heart stents inserted to address an artery blockage.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

Update: On Wednesday, October 2, Bernie Sanders' campaign cancelled his visits to the Central Valley due to health concerns.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Late last month, those hoping for the City of Fresno’s top job filed their semi-annual campaign disclosures, showing the cash campaigns have on hand up until the end of June, and where it came from. 

The adage is that those who raise and spend the most money often win elections. Last year, Fresno County Prosecutor Andrew Janz raised millions in his effort to unseat Congressman Devin Nunes. In his current bid for Fresno mayor, Janz raised nearly $70,000 in monetary contributions in about two months.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Congressman Devin Nunes announced last week he’s suing a group of constituents who contend his title of “farmer” is inaccurate. Tuesday, democratic challenger Phil Arballo said he would help raise money for a legal defense fund to fight those lawsuits. 

Standing outside of Nunes’ Clovis Office, Arballo directed his words to the absent congressman: “If you’re going to sue anyone, sue me.”

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

A fourth generation walnut farmer and a dad who adopted through the foster system were among those asking presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg questions at a live taping of MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” this evening.

The taping was on Fresno State’s campus, where Matthews and audience members asked the Indiana-based mayor for his take on topics ranging from gun-control to abortion rights.

 

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