Kevin Valine

Forum takes on Trump over health care, immigration, Muslims

Homero Mejia from First in the Valley Stanislaus, speaks at an immigration reform panel at the DoubleTree in Modesto on Wednesday. He is flanked by Stanislaus County Supervisor Kristin Olsen and Gustine High School senior Alexis Angulo.
Homero Mejia from First in the Valley Stanislaus, speaks at an immigration reform panel at the DoubleTree in Modesto on Wednesday. He is flanked by Stanislaus County Supervisor Kristin Olsen and Gustine High School senior Alexis Angulo. aalfaro@modbee.com

Some 200 people are expected to gather Thursday evening in a Modesto church to learn how they can take on the Trump administration and advocate for immigrants, ensure the poor do not lose their health coverage and support Muslims and other vulnerable people.

The resistance forum is at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1528 Oakdale Road. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and the public is invited. It will be one of many forums held Thursday evening throughout the San Joaquin Valley.

Faith in the Valley — formerly Congregations Building Community — is holding these events in Kern, Fresno, Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties. Faith in the Valley operates in these five counties.

“As we approach the 100 day mark of the new presidential administration, the over 120 congregations of Faith in the Valley are reconvening to hold their local, state and federal elected representatives accountable to defending the safety and human dignity of every family in the San Joaquin Valley,” states a news release from organization.

Faith in the Valley Stanislaus Executive Director Homero Mejia said the Modesto forum will be a call to action that includes asking the City Council to declare Modesto a sanctuary city for immigrants and lobbying local legislators to support legislation in Sacramento that bars state and local law enforcement from working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on deportations.

Mejia said Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, will be asked to support federal legislation that helps young people who came to this country as children as undocumented immigrants and to oppose legislation that would take away Medi-Cal health insurance that poor people are receiving through former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Mejia said council members Tony Madrigal, Jenny Kenoyer and Bill Zoslocki are expected at the forum, as well as a representative from Denham’s office.

In other city news:

Modesto is urging low-income residents to take advantage of a program that takes $10 off the water portion of their monthly city utilities bill. The City Council approved the program late last year after steeply raising water rates.

The council set aside about $1 million annually from the city’s water fund to help roughly 8,300 water customers. But city spokeswoman Amy Vickery said about 100 customers had taken advantage of the program as of the end of the first quarter of this year.

The discount program is for residents who receive a monthly bill from the city so it does not apply to renters whose landlords pay the utilities bill. The annual income limits for the program range from $25,488 for one person to $52,112 for a family of six.

Modesto also has a program for low-income seniors and disabled residents that provides a 25 percent discount on the city’s monthly utility bill, which includes water, sewer and garbage services. Utilities customers can use one but not both programs.

More information about both programs is available at www.modestogov.com/1985/Assistance-Programs or by calling 209-577-3210.

Kevin Valine: 209-578-2316

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