Reporters Notebook: Cardoza agrees to debate with Berryhill

08/20/2010 8:20 AM

08/20/2010 8:22 AM

Rep. Dennis Cardoza tentatively has accepted an invitation to debate his November opponent, Mike Berryhill, at a forum to be co-sponsored by the Sun-Star and the Los Banos Enterprise.

Gene Lieb, Enterprise publisher, proposed the idea, Berryhill immediately offered eight open dates and Cardoza said the second week of October looked okay, as of now. Congress is in session the first week of October. Ground rules and a location have yet to be determined, and Congress could always schedule an unforeseen session.

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Berryhill, from Ceres, issued a statement about the Muslim community center and mosque proposed to be built in the vicinity of Ground Zero of the 9/11 attacks. The First Amendment, he said "does not give us freedom from insensitivity and poor judgment." Comparing the World Trade Center towers site to the U.S.S. Arizona site at Pearl Harbor, Berryhill said the community center and mosque should be built elsewhere. The proposed $100 million structure would be built about two blocks from where the Twin Towers collapsed.

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Four backers of the Livingston recall election attended an editorial board at the Sun-Star Thursday. Former Mayor Gurpal Samra, Councilman Rodrigo Espinoza, former Councilman Bill Ingram and Theresa Land, who's running for the council, forcefully presented their case to the Sun-Star. Opponents of the recall, which is scheduled for Aug. 31, argued their case to the editorial board last month.

Those favoring the recall at first accused the Sun-Star of being one-sided. By the time the 90-minute session ended, though, handshakes, smiles and swaps of business cards had sweetened the atmosphere.

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Melissa Kelly-Ortega, who’s been an activist on several fronts during her two decades in Merced, is running all over the southeastern part of the county, arranging meetings of residents and experts for the Building Healthy Communities project sponsored by the California Endowment. The native Nebraskan’s contract runs out at the end of the month, and she wants to stay hereabouts. “The places and people remind me a lot of the Midwest,” she says.

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Marshall Bishop, who wants to expand his downtown restaurant to include a nightclub/lounge, deployed social networking to help his cause. He went on Facebook Wednesday: “HEY EVERYONE!!! Merced City Council is having a meeting tonight at 7 p.m. to determine the fate of our nightlife!!! We need EVERYONE that can to come to the meeting dressed to impress!!! The meeting is at 7 p.m. at Merced City Hall TONIGHT!!! Again.....DRESS NICE....if you can’t still support us, but do it from home! Thanks!”

Proximate, but no panatela. Outside cyberspace, the city planning commission turned him down. The energetic restaurateur who likes exclamation points can now appeal to the entire city council.

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The Orange County Register, whose parent company emerged from bankruptcy in April, plans to post photos of all its reporters with their stories. The Sun-Star runs bylines, of course, and reporters’ e-mail addresses, as well as some photos with columns. Bea Ahbeck, our talented photographer, was born in Sweden and says that Swedish newspapers already do that. What would our audience think if our mug shots ran with every news story?

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Joe Kieta, former editor of the Merced Sun-Star, will rejoin McClatchy as editor of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Aug. 23. He was recently in town, visiting his wife’s family, and all of us newsroom throwbacks wish him well Down South.

--Sun-Star Staff

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