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May 23, 2024 38 mins
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So there's a story in the localnews that the City of Fresno is planning
to do some stuff with this biglot near chik Chancy Park. They want
to put in a big parking garageand a new housing unit. It's going

to be discussed on the Thursday citycouncil meeting. Basically that they want to
build an affordable housing unit and aparking garage on this one lot that's just
south of chi Chancy Park. Sobasically there's a lot. Basically it's bounded

by let's see, what are thestreets here, corner of the corner of
H Street and Mono Street in downtownFresno, sort of south of chik Chancy
Park. So and it goes alongH Street as far as in you,

and it kind of stops it inyou, all right. So it's actually
it's right next to the big parkinglot that people use for parking to go
to Grizzlies games. Now I amsort of questioning this a little bit.
And granted I'm coming from a placeof not knowing all the ins and outs,

but I think there are some questions. I think the whole project of
downtown revitalization is just completely fraud rightnow due to a number of problems.
One the disastrous developments that have happenedover the last several years with the high
speed rail that which is going tobe a signature building block component of our

downtown revitalization efforts over the next twentyyears. Building this big new high speed
rail station which was sold to Fresno. And let's recall that the citizens of
Fresno County voted for the ballot initiativeto establish the high speed rail, a
majority of Fresno County voted for it. The high speed rail was sold to

Fresno as this will be the greatconnector. It's going to connect Fresno to
the rest of California. You know, a high speed rail system connecting you
know, Los Angeles to San Francisco, you know San Diego, San Francisco,
and Fresno will be a hub init. And this will allow Fresno
to This will fundamentally transform the economyof the San Lanquin Valley, will give
us connection to the rest of thestate that we've never been able to have

before. Well, that fundamental promiseis no more. All we have a
commitment for and boy, the statelegislature and state legislators from Los Angeles are
really grouse have been grousing about thisfor years now. The only commitment we
really have right now is Mercaid tobake Field, that the high speed rail

is going to go from Merced toBakersfield. We're struggling to get the funding
even to complete that. Even thatis ludicrously expensive. And the you know,
the the commitment from Governor Newsom,who's not going to be around forever,
by the way, who's going tobe out of office, you know,

this time two years from now,and maybe we have a pharaoh who
knows not, you know, apharaoh who knows not Joseph in the governor's
office two years from now. Thecommitment from Governor Newsom is we're going to
finish the Merced to Bakersfield stretch toestablish the viability of the broader system.

And there's nothing about a Merced toBakersfield train that demonstrates the viability of a
train that's supposed to connect San Franciscoto La Nothing about the conditions between of
travel within the San Joaquin Valley isat all similar to the conditions of travel

that would have to take place fora genuine San Francisco to La connection even
down to like logistical construction legal Okay, you know, if you're using eminent
domain to seize a corner of farmerMcGregor's field out in the middle of nowhere,

you know, north of Madera somewhere, that is a lot less costly
than trying to seize property in downtownSan Francisco, or property you know in
Burbank or something for the high speedrail to go through. It's also,
I think also there's the just aphysical engineering difficulty building the high speed rail

across the San Joaquin Valley. We'resaid to Bakersfield, which is the flattest,
least populous, least mountainous stretch ofthe high speed rail is going to
be a lot easier and does notdemonstrate the viability of building, you know,
trying to build a high speed railtrain where you have to somehow blast

through the grapevine. You can't reallygo over the grapevine, it's too steep,
So you got to blast through thegrapevine somehow through the mountains. You've
got two different sets of mountains.You got to figure out how to cross.
You got to figure out how tobuild a train. That's able to
withstand being built over the San Andreasfault. Anyway, the high speed rail

station is supposed to be this bighub of downtown Fresno revitalization, and I
just don't think very many people aregoing to use it. And the estimates
for the number of people who aregoing to use the high speed rail they
keep going down. As has youknow, with the development of Tesla did

not exist in two thousand and four, the continued development of electric cars and
California's California's commitment to this wasn't mycommitment, California's commitment that by twenty thirty
five, one hundred percent of allthe new cars being sold in the state
are going to be electric cars.With that commitment from the state, the

