Valley news of the week -- Dec. 12-18

December 18, 2010 

FRESNOBEE.COM

The weather was cold and dark, but tempers flared hot last week over a handful of issues, including a new police contract, the fatal shooting of a suspected robber and a big proposed development in northwest Fresno.

Here are the top stories of the past week, along with selected comments posted by readers on fresnobee.com.

FAX fares rise

What happened: Fares for most riders will rise from $1 to $1.25 on Jan. 10, Fresno City Council members agreed.

What it means: It's the first fare increase in a decade, and necessary to balance the city budget, officials said. But bus riders packed the council meeting to express outrage.

What readers said:

"This was a particularly egregious vote by our City. This should have been the LAST thing they increased. Students, young families, single parents, college students, the elderly and the disabled are the least able to absorb such an increase."

-- Peter

"The bus system is a social service agency, not an enterprise. That is not all bad; folks that can't afford cars need to get where they need to go, hopefully for a job. Just be realistic about the amount of money subsidizing this social good."

-- pdbach

"It needed to happen. Bus fares do not discourage people from coming to Fresno. The city is bleeding and everybody has to give."

-- SuperMex

"There is nothing wrong in asking that the users of public transportation pay their fair share for using it. Operating these buses is expensive."

-- hikerdude


Key water ruling

What happened: A federal judge in Fresno invalidated key parts of a much-debated plan to protect the threatened delta smelt, handing a victory to farmers and other water users who say pumping restrictions hurt humans.

What it means: The ruling likely will force the federal government to rewrite the plan for the second time in less than four years. But it doesn't necessarily mean that farmers will get more water.

What readers said:

"We need a complete repeal of the endangered species act and a rewrite. This has been the most costly law in the exisitence of our country."

-- mountainrepublican

"Funny how angry ag. interests made loud noises about the bias and unfairness of the same judge when they happened to disagree with his legal findings."

-- janbalcom

"If we need more water for the fish and to drink maybe the people that use their garden hoses instead of brooms should be a target."

-- bugz55

"Whiskey's for drinking, water's for fightin over. Mark Twain."

-- James Andrews


City offers deal

What happened: The Fresno City Council approved a tentative deal with police officers that would delay raises for three years, saving the city money, but also extend no-furlough provisions in the current contract.

What it means: The deal must still be approved by management and nonmanagement units of the Fresno Police Officers Association.

What readers said:

"Raises??? Who is getting raises these days? Heck those of us lucky enough to still have a job are just trying to keep it ... The pattern I'm seeing here is PD gets what they want, Fire gets what they want, and the rest of the employees are treated like red-headed step children and get the axe."

-- a007mcguyver

"FPOA members are not receiving any holiday benefits but like fire fighters and most other public safety are required to work ... And FPOA members have given back several raises, pension off set percentages, uniform allowances, delayed raises, etc, etc. But i'm sure it's not enough and some folks here will want more give backs."

-- sejtaj03


Suspect fatally shot

What happened: The owner of a Fresno video store fatally shot one of at least two young men who tried to entered with guns and tried to stage a takeover robbery, police said.

What it means: Wesley Sarden, 18, was later found dead in a nearby neighborhood. Some who knew the teen described him as a good person who fell under the influence of criminals.

What readers said:

"Not to be mean or anything but no one really cares that he died. To us, hes just another scumbag who got shot and killed. He is a nobody, he made no impact on the world or community, nothing at all. He lived as a nobody and died as a nobody."

-- mrbobo1250

"Of course it is awful that a person was killed -- duh! But we must all realize that this was the way he chose to live his life."

-- tcmps375

"you people are disgusting that think it was right for this kid to die. Or are happy because he died slowly. He made a mistake but he didn't deserve to die at such a young age with his whole life to live."

-- RIPwes5

"Several have said that Wesley didn't deserve to die and one even said that the store owner had no right to shoot Wesley. Wesley was in the act of a violent crime -- armed robbery. When someone points a gun at you that means only 3 things ... they are ready, willing, and able to take your life. If you had been the store owner what would you have done?"

-- FresnoCounty


Project gets OK

What happened: The Fresno City Council approved the first phase of a massive mixed-use development in the northwest part of the city, but withheld its OK for the full project.

What it means: El Paseo, described by its developer as a potential rival to River Park, would be west of Highway 99 and south of Herndon Avenue. It has drawn criticism from some who worry about traffic problems and sprawl.

What readers said:

"I can't understand why Fresno (and Clovis too, for that matter) keep handing out permits like candy when both cities are FULL of retail vacancies. How about putting a moratorium on new development until we can actually fill up the vacant shopping centers we already have?"

-- djkc

"At the next city council meeting you will read that the City Council voted to guarantee the loan that the developer needs. [Granite] park, the Met, all over again."

-- drydock

"Finally! Good job by the council allowing the jobs, tax revenue and a gateway to north fresno to be created. Thank you!!"

-- Elliott50

"If you are a city council member it must be very hard to say NO when the pressure of multi million dollars are involved and they are standing in front of you for approval....very tough..."

-- namrats

Catching Up is compiled by Bee managing editor Jack Robinson.

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