What many San Joaquin Valley people hear and say about Trump
“Trump also seeks a return to the past,” Slim said. “Like a friend said, to a ‘regressive utopia.’ ” Franco Ordonez, Modesto Bee, Jan. 27, 2017
Trump may find he’s facing a master negotiator in talks with Mexico
Carlos Slim, Mexico’s richest man and one of the wealthiest men in the world, offered Friday to help Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto negotiate with President Donald Trump.
The Mexican business tycoon made the offer to help negotiate with the American tycoon during a rare public appearance in Mexico City just before Trump told reporters in Washington that he’d spoken with Peña Nieto for an hour and the two had agreed to renegotiate many aspects of their countries’ relationship.
Slim, worth an estimated $46.5 billion, sought to comfort concerned Mexicans, calling Trump, whose worth is estimated at a mere $4.5 billion, a “grand negotiator” but not a “terminator.”
Slim urged “national unity” in the face of the hostility caused by Trump’s ordering construction of a border wall and praised Mexicans’ reaction, saying the last time he’d seen his countrymen pull together in a similar way was the devastating 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, which killed more than 5,000 people.
Slim’s intervention in the growing tension between the United States and its third most important trading partner came as Trump told reporters in Washington that he’d had spent an hour on the phone Friday with Peña Nieto. In that phone call, Trump said, he and Peña Nieto agreed to renegotiate many aspects of U.S. relations with Mexico. Trump said Mexico had taken advantage of the United States for decades but that that period was coming to an end.
Slim both praised and criticized Trump, commending him for offering ideas to improve the U.S infrastructure, capital investment and health care. But he also said Trump was seeking to re-create a time that no longer existed.
“Trump also seeks a return to the past,” Slim said. “Like a friend said, to a ‘regressive utopia.’ ”
Whether Slim would really become a Mexican government negotiator is unknown – Mexico’s office of the presidency didn’t comment on the offer. But the call for unity by arguably Mexico’s best-known businessman is a reflection of how Trump’s border wall and his insistence that Mexico will pay for its construction have galvanized opinion there.
Some politicians have suggested kicking out U.S. drug enforcement agents and ceasing to enforce their own southern border, across which thousands of Central Americans come each month on their way to the United States. But Slim urged calm, saying Mexico’s response should be measured, “without getting angry but without surrendering.”
Slim, who made his money in telecommunications, is also a reminder of how tight the world of billionaires is. During the campaign, Trump often criticized Slim, who owns an estimated 17 percent of The New York Times and is a contributor to the Clinton Foundation. But the two seemed to make amends after the election, even having dinner at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Florida resort.
Donald J. Trump
Yes, it is true - Carlos Slim, the great businessman from Mexico, called me about getting together for a meeting. We met, HE IS A GREAT GUY!
12:27 PM - 20 Dec 2016
Slim showed his negotiating prowess, repeatedly offering compliments to Trump, and encouraging Mexicans to read Trump’s book “Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America.”
“I think what he’s trying to tell people is ‘I know how to deal this with this. Let me help you deal with this and it won’t turn out as badly as you think it’s going to turn out,’ ” said Gregory Weeks, the editor of the academic journal The Latin Americanist.
Slim said Trump’s presidency could be even good news for Mexico if Trump were able to expand the U.S. economy. It could lead to increased consumption for Mexican goods.
But whether the two will meet across the negotiating table is still to be seen.
Brand: Only difference between Fresno and sanctuary cities ‘are words with no definition’
Fresno Mayor Lee Brand, in an effort to calm concerns about his recent statement that Fresno won’t be a sanctuary city for refugees and undocumented immigrants, said Thursday the only difference between Fresno and other cities “are words with no definition.”
Brand, along with police Chief Jerry Dyer and Fresno Council Members Esmeralda Soria and Oliver Baines, spoke to the media after meeting with leaders of the Latino, African-American and Muslim communities. The police department will continue to follow a policy it has adhered to for 15 years, which is to “enforce the law without regard to immigrant status, not to enforce immigration law,” Brand said.
Brand and Dyer both said the definition of a sanctuary city is unclear, and any definitions used by cities nationwide are inconsistent. However, Brand said he didn’t want to “mince words” over the label of a sanctuary city, adding that the city’s policies will not change.
