All Episodes

May 21, 2024 38 mins
Mark as Played

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
I'm reading a story about a proposedapartment complex on Herndon Avenue in Fresno,
kind of a very way out weston Herndon, And basically the City of
Fresno Planning Commission has shot down thisidea for an apartment complex along Herndon Avenue.

This is, by the way,that the idea here is the city
is wanting to fund infill development.So stuff that's in the city when the
city limits that has building, thathas stuff built up surrounding vacant lots,

but we want to build up vacantlots. And so this is long Herndon
Avenue. It's just a little bitlooks like it's a little bit west of
Marx, between Mars and Valentine.And this idea, it was a proposal

for an apartment complex. And bythe way, this is on Herndon Avenue.
This is probably gonna be a higherrent apartment complex. No one's going
to be buying an apartment at Herndonand Marx. Who doesn't have a bit
of money, I would guess,you know, what do I know?

But that does seem to be thetrend. The trend seems to be one
of two things. You're either buildingluxury apartments for high end renters or you're
building state assisted quote lower income housing. There's really not much room in between.

Why, well, there's no otherway you're going to make money.
If you build for middle class renters, you can't make money. You're building
for people who are too high incomefor you to receive any subsidization from the
state, and you're not getting enoughmoney from the renters on the back end

because you're doing this for middle classpeople and try to have affordable rents.
So basically that those are the onlykinds of apartments that are being built nowadays,
is high end stuff that like youknow, a single nurse who's making
you know, well into six figuresthat she can afford, or you know,

a divorced lawyer can rent. Thoseare the kinds of projects that are
being built right now. And thisproject doesn't seem like it is going to
be like it's going to be eightytwo units, and it doesn't seem like

it's going to be lowering housing.The there's an article about this in gv
wire, noting that there's an articleabout it in gv wire noting that like
Section eight subsidies are not going tocover the cost of these rents. But
I'm very interested in the mix ofpeople who are lined up to support it

versus oppose it. All right,so supporting it is obviously the real estate
developer who is promoting it, plusMiguel Arius. Miguel Arius as a member
of the President City Council. He'ssupportive of it. But it's not in
his It's not in his district.This is in Mike Krbasi's district. But

I want to just point out allthe several of the people opposing it.
This is in a story from gvwire discussing it, which you know not
to be smirch. Every single personwho writes for GV wire everything about gv

wire. But gv wire is fundedby Granville Holmes. Okay, that's what
gv stands for. Okay, it'sowned by Darius Assimi. Mike Carbassi does
like a weekly radio show with DariusAssimi. Mike Carbossi, a member of
the President City Council, does aweekly radio show with a real estate developer.

Susan Wittrup, the president of thePresident Unified Board of Trustees. Now,
Carbasi was not supportive of this apartmentcomplex. He has opposed the project
in the past. He said hehad not received a request to appeal.

Susan Wittrup, who's the president ofthe president Unified Board of Trustees, spoke
at a hearing for the Planning Commissionin opposition to this, saying that basically
the purported objections to this project arethat it would increase traffic along this stretch

of Herndon Avenue and other sort ofrelated problems. Relating to traffic. Wittrup
testified and she said a multi unithousing complex of that size would obstruct emergency
responders ability to respond to calls,including to that of Taitarian Elementary School.

Safety and well being of our childrenmust be our top priority. Witrup wrote,
So, this is a story inGV wire. Mike Kerbot story in
gv wire discussing the apartment complex.Mike Carbassi, who is on a gv
wires show with Darius Assimi, isopposing this. Susan Wittrup, who is

dating Darius Assimi, opposes this.Now Sheriff John Zanoni spoke out about it.
I'm not sure why. I don'tknow if John Zanoni has any connection
with Darius Assimi or not. Idon't know. Maybe he lives in the
area and just dislikes I don't knowif there's any connection, but doesn't this

seem weird? It's a lot ofpeople who have connections to this one real
estate developer, all talking about thisapartment complex and what a bad idea it
is. And I guess that thisis one of the things about Fresno politics

that makes me a little uncertain,is you know, what are what are
we basing these decisions off of?I mean, I have no I have
no actual hard evidence that anything isactually really bad here, But isn't this

weird? Now? Beyond that,this is very much an example of not
in my backyardism? Right, So, one of the many obstacles to building
housing in California is basically a kindof the entrenched interests of people who are

already living in an area and alreadyhave houses, And that entrenched interest is
I don't want multi unit I don'twant apartments near my house because people who
live in apartments commit more crimes andit lowers the property value of my house.

