Fresno demonstrators send indirect message to Obama

Several local groups used the president's visit as a platform to voice opinions to their neighbors here in the Valley.
February 14, 2014 8:08:01 PM PST
Several local groups used the president's visit as a platform to voice opinions to their neighbors here in the Valley.

An Action News crew covered three demonstrations Friday and after talking to a lot of people who have issues with the president, it seemed they were actually all very happy the president came to town -- mostly because his visit is giving them a chance to have their voices heard.

As Air Force One flew across Clovis Ave. and into Fresno Yosemite International Airport, Connie Brooks was among hundreds of awed onlookers.

"That was incredible," she said. "It was very beautiful, slow motion. It really was pretty magnificent."

But Brooks is no supporter of President Obama. In fact, she carries the heart-shaped flag of the Central Valley Tea Party, and her main mission is to spread the word about what she believes is a man-made, government-worsened water problem.

"We know that without water, there's no jobs," Brooks said. "Without water, there's no food."

Brooks knows her message isn't directly reaching the president's ears. Peace Fresno demonstrators on the other side of the airport know it too. Their protest against American wars isn't really aimed at President Obama, but they know the message is louder because he's here in the Valley.

"It's important that our voice is heard, that our presence is seen and whether he sees it directly or indirectly, we need to be in the vicinity of where he's at," said Teresa Castillo, of Peace Fresno.

Environmental concerns also saw an opportunity despite never getting an audience with the president. A group called Restore the Delta crossed much of Fresno County-- starting in Fresno and ending near Firebaugh -- to challenge the governor's proposal of massive tunnels to improve water delivery for farmers.

"This is Governor Brown's attempt to push the president to override federal biologists who think the tunnels are too risky," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrila, of Restore the Delta.


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