At a Jan. 25 meeting with The Fresno Bee’s editorial board, Brand said he didn’t want to jeopardize federal funds for public works projects he said the city needs with a sanctuary city declaration. Brand said he was stuck between a Democratic governor and a Republican president, and needed to take a neutral stance to maintain a good relationship with both.
“I’m not going to make Fresno a sanctuary city because I don’t want to make Fresno ineligible from receiving potentially millions of dollars in infrastructure and other types of projects,” he told The Bee board. “My philosophy is to follow the law and to avoid these national culture-war questions.”
On Thursday, Brand said he had heard from residents concerned about his statements, and that he “listened with the heart and with my head.” He said he would continue to govern Fresno based on what he believes is best for the entire city.
Dyer said law enforcement depends on residents trusting what officers do. “We don’t want to do anything to violate that trust, regardless of immigration status.” The police chief echoed Brand’s words from last month, saying his department is caught between governments in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. That said, he reiterated “the role of police is to protect and serve everybody, documented or not.”
“The last thing we need is the burden of enforcing immigration laws,” Dyer said. “We already have our hands full.”
Soria said more than two dozen community leaders had talked to Brand about the “dangers and benefits” of sanctuary status.
“Nothing has changed,” Soria said. “We will continue to roll out the welcome mat to immigrants.”
Baines thanked the mayor for being his inclusive in his decisions surrounding this issue. He wanted to assure people that “no agent of this city” will arrest someone based only on residency or immigration status.
This story will be updated.
Immigration advocates tell Planada residents to ‘know their rights’
Local residents who may not have legal status, or whose family members are undocumented, were urged by immigration advocates this week to “know their rights” and to work with an immigration attorney if possible.
A forum hosted by the Planada School District on Tuesday night attracted about 100 people who heard from an immigration attorney with the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, to ask questions and to receive information and resources for immigration services.
The forum was held days before the Planada School District’s governing board considers a resolution that would declare the district a “safe haven” for all families and students.
The district began talk of such a resolution in December, Superintendent Jose L. Gonzalez said. If approved, the district would be the second in Merced County, after Livingston, to pass such a “safe haven” resolution. The board will consider the resolution at its regular meeting on Thursday.
“We felt it was timely given the aggressiveness of the executive orders coming out in week one,” he said, referring to the first days of President Donald Trump’s administration. “As a governing team, we do feel it’s our constitutional obligation to provide an equitable and safe education. ... (The resolution) falls in line with our core values.”
The forum was a venue for parents and community members to ask questions about current immigration policies and ones Trump may enforce that could affect their families.
“Obviously, with the population we serve, we have an obligation to properly inform our community and squash the rumors and rhetoric out there. We need to address the concerns and pacify the anxiety that’s been percolating and bubbling,” Gonzalez said.
Bianca Dueñas, an immigration attorney and fellow with the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, told community members that their best form of protection is citizenship.
Organizers distributed cards from the Immigrant Legal Resources Center that Dueñas said could be handed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents rather than speaking to them.
The card informs the agent that the person is exercising their constitutional rights against self-incrimination and unwarranted searches.
“Every piece of information you give them, ICE will use it against you,” Dueñas said, speaking to the crowd in Spanish.
She recommended that families who have a loved one they fear could be deported plan for such a possibility, such as by designating someone to care for the person’s children and leaving written permission for them to do so.
Dueñas said ICE may use different forms of scare tactics and recommended having someone record and take photos of the interactions in case it can be used as evidence against agents.
Dueñas stressed the importance of consulting with an immigration lawyer for any non citizens. Each immigrant’s case, whether undocumented or documented, is different and complex. Under the new presidential administration, former protections, such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, are not guaranteed in the future.
To be referred to an immigration attorney or for further assistance, Dueñas recommended calling the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation at 559-486-6278 or the Mexican consulate in Fresno at 559-233-3065.
Area advocates say Trump's wall is attack on American values
"I will build a great, great wall on our southern border," Donald Trump first proclaimed when he announced his campaign for the presidency last year.
On Wednesday, with a stroke of a pen, now-President Trump began the process of keeping that promise, leading many advocates and officials in San Joaquin County to decry his actions.
During an appearance at the Department of Homeland Security, Trump said he signed two executive actions aimed at immigration, which included the "immediate construction of a border wall" between the U.S. and Mexico.
