Blong Xiong is being encouraged to run for Congress in the newly created 21st Congressional District.
The Fresno City Council member's reaction? Well, he's not dismissing the idea -- at least not yet.
"We're looking at the information right now," he said.
But Xiong, a Democrat, is savvy enough to recognize the political realities: It is mid-January, and the primary election is in early June.
"That's a tough time frame," Xiong said.
Not only would Xiong have to put together a campaign, but he would have to raise a lot of money -- fast.
Next week, Hanford Republican David Valadao -- a first-term Assembly member who is totally committed to the congressional run -- will release a campaign finance report that shows he has raised almost $408,000 and has more than $386,000 in the bank, his campaign said.
The district -- which Xiong doesn't live in -- covers rural parts of western Fresno County, all of Kings and parts of Tulare and Kern counties. That means two media markets: Fresno and Bakersfield.
In short, it would be a tall order for Xiong.
The move to recruit Xiong looks to be an effort by Democrats to replace Bakersfield's Michael Rubio.
A first-term Democratic state senator, Rubio pulled out of the race for family reasons.
Another possible Democrat is former state Sen. Dean Florez of Shafter, but he has been mum since Rubio's announcement.
-- John Ellis
Halderman, Perea push for veterans home
Freshman Assembly members Linda Halderman and Henry T. Perea want Valley residents to write Gov. Jerry Brown to protest the delayed opening of veterans homes in Fresno and Redding.
Halderman even provided a template on her website: "Dear Governor Brown," the letter begins. It then gives a space for a person to enter their name before picking up the narrative ... "oppose your proposed 2012-13 State Budget, which proposes to delay desperately needed funding to Veterans Homes in Fresno and Redding."
On Friday, Perea gathered a group of veterans for a downtown Fresno news conference in which he asked Brown to "please put that money back into your budget."
Perea said a Facebook page -- facebook.com/FresnoVeteransHome -- has been set up and there also is a link to a letter to send Brown at asmdc.org/perea
The delay in opening the home was part of Brown's proposed budget, but it will likely be debated and changed between now and June 30, the end of the current fiscal year.
-- John Ellis
Sen. Feinstein backs Caltrans rail takeover
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein this week added her voice to the chorus of those who want the California Department of Transportation to take over the state's increasingly controversial high-speed rail project.
In a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown made public Tuesday, Feinstein declared that "deploying the expertise and resources of CalTrans towards this effort over the next six months" could help turn the project around.
Tellingly, Feinstein added that she has spoken about the idea with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; LaHood, the senator reported, agrees with "the importance of utilizing CalTrans' expertise."
-- Michael Doyle
New S.F. supervisor Olague has Fresno roots
Christina Olague, San Francisco's newest supervisor, grew up in Fresno and is the daughter of a Hispanic farmworker.
Olague -- who is currently president of the city's Planning Commission -- was appointed Monday by Mayor Edwin M. Lee to the District 5 seat on the 11-member board.
According to a news release from Lee's office, the district includes San Francisco neighborhoods such as Haight Ashbury, Fillmore, Parnassus Heights and Japantown.