So not in my backyardism and notin my backyardism is something that infects
conservatives, it infects liberals, andinfects kind of everybody, all right,
So it's not specific to anyone,it's not specific to anyone party, and

that seems very much to be what'shappening here, I think is that this
is just classic nimbiism, that thereal only objection to this is I don't
want anything that could impact the valueof my home. Even though we obviously

need more housing in the city ofPresdent, we need more multi unit dwellings,
and we want to promote, youknow, more dwellings within the city,
like the infill development where we're tryingto promote infill development, but not
like this, not in this waywhere we think it could you know,

adversely impact housing values. Now Isee another story that apparently we're gonna try
to renovate the Manchester Mall, thatthe owners and developers of Manchester Mall are
gonna basically try to gut the wholething and turn it into apartments. I'm
not exactly sure how that's gonna work. That seems like a very ambitious project,

Okay, but nobody cares about that. Why Because Manchester Mall is that
you know, Blackstone and Shields.Nobody is gonna know there's gonna not gonna
be any rich people saying, oh, well, I don't want any apartment
dwellers living near me. And I'mnot saying that that's such concern are totally

meaningless, Like, look, youwant especially if it's safety related. Yeah,
you want your kids to grow upin a safe area. But I
I guess I'm concerned when the PlanningCommission is hearing from you know, this

person supported by a big real estatedeveloper, this person supported by a big
real estate developer, all saying no, no, no, stop this separate
real estate development. I find thisnervous, Like why a Fresney Unified school
board member is involved almost at allon the grounds of well, this will

increase traffic, which will make emergencyresponders times getting to this elementary school within
Fresno Unified make it more difficult.I mean a school board member could make
that objection about any building site proposedanywhere in the city of Fresno, right,

I mean they are anywhere within theboundaries of Presne Unified. I mean
that there's a there're a gazillion PresidentUnified elementary school scattered all over the city.
So is Susan Wittrop gonna walk overwith her concerns about traffic flow.
Anytime someone wants to build an apartmentcomplex, the whole thing just seems I'm

just putting a bookmark on it.I sometimes have these things that I notice
and I see and I wish Ihad put a bookmark on it so I
could go back on the radio andsay I told you so later on.
This seems like a thing. Idon't know why it's a thing. And
I'd actually be really interested to talkto Miguel Arrius about all this, because

Arius is you know, as muchas I usually disagree with Arius on ninety
nine percent of things, he's sortof making sense we need we're trying to
encourage infield development. Arius thinks thatthe city is at risk here of losing
if it comes to like a lawsuit. Arius is afraid that if the city

is sued that the planning commit thatif the Planning Commission is sued, that
the city would lose. I'd bereally interested to hear more what he has
to say about that. You know, Arius is an interesting guy. As
much as I disagree with him onstuff, he is kind of an independent
thinker, and he he's an interestingthinker anyway. And I must say I'm

i just find it. It's amethinks they doth protest too much sort of
situation, to quote the Bard.Why do we have the sheriff of Fresno
County, the president of the boardof trustees, everyone, all these people
testifying in opposition to someone trying tobuild an apartment complex. I find it

odd. And the objections all seemit seems like the real estate developer tried
to develop, tried to develop theproject in response to criticisms, it gets
thrown out. The whole thing seemsa little suspicious to me. And you

know, again, I understand theinstinct people want to protect their property values
if then and they have this thisthought that if people build apartments, therefore
your property values go down. Iget that instinct. But at the same
time, we got kind of needto do what's right for the city.
The problem is everyone has these attitudesup and down the state, and then

