Clovis News

Valley week in review (March 14-20)

Some stories really stir people up.

Three stories in particular fueled heated discussion online last week: a case of student vandalism, a conflict-of-interest concern about a top school district administrator and a sex-discrimination suit against the Fresno Fire Department.

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

Tempest over trees

What happened: Parents of five Central High School seniors who chopped down a pair of campus trees used by juniors for shade launched a legal battle to stop administrators from transferring the boys to a continuation school to finish the year.

What it means: Public reaction was quick and harsh. Hundreds of readers heaped scorn on the teens, their parents, their lawyers and nearly everyone else involved, including news outlets.

What readers said:

"A 'prank' is putting toilet paper on the trees or something similar. Cutting down trees is vandalism."

-- buddyk69

"Why were they not arrested? I am tired of local media referring to this as a prank. It is a crime and they should be held accountable in court. The taxpayers are the victims. The parents did a poor job of raising these kids. If they cut down my tree, they would be arrested, whatever their motive."

-- sacmakk

"What I don't understand is, now that the kids and their parents have publicly admitted what was done, why hasn't the Fresno District Attorney stepped in formally charged these kids? FRESNO DISTRICT ATTORNEY, PLEASE SERVE THE PUBLIC AND FILE CHARGES AGAINST THESE KIDS. THANK YOU!"

-- primal

City loses ruling

What happened: A federal judge on Monday affirmed a nearly $2.5 million gender discrimination verdict in favor of a woman who was forced out of the Fresno Fire Department's training academy.

What it means: The cash-strapped city now must decide between two expensive option -- pay or appeal.

What readers said:

"This is a sad day for the City of Fresno and all us taxpayers. She just totally took advantage of the system. She knew what she was doing."

-- rudy1

"Racial and gender discrimination is tolerated in Fresno and it shouldn't be. That is the message of this case."

-- GratefulFresno

Fiber fans

What happened: Fresno joined Clovis and Merced in jumping on the Google Fiber bandwagon, seeking selection as a test city for the Internet giant's proposed high-speed data network. What it means: Hard to know. Google has said little about what it's planning to build, what it would cost residents to use, how practical the benefit would be for consumers and what the company would get out of the deal.

What readers said:

"Fresno can ether try to rally together to get Google to build a fiber network or have to foot the bill a few years down the road at cost of millions to all of us."

-- Trowa

"Imagine the feather in Google's cap if it can advertise that it is saving lives, and making lives richer and better through its high-speed connection capability."

-- dthurley

Quinto speaks

What happened: Fresno Unified School District deputy superintendent Ruth Quinto issued a statement Monday for the first time responding to conflict-of-interest concerns by the county grand jury. She acknowledged doing consulting work for a developer but left unanswered many questions about the arrangement. What it means: Quinto did the work for a project she had championed as a top city official. Documents and interviews obtained by The Bee show the work would be allowable only if she performed it after leaving City Hall and only if her new employer, Fresno Unified, approved it.

What readers said:

"We the people in the Valley have such low self-esteem and standards that we continue to allow ourselves to be led by people of questionable integrity and morals."

-- CentralCalNative

"This is just the tip of the iceberg."

-- djkc

More water

What happened: On Tuesday federal officials announced a five-fold increase in the west Valley irrigation supply for summer, citing recent rains.

What it means: The news is good for farmers in the short run. But a highly-anticipated report by an independent science panel on Friday offered a mixed verdict on environmental restrictions that have curbed pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

What readers said:

"The administration is throwing us table scraps and hoping we don't notice the feast they have planned for their envionmental interest friends."

-- RhettButler

"Hello? Anyone getting the feeling we in the San Joaquin Valley were again set up?"

-- keymac

Twist of the week

What happened: Fresno police on Wednesday arrested a man who reportedly lost control of his motorcycle, dumped his female passenger in the street, then sped away. The woman suffered only scrapes and bruises.

What readers said:"Next time, just text me, OK?"

-- shanduh