reasons for building the high speed rail, the environmental reasons for building the high
speed rail, get fewer people drivinggas power of cars, that rationale is
going down. So I just don'tthink a lot. We're going to build
this big train station, and Ijust wonder how quickly it's going to turn
into a husk. I just wonderhow quickly it's going to look like an

abandoned Greyhound station. Added on tothat, the city had all these grand
plans for downtown revitalization that we're premisedaround this promise from the State of California
made in the bumper days of twentytwenty two. So in those rosy sunshine

days for the state budget where wehad a big old budget surplus because the
state was flush with federal COVID money, Governor Newsom makes this grand pledge to
good old Jerry Dyer. Hey,Jerry, we're going to give you two
hundred and fifty million dollars for downtowndevelopment. Here's the first fifty and then

in twenty twenty three we'll give youone hundred million, and then in twenty
twenty four we'll give you one hundredmillion. Wow. Thank you so much,
mister Governor. This is great.I Jerry Dyer, trust your promises.
I shouldn't be too mean to JerryDyer about all this. I mean,
you know, Newsom is the onlygovernor he is able to deal with.

So you know that's the whatever promisehe can get is the promise he
can get. It's not his faultthat Gavin Newsom is not great on keeping
promises. So twenty twenty three comesalong. Oh sorry, city friends,
No, you know that one hundredmillion dollars we were supposed to give you
this year and one hundred million dollarsnext year. We're gonna just bump that

to next year. We're gonna we'regonna delay that by one year cause the
state budget is facing a massive deficitin twenty twenty three. Now that we're
out of the sunshine days of twentytwenty two, where we're a dishing out,
you know, grants left and right, giving a million dollars to a
planned parenthood clinic and Fresno just forfunzies. No, sorry, guys,
we're out of money. So we'regonna bump your one hundred million dollars instead

of twenty three and twenty four,we're gonna bump it to twenty four to
twenty five. Then last week wehear, oh, sorry, guys,
we gotta bump it by another year. So now it's gonna be in twenty
five twenty six. So the city'splan for this lot, and again this

is the proposal here is it's thislot bordered by H Street and Mono Street,
a sort of Inyo H Street,Mono Street or sort of the streets
that are sort of nearby. It'sthe This is the lot that's right next
to the main parking lot that peopleuse for going to Grizzlies games. We're

gonna take this lot and we're gonnaturn it into lower income housing plus a
parking garage the point. And we'regoing to use that first installment of fifty
million dollars to pay for it.Now, the idea for the two hundred

and fifty MILI was to help supportprojects like this, build more parking struct
matures, build more housing units.You know. I think the city's plan
was to have you know, partof the way to revitalize downtown is we
need more people to live there.We need more people to live there in

order to sustain more businesses. SoI think the overall plan with Okay,
if we have all this two hundredand fifty million dollars, is to do
all the infrastructure and building necessary forten thousand more people to live in downtown
Fresno. Okay, it's an ambitiousgoal, understandable goal. You want more

people there that will support more businesses, that will help revitalize downtown. So
we're going to use this fifty millionjust for that. But the problem is,
from my way of looking at it. You know, halfway doing something

is almost can in certain circumstances,almost be worse than doing nothing at all.
So I guess this is my fear. We've got this money, so
we're gonna build housing, We're gonnabuild a parking lot, will put in

some more people. But if thattwo hundred million dollars never comes through,
and that is, by the way, my prediction, I don't think that
two hundred million is ever coming,or at the very least, I think
it's gonna get delayed far enough outthat it's gonna be in the hands of

another governor. Basically, the problemthe state faces is that our normal for
the state budget is going to bedeficits for the foreseeable future. California is
way dependent on a really rather smallband of high income taxpayers, a relatively

small number of people who are sustainingthe entire tens of billions of dollars state
budget through they're paying a very highincome taxes and particularly very high capital gains
taxes, and the amount that thestate has been collecting in capital gains taxes
especially has dropped like a stone basicallyfrom like twenty two to twenty I think

it was from twenty one to twentytwo or twenty two to twenty three,
the amount of capital gains taxes droppedby like eighteen billion dollars. So basically
people were selling off their assets andnot wanting to invest in California or pulling
their investments from California. Capital gainstax, by the way, that's the

