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Will Brand Be Kingmaker in Council Races?



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Mayor Lee Brand is taking an active role in the Fresno City Council races.
Tate Hill is the latest candidate to receive the mayor’s blessing. Brand sent a fundraising email Thursday on Hill’s behalf, asking donors to contribute to the campaign of the District 3 candidate.

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“I need a council member who understands how important our economic vitality is to our future. Tate’s background in business development and community involvement will help support my plans and programs to move our city forward,” Brand wrote.
Hill is one of seven candidates to succeed Oliver Baines, who is termed out. In addition, Hill has Baines’ backing.
Brand also has endorsed incumbent District 5 councilman Luis Chavez and District 7 candidate Brian Whelan.
This election is pivotal for the mayor, as voters could swing the council majority from its conservative leanings to one with more liberal attitudes.

Where Are McCarthy & Nunes on Immigration Reform?

Two Valley Republicans are leading a rare procedural move to allow the entire House of Representatives to vote on a series of immigration bills. Since distributing what is known as a discharge petition, only four more have signed on, bringing the total to 19. The petition needs 218 (or one more than half of the House) to force a floor vote.
Congressmen David Valadao (R-Hanford) and Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) affixed their names on Day One. If successful, the gambit would bypass House Republican leadership’s power to call (or in this case not call) a vote on the issue.
However, Denham and Valadao apparently are doing this without the backing of two influential Republicans.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) expressed doubt about the need for the petition.
“I’m not a believer in discharge petitions because you’re turning the floor over to Democrats,” he told The Hill. “I hope the discharge petition doesn’t get the signatures and we continue to work the legislative process to solve this problem.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) has yet to sign the petition.
The Hill says even if every member of the Democratic caucus signs on, the petition still needs 25 Republican signatures. The 19 signers include just one Democrat, Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado. The expectation is the few Democrats will join DeGette — unless the petition gets 25 Republican signatures.
A similar effort in the Senate failed in February.

School Named for Poet Laureate

Sorry Derek Carr, Jerry Dyer and Ashley Swearengin. No school name for you.
Congratulations to Juan Felipe Herrera, the former U.S. Poet Laureate (2015-17) who was born in Fowler and taught at Fresno State. The Fresno Unified school board voted to name a new elementary school at Church and Peach avenues in his honor.
The trustees picked Herrera over the former Fresno State quarterback, Fresno police chief and former city mayor, whose names appeared in a community survey.
My pick for the school’s nickname? The Poets, of course. That makes more sense than Wildcats, or an NFL team name and logo.
The board voted 4-3 for Herrera. Claudia Cazares, Cal Johnson, Christopher De La Cerda and Brooke Ashjian voted in favor; Carol Mills, Valerie Davis and Elizabeth Jonasson Rosas voted against.
Mills and Davis preferred naming the school for the late Judge Armando Rodriguez. Perhaps that can be the name for the next new school in the district.

Charter Blues

The Fresno County Board of Education provides the last hope for two Fresno charter school efforts.
The Fresno Unified school board followed staff’s recommendation and rejected the renewal of the Kepler Neighborhood School charter by a 5-2 vote.
And, the Central Unified school board voted to deny establishing a charter for the Augustus Academy for Creative Arts and Technology on a 5-1 vote.
Either school can appeal the decision to the county board.

Fresno Council Happenings

This week’s Fresno City Council meeting yielded little drama or news.
The Council voted 5-1 to reimburse the Fresno County Transportation Authority $250,000 to buy land for potential use as the heavy maintenance yard for high-speed rail. A possible location is along Cedar Avenue in south Fresno. Steve Brandau cast the lone no vote, with Clint Olivier absent.
The city will now own, and not lease, its fire department headquarters.  The council agreed to a $4.4 million transaction to buy the building at 911 H Street in downtown Fresno. The fire department has occupied the facility for the last 11 years. Clint Olivier voted no, saying the city should be selling property, not buying it.

Hey, Big Spender

Here’s a look at $1,000+ donors to local candidates since they filed their quarterly financial numbers last month.

Name Race Donor Amount
Lee Brand Mayor 2020 California Conference Board Amalgamated Transit Union $7,000
Fresno Police Officers Association PAC $5,000

Notes: Brand’s full fundraising figures won’t come out until the summer. He held another fundraiser this week at the Banker’s Ballroom, with a “fiesta” theme.

Name Race Donor Amount
Esmeralda Soria Fresno City Council, District 1 California Laborers for Equality and Progress Small Contributor Committee $4,400
Fresno City Employees Association PAC $2,500
Sheet Metal Workers International Association Local No. 104 PAC $1,000

Notes: Soria has already reached six-figures in her fundraising for a race she is unopposed. And, she’s having another fundraiser May 22 at the Five Restaurant, hosted by Judy Peracchi, Coke Hallowell, Bryn Forhan and Joan Eaton. … Soria has donated $2,500 to the account of Miguel Arias (see below).

