Thumbs down to Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin for the city's refusal to write a summary of Doug Vagim's proposed ballot initiative aimed at repealing recent water-rate hikes. On Monday, Superior Court Judge Bruce M. Smith said that the city must have the summary completed by 4 p.m. this coming Friday. We support the water-rate increases; they are vital to the city's future. But with these stalling and blocking tactics, Swearengin sends a message that she doesn't trust Fresno voters to do what's best for the city.
Thumbs up to the Filipino-American Association for its rapid response to Typhoon Haiyan. The association's center in Fresno served as the Valley hub for local relief efforts. Over the first two days alone, nearly 80 large shipping boxes were filled with clothes and food, and nearly $1,770 was collected for typhoon victims. In 2009, the organization -- made up of the X's & O's Basketball Foundation, the Magkaisa Filipino Club of Fresno State, the Filipino Catholic League and the Filipino-American Association of Fresno & Vicinity -- provided relief for Typhoon Ketsana victims.
Thumbs up to our Valley community for its support of the 2013 St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway, which which raised $1,053,200 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. De Young Properties has been a major donor and builder of seven St. Jude Dream Homes, helping to raise $6.5 million to help children fight cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases. This year's home was won by Lynn and Gary Higdon of Riverdale.
Thumbs up to the Girl Power Club at Lowell Elementary School for giving a green makeover to a corner of Dickey Playground in downtown Fresno. Club members planted the first of about 10 Aristocratic pear trees at the park. The city also is planting grass on space formerly occupied by a barracks-style building.
Thumbs up to brothers Bob and Tom Link for their family's 72 years of service to Tulare County men's and women's wear customers. The Links are closing their downtown Visalia shop after a developer offered to buy the building with plans to convert the second story into residential units.