Update, 6/25/2020: Councilman Mike Karbassi pulled his motion to allow elected officials to carry concealed weapons at City Hall.
“It was simple. It seems that I didn’t have the votes. I hope my colleagues will reconsider in the future rather than spend $250,000 of taxpayer funds during a recession on an exclusive security fence,” Karbassi told GV Wire via text.
The council has slated money to build a security fence in the parking lot. But that funding is at risk of being pulled during the ongoing budget hearings.
Last year, as part of new security measures at City Hall, the city council approved allowing only law enforcement to carry guns in the building. The rule went into effect in January.
Councilman Mike Karbassi wants to add one more group: elected officials.
Also in Politics 101:
- Second Amendment supporter Bredefeld opposes CCW for charter officials.
- City budget vote coming soon.
- Deal for animal shelter extension.
- Tax-sharing problems between city and county.
Karbassi is proposing an amendment to city code that would allow city charter officials with a carry concealed weapon (CCW) permit to bring a gun to work.
He said a recent run-in at a colleague’s house provided the inspiration.
“After the incident at Council President Arias’s home and past events with Councilmember Chavez, elected officials are at a higher risk and should have a right to protect themselves. If they want to own a gun and have a CCW that’s their choice,” Karbassi said. “This is also meant as a compromise to avoid spending $250,000 on a security fence around the parking lot for chartered officials. We’re in a recession and need to tighten the belt.”
Last month, Arias got into a physical altercation with protesters at his downtown condo. The incident was captured on video and shared on social media.
Fresno police issued a citation to Arias for assault, based on a citizen’s arrest. A spokesman for the Fresno County District Attorney’s office said the case is under review.
Bredefeld Opposed to Exemption for ‘Elites’
Councilman Garry Bredefeld tells GV Wire he does not support Karbassi’s amendment.
“I strongly support our Second Amendment rights and encourage all citizens to seek a CCW, if they’re comfortable doing so. It was absolutely wrong and a violation of the Second Amendment for (Fresno Mayor Lee) Brand and the City Council to disarm law-abiding CCW holders from entering City Hall,” Bredefeld said. “I will not support a special exemption for the elected ‘elites’ to now utilize their CCWs unless the public is also allowed to enter with their CCW.”
Karbassi said he was following the advice of Fresno Police Chief Andrew Hall.
“I support allowing CCW permit holders in City Hall, including the public. But that is not the recommendation of the police chief and I’m deferring to his judgment on security matters,” Karbassi said.
Politics 101 asked the councilmembers whether they had a CCW. At least two of them do. Mayor Lee Brand’s office did not reply.
|Councilmember||Do you have a CCW permit?|
|Esmeralda Soria||Did not reply|
|Garry Bredefeld||Decline to state|
City Budget Update
By not voting Monday on the 30-plus and growing budget motions, the Fresno City Council pushed the workload to Thursday.
Council president Miguel Arias designated the afternoon session to vote on the budget motions. A final vote on the budget is scheduled for June 30.
The council must still decide whether to accept mayor Lee Brand’s request for a continuing resolution — to carry the expiring budget over for another quarter — or to come up with a new budget plan for the next fiscal year.
“We are looking at all our options,” Arias said.
The options include whether the city can use federal stimulus funds to make up for the projected $32 million in revenue losses.
Animal Shelter Deal
While the city starts building a pet shelter near the airport, it will extend its contract with its animal control provider for another year.
The one-year extension with the Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will cost the city $5.3 million for the year, with the option of two 90-day extensions (at $1.35 million per extension).
The contract extension, approved last year, cost $4.2 million.
Update, 6/25/2020: The Fresno City Council approved the shelter extension in its consent calendar by a 5-1 vote. Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria voted no and Councilman Paul Caprioglio was absent. (Correction: an earlier version said the vote was 6-0).
Update, 6/25/2020: the Fresno City Council approved 6-0 (with Councilman Paul Caprioglio absent) to form a committee to continue negotiations with the county over its tax sharing agreement.
During a special council meeting on Monday, the city discussed a potential lawsuit against the county in closed session. Although the agenda listing did not specify the reason for the suit, Arias hinted on Twitter that it was the city-county tax-sharing agreement:
First I want to see a cut in Supervisor pay but I am pretty confident you and the boys will keep accepting pay raises while asking everyone else to cut. Cities are done being cheated by the County tax sharing agreement that subsidizes supervisor bloated pay and lifetime pensions
— Miguel Arias (@MiguelArias_D3) June 21, 2020
“It’s simple. The county is stealing from us,” Arias said.
When money is involved, nothing is simple. Litigation resulted in a 2003 memorandum of understanding, which the parties have been working off with various extensions since.
The agreement expires Aug. 29.
Breaking down a complicated issue, Arias says property tax and sales tax in the city is about a 50/50 split with the county. But for county territory annexed into the city, it is shared at a 62/38 split in favor of the county.
On Thursday, the council will consider a resolution to no longer support annexation into the city “unless and until a fair tax sharing agreement is in place.”
Annexation applications are common at council meetings to allow for new home developments to become part of the city. At Thursday’s meeting, the council will consider an application for a development on Hayes Avenue between Ashlan and Shields avenues.