we don't build any new housing.And it's one aspect of many. Now,
if the state were less crazy withbuilding in a million other respects,
if its environmental regulation was less crazy, if it let environmental wacko, if
it didn't let environmental wackos sue tostall projects as easily if it didn't have

all these other bad things that Californiadoes that make it so difficult and so
expensive to build housing in the state. Maybe people could have their Nimbi attitudes,
then we could still have more housing. But as it stands, like
as it stands, it seems verysilly for the city on the one hand
to be spending all this money toencourage infield development and at the same time

shutting down I don't know, seemslike a fairly reasonable project. I can't
say I've looked at every single detail, and I'm willing to by the way,
I'm willing to be convinced of theother side. I'm willing to be
convinced that I'm I'm a conspiracy theoristhere, but seems odd to me.
When we return, I want tojust talk a little bit more about Susan

Wittrup and her position on the FresneUnified Board of Trustees that is next on
the John Girardi Show. Not tobelabor this point, but I thought this
story was so odd being covered ingv wire owned by the Assimes, with

Susan Wittrup testifying against it, connectedto Darius Assimi with Miguel Aarius opposing it
on Darius Sissime's radio show or notnot a radio show, it's like an
online show. And this leads meto want to talk a little bit more
about Susan Wittrup, who's a memberof the Fresdent Unified Board of Trustees now.

Susan Wittrup ran for Board of Trusteesa couple of years ago, and
she was running for basically the TerrySlatic position to basically represent the Bullard region
within the Fresny Unified Board of Trustees. She ran as a Republican, and

I got to sort of see herspeak at Republican stuff, and I was
never super thrilled. I get thesense that if she is a Republican,
it's in a very moderate sense.I just don't think she has much insight

into the kinds of conservative leaning concernswith regards to, you know, all
the various huge problems that we seein public schools. The conservatives have been
pointing out things like the hyper sexualizationof curricula. You know, the various

kinds of those kinds of concerns arenot first on her mind. And I've
seen her from her Facebook page,you know, circulating stuff. Here's a
list of the books that Ron DeSantisbanned in Florida, like blithely sort of
sharing these things as if book banningis even a thing, which is nonsense.
It's like leftist librarians who want toequate parents objecting to sexually aggressive content

in the children's section of public librariesor in libraries for elementary schools. They
want to equate objecting to stuff likethat with quote book banning, which is
such a silly use of language.But she's connected to Darius Assimi and the

semi funded her campaign to the tuneof you know, he and affiliated businesses,
entities, et cetera. Gave hercampaign a ton of money. Now,
I think a lot of people woundup begrudgingly supporting her because Terry Slatteck

was in that position and Slatick sortof made things untenable for himself, even
for most Republican voters who live inthat kind of bullard area within Fresno Unified.
He had just basically one or twoincidents too many of either yelling at
people or getting in shoving matches,et cetera. And I don't even know

exactly how honest to god conservative,he really was, so wit Trup became
basically, hey, here's a wayto vote for someone who is in terry
slateck. But I guess I'm howcan you not be I mean, how
can you not look at someone runningfor a school board race who has tons

of campaign support and such a closeconnection to a major builder and real estate
developer and not think why is hegiving? You know, why is he
supporting her campaigns so much? Imean what I mean, look, people

don't rich people don't give I mean, maybe it's just their dating and he
really supports what she's doing. ButI guess I am nervous about real estate
developers when they give tons and tonsof money to political candidates and just the
effect of well does that have someeffect? Is he trying to He's trying

to draw that person to do whathe wants to do. And I'm not
saying anything any of this is corruptor illicit or against the law. I
just want to be clear there.None of this is illegal, none of
this is illicit, but within thebounds of what's legal, it's you know,

it has to shade your opinion ofthese things, right, And so
why is a president Unified school memberof the board of trustees, popping off
to go to the land the planningcommission for a zoning a planning commission dispute

over whether or not to put anapartment complex on Herndon Avenue. Oh,
because it would slow down emergency responderstimes to this public to this one elementary
school that happens to be nearby.I mean maybe, but that really feels
like a bit of a stretch,if you ask me, I think,

