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Expert Says Fresno Anti-Leaker Plan 'Blatantly Unconstitutional'



Composite photo of footprints trampling the U.S. Constitution
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Two councilmen supporting an anti-leaker ordinance defended their stance this weekend on Twitter amid concerns of trampling on the Constitution.
The legislation, sponsored by Garry Bredefeld and Mike Karbassi in conjunction with Mayor Lee Brand, would create penalties for those leaking confidential information out of City Hall, especially from the council’s closed session items. A leaker would spend time in jail and receive a $1,000 fine.

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David Taub
Politics 101
The problem, constitutional scholars say, is the penalties apply to those who receive the classified information as well.
Glen A. Smith, litigation director for the First Amendment Coalition, says the proposed ordinance won’t pass constitutional muster.
“Any attempt to enforce this against members of the public or press, if they obtained the information or documents legally (i.e., they didn’t break into City Hall to get them) would be blatantly unconstitutional. There are also legal protections for whistleblowers who expose wrongdoing,” Smith said.
Perhaps Karbassi received the message.
“There’s a difference between being a whistleblower to expose corrupt practices & casually breaking attorney client privilege. It’s difficult to conduct the people’s business & protect taxpayers when a disgruntled rogue decides to break trust & hold the council majority hostage,” Karbassi wrote on Twitter. He added the ordinance will be amended to add whistleblower protections.
Bredefeld, who already said he is amenable to change, wrote why he thought the ordinance was necessary.
“Policy is to stop leakers from closed session who are elected and pandering to media for their own self interest and hurting City and taxpayers in the process. I will ALWAYS expose corruption! I also support media and their wanting info,” Councilman Garry Bredefeld said on Twitter.

Will Clovis Embrace Scooters?

While the city of Fresno has set guidelines to allow scooters to roll on its streets, neighboring Clovis is considering a message to companies like Lime — not here.
The council will provide direction on how to handle scooter issues within its city limits. One option: Ask Lime to “geofence” Clovis from scooter usage. That means the devices, normally rolling at 15 miles per hour, would slow to 3 mph as they approach the city limit, and then stop altogether if they try to cross the boundary.
Lime will be the exclusive distributor of the devices in a six-month trial period starting later this month in Fresno. This comes after Bird Scooters swooped into town unannounced in 2018, only to receive a cease-and-desist from City Hall.
A Clovis staff report says cutting off Clovis would give the city enough time to develop licensing and regulations.
Lime granted a similar geofencing request from Fresno State.

Lime Scooters are coming to Fresno, but maybe not Clovis. (Shutterstock)

Pick Justice Targets Lorena Gonzalez

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Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez

Add one more group to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) list of “friends.”
She’s a mortal enemy to the vaccine safety crowd based on her support of SB 276 (more restrictions on vaccine exemptions for school children) and the likes Uber and Lyft for AB 5 (reclassifying many independent contractors as employees).
Now labor-rights group Pick Justice is angry with her because of AB 5.
Pick Justice, best known for supporting farm laborers caught in the middle of the UFW-Gerawan Farming battle, announced a targeted six-figure campaign against Gonzalez.
“She is the first target in a list of anti-farmworker legislators who will be subjected to six-figure media expenditures meant to generate civic action amongst their base of supporters and other civically engaged constituents,” the organization said in a news release.
The media campaign includes TV, radio, print, and digital.
“For far too long (Gonzalez) has prioritized labor union bosses over the workers she pretends to represent,” Pick Justice’s Jesse Rojas said.
To which, she replied on Twitter: “When Big Ag starts running ads against you saying that you are anti-farmworker & pro-Trump because you side with the UFW… Good God, the far right will do anything. Yeah, I’ll stick with @UFWupdates every single day.”

Note: the original story noted that Karbassi and Bredefeld introduced the leaker ordinance “at the behest” of Mayor Brand. “In conjunction with” is more accurate.

David Taub has spent most of his career in journalism behind the scenes working as a TV assignment editor and radio producer. For more than a decade, he has worked in the Fresno market with such stops at KSEE-24, KMJ and Power Talk 96.7. Taub also worked the production and support side of some of TV sports biggest events including the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and NASCAR to name a few. Taub graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email