Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
District 7 Candidates Press for Advantage at Voter Forum
gvw_david_taub
By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 6 years ago on
May 3, 2018

Share

Comparatively, they are left, right and center.
The three candidates for Fresno City Council District 7 faced off in a forum Tuesday (May 1) night at the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno.
Veva Islas offered the most politically liberal approach to addressing the city’s issues. Brian Whelan took more conservative positions. The views of Nelson Esparza came across as centrist in comparison. Though the race is officially non-partisan, Islas and Esparza are registered Democrats and Whelan is a Republican.
The candidates were questioned on topics ranging from options for addressing blight, city policies relating to refugees and immigrants, their views on proposed tax increases for parks and public safety and whether the public should help fund a future soccer stadium.
GV Wire collaborated with community media provider CMAC and Fresno’s Leading Young Professionals to produce the forum, which was televised and streamed live.

Candidates Face Pointed Questions

The forum began with each candidate answering a question specifically directed to them.
Esparza was asked about his decision to run for city council with 2 years remaining in his term as a Fresno County Board of Education trustee.
“I am going back to those very same folks. I’m not leaving them, I’m not going anywhere,” Esparza said. “These are the same people who elected me the first time. I am counting on them to elect me a second time to represent them in a different capacity.”
He said he would serve his full term as a councilman if elected and he would “pitch in my fair share” to pay for any special election, if needed, to fill his school board seat. But he noted that an election might not be necessary because the Board of Education has the power to fill a vacancy through appointment.
Islas was questioned about out of area donors who are supporting her campaign. Financial records show 57% of her contributions have come from individuals and organizations outside of Fresno.
“I have friends everywhere.,” Islas said. “I am lucky that because of the work I’ve been doing the last decade, I’ve been able to make connections with people who believe in me and my values.”
Whelan responded to a question about policies toward immigrants. He was asked if he would support the adoption of a sanctuary city ordinance in the city of Fresno.
“I support what is in place right now with respect to how the police are policing and not asking questions about immigration status,” he said. “I don’t want to disturb that balance that exists right now within the city and ask the police to start enforcing immigration. That’s not their role.”

Marijuana Issue Reveals Differences

No issue raised during the forum showed a philosophical divide among the candidates more than the regulation of recreational marijuana in the city.
“I see the color green, pun intended,” Esparza said. “My first thought is how many police officers can we hire with that revenue?” Esparza also envisioned spending tax money generated from marijuana for parks and street maintenance.
He also wanted to make sure pot retailers are well-regulated. “If marijuana dispensaries are going to operate as freely as liquor stores in District 7, then I’m not going to support that,” Esparza said.
Islas agreed, saying she wanted dispensaries regulated fairly and not as prevalent as liquor stores or payday lenders.
“Everyone should have an equal opportunity for the business development that these dispensaries will bring,” Islas said. “I think in particular, as a point in equity, those black and brown communities that have suffered the brunt of unfair legal processes should be able to develop and engage in this as a business opportunity.”
Whelan, alone, did not support the sale of recreational marijuana in Fresno.
“My concern is that federally, it’s against the law,” Whelan said. “Investing in these enterprises presents a problem when it comes to whether or not that investment results in divestment or whether the Attorney General of the United States is going to start targeting people who are getting too big. There has to be a federal solution.”

Election Day is June 5

If no candidate earns more than 50% of the vote in the June 5 primary, the top two finishers will face each other in the November general election. For additional information about candidates and races across the Central Valley and around California, visit GV Wire’s Election 2018 portal.
To view the entire District 7 debate, click here.

DON'T MISS

Fresno’s Baklava House Entices Foodies With Its Delicious Flavors

DON'T MISS

A Far-Right German EU Lawmaker’s Aide Is Arrested on Suspicion of Spying for China

DON'T MISS

Wall Street Rallies and Adds to Its Hot Start to the Week

DON'T MISS

The Icon Returns: Discover the All-New 2024 Land Cruiser

DON'T MISS

Newsom Criticizes Local Response to Homelessness. He Should Look in the Mirror.

DON'T MISS

Google Fires More Workers Who Protested Its Deal With Israel

DON'T MISS

LeBron James Rants at NBA’s Replay Center for Calls, Lakers Lose on Buzzer-Beater

DON'T MISS

Winn Sharp Again, Conforto Homers as Giants Clip Mets

DON'T MISS

CA Lawmakers Reject Bill Cracking Down on Utilities Spending Customers’ Money

DON'T MISS

What Do Supreme Court Justices Say About Homelessness?

UP NEXT

A Far-Right German EU Lawmaker’s Aide Is Arrested on Suspicion of Spying for China

UP NEXT

Wall Street Rallies and Adds to Its Hot Start to the Week

UP NEXT

The Icon Returns: Discover the All-New 2024 Land Cruiser

UP NEXT

Google Fires More Workers Who Protested Its Deal With Israel

UP NEXT

What Do Supreme Court Justices Say About Homelessness?

UP NEXT

49ers GM Hopes to Get Brandon Aiyuk Contract Extension Done Sooner Rather Than Later

UP NEXT

Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne Johnson Pledged $10M for Maui Wildfire Survivors. They Gave Much More.

UP NEXT

Did Fresno Unified’s Biggest Contractor Not Pay Its Workers? Company Still Gets Millions After Civil Penalty

UP NEXT

Biden Marks Earth Day by Going After GOP, Announcing $7 Billion in Federal Solar Power Grants

UP NEXT

Fresno Unified Says It Has No Superintendent Succession Plan Despite HR Leader’s Claim

David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

The Icon Returns: Discover the All-New 2024 Land Cruiser

38 mins ago

Newsom Criticizes Local Response to Homelessness. He Should Look in the Mirror.

1 hour ago

Google Fires More Workers Who Protested Its Deal With Israel

1 hour ago

LeBron James Rants at NBA’s Replay Center for Calls, Lakers Lose on Buzzer-Beater

2 hours ago

Winn Sharp Again, Conforto Homers as Giants Clip Mets

2 hours ago

CA Lawmakers Reject Bill Cracking Down on Utilities Spending Customers’ Money

2 hours ago

What Do Supreme Court Justices Say About Homelessness?

2 hours ago

49ers GM Hopes to Get Brandon Aiyuk Contract Extension Done Sooner Rather Than Later

5 hours ago

Judge Rejects Changing the Name of California’s Trans Youth Ballot Measure

5 hours ago

Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne Johnson Pledged $10M for Maui Wildfire Survivors. They Gave Much More.

18 hours ago

Fresno’s Baklava House Entices Foodies With Its Delicious Flavors

Arut Mkhitaryan, owner of the bakery/restaurant Baklava House, has a customer-first attitude. “When people are happy, we are happy,...

5 mins ago

5 mins ago

Fresno’s Baklava House Entices Foodies With Its Delicious Flavors

11 mins ago

A Far-Right German EU Lawmaker’s Aide Is Arrested on Suspicion of Spying for China

15 mins ago

Wall Street Rallies and Adds to Its Hot Start to the Week

38 mins ago

The Icon Returns: Discover the All-New 2024 Land Cruiser

1 hour ago

Newsom Criticizes Local Response to Homelessness. He Should Look in the Mirror.

1 hour ago

Google Fires More Workers Who Protested Its Deal With Israel

2 hours ago

LeBron James Rants at NBA’s Replay Center for Calls, Lakers Lose on Buzzer-Beater

2 hours ago

Winn Sharp Again, Conforto Homers as Giants Clip Mets

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend