Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is in Fresno for a dinner fundraiser Saturday evening, and both supporters and opponents are ready to do their part for the GOP ticket of Ryan and presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, will arrive at the Fresno Convention Center's Valdez Hall around 5:30 p.m., when a VIP reception is scheduled. The main event starts an hour later.
For local Republicans, the event means forking over from $1,000 per person for dinner to $10,000 for a table sponsor to $25,000 per couple that buys entrance to the VIP reception.
West-side grower Mark Borba, a co-sponsor of the event, said ticket sales have been going very well.
"People realize we're at a crossroads," Borba said. "They don't want to be waking up Nov. 5 and saying, 'If we'd only done this or that.' "
For local Democrats and other liberals opposed to Romney and Ryan, it means arranging a protest outside Valdez Hall.
Groups including Campaign for a Healthy California, Central Valley-Sierra Progressives, Sierra Club Tehipite Chapter and Occupy Fresno held a Friday afternoon news conference outside Valdez Hall, where they urged local residents opposed to Ryan and Romney to show up at 5 p.m. to protest.
Among other things, speakers at the news conference hit both men on their opposition to the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.
"The Romney-Ryan ticket represents the worst in government," said Fresno resident Howard Watkins, who is a steering-committee member of the Progressive Network of Central California, an umbrella organization for several community-based progressive groups.
Organizers of the protests said they have been in contact with both Fresno police and the Secret Service to ensure that everybody is on the same page for the protest. For example, both sides have worked out where the protesters will be allowed.
Ryan arrived in Los Angeles on Thursday night to fundraise. On Friday, he headed to Reno, Nev., for a rally, and then was scheduled to be back in California by Friday evening.
Today, he'll attend a breakfast fundraiser in the Bay Area city of Danville before coming to Fresno.
-- By John Ellis
Fresno State GOP to attend Ryan fundraiser
Among the GOP supporters at Paul Ryan's fundraiser Saturday night will be 34 Fresno State students -- members of the campus College Republicans.
An anonymous donor paid the $1,000-per-person fee for the students to dine with some of the area's prominent Republicans, said Matt Shupe, a Fresno State senior and Central Valley vice chair for the California College Republicans.
The Fresno State College Republicans have a web of connections with local Republican leaders and are active in several races. Shupe is the campaign manager for JD Bennett, candidate for state Assembly District 31. Daniel Harrison, chair of the Fresno State College Republicans, is working for 16th Congressional District candidate Brian Whelan. Shupe said other college students are interns on Bennett's and Hanford Republican David Valadao's campaigns.
-- By Heather Somerville
Labor union sees member revolt fade
An uprising of workers against their labor union within Fresno County's social services department appears to have petered out.
A 914-member unit of the Service Employees International Union voted overwhelmingly last month not to secede from the county's largest labor group. The proposal to seek representation elsewhere failed 459-104.
Leaders of the local SEIU chapter, who have faced criticism since a union-led work strike in January left many county workers without three days of pay, are lauding the vote as vindication of their aggressive labor tactics.
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