Name Race Donor Amount
Miguel Arias Fresno City Council, District 3 Zamora’s Electric Inc $2,000
Soria for City Council 2018 $2,500
Tate Hill Fresno City Council, District 3 Fresno Chamber PAC $1,000
Daren Miller Fresno City Council, District 3 Central Valley Progressive PAC $1,000
Craig Scharton Fresno City Council, District 3 Fresno Chamber PAC $1,000
Brad Hardie, owner Regency Property Management $1,200

Notes: Larry Burrus hasn’t raised money, but filed documents showing he’s spent $8,167 on campaign materials. … The Fresno Chamber donated to both Hill and Scharton. … Hardie is a member of the Fresno Planning Commission. He also donated to Luis Chavez and Brian Whelan (see below).

Name Race Donor Amount
Luis Chavez Fresno City Council, District 5 California Laborers for Equality and Progress Small Contributor Committee $4,400
Brad Hardie, owner Regency Property Management $2,500
Fresno Chamber PAC $1,000
Fresno City Employees Association PAC $2,500
Nelson Esparza Fresno City Council, District 7 Fresno Chamber PAC $1,000
C.O.P.E. Fresno Madera Tulare Kings Central Labor Council $2,500
California Laborers for Equality and Progress Small Contributor Committee $4,400
Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association Local No 104 $4,400
Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 497 $8,800
UA Local Union 228 $1,000
IBEW Local #100 C.O.P.E $1,000
U.A. Local 342 PAC Fund $8,800 (two donations of $4,400 each)
Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 447 $5,000
Plumbing Industry Consumer Protection Fund $1,000
Southern California Pipe Trades District Council #16 $8,800
Veva Islas Fresno City Council, District 7 Keith Hooker (husband) $2,400
Douglas Sterne (retired of Lafayette, CA) $1,000
Jeane Samuelsen (retired of Lafayette, CA) $1,000
Central Valley Progressive PAC $2,200
Dr. Joaquin Arambula for Assembly 2018 $2,500
Paul E. Pierce, facilitator/trainer $1,100
Brian Whelan Fresno City Council, District 7 Fresno Chamber PAC $1,000
Brad Hardie, owner Regency Property Management $1,900
California ATMs $1,000
Donaghy Sales, LLC $1,000
Fast N Easy #4 Corporation $2,100
LanudryDay $1,000
Valley Wide Beverage Company $1,000
Campos Land Company $5,000 (two donations of $4,400 and $600)
Antonio Campos $2,500
Juliet Campos $2,500
Craig Duerr $1,000
Fresno City Firefighters $3,000

Notes: The money is pouring into District 7. It’s interesting that Esparza has received strong support from both unions along with a $1,000 from the Fresno Chamber of Commerce. The chamber also gave $1,000  to Whelan. A chamber spokesperson said the donations do not mean an endorsement. That is likely to come after the primary.

Name Race Donor Amount
Brian Pacheco Fresno County Supervisor, District 1 UA Local 246 Plumbers and Pipefitters COPE Committee $3,000
Pat Abercrombie of Abercrombie Farms $2,500
Penny Newman Grain, Inc. $5,000
Sheet Metal Workers International Association PAC $1,000
California Laborers for Equality and Progress $3,000
Marvin Meyers $2,000
Fresno County Prosecutors Association PAC $1,000
Oscar Garcia Fresno County Auditor-Controller Richard F. Spencer $3,000 (two donations of $500 and $2,500)
Mendes for Supervisor $15,000
Buddy Mendes Fresno County Supervisor, District 4 Marvin Meyers $2,000

Pacheco picks up more donations. Coincidentally, he started running TV ads.

Name Race Donor Amount
Roger Wilson Fresno County Superior Court Judge, Office No. 4 Roger T. Nuttall, Inc. $1,000
William Terrence Fresno County Superior Court Judge, Office No. 4 Clark Bros Farming $1,000
Richard F. Spencer (developer) $2,500
Terra Bella Ranch $2,500
Assemi Group Inc. $2,500
Robert Mangano Fresno County Superior Court Judge, Office No. 8 Thomas E Campagne (attorney) $5901.72
Albert Ramirez Bail Bonds $1,000 (two donations of $500 each)
Assemi Group Inc. $2,500
C-III Construction Inc $1,000
Carlos Cabrera (Superior Court Judge) $1,000
Fresno Plumbing & Heating Inc $1,000
Roger T. Nuttall, Inc $3,641.57
Elene Stefanopoulos, owner Stamoules Produce $1,000
Baradat & Paboojian, Inc Attorneys at Law $1,000 (two donations of $500 each)
Pamela Kallsen (retired) $2,000


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