Local Business Owners Aim to Fight Leftist Policies and Controversial Beyond

Gentry Salon owner Bree Gentry addressing the small crowd about the issues her business faced during the pandemic at the Save Our Paychecks Tour event on Tuesday, Aug. 10. (Anthony De Leon/Clovis Roundup)

Local business owners gathered in a beauty salon to express their disdain toward liberal policies and how those policies have affected workers and small business owners on Tuesday, Aug. 10.

The gathering, held at Gentry Salon, was the first stop in the Save Our Paychecks Tour conducted by Heritage Action, an organization that says it’s “dedicated to restoring conservative principles to America.”

Event coordinators said Tuesday’s event aimed to show how disastrous the left’s policies are and push back against President Joe Biden and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “agenda.”

Bree Gentry, the owner of Gentry Salon, described how her business survived the pandemic while other businesses had to close down. She blames the state for failing her, her employees, and other shops.

“The state failed me. They failed me big, and not just me, but the other 24 stylists that have worked for me,” Gentry said. “Over time, the other salons in my industry had to close their shop, and they don’t get to stand in front of you and say that they’re still open.”

Paul Watson, the owner of Warrior Fitness, has been outspoken about how his business was treated and affected by the pandemic and the State’s response to COVID-19.

In May of 2020, Watson reopened his gym and was met with pushback from the Fresno City Council.

Watson said the council hit his gym with thousands of dollars in fines for operating during the pandemic while also receiving threats of closure.

He didn’t mince words when saying Fresno had a “stupid, dumb city council that was going along with Newsom.”

Stuart Wilde, a local farmer for 15 years, expressed his annoyance with California and water conservation policies that coincide with the drought.

Wilde understands the drought is an issue but feels the state is changing the rules to pit farmers against farmers to divide and conquer.

“They’re dictating how much water everybody is allowed to use in a year,” Wilde said. “And they can change that allocation anytime they want.”

Wilde said the land he purchased for his farm has plenty of water in an aquifer, but he has been receiving notices from the county regarding his water usage since the drought.

He expressed frustration with the water from reservoirs being dumped into the ocean, and the move is “100% political.”

“The state is pitting farmers against farmers because it wants large corporate entities to run things. They don’t like small businesses,” Wilde said.

The Beyond

While business owners like Gentry, Watson, and Wilde expressed their frustrations with California’s policies and regulations affecting their businesses, they also discussed other topics.

The focus shifted from small businesses trying to survive to claims of intentional tanking of the economy, push for illegal immigration for votes, vaccine passports, and Bill Gates.

Watson said business owners need to stand up to the aggressive attack on American business, which he says results from Congress and the Senate trying to “explode the national debt.”

“More business owners need to take a stand and say we’re not going along with this aggressive attack on us and America,” Watson said. “We’ve got to stand up for all that [rights and freedom] because they are looking to trash the economy, make everyone more dependent, and [push] their agenda.”

Additionally, Watson believes the push for illegal immigration is the left’s “silver bullet,” effectively allowing immediate votes in elections.

“Of course, then there’s also illegal immigration,” Watson said. “That’s what they’ve [the left] been pushing, and that’s going to be their silver bullet. Not only effectively giving them immediate votes but massive costs to that.”

Watson also believes citizens will no longer have their civil liberties once the government implements vaccination passports.

While Watson’s focus was on the government, Wilde concentrated on Microsoft billionaire Gates and the manufacturing of the drought to “take over the agricultural industry.”

According to Vox in June, Gates is currently the largest private-farmland owner in the United States, owning 242,000 acres.

“The largest agricultural landowner in the United States is Bill Gates. What the hell is Bill Gates doing with farming? I mean, it doesn’t make any sense,” Wilde said.

Wilde continued, “There is something going on in this country that is evil, and we have to be aware, and we have to be very wary of what they’re doing.”

It was unclear whether Wilde was referring to the left, Gates, or both.

However, Watson believes the real global pandemic is stupidity.

“I believe there is a global pandemic out there, and perhaps you’ve heard of it. It’s called being stupid,” Watson said.

Anthony De Leon is a journalist who started his career in 2017, covering sports for the Fresno City College Rampage, earning his Associate Degree in the process. He then moved on to Fresno State, working for The Collegian serving as Sports Editor, Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in print journalism. In August, he will begin attending Reynold’s School of Journalism Master’s program at the University of Nevada, Reno.