tax that you pay for selling aninvestment, some kind of investment, either
real estate, property or stock orsomething. So when you buy a stock
at X value, the value ofthe stock increases by let's say, the
value of the stock increases by amillion dollars. When you sell that stock,

you then pay capital gains tax onit. But it's only when you
sell it. You don't pay taxon gains that you have not yet realized.
You have to realize them by sellingthe stock first. Anyway, we're
getting way less revenue from that.So I guess this is the question that
needs to be asked for the citycouncil. What if the other two hundred
million doesn't come through, is itwise then to build this housing unit here

and this parking garage If the restof the downtown revitalization program is just not
happening, we'll dig into that questionmore after the break. This is the
John Girardi Show on Power Talk.The city wants to buy this lot,
or well, the city wants todevelop rather this lot just south of Grizzly

Stadium into a housing unit and aparking garage, using the first fifty million
dollars of the total of two hundredand fifty million dollars that the State of
California has pledged to give for downtowndevelopment. I think someone's got to ask
some questions about, you know,the idea of a job half done,

of a job half done or inthis case, one fifth done, and
whether that is worse than a jobnot done at all. So let me
explain, we're going to use partof the first fifty million dollars that the
State of California gave us for downtowndevelopment. And again the idea was fifty

million dollars in twenty twondred million intwenty three, one hundred million twenty twenty
four. Then that got pushed to, well, instead of twenty three and
twenty four, we'll do it intwenty four to twenty five, And now
it's been pushed to Okay, well, we'll hit you up in twenty five,
twenty six. So who knows ifthat two hundred million is coming in
My guess is that it's going tocontinue being kicked down the can as we

have, you know, deficit budgetafter deficit budget, year after year in
California, and that eventually we willget to a point where maybe it's not
Governor Newsom, maybe it's governor somebodyelse who says, hey, Fresno,
we don't have this money. We'renot going to give it to you.
I know Gavin Newsom pledged it,but I'm not going to give it.

Sorry. I think the city kindof needs to just plan as if that
two hundred million's never coming. That'smy thought. I think they need to
start planning as if that two hundredmillion might never come, because I don't
think it will. And so here'sthe thing. Yes, that two hundred

fifty million was in part designed tosustain one more housing in downtown Fresno at
a population of about ten thousand,additional people to downtown Fresno that will help
support and sustain businesses. There areparts of downtown Fresno that are ghost towns,
that are sparsely populated. Basically,we can't really sustain enough business down

there. We don't have enough peopledown there, so let's have more people
down there. To have more people, you need more housing, all right.
If you're gonna have more people,you're gonna have more business. You
need more parking. Parking has alwaysbeen a problem in downtown Fresno. Let's
build more parking, okay, butthe other But then there's the other less
sexy stuff that we were supposed todo with that two hundred and fifty million.

There was a lot of stuff withsewer, basically sewer stuff that needed
to be revitalized, water drainage stuffthat needed to be revitalized, and that's
what a lot of that money wasgoing towards. I guess I'm sort of
wondering if we're going to use thisfirst fifty million. Are we using this

first fifty million the right way?Should we? How would we be using
this first fifty million if we thoughtthis is the only fifty million that we
are going to get from the state. Obviously, it seems like we're a
little hemmed in as far as thekinds of things we can use the money
on. Has to be for downtown, has to be for certain kinds of
development, and I'm sure, thereare more strings attached to this money,

but I sort of wonder, like, are there other things that we need
to do that are are there?Basically, what is the wisest way to
use this If this is all we'regoing to get, And that's the thing,
I'm afraid this is all we're goingto get. Are we going to

have enough as far as infrastructure tosupport the new people coming into this housing
unit? Is just building one lowerincome housing unit? How much is that
going to help sustain business growth downtown? Are we just going to bring in

more people who aren't sustaining business growth? I mean, is this going to
be a middle class community that's comingin. I mean, certainly people who
are sub middle class need a placeto live. I mean that that's critically
important. I guess I'm just notsure that this development is going to really
vitalize you know, you know,booming businesses in downtown or the hottest the

