(Editor’s note: GV Wire introduces Politics 101, a regular roundup of what’s happening in local, state and national government news.)

Amazon wants to build a second corporate headquarters. It will bring in billions of dollars to the city that lands the e-commerce giant, with upward of 50,000 jobs paying six-figures.

There’s no doubt that landing the Amazon corporate facility would positively alter the Fresno landscape. But, based on Amazon’s needs, Fresno State’s chances of beating top-ranked Alabama in football last week were better than they are of Fresno winning America’s top economic development beauty contest.

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand

City Hall is thinking about it just the same. Councilman Oliver Baines tells GV Wire he’s met with Mayor Lee Brand on the project.

But, Amazon’s wish list, spelled out in a recent news release, could make this an exercise in wishful thinking. Among the stated preferences:

  • Metropolitan areas with more than one million people
  • A stable and business-friendly environment
  • Urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent
  • Communities that think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options

HQ2 could be, but does not have to be:

  • An urban or downtown campus
  • A similar layout to Amazon’s Seattle campus
  • A development-prepped site. “We want to encourage states and communities to think creatively for viable real estate options, while not negatively affecting our preferred timeline,” says Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

Now let’s analyze Amazon’s wish list.

Request One: it depends on how big a metro area is defined. A Fresno County Economic Development Corporation report pegs Fresno and Clovis combined at 620,000. County wide is 972,000. Maybe that counts.

John Ellis, government affairs director with the City of Fresno tweeted this:

Business-friendly? The answer is in the eye of the beholder. Brand was able to land an Amazon e-commerce facility, now under construction, so maybe that answer is yes.

Attracting and retaining strong tech talent? The best pitch is affordable housing compared to the Bay Area.

Thinking big? See the business-friendly answer.

HQ specifics? I’m sure City Hall will bend over backward to accommodate.

LinkedIn corporate economist Guy Berger crunched the numbers to see which U.S. cities best match up with the current Seattle location.

Not surprisingly, the Bay Area tops the list followed by these other major cities: Washington, DC, Portland, Boston, Austin, San Diego and Raleigh-Durham. He even mentions Hartford, Conn. as a possibility. But not Fresno.

GV Wire reached out to the Brand administration for comment, but we received no response.

GV Wire caught up with Mayor Brand, who is glad Fresno is even mentioned as a possibility.

David Castellon of The Business Journal has an excellent recap.

Political Watchdog Agency Fines Magill

Charles Magill is a Fresno defense attorney and frequent legal contributor on TV. He ran for judge three years ago, but failed to advance out of the primary. There is one more piece of business he’ll need to take care of from his campaign.

This week, the Fair Political Practices Commission fined Magill and his campaign $1,123 on four counts of filing paperwork too late. The investigation was launched after a referral from the Secretary of State’s office.

Fresno attorney Charles Magill

The fine was news to Magill. He tells GV Wire he hired a treasurer to take of the matter of closing his election account: “He wrote me a letter that he would take care of it. I hadn’t heard anything from him or FPPC.”

Should Fresno Clamp Down on Recycling Centers?

The Fresno Chamber of Commerce holds its monthly Government Affairs Council meeting Wednesday. On the agenda, the group will hear a plan by Fresno City Councilman Paul Caprioglio to regulate recycling centers. Among his proposals: require California Redemption Value (CRV) centers be in a permanent location; not open the same day as local trash collection; zoned in light and heavy industrial areas; and meet certain distance requirements including two miles from schools.

The Planning Commission heard a similar plan Aug. 2 and it received pushback from the state, recycling and grocery store representatives. The commissioners denied staff’s recommendations. Yet many of those same requirements would be implemented by Caprioglio’s proposal.

That item isn’t on the council agenda yet. Perhaps the councilman is floating a trial balloon. The GAC staff recommends approval saying “CRV Centers have become areas in which we have seen increased crime, theft, blight within our city. Providing these guidelines will help ensure that they are being operated in non-residential areas, and that they are being operated in a safe/slightly fashion.”

Nelson’s Contract on Fresno Unified Agenda

Fresno Unified Interim Superintendent Bob Nelson could soon have the “interim” tag removed. The school board will vote to approve his contract at their board meeting Wednesday night in public session. However, the details of his contract won’t be released until then.

The school board will also consider a resolution “in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” aka DACA. Wednesday morning the district will unveil a “Dream Resource Center” to help DACA recipients with renewal applications and more.

One item that won’t be on Wednesday’s agenda is censure or demotion of board president Brooke Ashjian over his comments about the LGBT community. LGBT Fresno complained vociferously on their webpage about denial of their proposal. However, Jason Scott of the group tells GV Wire that it will happen Oct. 11 (as first reported in the Fresno Bee).

Note: this story has been updated on 9/14/2017 with John Ellis’ tweet and Mayor Brand’s response.

About The Author

David is a familiar name in Fresno journalism, working as a producer, writer and assignment editor for various radio and TV stations. He has covered the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, UFC, Fresno State and many political campaigns.   David earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Political Science from the University of Michigan. He and his wife Michelle have their hands full at home with three little ones. Originally from the Bay Area, David is a diehard Giants fan. Contact: dtaub@gvwire.com; Phone: 559-492-4037

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