Politics 101

By David Taub

The Fresno Chamber of Commerce released its 2017 Legislative Report Card on Thursday, grading local and state politicians on they matched up with the Chamber’s goals.

Political wisdom suggests that the more conservative members would be more business-friendly, thus receive a higher score.

Not on the Fresno City Council.

Two Democrats topped the list, while two of the most conservative council members were at the bottom, an 18-point spread.

The tally:

Name Party Chamber score
Paul Caprioglio Democrat 91%
Luis Chavez Democrat 91%
Esmeralda Soria Democrat 82%
Clint Olivier Republican 82%
Oliver Baines Democrat 82%
Garry Bredefeld Republican 73%
Steve Brandau Republican 73%

 

Bredefeld tweeted his displeasure, writing “I support Chamber but give them 2 F’s for supporting new big govt rental inspection prog and PC, “feel good,” ineffective police advisory committee. Conservatives w/lowest scores. Really?”

Bredefeld later tweeted that his comments were tongue-in-cheek.

The two items the District 6 council member referenced were the rental housing inspection program and support for the Citizens’ Public Safety Advisory Board. The Chamber supported both. Bredefeld voted against them.

Bredefeld’s bristling tweet led to a response from John Ellis, City Hall’s government affairs director. He invited Bredefeld to attend an advisory board meeting.

The councilman noted he can’t since those meetings are closed to the public, as GV Wire detailed in the past. Politics 101 was barred from attending its December meeting, which was held behind closed doors in a City Hall back room.

The group’s by-laws do not indicate that Ellis has any authority to invite a non-member. Given that it is Twitter, it is hard to know if Ellis’ response was tongue-in-cheek as well.

The Mayor’s office did not reply to my inquiry about whether Ellis has the power to extend Bredefeld an invitation to the committee’s meetings.

The Chamber will honor those scoring 70% or more (the entire council) at a reception Jan. 18.

Statewide, four of the five legislators representing a portion of the county scored well:

Name Party Chamber score
Sen. Andy Vidak Republican 95%
Asm. Jim Patterson Republican 86%
Sen. Tom Berryhill Republican 82%
Sen. Anthony Cannella Republican 82%
Asm. Joaquin Arambula Democrat 50%

Canella still scored high, despite voting in favor of SB 1, the controversial bill that raised gas taxes and vehicle license fees.

Fact Finding Panel Decision Soon

Ron Bennett, Brian McNally, Renée Mayne.

These are the three members of the fact-finding panel, whose findings could determine if there is a labor settlement between Fresno Unified and the union, Fresno Teachers Association.

A report from the panel is expected to be made public Jan. 18. It will go to the district and FTA on Jan. 8.

Each side picks one member for the panel. The third is a mutual choice.

FUSD picked Bennett, an education consultant and CEO of School Services of California.

McNally, FTA’s pick, works for the California Teachers Association, the state union representing teachers.

Mayne is a professional arbitrator and mediator.

While not quite binding arbitration, FUSD superintendent Bob Nelson has said in the past they would honor the panel’s major recommendations.

FTA, which has been active on Twitter about a possible strike and the subsequent negotiations, hasn’t made a negotiations-related tweet since Dec. 14, winter break notwithstanding.

On Thursday, FUSD board president Brooke Ashjian tweeted this seemingly optimistic news:

That tweet was liked by FTA negotiator Jon Bath.

Vidak’s Role in Mendoza “Vacation”

State legislators convened to open the 2018 session Wednesday (Jan. 3). The Democratic caucus spent much of the Senate floor session on opening day behind closed doors, deciding what to do about Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia). Mendoza announced he is taking a leave of absence until the end of January, as an investigation of sexual harassment against him continues.

Sen. Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) introduced legislation (Senate Resolution 69) that would have expelled Mendoza.

“He is not entitled to any so-called ‘due process’ in this regard as serving in the Legislature is a privilege, not a right,” Vidak said.

SR 69 is now in the hands of the Senate Committee on Rules.

He voiced his displeasure in Mendoza’s leave in an e-mail to the media.

“After four hours of horse trading in the Senate Democrat caucus, the only thing that Californians get is Mendoza agreeing to take a vacation? That’s it? All too typical for the mighty California State Senate these days.”

What’s Steyer Up To?

Many have speculated on the future of Tom Steyer. The billionaire accumulated his fortune as a hedge fund manager and made numerous stops in Fresno in 2017. His name is being talked about for political office, for either governor or U.S. senator.

Currently, he is financing the advocacy group Need to Impeach, which calls “on the accountability of lawmakers to take a stand on impeaching Trump.”

Steyer says he will make a “major announcement” Monday in Washington, D.C., as to his future.

The event’s location, the 101 Constitution building, is a block away from the U.S. Capitol.

 

Ose for Governor?

The Sacramento Bee reports that former Republican Congressman Doug Ose has taken the first steps to run for governor. The former representative from Sacramento started a campaign committee.

He would be the third Republican in the race, joining businessman John Cox and Huntington Beach Assemblyman Travis Allen.

 

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