hottest restaurant in Fresno. Is thisnew place in downtown everyone's talking about.
People are coming from all of thecity. You have to at some point
be able to build and sustain businessesthat people want to drive from Northeast Fresno.
To go to go visit and gosee and I don't know that we're
I don't know that just doing thisis going to sustain it. And maybe

it's unreasonable to expect that. Andhonestly, I saw this in I think
it was in the Fresno b thisidea in politics that there is a good
answer, that there's always some goodanswer, there's something that someone should be

doing to fix the problem, there'sa fix for the problem. Where After
Governor Knwsom announced, yeah, we'redelaying the two hundred million dollars by a
second year to Fresno, Fresno Bhas this editorial saying that the city leaders
need to hold Gavin Newsom accountable forhis promise to bring to bring this pledged

fund to the city of Fresno.How that's easy to say in an editorial,
they need to hold him accountable.Newsom has no accountability. Newsom has
won three elections. Now he's inhis second term. He's not running for
reelection anymore. He's not account Hedoesn't need to give a flying rip about

what voters think. Nobody's gonna tryand recall him again after the disaster of
the first recall. Accountability what doyou mean accountability? He made a dumb
promise when the state was flush withmoney, and now he realizes he can't
follow through with it because we havedeficit. What do you mean accountability?

Guys, there just might not bea solution for this. We might have
just totally screwed up downtown development.Through one the high speed rail, which
construction is taking flipping forever. We'regonna have this big old train station that's
supposed to have all these businesses andall these things that for a train that
I just that both I doubt andthe research is indicating fewer and fewer people

are interested in riding on. SoI don't know who's going to all these
people who are allegedly going to beat this train station supporting all these businesses,
allegedly building one new lower income housingunit with this fifty million dollars,
And maybe there's more we can build. I don't know. Maybe I'm overstating
this, but we're limited in howmuch more housing we can build if we're

not also going to use the othertwo hundred million dollars for infrastructure stuff,
for sewage stuff, water drainage stuff, all the other stuff you need to
sustain this grand plan of ten thousandmore people living in downtown. Maybe we're
just completely screwed. You've got theagain, it's not just that the high
speed rail is not a lot ofpeople are gonna write it in the meantime

until it's established. It's completely gunkingup downtown with all the construction that's taking
forever to actually build the stinking thing. I don't know, like, well,
well, we got to be sureto hold Gavin Newsom accountable for that
money. We can't hold him accountable. He's accountable to nobody. He fears

neither God nor man. Even whenhe was up for reelection, What does
he care if every single person inthe city of Fresno votes against him,
He'd still win with sixty percent ofthe vote. He fundamentally doesn't give a
rats behind about being accountable for Again, what was probably just a dumb promise

he made for the one year whereour state had a big old budget surplus
because we had a bunch of COVIDmoney, And he's probably just regretting it
now. All right, when wereturn, I want to talk about this
as far as my long running opinionthat the central value should be its own
state illness happened, but why itshould be its own state and the idea

of what a state is or shouldbe. Next on The John Girardi Show,
I want to talk about my longstanding belief that the Central Valley,
the San Joaquin Valley, should beits own state, even though I'm somewhat
ambivalent about this because I think everyproject for splitting the state of California up
is kind of a helpless lost causeand doomed to fail just because of the

basic political realities of the US Senate. If you actually created a state called
San Joaquin, basically the way thatyou do it that people first have to
understand, how do you create anew state? How does a new state

come into being? Well, basicallyyou need a vote on the part of
whatever existing state the proposed new stateis being created out of. Okay,
So the California State Legislature would haveto vote to say, yes, we
are authorizing the approval of the establishmentof a new state to be separated from

US in California based on this territory. So the State of California would have
to vote for it, and Congresswould have to vote for it. And
there's no way that's going to happen. All right, First, I just

highly doubt that state legislators would gofor it. I don't know that a
lot of our Central Valley legislators wouldeven go for it, even the Democrat
most of the Democrat legislators, Idon't know that they'd actually go for it.
They like the Central I mean,the Central Valley, for one thing,
gives California a bunch of extra electoralCollege votes every presidential cycle. And

the only way that Congress would voteto approve it is if there was some
kind of even split as far asthe likely new Senate seats that we'd be
generated by creating a new state.So they're not going to vote to establish
a new state of Central California.If that's going to just give Republicans two
more seats in the US Senate.Democrats are not going to stand for that.

