COVID-19 Kills Parks-Safety Sales Tax Effort, Brand Says - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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COVID-19 Kills Parks-Safety Sales Tax Effort, Brand Says



A red X over images of kids in a splash park and a police officer signifying that Fresno won't have a combined parks-public sales tax proposal on the November 2020 ballotfetye
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Mayor Lee Brand says there is no chance that a successor to Measure P — the 2018 sales tax measure for parks currently ruled to have failed — will be on the November ballot.

“You’re going to see nothing on the November ballot. The COVID crisis and the consequence, which is this economic calamity that we are all facing, I don’t think anybody has a taste for a sales tax measure,” Brand said.

Photo of GV Wire's David Taub

David Taub

Politics 101

Also in Politics 101:

  • Brand has doubts about school bonds in November as well.
  • Devin Nunes raises millions.
  • Advice to those running for office: file your paperwork or FPPC will be after you.
  • Update on Nasreen Johnson, running for SCCCD trustee.

Measure P earned 52% of the vote, but the city said it needed two-thirds approval because it was a tax measure for a specific purpose. That two-thirds threshold is being challenged in the courts, but it could take years for a final ruling.

In the meantime, community and city leaders met for a possible second-go at a sales tax, this time benefiting parks, pubic safety, and possibly public works.

The COVID crisis curtailed any discussion at the city council level. To place an item on the November ballot, the council — either through a vote or forced to enact by a petition — needs to do so by Aug. 7.

“We were doing early discussions, talking about some sort of combined parks and public safety that may have actually got there. But it’s never going to happen right now. This is going to be Mayor-elect Jerry Dyer’s issue to deal with, probably his first term,” Brand said. 

Other jurisdictions may be reading the same tea leaves as Brand. A transportation tax in Sacramento County was dropped from the ballot for a similar reason — leaders didn’t think it would pass. In San Francisco, four ballot measures were pulled.

School Bonds Unlikely, Too

“You’re going to see nothing on the November ballot. The COVID crisis and the consequence, which is this economic calamity that we are all facing, I don’t think anybody has a taste for a sales tax measure.”Mayor Lee Brand

Brand also has doubts that school bond measures will be on the ballot as well. In the March election, voters in Clovis Unified and Central Unified failed to pass bonds. Voters in Fresno Unified did pass a bond.

“I’d be surprised if the school bonds — take the one in Clovis that failed, or Central Unified — would even put it on there because it’s really, really bad timing,” Brand said.

And, 2022 may not be any easier. Backers of Measure C, the countywide sales tax measure that funds road projects, intend to place another 20-year renewal for voters. It passed initially in 1986 and renewed in 2006.

Brand said competing against Measure C “would make it tough” for other sales tax efforts.

“If we’re still suffering through a recession in 2022, it’s probably gonna be really hard,” Brand added.

Nunes Raised Millions in Second Quarter

Photo of Devin Nunes walking

Devin Nunes

Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) leads Valley congressional candidates in both the second quarter and overall fundraising.

Nunes raised $2.6 million between April and June. His Democratic opponent, Fresno financial analyst Phil Arballo, raised $829,000 for the quarter and $2.6 million overall.

That places Nunes third overall for all House candidates, according to Open Secrets, behind Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), $26 million, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), $12 million.

In the 2018 cycle, the 22nd district congressional race ranked third overall for fundraising, at $22 million. Nunes fended off a challenge from Fresno County prosecutor Andrew Janz.

Jim Costa (D-Fresno) also has a strong fundraising advantage over his Republican challenger, Kevin Cookingham, a retired educator now living in Madera County. Costa raised $128,000 for the quarter, and $1.7 million overall. Cookingham raised $29,285 and $126,682, respectively.

Two years ago, TJ Cox (D-Fresno) defeated sitting congressman David Valadao of Hanford by 862 votes. Based on their fundraising, it shapes up as another close race. For the quarter, Cox raised $939,607 to Valadao’s $701,192. Overall, Cox raised $3.2 million to Valadao’s $2.4 million.

Candidate District 2nd quarter (April-June 2020)






Cash on hand


Jim Costa (D-inc.) 16 $127,990


$1.7 million

$1.4 million



Kevin Cookingham (R) 16 $29,285






TJ Cox (D-inc.) 21 $939,607


$3.2 million

$4.8 million

$2.0 million


David Valadao (R) 21 $701,192


$2.4 million


$1.8 million


Devin Nunes (R-inc.) 22 $4.6 million

$2.8 million

$16.4 million

$10.4 million

$10.5 million


Phil Arballo (D) 22 $829,689


$2.6 million

$2.1 million



Want to Run for Office? File Carefully!

Earlier this month, the Fresno County clerk’s office held an online seminar for those running for office. Bottom line, it takes a lot of paperwork to run. One document is the Statement of Economic Interest, known as Form 700.

Politics 101 examined dozens of records from the state agency to enforce campaign finance — the Fair Political Practices Commission — showing that many recently elected officials or those appointed to various boards have not been keeping up with their paperwork.

The action usually starts with a warning letter from either the county or Fresno city clerk’s office. If forms still aren’t filed, the FPPC may get involved.

Among the open cases the FPPC is examining because of non-filing (mostly for Form 700) include Amparo Cid (board member of School of Unlimited Learning — a high school operated by Fresno EOC), Jason Paul (Central Unified trustee), Keshia Thomas (Fresno Unified trustee), DJ Criner (board member for Edison Bethune Academy, although he has filed on time for other Fresno city positions he holds), and Clint Olivier (unsuccessful 2016 run for state Assembly).

Others have already been fined: Terry Slatic (Fresno Unified trustee, $200), Valerie Davis (Fresno Unified trustee, $968), and Terra Brusseau (Fresno Housing Authority, $400).

Update on SCCCD Race

Nasreen Johnson

Earlier this week, Politics 101 reported that Nasreen Johnson was a communications specialist with Fresno EOC. Johnson left that position last month, according to her now-former employer.

Johnson and Sevag Tatetosian are running for State Center Community College District trustee against incumbent Eric Payne.


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