Beit Shalom Visalia July 2009 Newsletter


  • Service Schedule
  • July 4th Picnic and Fireworks
  • Kosher Meat Available
  • Rabbi Neal Weinberg High Holiday Schedule
  • Garage Sale Donations Requested
  • Jewish Cookbook Available
  • Savemart Shares Card Reminder
  • June Birthday Wishes
  • How is Tisha B’Av Important to Jews Today?
  • Rabbi Bill Berk High Holidays Preparation Announcement
  • Please Get Well
  • Supporters
  • Vacation Suggestions
  • July Wedding Anniversary Announcement

Part 1

Part 2Read the rest

CBS 47 Covers Same Sex Marriage Rights Demand in Porterville

Video coverage here

Emotions ran high at the Porterville City Council meeting Tuesday night.

Gay marriage supporters spoke out, chastising members for publicly supporting Proposition 8 earlier this year. This comes just one week after the Supreme Court upheld the proposition.

Nearly a dozen supporters of gay marriage were at the council meeting to ask members to apologize for a resolution the city adopted earlier this year, supporting Proposition 8.

Gay marriage supporters claim the city looks at Proposition 8 from a religious standpoint. The city’s motto is “In God We Trust”.

Gay marriage supporters say Porterville was the only city in the state to adopt a resolution in support of Proposition 8. They say the resolution divides the community.

Not Councilman McCracken’s weaselly language and body language. Oh yeah, he is a man of the people that one, he didn’t want to vote for the hateful resolution, but he looked around to see which way the wind was blowing, he sucked it up and voted with the crowd just to go along.

Pete, you are waaaay to old to be subject to peer pressure like that! You seem to know what is right from wrong, grow a pair and act like it! This is not “The Wizard of Oz” and you are not playing the Lion in a school play! You are actively voting to, and professing your pride in, working to take rights away from real people in your community.

And your spin is not going to fly by unnoticed either. You might claim that you voted the way the people wanted you to vote, statistically speaking, but the Resolution itself is not something binding upon the people, reflecting its voice.

In fact,  what it says after a seemingly endless series of “Whereas”s is that it reflects the voice of the Council in urging the People to act in a certain way, not that the Council is acting on behalf of a mandate from the People as you claim now.… Read the rest

13 Cities Post Unemployment Above 15 Percent

Porterville-Visalia makes the Top 10- Again!

Bureau of Labor Statistics releases monthly metropolitan-area data,

via 13 Cities Post Unemployment Above 15 Percent – Yahoo! Real Estate.

First, a little explanation of the chart in the link, then a comment or two.

Although the chart says “Visalia, CA” at 15.4, it actually means VISALIA-PORTERVILLE METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREA (MSA).

I wondered, with so many nearby locations on the list (in particular Hanford, but also Fresno, Modesto, and Stockton, how did Porterville manage to escape? Could it be just below the Top 13?

The answer turns out to be yes and no. I went in search of the raw data to see what it said for Porterville. First I found City Specific data for Tulare County in the form of a spreadsheet.

From that we learn that the data for Porterville and East Porterville (listed separately for some reason I don’t know, the areas are contiguous):

Monthly Labor Force Data for Cities and Census Designated Places (CDP)
April 2009 – Preliminary
Data Not Seasonally Adjusted
LaborEmploy-UnemploymentCensus Ratios
Area NameForcementNumberRateEmpUnemp
East Porterville CDP4,0003,20080020.4%0.0176150.024856
Porterville city22,00018,9003,10014.1%0.1050030.095011

So, depending on if we average E. Porteville in or not, Porterville would indeed be on the list. If we don’t average it in, Porterville would in fact be just below the Top 13, probably easily making the Top 20 in the Nation.

But I noticed in the same spreadsheet that the data for Visalia did not match the article above:

Visalia city57,00051,5005,5009.6%0.2863660.167197

So this must not be the same source of data.

Further searching led to this file (pdf) which does match the 15.4 for Visalia-Porterville.

(Tulare County)
The unemployment rate in the Tulare County was 15.4 percent in April 2009

So there you have it.… Read the rest

Live Free or Die

Gay marriage bill signed into law in New Hampshire

This in today from what has historically been the staunchest Republican enclave in New England today:

CONCORD, N.H. – New Hampshire became the sixth state to legalize gay marriage Wednesday in a move that reflects the state’s changing demographics from reliably Republican and conservative to younger and more liberal.

