Good thing that the service at La Elegante in downtown Fresno was quick. A group of British diplomats had a meeting to make in 15 minutes.
“Who doesn’t like tacos?” said Christopher Cambises, a publicist for the delegates.
This week, a delegation from the British Consulate-General office out of San Francisco visited the Central Valley. The mission focused on academic and economic issues, including a trip to the World Ag Expo. Deputy Consul-General Tammy Sandhu said they needed to get out of the office to see the rest of California.
Sandhu said they held meetings with Fresno State and other Cal State campuses to discuss the Marshall Scholarships, a program for Americans to study in the UK.
“We know that one of the big drivers of the CSU system is … looking at minority populations, like giving an education to those who might otherwise be disadvantaged. And so we really want our scholarship program as well to kind of to pick up some of those students for whom it will have a huge impact and who will have them, we know, have a great impact back here, too,” Sandhu said.
Other meetings included city leaders, and Bitwise Industries.
Representatives from four Northern Ireland companies was also part of the three-day visit.
Sandhu said the Central Valley reminded her of Leicester, her U.K. home, and her northern Indian roots because of the agricultural base.
“I think it’s incredible. I’m of Indian origin and to come somewhere like this, that is so ethnically diverse with such a huge Indian population — not an Indian population, a Sikh, Punjabi, North Indian population — which is … where I come from, is brilliant. And of course, we’re sitting in a taqueria. And then one of the best things has been has been the kind of just the all of the food,” Sandhu said on her impressions of Fresno.
Poll Says Bredefeld in Lead for Supervisor
Garry Bredefeld released a poll, indicating he is in prime position to win a board of supervisors race against incumbent Steve Brandau.
Bredefeld, currently a Fresno city councilman, announced he is running for the District 2 Board of Supervisor seat, representing north Fresno and parts of Clovis. Both Bredefeld and Brandau have similar conservative views, and have been friends in the past. Bredefeld represents city council District 6, which is entirely within the supervisorial district.
A poll Bredefeld commissioned from Signal Research pollster Chris Baker, finds him the pick of district voters over Brandau — 28% to 16%, with the remainder undecided — and, Bredefeld is especially popular with Republicans — 44% to 6%.
Bredefeld also had stronger name identification and favorable/unfavorable scores with all voters, and Republicans over Brandau.
The poll was taken Feb. 8-9 over the phone with 300 district voters. Bredefeld said that in another poll not released to the media, showed him with a 11-point lead over former Assemblyman Frank Bigelow in a hypothetical match-up for the 2024 Assembly race. Current Assemblyman Jim Patterson is termed out.
Baker says Bredefeld’s media visibility helps. The city councilman has guest hosted on KMJ conservatives talk radio several times.
“He is aligned with what Republican voters want right now,” Baker said.
The district has 120,541 registered voters as of October 2022. Republicans hold a 38%-35% registration advantage over Democrats. Nineteen percent are registered as no party preference.
Brandau had no comment.
More on Hubbard Kick Off
Lourin Hubbard held a kick off event Wednesday evening at his north Fresno home — backyard tacos for a an intimate crowd of about 20 family and friends.
Hubbard is running for Fresno mayor in 2024, taking on incumbent Jerry Dyer.
“I have a debt to pay back the city,” Hubbard said. “We are going to make this city one of progress.”
In a brief speech, Hubbard revealed some policy goals including instituting a universal basic income for Fresnans. He also supports “YIMBY” (yes in my backyard) policies to build more affordable housing.
His wife, Erin Hubbard, also delivered brief remarks. She exhibited a passion and charisma that could make her a future candidate if she ever takes up politics.
Balch Takes Over Downtown Fresno
With experience helping downtown Fresno already under his belt, the Downtown Fresno Partnership named Elliott Balch as its next president and CEO, starting March 20.
Balch served as the Downtown Revitalization Manager under Ashley Swearengin’s mayoral administration. He followed Swearengin to the Central Valley Community Foundation, where he serves as Chief Impact Officer.
“A fun Downtown that is Fresno-level diverse and a hotbed of inclusive economic opportunity — that’s what we are building together,” Balch said in a news release. “For our city and region, this is the kind of Downtown we need that will deliver sustainable growth, industries with upward economic mobility, healthy and active lifestyles, and urban housing to meet high demand. And did I mention this place is fun?”
Balch replaces Jimmy Cerracchio, who took a similar position in Arizona.