Political Notebook

Arambula uses expletives in fiery comments to fellow Democrats

Kingsburg Democrat Joaquin Arambula
Kingsburg Democrat Joaquin Arambula

Angry or passionate? Inappropriate or honest?

Earlier this week, state Assembly hopeful Joaquin Arambula addressed the Fresno County Democratic Central Committee, and his fiery talk included some expletives.

Arambula is running against Fresno Republican Clint Olivier for the 31st District Assembly seat, which is vacant after Fresno Democrat Henry T. Perea resigned Dec. 31. The special election to fill Perea’s unexpired term is April 5. That will be followed by a regular election for a full two-year term.

“He didn’t lose his temper,” Arambula campaign manager Richard McIntyre said this week of the comments. “He was just being passionate and expressing his emotions in a nonpolitical manner.”

McIntyre said Arambula “is a very passionate person. He feels very strongly about issues. Sometimes that passion can come across as anger, and it can seem over the top at times… His challenge – our challenge – is to make sure people know that is passion and not anger. He does see injustice and that does have an effect on him.”

Others wished Arambula hadn’t made the charged comments because labor icon and United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta and her son Emilio were guests at the meeting. Emilio Huerta, a Bakersfield Democrat, is running against incumbent Hanford Republican David Valadao (and fellow Democrat Daniel Parra of Fowler) for the 21st Congressional District seat.

Dee Barnes, president of the Fresno City Employees Association, was at the meeting and heard Arambula’s comments, which she noted were made to a closed group of Democratic Party supporters tasked with getting him elected to office. They weren’t the words she’d use, she said, but are more common among younger people.

“Everybody has different ideas on what language is appropriate and isn’t appropriate,” Barnes said. “I wouldn’t describe him as angry.”