Readers were mindful of people who might soon be out of a job -- Fresno teachers, Steve Cleveland. In between those concerns, they pondered redevelopment and heard from a newly minted opponent of high-speed rail plans.
Here are the top stories of the past week, along with selected comments posted by readers on fresnobee.com.
Teachers protest pink slips
What happened: Fresno Unified trustees revealed how many pink slips the district plans to hand teachers -- 257, which are expected to go out this week. In addition, the district plans to cut the jobs of 73 temporary teachers, who aren't subject to the March 15 notice requirement.
What it means: The announcement at Wednesday's board meeting set up a de facto referendum during the public comment period as mostly district personnel stood up and offered their suggestions for balancing the FUSD budget. Not surprisingly, many focused on Superintendent Michael Hanson's salary and on making cuts to administration.
What readers said:
"There are layers of bureaucratic busy-body middle managers in public education who's only job is maintaining their self-importance in their little fiefdoms while collecting their fat paychecks.
"That's where cuts need to be made first IMHO."
"It's pretty simple. If revenues are coming in at the rate they were in 2006/7 then salaries and benefits either need to be rolled back to that time or people need to be laid off. What else is there? Raise taxes to pay for the teachers and other government workers? I think not."
"So get rid of management jobs and testing. State and district tests waste millions in this state!"
"Dear teachers -- Sorry the citizens couldn't deliver on the promises your unions made."
Steve Cleveland watch begins
What happened: The Fresno State men's basketball team lost its opening-round game in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament, ending the season with a 14-17 record -- the fourth straight losing season under coach Steve Cleveland.
What it means: If sagging attendance for home games at the Save Mart Center wasn't a clear message, then many readers expressed a growing sentiment: It's time for a new coach.
What readers said:
"One and done!
"That's not a surprise and that is what is sad.
"Cleveland do the honorable thing and step down. If u really care about valley fans let someone that can produce wins take over.
"All the other WAC teams are running clean programs and apparently beating us all the time, so I know a clean program and more wins are out there we just need a coach that can do this."
"Tough way for Cleveland to end his tenure here."
"Coach Cleveland -- I appreciate the way you elevated the character of our team. I hope you get a chance to take this talent to the next level. Negativity isn't in your nature, but hope is. I hope the Bulldog fans will get past their disappointment and be grateful for the tremendous job you have done in getting not just talent but attitude turned around. Your team accepts accountability when they do poorly. That is a reflection on the coach. They learned humility and responsibility from you. They work hard. I am one grateful fan of Steve Cleveland!"
"You are delusional! This team had no attitude that's why they can't beat a decent team.
"But it's not the players fault, it's the coach's fault."
A strike against high-speed rail
What happened: House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy denounced California's current high-speed rail plans during a gathering with Capitol Hill beat reporters.
What it means: McCarthy, once an outspoken high-speed rail backer, now further clouds the future of the project because he wields a lot of congressional clout as the GOP's chief House of Representatives vote-wrangler.
What readers said:
"I agree McCarthy is right. I was taught to pay my bills first....are we as a state almost broke??"
"Excellent. As Majority Whip, McCarthy has the political clout to kill California HSR at the Federal level. Let's end this boondoggle now and widen Highway 99 throughout the Valley."
"Thanks Kevin McCarthy for keeping us enslaved in the rapidly descending spiral of oil hell. The USofA will be a backwoods also-ran in history's locker thanks to you.
"We could fire Kevin and all of his corporate bought and paid for slimeballs and take back our country."
Lofts in Clovis
What happened: The week was dominated by talk of spending redevelopment agency money, both in the Valley and around the state. But it started with Clovis considering a proposal to work with Granville Homes to build 35 loft-type condominiums above commercial and office space at the site of the old Clovis City Hall and the former state Department of Motor Vehicles office.
What it means: The project would mark a change in residential/commercial style for the city -- something that Mayor Harry Armstrong says might be too radical to consider because the area functions pretty well now.
What readers said:
"Mayor Armstrong's comments make sense to me. I wasn't aware that downtown Clovis had redevelopment issues of the type downtown Fresno does. After all, there's all those cool antique shops and restaurants there and during the summer it has the farmer's market. Maybe Clovis should focus on doing something about all the vacant retail establishments it has on Shaw Avenue and in the Sierra Vista Mall."
"I've always thought this is a great idea. I would seriously consider selling my house in Clovis to move into one of those depending on the final build out. Living in Old Town would be fun and very convenient."