Clovis

Valley Children’s spokeswoman fires back at Clovis City Councilman over attacks

The attacks emanating from the Clovis City Council chamber during its Monday meeting sparked new life over the tenor of remarks made by Clovis City Councilman Jose Flores.

Zara Arboleda, communications director for Valley Children’s Hospital and a Clovis resident, took to Twitter to challenge Clovis City Councilman Jose Flores over his remarks pushing back on criticism Councilwoman Lynne Ashbeck leveled against Mayor Drew Bessinger.

During Monday’s City Council meeting Ashbeck criticized Bessinger for participating in a press conference last Thursday wherein the Clovis Mayor called for the ability for schools to return to in-person instruction.

In follow-up remarks, first reported Tuesday night, Flores referred to Ashbeck as “the queen of Clovis.”

Ashbeck, as previously reported, is a senior vice president for the Madera County-headquartered children’s hospital.

Flores responded to Arboleda, stating that Ashbeck used the monicker on her own previously.

In a tweet thread, Arboleda said the Clovis City Council mocked Ashbeck for participating in Council meetings by video conference calls and “needed to be convinced to wear masks.”

During last Thursday’s press conference featuring Bessinger, Arboleda was outspoken in opposition to the proposals and views proffered by not only the Clovis Mayor, but Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld.

She reiterated that view late Tuesday.

In concluding her thread, Arboleda issued a disclaimer that her comments reflected her personal views as a Clovis resident, not in her professional capacity.

The disclaimer inadvertently underscored what sparked the bitter Ashbeck-Flores argument.

Ashbeck contended that Bessinger’s participation in the Thursday press conference didn’t reflect his personal views, but served as a city-wide endorsement of the message.

Alex Tavlian
Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.