The Senate and House passed key language on religious rights, Gov. John Lynch — who personally opposes gay marriage — signed the legislation Wednesday afternoon.

Younger and more liberal.

This is what will carry the day in California soon enough. Old guys and their wives are dying and taking their votes to the grave with them never to be counted again. Meantime, their children and grandchildren come of voting age like tide that won’t ever go away and they bring their votes with them.… Read the rest

Additional Media Coverage – Porterville Residents Again Stand Up for Civil Rights for All

Porterville Recorder: Grassroots same-sex marriage effort takes flight

A grassroots campaign to overturn Proposition 8 kicked off Tuesday before the Porterville City Council.

A dozen speakers took turns addressing council members on topics ranging from the council’s resolution last year in support of the ballot measure, the potential psychological effects of banning same-sex marriage, and the real-life ramifications of fighting for a right others possess.

The theme, however, was consistent.

“We have no intention of leaving,” Jaime Garza said.

Garza, of Porterville, was one of those who entered a same-sex marriage last summer after the state supreme court ruled in May 2008 that barring same-sex unions was unconstitutional. She’s still legally married after last week’s state supreme court ruling upholding the validity of Proposition 8, but also ruling that marriages in effect before the proposition’s passage remain valid. Residents say city’s support for Proposition 8 hurting them

Porterville, a small Central Valley town, was the only city in California to formally endorse Proposition 8, the measure that banned gay marriage in California.

But now, some residents want the City Council to reverse course, arguing the endorsement has inflamed tension in Porterville.

The mayor isn’t backing down, and it’s possible Porterville will take a stand if gay marriage supporters place a measure on the ballot attempting to repeal.

the time of my life (blog): Porterville California Battles Prop 8

The tiny town of Porterville, California, is suddenly, almost overnight, ground zero in the fight to overturn Proposition 8, as citizens appeared en masse Tuesday night to confront and challenge elected officials over their endorsement of the ban on gay marriage. Porterville’s city council passed a resolution supported Prop 8, and that has angered those who elected the members mightily, including resident Jamie Garza, one of the eighteen-thousand Californian’s who married last year, who told of the both emotional and physical abuse she and her wife have had to endure while defending their right to be wedded, and resident Barry Caplan who argued before Council Tuesday night that Proposition 8 has effectively created a three-tiered class of citizens and has divided the town.

Read the rest

ABC 30 in Fresno Travels to Porterville to air Civil Rights Story

Last night Channel 30 sent reporter Gene Haagenson to Porterville to cover the pro-same sex marriage Civil Rights discussion that took place as the public spoke in unanimous voice before the only City Council in the State that took a stand in favor of Prop 8.

I introduced the speakers that were to come, and framed the issue: That City Council has voted, and urged its constituents to vote to divide our State’s population into 3 (!) classes where there ought be only 1:

  1. People who are free to marry the person they love
  2. People who are never free to marry the person they love
  3. People who are married to the person they love now, but should they become single again by death or divorce, will never be free to marry a new person they fall in love with again.

Please watch the video, and review the other media coverage of our fight here in Porterville. Shine a light on what has happened in our remote, but not really all that small, town. Let California and the world know via your blog, by your facebook and myspace pages, prepare to twitter as new actions take place, and above all, join us here in Porterville – we will welcome you after your long drive, don’t worry about that – and get your own Council members and County Supervisors on record, up or down, on this critical Civil Rights matter ASAP.

Fresno, CA (KFSN) — The fight over same sex marriage came to the steps of Porterville City Hall.

Put this blog in your news reader!… Read the rest

Brian Ward revises his campaign web site, continued

Earlier we reported that Porterville City Councilman Brian Ward, sponsor of the only city council resolution in the entire state to suport Prop 8 last fall, has quickly changed his hateful campaign web site amid publicly aired allegations of improprieties regarding campaign laws.

The allegations alleged that Ward was using the school where he works for campaigning, even going so far as to use school district resources to collect campaign donations.

The page where he suggested campaign donations be sent to has suddenly disappeared the day after the allegations were made at last night’s City Council meeting, but not before they were copied by the public and distributed to news media.

Below the jump is a cut and paste from google cache, as of this writing. Note that the address is the address of the Burton School District, Ward’s public sector  employer.

Also note the attempt to circumvent public disclosure laws, and the failure to ask any of the spelling teachers at Burton School District how to spell “anonymity”.

