A drag show at a Fresno church, protested by the neo-fascist Proud Boys, was the hot topic at Fresno City Hall during Thursday’s meeting.
Several spoke in favor of the LGBT community and condemned the actions of the protesters —as well as the words of councilmember Garry Bredefeld.
Before last Saturday’s event at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Bredefeld was critical, saying it wasn’t appropriate for children. After public comments on Thursday, Bredefeld offered a rebuttal.
“I stand behind every word, just as I opposed the family-friendly drag show at the zoo. I opposed it at the church,” Bredefeld said.
As Bredefeld spoke, the other six councilmembers walked out. Since there was not a quorum, the official part of the meeting stopped, city clerk Todd Stermer said.
Bredefeld continued, criticizing his colleagues for their impromptu protest.
“I think it’s pretty pathetic that I sat through all of this and council members can’t sit up here and hear what I have to say. And that’s typical,” Bredefeld said.
When he finished, Bredefeld invited his colleagues to return. As they filed in, City Council President Nelson Esparza said “we had to take a very LGBTQ+ friendly snack break.”
Thursday’s meeting was also the first for newly sworn-in member Annalisa Perea. She is the first openly gay member of the city council.
Are Proud Boys a Gang?
At Thursday’s Fresno City Council meeting, Councilman Miguel Arias asked for a memo from the police department if the Proud Boys could be classified as a criminal gang?
Police Chief Paco Balderrama said no, in an email to Politics 101.
“The Proud Boys have not been identified in California as a “criminal street gang,” as defined by California Penal Code 186.22(f). The Southern Poverty Law Center has categorized Proud Boy members as a “hate group” and the country of Canada added them to their list of “terrorist entities,” Balderrama said.
“Regardless of group designations or political affiliations, all persons have a First Amendment right to assemble and peacefully protest as long as they do so legally, safely, and without making criminal threats or causing physical harm to others. The Fresno Police Department will continue to enforce local, state, and federal laws to ensure the equal safety and protection of all our community members,” Balderrama said.
Close Senate Race Recount Starts Monday
The recount for state Senate District 16 starts Monday in Tulare County.
Porterville Republican David Shepard requested the double-check, following a 20-vote loss to incumbent Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Bakersfield.
The public is invited to watch at 5951 S. Mooney Blvd. in Visalia starting at 9 a.m.
The cost is $3,500 a day, Tulare County Clerk Michelle Baldwin said. The count can be stopped at any time by the requestor.
A Fresno County recount is scheduled to start Tuesday, according to Clerk James Kus. Kings County had no update, and Kern County did not respond to a request for comment.