The president's directives also include hiring thousands of additional immigration officers and border patrol agents, adding more detention facilities, assigning immigration judges and asylum officers to detention centers, and, when possible, withholding federal funds from "sanctuary cities."
Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, said she was "not surprised, but I am disappointed."
"He's doubling down on attacking immigrants," she said.
This issue, she said, is one that will continue to incite fear. The orders to beef up enforcement by rounding up people and taking them away and building a wall is against every ideal and value that is American, Eggman added.
The latest executive actions are not about safety, she said, adding that Wednesday's actions will lead to immigrants living in the shadows and becoming stigmatized.
"I think it's red meat for his base," Eggman said.
Trump is expected to sign more executive actions later this week that focus on limiting refugees and immigrants from largely Muslim countries.
Gov. Jerry Brown, however, has remained steadfast about California not turning its back on people who are living positive lives, she said.
El Concilio President and CEO Jose Rodriguez also has concerns about the possible consequences the directives will have.
"It is disappointing that President Trump is going to pursue policies that continue to divide the country and separate families," Rodriguez said in a written statement. "The proposals will not make America safer and actually serve to undermine the trust that law enforcement has worked hard to establish with immigrant communities. The real answer is comprehensive immigration reform that brings people out of the shadows and keeps families together."
The Pew Research Center estimates there are just over 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally.
Trump, addressing DHS employees, said the agency's most important mission is law enforcement, but that for too long, officers and agents have not been allowed to do their job.
"From here on out," Trump said, "I'm asking all of you to enforce the laws of the United States of America - they will be enforced and enforced strongly."
Wednesday's announcement, which was for the most part expected by immigrant advocates, left Jose Arturo Palato angry.
Palato, the community organizer for Faith in the Valley, said Trump's orders to build a wall are a form of racism and division and a way to harm people.
The president does not see the value the immigrant community adds to this country, he said.
Palato, who is also the restorative justice coordinator for the Catholic Diocese of Stockton and works closely with the Latino and immigrant communities, said people have been feeling sad and worried, and many are making plans to connect with churches or organizations in search of help.
This wall is not going to fix anything, he said. People are creative, and, out of a need, they will find a way to get through, he added.
According to a 2015 Customs and Border Protection report, there are 1,900 miles of border with Mexico - only 653 miles have fencing.
The estimated cost for the wall, which President Trump has adamantly said will not be a fence, has varied, but a report by Bernstein Research puts it between $15 billion to $25 billion. Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers estimated it would cost $27 billion to $40 billion.
University of the Pacific Professor Martin Camps, who teaches literature and specializes in border studies, said the money being used to fund the wall would be better spent on fixing roads and building schools, parks and bridges in the U.S.
Borders don't stop migration, he said, adding that what will curtail it are improvements in safety and the economy in Mexico and Central America.
Camps, who was born in Tijuana, Mexico, said people must understand how border towns, such as El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, are interconnected and dependent on each other. People who don't live in border regions don't understand it - communities trade culture, goods and services, he added.
Building a wall does not establish a good neighbor relationship, Camps explained. It creates an image of people as invaders and promotes exclusion of people who don't look like them. He used examples of other countries with borders to emphasize how tensions can rise.
"The wall we're building is an aggressive rhetoric," he said. It's the ghost of anti-Mexican sentiments that dates back to the U.S.-Mexico war. It's the reopening of wounds, he added.
He said: "We're building a monument to apartheid, to hatred."
Vida en el Valle
Keep an eye on these 17 in 2017
Vida en el Valle
Last year, he was a Democratic Congressman from Los Ángeles whose influence in a Republican-controlled Congress under an incoming Republican president would limit his potential.
Last month, all that changed for the Sacramento native when Gov. Jerry Brown nominated Becerra to fill the vacancy created when state Attorney General Kamala Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate.
If confirmed by the state Legislature, Becerra will suddenly become California’s highest-ranking elected official and the state’s top law enforcement officer. The confirmation is expected for Becerra, who will turn 59 on Jan. 26.
Becerra, who has already criticized President-elect Donald J. Trump’s comments on Mexican immigrants, has signaled that he will use his office to protect all California residents. Such a stance, which has been taken by Brown and other Democratic leaders, should put Becerra in the news frequently.
“Xavier has been an outstanding public servant – in the State Legislature, the U.S. Congress and as a deputy attorney general,” said Brown when he named Rep. Becerra as his nominee last month. “I’m confident he will be a champion for all Californians and help our state aggressively combat climate change.”
