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Bulldogs to Pac-12 or Big 12? Fresno Council Supports Either Move



The Fresno City Council supports Fresno State moving to a Power 5 athletic conference. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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It may be unknown how much their voice matters, but the Fresno City Council advocated for the Fresno State Bulldogs to play in a Power 5 conference.

David Taub

Politics 101

Citing the success of the 2022 football season, and a list of great Bulldog athletes, the city council passed the resolution, 7-0.

“There are rare windows of opportunity in time when you need to pounce on that opportunity in front of you. And I think right now the stars have aligned to have the Fresno State University Athletics Department join a Power 5 conference,” resolution sponsor Tyler Maxwell said.

Maxwell acknowledged that the resolution was mostly “ceremony,” but said the city council wanted to get the word out that it fully supports Fresno State’s ambitions.

University president Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval appeared in the council chambers, saying a move is beneficial not just for athletics.

“The more exposure we get on a national coverage, the more exposure we get to excellence in athletics and excellence in academics, the stronger we become as a Central Valley. It’s really about that. The more exposure we have on a national level about who Fresno is, we get out of the shadow of San Francisco, we get out of the shadow of L.A. and we become our own person,” Jiménez-Sandoval said.

Specifically, the city council called for a move to either the Pacific-12 or Big 12 conferences. Either move would provide Fresno State with stiffer competition, more national attention, and more importantly — higher revenues from bigger TV contracts — than it receives as a Mountain West member.

The Pac-12 declined to comment. The Big 12 did not respond to a Politics 101 email.

Also in Politics 101 …

  • Fresno City Council discusses a housing emergency.
  • No drama in selected city council leaders.
  • Party time after hours.
  • Who was anxious for a Perea shoutout?

Council Discusses Housing Emergency

The Fresno City Council did not declare a housing emergency, as the agenda may have indicated. Instead, the members debated the issue without taking action.

Part of the debate included what declaring an emergency really meant. The city attorney will come back with an answer.

Ideas included easing the process at the planning department, including an expedited process for affordable housing projects, suggested by Annalisa Perea. Luis Chavez wants to legalize “mother-in-law units.”

One proposal caused heartburn for the city manager.

Miguel Arias suggested using the Fresno Convention Center as a temporary homeless shelter. He said that the city has been trying to sell the properties for two years.

“I’m willing to put that option on the table because I am I don’t see any other way besides business as usual. And that just hasn’t met the moment,” Arias said.

City Manager Georgeanne White said she was frustrated about learning about the idea in the newspaper first. White said there are 30 events at the convention center in the next three months, including Disney on Ice, and weddings. Canceling contracts would be legally problematic, she said.

“I would like you be the one that tells the bride that … we’re going to have to relocate her wedding because we’ve decided to go a different direction,” White said.

Chavez said the goal is not to be adversarial with the city manager. Arias said he wouldn’t apologize.

“I could care less about Disney on Ice when there are people waking up dead in the streets,” Arias said.

Arias also expressed frustration that any shelter solution is proposed for his District 3 — downtown, and southwest Fresno. He also criticized Fresno County for its lack of leadership on homelessness.

No Drama. Maxwell, Perea Selected as Leaders

The Fresno City Council selected its leadership faster than the United States House of Representatives. And the House got a two-day head start.

By a 7-0 vote, Maxwell became president and Perea vice president.

Maxwell has an ambitious to-do list for 2023. In a news release, he said his priorities are “increasing our housing stock, providing shelter and transitional housing for our unhoused population, investing further into public safety, beautifying our local parks, and rebuilding our broken sidewalks and roads to create more vibrant neighborhoods.”

If there is a vacancy in the presidency, Perea would not automatically assume the role. The city council’s rules of procedure require at least one year of service time to be president. For Perea, that would be Dec. 14, 2023. The councilmember next in line for the presidency would be Mike Karbassi.

And yes, councilmembers joked about the ease of Fresno’s leadership selection compared to Washington.

Annalisa Perea takes the ceremonial oath of office, administered by her parents. (GV Wire/Jahz Tello)

Then, a Party

After the business of the day, Maxwell hosted the annual reception at City Hall in the evening.

Maxwell paid for the event with his campaign funds, and he spent well. Food was catered by The Painted Table. Too bad Maxwell is a vegetarian. The meatballs were delicious.

Garry Bredefeld, the councilman who in the past has criticized council spending, approved Maxwell’s payment methods. He appeared at the event.

Maxwell heaped praise upon his colleagues. He said Miguel Arias was the most “difficult” councilman, but also that he represented the most difficult district. He lauded Bredefeld’s commitment to public safety.

New Fresno City Council President Tyler Maxwell is all smiles while hosting a reception at City Hall. (GV Wire/David Taub)

Other Notes

  • During a discussion about paying back a business park loan, City Manager Georgeanne White said the city has had a hard time recruiting veterinarians to its animal shelters.”It is not for a lack of trying. We have done everything we can to try and recruit vets,” White said. She said there is a statewide vet shortage. That means the shelter cannot offer spay and neuter services.
  • Good thing Annalisa Perea gave a shoutout to her nieces and nephews. They were practically jumping out of their seats until Aunt Annalisa recognized them during her inaugural speech.
  • Perea, who works as a planner with private firm QK, says she will reduce her time there.
  • The meeting started off with entertainment. A bagpiper, mariachi band, Folklorico, and Hmong dancers entertained the chambers.

  • Gilbert Felix continues working for now-Assemblywoman Esmeralda Soria. Felix worked as Soria’s city council chief-of-staff, starting last year. He is now her district director. Felix ran for SCCCD trustee but lost to Robert Fuentes.

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