and I I guess, I feelalmost impolite to raise it, But how
can I not? And and I'mjust not saying. Maybe there's very maybe
there's totally great, wonderful, innocentanswers. Wittroup wanted to run for this,
Darius Seem supports her, gives herfunding, and there's no quid pro
quo. Okay, that's fine.And and by the way, when I

say quid pro quo, I don'teven mean an illegal quid pro quo.
Maybe that's all totally fine and totallyon the up and up. I'm not
the jerk for asking about it,though, I'm not the jerk for saying,
hmm, what what what's going onhere? I'm sure she's addressed it

before and she said, oh,no, no, there's nothing there,
And Okay, I guess that's whatyou have to say. But I think
people are always gonna look at thisjust a little hair skeptical. Now,
when we return, we're gonna shiftgears and talk about the looming building gubernatorial

horse race, with Elenni Cunilacus joiningthe Fray to try to differentiate herself in
some way, shape or form.Yeah, that's the lieutenant governor for those
who don't know. That's next onthe John Girardi Show. Elenni Cunilacus is
trying to kind of position herself Ithink for a run for governor. And
by the way, the run forgovernor in twenty twenty six. That's what

people are gearing up for. Sowe'll have our twenty twenty four elections in
November twenty twenty six, the Californiaprimaries in twenty twenty six. It's gonna
be an absolute free for all,the mother of all battles. As you
may see some real, real heavyhitters getting into the fray to try to

become the next governor of California andsucceed Gavin Newsom. Here's some of the
people who might run. Now,Eleni Kunilacus, who's currently the lieutenant governor,
you'd think someone who is the lieutenantgovernor would have a leg up on
this would be sort of a aheavy favorite going into it. After all,
that is what the lieutenant governorship is. It is basically worth a bucket

of spit. They have basically nojob. It is basically a holding pen
for people waiting to run for governor. And that's how Gavin Newsom treated it
for his eight years in that office. So you've got Eleni Kunilachus. But
then you've got the possibility that RobBonta, the Attorney General, will run.

Tony Atkins the Senate, the CaliforniaState Senate Democrat Lee who used to
actually run an abortion clinic or wasan abortion executive, some kind of abortion
business executive, she's gonna run.And then there's the looming possibility that I

mentioned Rob Bonte, that Javier Besseramight come back to run. The word
on the Street scuttle Bud is thatBessarah, who currently serves as the Obama
administration's head of the Department of Healthand Human Services. And let's not remember
his let's not forget his illustrious past. He was California's attorney general throughout the

Trump years and was constantly suing Trumpfor stuff. He was an aggressively,
aggressively horrible, left wing California attorneygeneral. Also the most maybe the most
pro abortion person in the whole Bidenadministration, and Biden gave him Health and
Human Services, which you don't oftenthink of the Department of Health and Human

Services as a particularly sexy appointment withina presidential administration. Maybe those of us
normal folks, we don't necessarily thinkabout Health and Human services that much.
Maybe we'd think like, whoever's theSecretary of State or the attorney general,
those are bigger things. No,no, No, Health and Human Services
oversees like five hundred billion dollars everyyear. So if we're talking about money

overseen, federal spending overseen, yeah, health and Human Services is maybe the
single biggest position of all the cabinetpositions that the president appoints. So Bissarah
might leave the Biden administration win orlose after the twenty twenty four elections.

Even if Biden wins, a lotof people are thinking Bsarah will leave and
then he will run for governor ofCalifornia in twenty twenty six. So this
is an absolute murderer's row of justthe absolute worst people. And to top
it all off, the rumor Iheard just floating around on the internet Kamala

Harris. That's the rumor that ifBiden loses in twenty twenty four, Harris
would come back to California to runfor governor in twenty twenty six. Lord

have mercy and save us. Sothat's the lineup that you could be seeing.
Kamala Harris, Jabier Bessera, RobBonta, Tony Atkins, all of
them before you get all of whompossibly have higher name recognition than the current

