UPDATE: Friday, Sept. 22, 8:09 a.m.

The Fresno City Council delivered a split decision Thursday on implementing marijuana options made possible by the passage of Proposition 64 last year.

The council affirmed an earlier decision to reject recreational marijuana dispensaries. But with Paul Caprioglio providing the difference-making vote, the council reversed its course on plans to restrict home marijuana cultivation to six plants.

“I was moved by the concerns for medical marijuana,” Caprioglio told The Fresno Bee’s Rory Appleton. “The Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215) was just that, an act of compassion. There are numerous people I know personally, and we had people come speak to council … and if I can help them curb their pain or discomfort, I want to do that.”


The Fresno City Council resumes after a three-week break, and regulating two pesky industries will be the main event: recycling and marijuana.

The council will vote on regulations of the recycling industry (to be heard at 4:30 p.m.). The main aspect, written about here, will force all recyclers to operate in a permanent structure. The local industry fears that would force most of the centers to close. They are usually operated out of cargo container-like structures in parking lots.

One of the ordinance’s sponsors, Councilman Paul Caprioglio, presented his proposal to the Fresno Chamber Government Affairs Council (GAC) last week. He is concerned that recycling centers attract low-level crimes to neighborhoods. Police Chief Jerry Dyer tells GV Wire he agrees.

The GAC voted to support the ordinance, 10-3. Caprioglio feels confident this will pass. However, you CAN expect opposition from representatives of the recycling and grocery industries Thursday. The Planning Commission rejected a similar proposal Aug. 2.

Similarly, Caprioglio will ask his colleagues to make theft from trash and recycling bins (think dumpster diving) a misdemeanor. Right now, it is an infraction.

Council President Clint Olivier

Once again (actually for the fourth time) the council will discuss how to regulate the individual marijuana plant growing element of Proposition 64. The ordinance to limit personal growth to six plants passed with a 4-3 vote in June. Getting the required confirmation vote by the council on this issue has not been easy. On July 20, the vote ended in a 3-3 deadlock (Caprioglio, who initially supported the vote, was absent).

On Aug. 3, the council tabled discussion for a future meeting. On Aug. 24, Council President Clint Olivier used a procedural move to remove the item from the agenda. A vote to return it failed 3-4 (with Caprioglio this time voting to keep it off).

Also up for a second vote is the outright ban of commercial marijuana dispensaries. That passed Aug. 31 by a 4-3 vote (once again, Caprioglio voted in favor of the ban).

So, two things to watch for: Will Olivier pull another procedural move? And, where will Caprioglio lean?

Other Agenda Items:

  •  There has been a 16% increase in worker’s compensation claims in a two-year period (an overall increase of 238 claims). To help handle the administration, the council will vote to amend its contract with the company that handles this work, Fresno-based insurance company Risico. That will cost an extra $274,076 for Risico to hire extra workers. City staff says that amount is “offset” by recent savings found in the healthcare network that provides city employees medical services, thus no additional spending is required.


  • The much-heralded ShotSpotter technology will expand again, upon council approval. The technology, funded by the city and Fresno Unified School District, can detect gunshots and alert police almost immediately. It was credited for the quick capture of alleged multiple-murder Kori Muhammad in April.


  • The deal would expand the current service from three square miles to six. A city staff report says the expansion would take place in Southwest and Southeast Fresno. The school district recently voted to expand their ShotSpotter service from three to six square miles as well. In addition, the city’s Transportation Department will provide an extra 2.26 square miles of coverage to take the total up to 14.26 square miles. The three-year contract for the expansion is at $150,000 per year equaling $450,000 total.

Villaraigosa Returns to Fresno

Fresno continues to draw gubernatorial candidates. Antonio Villaraigosa, former mayor of Los Angeles, pays his second visit in two months when he speaks at the Fresno Chamber of Commerce PAC breakfast. The event takes place Wednesday (Sept. 20) at  7:30 a.m. at TorNino’s.

Villaraigosa faces stiff competition from front-runner Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and state Treasurer John Chiang. As quoted by the Los Angeles Times, Villaraigosa assessed his chances for the June 2018 primary:

“Maybe it passed me up,” he conceded to guests at a July reception in Stockton. “Maybe I’m yesterday’s news. Maybe I’m just a guy who was starting out 20-some-odd years ago, broke glass ceilings — but maybe my time is over.”

Wake Up Ashjian When Negotiations End

How serious are the Fresno Teachers Association in their threat to strike? There hasn’t been a labor stoppage since the late 1970s. But the FTA has called for a vote to authorize a strike Oct. 3  (5 p.m. at Peoples Church (7172 N. Cedar Ave., Fresno).

Sources in the district say they feel this is more than the usual contract negotiation bluster, but one who may not be taking it seriously is school board president Brooke Ashjian. His reaction on Twitter? “Yawn……”

Breaking Down Nelson’s Contract

Speaking of Fresno Unified, Bob Nelson was officially selected as the new superintendent by the board and thus sheds his “interim” tag. Nelson will earn a base salary of $295,000. The four-year contract expires in June 2021. His yearly salary could increase yearly based on positive performance reviews.

FUSD Superintendent Bob Nelson

Nelson will also receive $1,500 a month in car allowance, 25 days of vacation a year and the necessary technology (laptop, cell phone) to perform his job. If Nelson’s fate is the same as his predecessor, Michael Hanson (terminated without cause in January), he would be paid for the remainder of his contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

Read the full contract here.

Woody Running for Coastal Congressional Seat

Serving as a Fresno City Councilman at the age of 26 may have been an indication that Michael Erin Woody had a strong political drive. Now, 26 years after winning that election, the ambition continues. Woody announced last week that he is running for U.S. Congress as a Republican for the 24th district, representing the Central Coast, The Fresno Bee first reported.

Woody served as a councilman for one term, 1992-96. His bid for mayor against incumbent Jim Patterson in 1996 fell short, as did a 2000 attempt to return to council. He is now a civil engineer living in Morro Bay.

The district covers San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, as well as part of Ventura County. It is represented by first-term Democrat Salud Carbajal.

A line from Woody’s news release reveals the tone of his campaign: “As Carbajal has voted with Nancy Pelosi for 98% of his votes, it is clear that Carbajal is nothing more than a proxy vote for Pelosi. After 25 years in politics, it is time we say ‘So Long Salud.’ ”

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