Residents in the district recently received a 40-page magazine. The mailer featured Nunes’ point of view on what he calls negative coverage from The Fresno Bee and also Nunes’ attacks on his opponent, Fresno County prosecutor Andrew Janz.
One “article” describes how a California Public Records Act request for his wife’s emails abused the process. Nunes’ wife works as a public schools teacher in Tulare County. The act allows anyone — whether a resident, journalist or political campaign — to receive a tangible (i.e. written form) record from a public agency, such as emails from a school teacher.
One quote from a Clovis Unified school member criticizing the PRA caught my attention, given that I’ve used the PRA tool many times — including filing requests with school districts.
Nunes’ campaign reached out to a Valley school board member for a quote, asking him how he felt about district resources being used for political or personal agendas.
“Our community demands that our children are educated and it is the responsibility of the school district to make that happen. Our limited
and valuable resources are wasted when political or personal agendas generate frivolous requests and attorney costs. We must not tolerate this type of behavior,” Clovis Unified school board member Steven Fogg was quoted.
Fogg (whose first name was misspelled as “Stephen” in the mailer) supports Nunes.
He tells GV Wire that while he supports the act and transparency, abuse frustrates him.
“Why does the school district have to fund a public records act request for his wife? What is the purpose against his wife and the school district? It’s his wife, leave her alone,” Fogg said.
He continued, “If it is for political reasons to smear somebody through their spouse, is that what public records for? You have every right to do it, but I don’t think that’s the purpose. Every dollar you spend to provide that information, you’re taking out of the classroom. Maybe we should sacrifice our kids’ education to provide this information for somebody.”
While the Nunes mailer complained about PRA requests, his campaign uses them as well. For example, members of the Nunes’ team filed a PRA with the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office seeking Janz’s timecard. In broadcast ads, Nunes accused Janz of campaigning and tweeting on the people’s time.
District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp said that Janz’s campaign efforts were all done off the taxpayers’ clock, and Janz denied campaigning on county time.
Transparency in government must be exactly that — transparent. If it isn’t already in most employee handbooks, it should be common sense for any government employee or elected leader. If you don’t want the public to read what’s in your emails (or text, or other official writings), don’t write it down.
County Purchasing Land for Sheriff Substation
The Fresno County Board of Supervisors will vote to purchase land in southeast Fresno for a new sheriff’s substation at its meeting Tuesday (Oct. 9).
Fancher Creek Properties, LLC, a division of developers Lance-Kashian & Company, own the land, at the southwest corner of Harvey and Armstrong avenues. The county will buy the land for $2.5 million.
The county plans to spend another $420,000 on project management costs.
Orantes Drops Out of Race
Technically, her name will still on the ballot, but Theresa Orantes is no longer eligible in the Area 5 trustee race for State Center Community College District.
She told GV Wire that housing issues forced her to move from inside the district to Clovis, where she is staying with a friend.
Fresno County elections clerk Brandi Orth said it is too late to remove Orantes’ name, as early voting started today (Oct. 8).
Orantes is running against Daren Miller and Annalisa Perea in the area that includes much of south and west Fresno. The current trustee, Miguel Arias, opted to run for Fresno City Council instead of re-election.
Taking a parting shot, Orantes said that she isn’t endorsing in the race.
“I don’t believe in either of two candidates. One is a corporate Democrat (Perea) and the other lost the race already in his bid for city council (Miller). I’m not sure what he is doing jumping from race to race. It looks like desperation,” Orantes said.