We started lining our cars up at River Park around 7:30AM. People were busy decorating their cars with blue ribbons and signs welcoming Franken to Fresno. Afterwards we drove in a caravan of vehicles to Pardini’s on west Shaw. The warm, welcome and excited mood of those gathered was something you don’t experience a lot as a liberal in Fresno. Slowly, the cohesive crowd moved in to fill the banquet hall to capacity.
He addressed the crowd with an urging to be boisterous and then settled in for the 3 hour broadcast. Franken continually mentioned Fresno and discussed it’s history and agricultural significance, also discussing those issues that hit those who live in Fresno very hard, such as air quality and the growing pavement encompassing much of our land. His guests included Reverend Robin Hoover with Humane Borders www.humaneborders.org , Francine Farber, a retired educator discussing Proposition 82 http://www.yeson82.com , which would create a statewide pre-school system, Mark Arax www.latimes.com , a journalist and writer who detailed the history and development of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley, Kevin Hall, a clean air activist http://valleyairquality.com/special/valley_air/part3/story4 with the Sierra Club, TJ Cox www.tjcox.com candidate for US Congress (District 19) , Francine Busby http://www.francinebusby2006.org , candidate for California’s 50th Congressional District and Senators John Kerry http://kerry.senate.gov and Barbara Boxer http://boxer.senate.gov/ by phone.
The event was put together by local KFPT 790AM, Fresno’s only progressive talk radio station. www.790kfpt.com . The station is a recent addition to Fresno and they were just as surprised as others that so many came out to support the event. They have another personality from Air America, Stephanie Miller, coming to Fresno on April 21st. www.790kfpt.com/pages/16754.php? to do a live radio broadcast from Fresno State University. Check with the station for more details.
You can listen to live broadcasts from Air America on the KFPT website, or on the site for Air America. You can also download any of the show archives from Air America on their site and listen to them on your computer or portable device. There are membership fees for downloading archives, however they’re minimal, and range anywhere from $1.99 for a one day pass to monthly memberships starting at $6.95 a month.
Al Franken, who’s considering a run in politics, was charming and open to everyone in the crowd. After the broadcast he sat to sign copies of his book and take pictures with fans. If you’ve never listened to Franken, I highly recommend it. There are very few people right now reporting on the state of the country in an honest and direct manner. Al Franken is at the top of the list.