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Will Fresno City Council Agree to an Audit on Spending?

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The Fresno City Council audit committee is agreeable to an audit process of city finances. (GV Wire File)
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A Fresno City Council audit subcommittee is amenable to taking an internal look at the city’s finances. But, members say they do not want it to turn into a witch hunt.

Photo of GV Wire's David Taub

David Taub

Politics 101

“Audits are not meant to be used as political weapons,” Councilman Miguel Arias said during Wednesday’s special public meeting of the finance and audit committee.

Last week, Councilman Garry Bredefeld accused four councilmembers of abusing city-issued credit cards and individual $700,000 budgets for district needs.

Committee member Tyler Maxwell is “not opposed to an audit,” but wants to expand it to look at the “entire city’s finances and efficiency.”

“There are many steps our city can take to increase that transparency, but what I do not agree with is a politically motivated audit led by a single council member that only focuses on the expenses of four City Councilmembers he disagrees with politically,” Maxwell said.


Also in Politics 101:

Where the audit goes from here?

— Civil Rights icon compares Fresno County redistricting to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

— Out with the yellow, in with the green for one Fresno pot shop


Bredefeld Criticized for His Criticism

Last week, Maxwell and City Council President Nelson Esparza said that Bredefeld made “false claims” and labeled his efforts a “wasteful charade.” They also said the city attorney’s office “has not found any misuse of Council funds.”

Wednesday’s meeting included conversations about what is appropriate spending.

“Issues are raised when comments are made that indicate there may be a possibility that expenditures may not be consistent with that current business, conservative policy,” City Manager Georgeanne White said.

Mayor Jerry Dyer hopes to start a spending review within three weeks.

The discussion will continue at Thursday’s city council meeting. Bredefeld has two items on the agenda.

Huerta Compares Fresno County Redistricting to Ukraine

Photo of Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta compared Fresno County redistricting to the war in Ukraine. (GV Wire File)

Civil rights activist Dolores Huerta likened the process of selecting voting maps in Fresno County to the war in Ukraine.

“We see what is happening in Ukraine, where people are being murdered, because Russia wants to take over their country and wants to represent them. What we have here is something very similar, of course, on a different scale,” Huerta testified over the phone at an Assembly election committee hearing Wednesday.

The committee heard AB 2030, authored by Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno. The bill would transfer map-drawing power away from the Fresno County Board of Supervisors and put it into the hands of an independent committee.

The bill passed 5-1 out of the elections committee. It next heads to the local government committee.

Arambula said community voices were not heard in the county’s recent redistricting.

“The practice of gerrymandering has disenfranchised underrepresented communities, including communities of color, and diluted their voting power,” Arambula told the committee.

Dora Rose of the state League of Women Voters also spoke on behalf of AB 2030. Neither Huerta (Bakersfield) nor Rose (San Francisco) are from Fresno County.

Sacramento-based lobbyist Paul Yoder spoke on behalf of Fresno County, which opposes the bill. He said the map passed last December met all legal requirements and includes three Latino-majority districts.

Both Chad Mayes, NPP-Yucaipa, and Kelly Seyarto, R-Murrieta, expressed concern about taking away local control. However, Mayes voted yes while Seyarto was the lone no vote.

Proposed Pot Shop Goes from Yellow to Green

Last year, the Lemonnade marijuana retail store in the Tower District survived an appeal of its license. But, the design of the building, name, and color scheme raised eyebrows.

Instead of the name Lemonnade and its proposed bright yellow building at the corner of Wishon and Fern avenues in an old bank building, the branding will now be Dr. Greenthumb’s, with a green motif.

“Due to feedback from the City Council and to differentiate this store from the District 4 Cookies store, we have changed our brand from Lemonnade to Dr. Greenthumb’s,” documents from the company said.

The ownership remains the same, locally controlled by Kacey Auston.

Dr. Greenthumb’s received unanimous approval for its conditional use permit from Tower District Design Review Committee on Tuesday.

If the logo looks familiar, it is an image of rapper B-Real from Cypress Hill, founder of the brand.

Above: The original rendering of Lemonnade in the Tower District. Below: an updated rendering under the Dr. Greenthumb’s brand.

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

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