Catching Up for the week of Dec. 1-7

The Fresno BeeDecember 7, 2013 

Mature marijuana plants are loaded into a Fresno County Sheriff's Department trailer, at a raid on Behymer, east of Willow, in Fresno County, in late November. JOHN WALKER/THE FRESNO BEE

JOHN WALKER — Fresno Bee Staff Photo Buy Photo

An exchange of gunfire between an off-duty Fresno cop and gang members, pot wars in the Valley, pay raises for Fresno County supervisors and hecklers chasing Gov. Jerry Brown around the state have been among the stories fueling reader comments.

Here are the top stories of the past week, along with selected comments posted by readers at

Gangsters, cop exchange shots

What happened: Two gang members were wounded Monday night when one of them opened fire on an off-duty officer on his way to work in southeast Fresno, and the officer fired back.

What it means: Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the gang members may not have realized they were shooting at an off-duty officer, who was unhurt. He said his department is going to step up the heat on the city's gangs to try to prevent such shootings in the future.

What readers said:

"Until street gangs are declared as 'urban terrorist' and hunted down and exterminated like the terrorist they are... incidents like this will continue"


—Nevada Smith

"Collateral damage from a violent incident such as this takes the form of how everyone who heard/witnessed this shooting has been affected. This kind of domestic terrorism (random shootings/attacks) pierces the veil of peace and safety of the neighborhood and that of the commuters who were at that intersection."


—Nancy Flynn

Pot wars

What happened: The central San Joaquin Valley is one of the hottest spots in the nation for illegal marijuana farms. Illegal growers are becoming bolder, many area sheriffs say, moving from historical hideouts in national forests to the Valley floor — even planting marijuana near elementary schools.

What it means: As marijuana farms have blossomed on the Valley floor, law enforcement agencies have struggled to keep up eradication efforts.

What readers said:

"this is one place I disagree with mimms. she has taken away the dispensaries from the legal patients and they have nowhere else to get their medication. … she will waste MILLIONS in legal fees and court time fighting the peoples vote and persecuting patients and their caregivers. oh and I am a very conservative republican that knows that the War on pot is a complete waste of money."


—Bob Albertson

"We are wasting money and time trying prohibit the use of Marijuana."


—Steven Trevino

"Drug use is never going to be curtailed. That's like thinking we'll ever have a balanced budget in this country. The government needs to control it completely. The taxes would make our schools whole again. And the prison system wouldn't suck up so much of our taxes."


—Les Ciapponi

Pay raise for supervisors

What happened: Fresno County supervisors have given orders this year to hold the line on rank-and-file salaries that already have been reduced in the wake of the Great Recession. Now, those same supervisors are in line for a modest pay increase.

What it means: County policy ties the pay of supervisors to Superior Court judges. Those judges are getting a 1.4% pay increase, according to a memo sent out from the Judicial Council of California and the California Judges Association.

What readers said:

"I think this raise is warranted and I also believe they deserve more money. Let cut more county employees so county supervisors can have a very merry Christmas. People get less as government gets more."


—Albert Rocha

"How can you morally justify this?"


—Adrian Oceguera

Scarber retrial?

What happened: Convicted rapist Spencer Scarber's motion for a new trial reads like a conspiracy novel: He says he was beaten and coerced into confessing that he raped a woman at knifepoint in July 2011.

What it means: Scarber's attorney, Charles Magill, is arguing that political complications clouded the investigation, and he says an agency other than the Fresno County Sheriff's Office should have investigated the case. Scarber has been in Fresno County Jail since being returned from Mexico, where he fled in the middle of his trial.

What readers said:

"Drama, Drama. This is true soap opera in Fresno County!"


—Sandy Moore

"You people talking about 'drama' forget there's a very real victim of this creep."


—David Martin

Heckling Brown

What happened: Gov. Jerry Brown, who has championed environmental causes, has been targeted in recent weeks by an increasingly vocal group of activists whose animosity would once have appeared improbable.

What it means: Environmentalists frustrated with Brown's permissiveness of hydraulic fracturing have heckled the Democratic governor at events throughout the state. The protests have become an awkward sideshow for the third-term governor as he prepares for a re-election bid next year.

What readers said:

"The idiots that keep these goofs in office are to blame and in turn they deserve everything the liberal nuts give them…"


—Charles Greco

"I think Brown has handled the fracking issue as well as can be expected, so far. It's too much of an economic boost to not do it, but he really does need to be careful on where it's allowed, and keep careful controls over what's done, and that it's done safely. Much of this state relies on groundwater, so, if fracking chemicals leach into our water table, many areas of the Central Valley would be royally screwed."


—Matt Jacobs


Catching Up is compiled by Bee editors. Go to to comment or learn more about these stories.

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