They would want to, you know, simultaneously create some other Democrat stronghold
state that would guarantee them to extraSenate seats and plus Democrats really like getting
that big fat stack of however manyelectoral College votes California has, I think
it's about fifty. California gives theDemocrat candidate for president fifty electoral college votes

every single election, so Democrats don'twant to give that up. That's the
only way they that's like the cornerstone, the foundational building block of Democrats winning
presidential elections is they start with thishuge fifty electoral college vote advantage. So
they're not going to give that up. They don't want to risk that.

So it's never going to happen.Let me preface that, but by rights
it should. Let me explain whyI think a lot of us just kind
of accept the boundaries of the currentfifty American states as a given, like
this is just the way it is, California being as big as it is

both physically but also population wise,and I think both are important. Actually,
it's just kind of taken as thisas a given. Well, that's
just how California is. And peoplemeet proposals for splitting the state into smaller
states with a mixture of bewilderment andlike, that's ridiculous. Why would you

split up California? As if theboundaries of the state of California were drawn
by the hand of God himself?What is a state? What is a
state supposed to be? Now,the founding fathers had all read their Aristotle.

They were all sort of educated westernmen, had all read Aristotle's political theory,
and they were also reading Enlightenment thinkerspolitical theory. But I think there's
still a decent bit of Aristotle that'ssort of rattling around in them. And
Aristotle's politics, one of the thingshe does is kind of describes what a

polus is supposed to be, andthe polis, the Greek word polis polis
was kind of the main building blockof governance of political communities in ancient In
the ancient Greek world in which Aristotlewas writing, the polis that was sort

of the central political entity, sortof like the way countries are today.
That's sort of what polises were,and alis for Aristotle was basically a city
center and its outlying rural environs,the suburbs, the smaller villages, smaller

cities surrounding the big city, soAthens and its surrounding area, Sparta and
its surrounding area. That was sortof the most fundamental way that Plato and
Aristotle, Greek political thinkers, theway they thought of politics was with the
building block of the polis. Soa polis for Aristotle made sense as a

community bound together by shared ties ofloyalty, affection, love that's based in
sort of various kinds of commonalities.We are all this kind of a people,
this kind of a people with thiskind of in this for Aristyle,

this kind of a racial background,this kind of a shared history, this
kind of a shared religion, thiskind of shared devotion and cults to these
particular kinds of gods. This kindof people does this kind of thing.
And you could see with the differentcity states of Greece, the different pulleys

of Greece, that their form ofgovernment even was different from place to place,
depending on the character of the city. So one of the things people
talk about Athens was the first truedemocracy. That's true, but all of
the city states of Greece had,or many of the major city states of

Greece, most of them did havesome form of basically an ability for the
citizenry to vote as a body oncertain kinds, on laws of different kinds.
Okay, so they weren't. It'snot like Athens was the one government
that wasn't a monarchy and everyone elsewas a monarchy. Even city states like

Sparta that had some kind of monarchy. They actually had two hereditary monarchical lines
in Sparta. Even in those placesthere was some sort of assembly or boult
as the Greek word was, wherepeople would vote on stuff, and the
idea was Greece was characterized by what'scalled hoplight warfare, where the standard fighter

was a hoplight, a heavily armedinfantry infantryman. Where the idea in the
ancient Greek world was that you providedyour own gear. Okay, so it's
your sword that you paid for,your helmet, your armor that you paid
for, and you served as ahoplight defending the city, defending the police.