Becerra served in the state Assembly (1990-92) before being elected to Congress representing a Los Ángeles district in 1992.
“Gov. Brown and our state leaders lean forward when it comes to advancing and protecting the rights and interests of the more than 38 million people in California,” said Becerra last month when he was tapped by Brown.
“I’m deeply honored by Gov. Brown’s confidence in me to serve as our state’s next chief law enforcement officer. It has been an extraordinary privilege to serve my fellow Californians in Congress for the past 24 years, fighting for working families like my parents, and I look forward to continuing that battle as California’s attorney general.”
Becerra became the first Latino member of the influential Ways and Means Committee in Congress. He served as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and chaired the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (1997-98).
Becerra earned his law degree from Stanford Law School, and began his law career in 1984.
Dr. Joaquín Arámbula: After serving the remainder of the term left vacant when Assemblymember Henry T. Perea resigned in December 2015, Arámbula won a full, 2-year term in November. He will represent the same district his father, Juan Arámbula, held.
The younger Arámbula is the only medical doctor on the 80-member Assembly, and sits on the Assembly Human Services, Rules, Veterans Affairs and Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials committees.
He has focused on the health of his district residents as a top issue.
Ángel Barajas: The 30-something Woodland native is the first Latino to serve as mayor of his home city, which is predominantly Latino and home for many farmworkers. He will work with a Latino majority on the five-member city council (Enrique Fernández and Xóchitl Rodríguez were recently elected). Barajas has served as a Woodland school trustee, the Yolo County Fair board, and the Woodland Community College Foundation. He is also a past parks and recreation commissioner.
“I was born and raised in Woodland and I’m invested in the community,” said Barajas during his 2014 campaign.
Claudia Cázares: When she was sworn in to represent the Hoover High School district on the Fresno Unified School District board last month, Cázares helped tilt the board by becoming part of a female majority on the seven-member board. The project manager for Granville Homes also moved the board away from a heavily pro-Superintendent Michael Hanson.
“My children have been fortunate in that they received really good education at Fresno Unified. They go to some of the magnet schools and I believe that all our children should be given that opportunity, not just select few that are able to go to magnet schools,” said Cázares during her campaign.
Her main issues are campus safety, vocational education and fiscal accountability/transparency.
Luis Chávez: After failing to election to the Fresno City Council in the past, Chávez found himself winning easily against two other candidates last year to replace his boss, Sal Quintero. Chávez served one term on the Fresno Unified School District board of trustees representing the Roosevelt High School area. He has also run unsuccessfully for the state Senate.
“I want to create some new lifetime memories on the board,” said Chávez, a graduate of Roosevelt High. “I will always make sure I represent the constituents of my district.”
He was replaced on the school board by his fiancé, Elizabeth Jonasson Rosas who won her first try for public office.
Kevin De León: Together with Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendón, the state Senate Pro Tem figures to have a busy year defending the state against the administration of President-elect Donald J. Trump. The Los Ángeles Democrat has survived a 2014 slam against the Central Valley (“No one lives out there in the tumbleweeds.”) to become an effective leader for the immigrant community.
Susan Eggman Talamantes: The Assemblywoman is finding her stride in state politics. She authored a bill that allowed tax savings to certain businesses that create jobs, and already one has opened in the Port of Stockton, offering several dozen jobs with the promise of more to come. She plans more such legislation to help with job creation. And she’s a leading voice in the Latino caucus in Sacramento. Eggman also has a young leaders program where she and others mentor future leaders.
Becky G.: The singer gained recognition in 2013 with her debut single, ‘Becky From the Block’ in homage to her favorite artist, Jennifer López’s album, ‘Jenny from the Block.’ Becky, whose full name is Rebecca Marie Gómez, reached mainstream success in 2014 with the release of her single, ‘Shower.’ The 19-year-old has been collaborating with multiple artists in both Spanish and English-language markets.
In 2016, she crossed over into acting with a special appearance in the TV show, ‘Empire’ but the Mexican-American singer will get a taste of Hollywood stardom this year, when she plays the role of one of the superheroes in ‘Power Rangers.’
