UPDATE, 10:53 A.M., DEC. 14

Roosevelt High School area Trustee Elizabeth Jonasson Rosas was unanimously elected as the Fresno Unified School District board president Wednesday night.

In addition, trustee Valerie Davis was elected as board clerk. She succeeds trustee Claudia Cazares.


The Fresno Unified school board is scheduled to select a new president and clerk Wed. (Dec. 13). There have been many calls for current board president Brooke Ashjian to step aside after controversial comments made about sexual education and the LGBT community last August.

Multiple sources close to the board say Ashjian will not seek to repeat as board president. Expect Roosevelt High area trustee Elizabeth Jonasson Rosas to be nominated and have the best chance at election.

Substitute Teachers Contract

Fresno Unified is scheduled to vote on ratifying a contract with the substitute teachers’ union. The contract would be backdated from 2016 and run to 2019. A 3.5% pay increase is at stake (which equates to a bump to $124.50 per day for teachers working 1-50 days; $143.50 for those working more than 50 days).

NOTE: After this story was posted, Jon Bath of the Fresno Teachers Association tweeted that the raise for substitute teachers is “more like over 10%.”

One line of note on page 239 of the contract deals with using billboards on campus: “The Union will not post or distribute information which is derogatory or defamatory of the District or its personnel.”

According to district spokeswoman Jessica Baird, it is standard language in labor contracts.

Bidder Disqualified Because of Ashjian Conflict

The school board will vote on approving a construction company to build a bio-retention basin project at McLane High School. Staff is recommending that Don Berry Construction, Inc. of Selma get the contract at a bid of $528,715. However, that wasn’t the lower offer.

Bush Engineering, Inc. of Hanford bid $505,900. But, staff disqualified the company “due to a prohibited conflict of interest.” The board confirmed that conflict involved Ashjian.

Even if Ashjian recused himself, that wouldn’t comply with state law. A district spokesperson pointed to state Government Code 1090 which reads: “Members of the Legislature, state, county, district, judicial district, and city officers or employees shall not be financially interested in any contract made by them in their official capacity or by anybody of (the) board of which they are members.”

This is not the first time Bush has lost out on a contract with the district, as the Fresno Bee reported back in June.

Requests for comment from Ashjian or Bush were not returned by publication time.

Clovis OKs Airbnb Tax

Clovis homeowners wishing to rent a room through such services as Airbnb will have to get a permit and pay a tax. The city council approved an ordinance Monday (Dec. 11) by a 5-0 vote.

A staff report indicated the reasoning behind the move was that hotels, motels and bed and breakfast inns all pay transit occupancy taxes and are licensed, thus so should short-term rentals. Additional rules include:

— Notifying adjacent neighbors of a property that will become a short-term rental

— Establish “quiet time” between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m.

— Designating a 24/7 contact to respond to any trouble

There is no estimate from city reports on how much the city is expected to benefit financially.

Airbnb welcomes such regulation.

“Our Airbnb community of hosts want to pay their fair share — as we have in over 300 places — and we want to work with jurisdictions on regulations that are fair and reasonable,” spokesperson Jasmine Mora told GV Wire.

The ordinance will have a second vote at the next council meeting before going into effect 30 days after.

FPPC fines

Three Valley politicians will be the subject of fines at the state Fair Political Practices Commission meeting Dec. 21.

Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals) faces a $2,000 fine for failing to “pay expenditures from the designated campaign bank account.”

His office released this statement:

“While my campaign team filed all the required campaign finance documents with the Fair Political Practices Commission, they now require more detailed expenditure reporting. We have implemented the required changes and will remain in compliance.”

Orange Cove councilwoman Diana Guerra-Silva failed to disclose in timely fashion a gift of a Oakland Raiders ticket. Her punishment is a $100 fine. She says she just overlooked sending it in. The ticket was a gift from Townsend Consulting Services valued at $420.

Former Sanger Councilman Raul Cantu will be fined $662 for three counts of failing to file pre-election statements during his unsuccessful run for re-election in 2016.

McClintock’s Seat in Jeopardy?

This from the Politico California Playbook:

“It’s a longshot. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added Republican Rep. Tom McClintock’s district and 10 others nationwide to its list of targeted districts after victories last month in Virginia, New Jersey and a handful of other states. There’s been an uptick in fundraising, and McClintock acknowledged ‘a huge enthusiasm gap that favors the Democrats right now.’ “

Reception for French Officials

Last month, the city hosted a private reception for Gil Avérous, mayor of Fresno’s sister city in France, Châteauroux. The city invited approximately 50 people, mainly elected leaders, some of their staffs, educational and business leaders to the Nov. 6 soiree at Chukchansi Park.

The catered lunch by Pardini’s would normally cost $1,450, but was gifted to the city. Other expenses such as cakes, flowers and decorations totaled about $200.

Or, all together, 1400 Euros.

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