Lieutenant governor of California, Elenny Kunilacus. Now, how is Lieutenant Governor Kunelacus?
How is she trying to differentiate herself? Well, it seems like she's
differentiating herself as maybe trying to positionherself as the more moderate Democrat in the
group. The one thing that thelieutenant governor is actually supposed to do is

lieutenant governor has some role sitting onI think it's either the Board of Regions
or Board of Trustees, whatever itis for the CSU and UC systems they're
sort of ex officio members, sortof helping govern and oversee the California State
University the two California State University well, the California State University System and the

University of California system. This wasanother amusing aspect of Governor Newsom's lieutenant governorship,
where again it's really fascinating what exactlyGavin Newsom did for his eight years
as lieutenant governor, because apparently hewould blow off. He would regularly blow

off these meetings for the CSUS andUC's So Kunlakas has some kind of nominal
oversight for the universities. And shegave a speech to j PACK the Jewish
Public Affairs Committee of California last week. So that's already a little bit of
a bold move in California in themidst of student protests, etc. Palestine.

She's sort of positioning herself as I'mstanding with Israel here, I'm going
to JPAK and I'm sounding a verypro Israel. Note she took the opportunity
to slam how the UC and CSUsystems were handling pro Palestinian campus protests.
Now, there was a lot ofink spilled over the disaster that was happening

at UCLA. Less ink was spilledover a bunch of csus and ucs had
various kinds of disastrous interactions with studentprotesters. The president of Sonoma State,
I think just got suspended because hewas because of how he was not dealing

with student protesters and need to pullthat story up, and Kunilacus says,
basically, nobody was prepared for this. She said, even as the encampments
were building and the issues were building, and we had data of Jewish students
not just feeling unsafe, but franklybeing unsafe, the campuses were not equipped

to quickly and swiftly move to handlethe challenge in front of them. Said.
The story goes on. Leaders atthe UC campuses in Berkeley and Riverside
negotiated with tent encampment protesters, astrategy that Cunilacus disagree with. Each campus

is handling these situations in their ownway, with inconsistencies and frankly sometimes coming
up with agreements that they really don'thave the authority to come up with.
She said. So basically what happensis these student protesters, they protest some
way, shape or form in whichthe university has some kind of connection with
Israel or purported connection with Israel,and they try to say, We're going

to keep sitting in until the universitydivests its investment in Israel, does this,
does that, And some of theseuniversities actually are sitting with these kids
as if they are adults, andI mean they are legally adults, but
they are behaving like children, andis like negotiating with them, and Kunlacus

is pointing out, hey, youmaybe don't have the authority as you know,
the president of you know, calState Fullerton can't kind of make decisions
on certain things that impact the wholeCSU system. When you're the president of
CSU Fullerton. That's different from beingthe president of I don't know, name

any private school of Notre Dame,Okay, the president of Notre Dame.
Notre Dame is just Notre Dame.It's that's it. There's no chain of
which Notre Dame is a seat.Okay, it is one location, right,
president of Notre Dame runs the wholeshell. The president of cal State
Fullerton kind of can't make all thedecisions on his own. He has to

appeal to the people who run theCSU system. As a whole. So
she's pointing out, hey, youcan't make all these I don't know that
Fullerton was the one she was talkingabout, but some of these university presidents
are making these decisions. They don'thave the authority to make the most important

thing that we can be doing,she said. From the UC standpoint is
clarifying where the lines are between freedomto assemble, freedom of speech, and
crossing over into the territory of violationsof state law, federal law, of
course, but also violations of codesof conduct, Cunilocus said. Cunilacus mentioned
anti Semitic tweets from a UC Davisprofessor shortly after the October seventh Thamas attacks

in Israel. Gemma de Cristo,an assistant professor of American studies, American
studies. Because history was just normalAmerican history, wasn't, you know,
radicalized enough. We have to haveAmerican quote American studies. Anytime you've got

studies at the end of it,have your antenna up. Posted a message
attacking Zionist journalist with threatening emojis.It is still under investigation now. If
that does not cross a line ofa code of conduct, my god,
what does Kunlacus said Kulak has calledfor schools to clearly identify where the lines