Tim Z. Hernández: The University of Texas at El Paso assistant professor is no stranger to the San Joaquín Valley. He grew up in a farmworker family in Cutler and then explored the world of poetry and writing under since-retired Fresno State professor Juan Felipe Herrera. His newest book, ‘All They Will Call You: The Telling of the Plane Wreck at Los Gatos Canyon,’ will be released this month.
Hernández, who will be 43 next month, spent years researching for the names of the 28 Mexican immigrants who were on board a DC-3 flying near Coalinga in the winter of 1948. Hernández worked with the Fresno Catholic Diocese and Holy Cross Cemetery in Fresno to come up with the names, and led an effort to have their names inscribed on the gravesite. He then set out to find out more about the victims and their families back in México.
“We sort of want to give them their stories and their lives back. It no longer is simply a song,” said Hernández. “How some of these histories that come back to haunt us forces us to reevaluate how we do things today.”
Juan Felipe Herrera: The former Fresno State professor, who also taught at UC Riverside, has maintained a busy schedule as the nation’s first Latino to serve as poet laureate. Last year, his status as poet laureate was extended by another year. The Fowler native has used social media to create poetic tributes to some of the world’s tragic events. The 68-year-old Herrera often relies on his own life for storytelling.
“They are my mother’s stories and they are my father’s stories,” said Herrera, whose parents immigrated to the United States from México City. “My father told stories.”
“Fresno is the capital of poetry in the world!” exclaimed Herrera to a loud cheer. “What’s going on in Fresno? Can we explain it?”
Guillermo Moreno: The Guillermo Moreno Show debuted this month on Fresno’s PowerTalk 96.7 FM and 1400 AM, making him the first Latino with a full-time gig on English-language talk radio in the Valley. The San Joaquín Memorial High School graduate created a campus television station and hosted his own political talk show at Andrews University. He graduated from Michigan State Law School.
I’m excited to continue breaking the political and radio establishment mold and thrilled to be among the first young Latino millennial hosts in the Central Valley,” said Moreno, who returned to Fresno to serve low-income seniors. “Fresno is the greatest city in America and I’m honored to continue my passion for politics with my generation here at home.”
Sal Quintero: With the exception of Orange Cove Mayor Víctor López and now-retired Fresno County Supervisor Henry R. Perea, no Latino has been in public officer longer than Quintero. The four-term Fresno City Councilmember (there was an 8-year break while he served as chief of staff to his successor) was sworn in to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors this week. Quintero easily defeated two other candidates to succeed Perea.
Quintero, during his election campaign, noted his time on the city council has prepared him for the board of supervisors. “There have been a lot of budgets I’ve look at,” said Quintero. “I have been able to move some money around in the budget.”
Los Malandrines: Brother Euler and Esau Torres, whose Mexican band Los Malandrines regularly tours throughout the U.S., will have their biggest gig March 17-19. That is when they host the inaugural Pueblo Fest at the Tulare International Agri-Center with big-name artists like Los Tigres del Norte, Intocable, Los Tucanes de Tijuana and Gloria Trevi. They call it the Latino version of the Coachella Valley music festivals.
“We are very, very, very excited,” said Esau. “We’ve visited the Coachella Music Festival. We’ve visited the Austin City Limits Electric Zoo. How come there isn’t one for us?
“You know, like banda, norteño, the whole thing. A three-day festival. This has been a dream of ours for a long time.”
Bishop Armando X. Ochoa: As bishop of the Fresno Diocese, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, Ochoa guides Catholic faithful from Inyo County in the south to Merced in the north. The Oxnard native was ordained a priest in March 1970, and served as bishop of the El Paso diocese from 1996 until 2012 when he was appointed bishop of the Fresno diocese.
Anthony Rendón: The Los Ángeles Democrat is the 70th Speaker of the Assembly who has led the effort to strike back against what he deems an attack on California residents by President-elect Donald J. Trump.
“While we don’t yet know the harmful proposals the next administration will put forward, thanks to Donald Trump’s campaign, cabinet appointments, and twitter feed, we do have an idea of what we will be dealing with, and we must be prepared,” said Rendón upon the recent hiring of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to defend the state against Trump policies.
Miguel Villapudua: The new San Joaquín County supervisor takes the seat being vacated by Carlos Villapudua, his cousin, who has served the past eight years.
Vida en el Valle determined these 17 Latinos will have the most influence in 2017. Editors and reporters reviewed numerous suggestions before settling on this list. At the end of the year, Vida en el Valle will rank them based on their impact.