Thumbs up to Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr for being named Jan. 20 to his first Pro Bowl, replacing Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. A former Fresno State quarterback, he is the first Raiders QB to be named to the bowl since 2002. The only other Raiders QBs to earn the honor are Daryle Lamonica of Clovis, Ken Stabler and Jeff Hostetler. Carr has started all 32 games over his first two NFL seasons and is the first offensive player to do that in Raiders history. Boom! The Pro Bowl will be played Jan. 31 and televised live on ESPN from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. Aloha, Derek!
Thumbs down to Gov. Jerry Brown for his mishandling of his proposed California Water Fix involving the construction of twin tunnels in the Delta in his State of the State speech Jan. 21.
It was a strange move for a governor who is highly invested in dealing with California’s water issues. He started the speech by giving voters well-deserved praise for passing the water bond in 2014. Then he went too far, conflating the California Water Fix with that bond, trying to link one with the other. Worse, he didn’t mention that he doesn’t trust voters to have a say in whether they believe his Water Fix will work.
And nowhere in his 2,400-word speech did Gov. Brown touch on the thought that as the Sacramento River – which makes up 80 percent of the Delta’s water – is siphoned south, water from our San Joaquin River and its tributaries will be needed to hold back saltwater incursion from ruining the West Coast’s largest estuary. He never explained how a much smaller river can do the work of the mighty Sacramento River.
Perhaps such detail is too complicated, too complex or too inconvenient. The governor’s scant mention of the tunnels and the linked video is probably a soft launch to the coming campaign, which is likely to be ferocious. By burying the point in a video link, the governor was hiding the ball.
Thumbs up to California Highway Patrol Officer Sgt. Hector Madrigal for being commended by the commissioner Jan. 22. He saved an unconscious truck driver last May, actually climbing into a moving big rig and stopping it as it headed toward a commercial building. He performed CPR after pulling the driver out of the truck. CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow presented the Commissioner’s Unit Citation as part of the Safety and Farm Labor Vehicle Education Program. Now that’s an action film scene waiting to hit the big screen.
Thumbs up to Shawn Riggins of Fresno and the YouthBuild program for its excellent results in avoiding recidivism in young offenders. We give a big hand to those young people who successfully have turned their lives in a new direction, despite poor influences early in life. A new study shows that the program cuts the rate of young offenders being convicted of another crime within a year to 11 percent, compared with the national rate of 21 percent to 33 percent one-year recidivism. But nine of the YouthBuild programs with intensive programming for court-involved youths, including Fresno, had just 1 percent of those students convicted of another crime within a year! Riggins is director of the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commision’s Local Conversation Corps and leads YouthBuild locally. We hope those good results can be sustained and prove to hold fast many years later for the young people. More! More!
Thumbs up to the 85 volunteers from Kaiser Permanente Fresno for helping to clean up and beautify The Poverello House as part of its annual Day of Service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In a partnership with Home Depot and HandsOn Central California, a new gazebo in the Village and Community of Hope was part of the contribution, despite the rainy weather. According to Kaiser, this is the 11th consecutive year its Fresno employees have spent their holiday by volunteering with nonprofit organizations in the community. What a terrific tradition to carry on, this year selecting Poverello House, which serves the region’s homeless and needy families.