Thumbs up, thumbs down

January 17, 2014 

Thumbs down to Tal Cloud, a Fresno businessman and political consultant. Common Sense Information, an independent political committee formed by Cloud, is airing radio commercials urging voters to contact Fresno City Council Members Lee Brand, Paul Caprioglio and Blong Xiong to express opposition to Mayor Ashley Swearengin's Bus Rapid Transit plan. The ads raise valid points of debate about the proposal, but they also rely on stereotypes and exaggeration in an attempt to incite irrational fear of the project.

Thumbs up to Noemi Rodriguez Paredes, a Fresno State freshman liberal studies major who is the Fresno Boys & Girls Club's Youth of the Year. Rodriguez Paredes graduated from Edison High in June with a 3.8 grade-point average and worked as an intern for Fresno City Council Member Oliver Baines. Her career goal is to become an elementary school teacher. Rosaura Aguilar, a junior at Gateway High, finished second, and Sanger High senior Erick Gomez placed third. A thumbs up, too, for Me-n-Ed's Pizza, title sponsor for the Youth of the Year dinner.

Thumbs up to Kerri Donis, an 18-year veteran of the Fresno Fire Department who was named the department's new chief on Tuesday. Donis moved to Fresno to play softball for Coach Margie Wright at Fresno State in 1987 and planted roots in the community. She is the first female fire chief in city history — a fact she downplayed at a news conference announcing her promotion. Said Donis: "I just hope to be a role model in a positive way. I think it is a great honor to be the fire chief, regardless of my gender."

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