Will Rep. Ocasio-Cortez visit Fresno? Councilmembers extend invite – and give Grizzlies swag

Fresno City Councilmembers Miguel Arias and Esmeralda Soria presented a special gift to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday morning in Washington, D.C.: Fresno Grizzlies swag.

The Grizzlies, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, created a national furor when the club showed a video at Chukchansi Park on Memorial Day that included a comparison of Ocasio-Cortez to dictators Fidel Castro and Kim Jong-un.

Ocasio-Cortez, the high-profile and self-described progressive from New York, responded on Twitter to the video and similar attacks, saying such messages pose a threat to her safety.

The Grizzlies said that the employee responsible for selecting the video has been reprimanded, and the organization apologized for showing the video, what team president Derek Franks called a “grievous error.”

Arias and Soria said in a statement that they spent Tuesday and Wednesday meeting with several members of Congress “to discuss the need for the successful passage of the Dream Act and the lack of clean drinking water in too many communities.

“We also had the opportunity to meet with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to discuss these matters and to apologize for an honest mistake that occurred over Memorial Weekend. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was gracious with her time and expressed her support for our Grizzly organization and city.

“We also extended to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez an invitation to join other national leaders in visiting our city to hear directly from residents about the need for clean water, health care and jobs.”

There was no immediate word on Ocasio-Cortez’s reaction, but she did pose for a photo with the Fresno councilmembers holding a Grizzlies T-shirt.

Arias and Soria said Rep. TJ Cox, D-Fresno, helped arrange the meeting with Ocasio-Cortez “allowing us to put this social media distraction behind and refocus serving our communities together.”

“I was happy to help connect the Fresno councilmembers with Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez,” Cox said. “We should all take every opportunity we can to be kind, empathetic, and forgiving.”

Rep. Jim Costa also was part of the meeting. He later tweeted a photo and said the Grizzlies did the right thing by apologizing. “Lets move on to important issues like clean drinking water for the Valley. Play ball!” he tweeted.

One Twitter user said if AOC does visit Fresno, City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld might not be too happy.

Bredefeld responded, saying he’d laugh.

The Bee has reached out to the Fresno Grizzlies. Officials with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s office declined to comment.

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