And basically the idea was, well, if you're fighting, you get
a vote on whether or not wego to fight. So pretty much every
city state had some sort of mechanismfor and this is also a little bit
reflected in the Roman Republic and itsrepublican system that a lot of their voting
bodies of the citizenry were There wasone in particular that was almost set up

like a military unit. So basicallythe idea was if you fight, you
get to vote. And Athens thereform of warfare was actually, yes,
they did do hotlight warfare, butalso they had a navy. They were
the most developed naval power in theAgan world. And to be in the

navy you just needed to pull anore, You just needed to row.
You didn't need to have all themoney to afford all the expensive hotplight armor.
So hey, if I'm going tobe on this boat rowing to go,
if to fight in this war,I should have a vote too.
And that's part of the reason whysome people think that Athens in particular was

a democracy. Was more spread outanyway, So sorry to get on that
tangent. That's why more Athenians votedthan did Spartans or Thebans or whatever.
So the character of the place iswhat made the political community, that all
of these people who are bound togetherby common interest, economic interests, social

interest, religious interests. Aristotle probablywould have emphasized more so than we would
today racial and religious union. Unity. But these common ties of affection and
love that give you sort of anidentity as I am this kind of a
person. And when you look atCalifornia, do we really have that?

I mean, when someone asks me, are you a Californian? I mean
I don't really identify as a Californian. I don't think of myself as first
and foremost a Californian. I mightsay I'm an American, or I'm from

Fresno, I'm from the San JoaquinValley. I have a much stronger cultural
life experience. I have many moreties of love and loyalty and affection to
the San Joaquin Valley, having grownup here and lived here and loved the
people here. I care about thosethings I'm about. I'm far more different.

Basically, I have a lot morecommonality with people from Nebraska than I
do with people from San Francisco.And I think the Founding fathers were like,
all right, well we have allthese different colonies that were established,
and they were all established by groupsthat were very similar. Okay, the
people in the Virginia Colony, theywere all Anglicans, and most of them

were they were English settlers for this. This this everyone in Pennsylvania had all
these Quakers in Pennsylvania. They wereall this one kind of people. A
Massachusetts, We're all people this otherkind of people. A lot of them,
you know, were Puritan settlers,had this kind of religious background,
they had this kind of economic interest. The original colonies sort of made sense

as political entities sort of in theway that the Greek city states did,
and your political life was chiefly livedunder the founder's vision of federalism at your
state capital. That was the keything. That's why we were United States,
a group of thirteen states almost prettymuch like little countries that united together

for certain kinds of federal purposes asestablished in the US Constitution, which is
a restrictive, exhaustive list of Basically, the federal government can only do what
is enumerated in here. So thatwas sort of the idea was, let's

have states that people with your politicallife has chiefly lived in your state,
because that is your version of theGreek polis centered around your state capital,
the outlying rural areas surrounding it,and your care your concerner with the economy

of that region, the culture ofthat region, the health and well being
of that region, and that's whereyou focused your political energies. We don't
have that in California. We arefundamentally governed by people in Sacramento who are
from the Bay Area, who arefrom la and who fundamentally don't care about
us. They're not from here.They don't care about agriculture, they don't

care about the things that we careabout that fundamentally is why I think California
should be split up into different states. I think this state is fundamentally not
a natural political community. When wereturn, just to close out the show,
Oh my gosh, do you knowwhy that one women's basketball player from
Iowa is popular? It's only becauseshe's white. Liberal sports writers at it

again next on the John Girardi Show. So I don't know how many of
you know who Jamel Hill is.Jamel Hill was a female sportswriter who worked
for ESPN for a while and basicallygot herself fired from ESPN by being a
huge liberal jerk. And she hassince just failed continued to fail upward basically

because she's so liberal. People justkeep giving her more and more prestigious jobs
and she just plays the same notesall the time. Caitlyn Clark is a
basketball player in the WNBA. Now, she was a very famous college basketball
player at Iowa. She was extremelyexciting. Lots and lots of people were

watching women's college basketball. Actually itwas getting better ratings than men's college basketball
several points over the last two yearsbecause of her. And she thinks it's
racist. Why because Caitlyn Clark iswhite and not a lesbian, and it's
problem that she's so popular. Okay, I mean, what do we want?

Finally women's basketball is getting some popularityand this gal has to be the
turd in the punch bowl. Oh, it's not gay enough, and it's
bad that she's white. All right, that'll do it, John Girardi Show,
See you next time on Power Talk.
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