are to enact disciplinary measures. Shealso criticized Sonoma State There we Go for
agreeing to demands of pro Palestinian protesters, including creating an advisory council with membership
determined by the campus Students for Justicein Palestine group. As reported by the
Press Democrat, they do not representthe majority of Jews here and it's really

just devastating, Cunlacus said. Shecalled students chanting from the river to the
sea outrageous. We have to fightback and educate our students so they understand
the very importance morally and from anational security standpoint of the existence, celebration,
and empowerment of Israel in the region. Kunalacus said, So there you

go. I it seems as thoughKunilacus, and maybe this is smart.
Maybe she wants to position herself ashey in this. Maybe she's trying to
say, hey, republic Wilkins,you know you're going to have this see
of absolute lunatic choices to vote forin twenty twenty six, Vote for me.

I'm at least somewhat saying I atleast don't think Jewish kids should be
harassed on UC and CSU campuses.I mean, she seems somewhat engaged at
least with these campuses in a waythat maybe that was the accusation against Gavin
Newsom anyway, was that in spiteof the the only kind of job that

the Lieutenant governor had was some kindof oversight for the CSU and u SEE
systems, and even then he didn'treally do it. He would blow off
meetings and stuff like that. Sheseems to actually kind of be taking at
least this aspect of the job somewhatseriously. When we return, just a
closing thought about Israel and Palestine,do we sort of take for granted the

fact that Israel can shoot down rocketsand that rocket attacks aren't very effective?
Of does that warp our thinking aboutthis whole thing? Next on the John
Girardi Show, So some big Iraniannews over the weekend. The president and
national security some other major government officialfrom Iran died in a helicopter crash over

the weekend, and it led mesort of think about the Iranian position and
our sort of how we view theIsrael Palestine conflict, how people tend to
view it. One of the thingsthat sort of I think has distorted our
way of looking at it is howgood Israel's defense systems are with our money

funding it, but how that almostwarps things into not taking seriously the threat
that Israel faces. Explain what Imean. Hamas in the south, in

Gaza, Hezbolah in the north,fire rockets at israelis all the time.
The rockets are largely unsuccessful, largelydon't work, and often Israel has this
it's iron dome technology basically to takeout incoming fire. About a month or

about two months ago, I guess, there was a massive rocket strike,
the Iranian funded strike against Israel,where it was complete, almost completely ineffective
because of Israel's defensive mechanisms, andthe Iranians clearly were behind it. Iranians

attacked and people were afraid this isgoing to fan things into a regional war,
blah blah blah, and Israel can'toverreact. Excusrael can't overreact. I
guess it's sort of like people almosthave this sense of like, let's think
about it this way. If someonefired a thousand rockets at Florida, at

South Carolina, at Maine and let'ssuppose we either had or did not have
the Iron Dome set up. WouldAmerica be something America can't overreact. No,

we'd be like ready to freaking roll. And it just seems like Israel's
like a victim of their own success, like because their defense systems work so
well and the rocket attacks seems soineffective. People seem to act like Israel
should just be cool with it withpeople firing rockets at them in a way

that America never would be. Idon't think anyway. It's an interesting dynamic
that I think people call for morerestraint on Israel when we would never tolerate
this in America. That'll do itfor the John Gerrardy Show. We'll see
you next time on Power Talk.
Advertise With Us

Popular Podcasts

1. Start Here
2. Dateline NBC

2. Dateline NBC

Current and classic episodes, featuring compelling true-crime mysteries, powerful documentaries and in-depth investigations.

3. Amy and T.J. Podcast

3. Amy and T.J. Podcast

"Amy and T.J." is hosted by renowned television news anchors Amy Robach and T. J. Holmes. Hosts and executive producers Robach and Holmes are a formidable broadcasting team with decades of experience delivering headline news and captivating viewers nationwide. Now, the duo will get behind the microphone to explore meaningful conversations about current events, pop culture and everything in between. Nothing is off limits. “Amy & T.J.” is guaranteed to be informative, entertaining and above all, authentic. It marks the first time Robach and Holmes speak publicly since their own names became a part of the headlines. Follow @ajrobach, and @officialtjholmes on Instagram for updates.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.