Discuss in comments.… Read the rest

Porterville Councilman Ward Revises Web Site After Charges Made

Porterville City Councilmember Brian Ward has updated his hateful campaign web site, in response to public comments at last night’s City Council meeting that some of the material there was unethical and illegal. The assertion was made that some material was either a midemeanor or felony at the prosecutor’s discretion, and that the charges could carry up to 3 years in prison. Today the offending material was taken down, but not before it was captured by members of the public, and distributed to news media.

In addition, as of this writing, google cache still has some of the, err, “interesting” material. In the interest of keeping it available for public consumption forever,  I have cut and pasted from google cache  after the jump.

Brian is a School Psychologist at a local public school. He is educated enough to know that the tripe he spouts here about homosexuals is not the view of his field, it is the cheapest form of political opportunism. And it calls into question what sort of advice he can and does provide the children under hos professional care.

Discuss in comments.… Read the rest

Let fury have the hour, anger can be power

D’you know that you can use it?

It’s the best years of your life they want to steal

No man born with a living soul
Can be working for the clampdown

I will have more to say in this space soon regarding yesterday’s Prop H8 decision, I am still gathering my thoughts.

But these lyric from a song I know have been blasting in my head since the news broke (very slightly paraphrased):

What are we gonna do now?
Taking off his turban, they said, is this man a Jew?
’Cos working for the clampdown

They put up a poster saying:
We pray more than you!
When we’re working for the clampdown

We will teach our twisted speech
To the young believers
We will train our blue-eyed men
To be young believers

The judge said five to ten but I say double that again
I’m not working for the clampdown

No man born with a living soul
Can be working for the clampdown

Kick over the wall ’cause government’s to fall
How can you refuse it?

Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
D’you know that you can use it?

The voices in your head are calling
Stop wasting your time, there’s nothing coming
Only a fool would think someone could save you
The men at the factory are old and cunning
You don’t owe nothing, so boy get runnin’
It’s the best years of your life they want to stealRead the rest

Event: An Evening of Art & Poetry Reading

What: An Evening of Art & Poetry Reading
Where: The Plantation Teakwood Gallery, Fine Art & Textiles
When: Saturday Night May 30th 6-9 pm

The Plantation Teakwood Gallery strives to promote culture and art in Visalia’s beautiful downtown district. You are invited to an evening surrounded by beautiful and eclectic artwork, live guitar music, yummy hors d’ourves, and numerous local poets reading their original works and a wine/soda bar provided by the Sequoia Riverlands Trust.

The Plantation sells hand-carved teakwood furniture which is grown on replenishable plantations in Indonesia. If you are looking for unique and unusual furniture visit the store located at 320 W. Main St. in Visalia at the corner of Main & Floral Avenues.

The gallery features 20 California artists, Fresno, Squaw Valley, Visalia, and the Coastal Towns are all represented at the Plantation. At first glance in the large front window passersby are greeted by 3 six-foot metal figures called “Sisters” by Paul Montoya, better known as Polo. Polo also works in alabaster and has sculpted an alabaster P.O.W. who graces the carved desk top upon which he crouches.

Impressionist painter Betty Berk is on display with her collection of works in oils and acrylics. Thai artist Rattanonk Moerdyk has her collection of masks, watercolors, and other fantastic works in mixed media. Anne Fraker of Fresno has her beautiful “Elaine” among others. Gail Dalley displays “Pepper Love”, “Gypsy Troupe” and “Emerald Cat” .

You will see David Castro’s “Downbeats”, Sally Hobbs’ watercolor, “Sierra Waterfall”, and Debra Montgomery’s metal work and repousse works, Finally, James Stark also has several of his pastels on display for your pleasure and your infusion of beauty and culture that is nourished by The Plantation Teakwood Gallery, Fine Arts & Textiles .

If you are a poet or artist looking to read or display, please contact Cynthia @ 559-308-1333 or 559-734-4084.… Read the rest

Prop 8 Upheld, Tears Flood the Streets

Hand of the Law Comes Down Hard

Separate But Equal the Law of the Land Once Again in California

I can legislate the right of your kids to marry at the ballot box at any time.

At least we know that is clear.

I wonder what else I can legislate with my organizing skills and a clipboard?

How about “Marriage is only recognized between residents of Tulare County and Mormons?”

Bonus Quiz (in case you think I am joking):

Answer via comment below:

Which US Supreme Court Justice has written this?

“To the argument . . . that a majority may not deprive a minority of its constitutional right, the answer must be made that while this is sound in theory, in the long run it is the majority who will determine what the constitutional rights of the minorities are.”

Read the rest