Two More Join Crowded Race for Bredefeld’s City Council Seat
Two residents known for their service to the community want to become the next city councilmember representing northeast Fresno.
Longtime banker and former city planning commissioner Raj Sodhi-Layne tells Politics 101 she intends to run. So does Fresno Police Sgt. Danny Kim.
They join a field of three other candidates vying to succeed District 6 Councilman Garry Bredefeld, who is termed out in 2024.
“I want to serve my district and city. After 40 years in banking and finance, I want to use my practical experience and 35-plus years of real-life experience and community service to serve,” Sodhi-Layne said.
Sodhi-Layne, 58, is a Republican. She served on the Fresno Planning Commission from 2017 through 2021. She has also volunteered for several local civic organizations.
Kim is a 25-year Fresno police veteran, starting as a cadet in 1998. Highly respected by the Fresno City Council he hopes to join, Kim was promoted to sergeant in 2021. He currently is the southwest patrol supervisor.
“I want to serve at a different level to the community,” Kim said.
Kim, 48, also is a Republican.
Attorney Roger Bonakdar and military veterans Nickolas Richardson and Justin St. George previously announced their intentions to run for Bredefeld’s seat.
The election is on March 5, 2024. The filing deadline for candidates is in early December.
Related Story: Bonakdar Says His Skillset Gives Him City Council Race Advantage
Also in Politics 101 …
- Husband and wife elected leaders have FPPC cases closed.
- Nonprofit lawsuit settled.
Jonasson-Rosas, Chavez Cleared in FPPC Probes
The state agency in charge of campaign finance and enforcing conflict of interest codes found “insufficient evidence” that votes taken by Fresno Unified trustee Elizabeth Jonasson-Rosas broke the law.
The Fair Political Practices Commission sent Jonasson-Rosas a letter last week, informing her that the case is closed.
She was accused in a 2019 anonymous complaint of taking votes to improve Roosevelt High School, which is within 500 feet of her home. Elected members usually have to recuse themselves if a vote on a nearby property might create a personal benefit — i.e. voting to improve the neighborhood will increase home values.
“There is insufficient evidence to prove a material financial effect on your real property under the Act,” the FPPC wrote.
Jonasson-Rosas tells Politics 101 she is relieved.
“This is an example of how allegations can be used as political witch-hunts and ultimately be proven to have no merit. Portraying fighting for equity in investments for south Fresno as a conflict when I must live in the district I represent was ludicrous, and though it took longer than expected, I’m glad to be cleared of this anonymous, unfounded complaint. As a trustee representing southeast Fresno I will continue to fight for improvements to the schools in my region,” Jonasson-Rosas said.
Her husband, Fresno City Councilman Luis Chavez, was also accused of making similar votes when he served on the school board. Chavez says he received a similar letter closing the case
Related Story: Chavez, Jonasson Rosas Investigated Over FUSD Votes
CASA Lawsuit Settled
A belated update to a story from two years ago. Attorney Jeremy Dobbins said his clients settled a whistleblower lawsuit against nonprofit Court Appointed Special Advocates of Fresno and Madera Counties in April 2022.
The lawsuit accused CASA and its leader, Wilma Hashimoto, of wrongful termination, creating a hostile work environment, and questionable negotiations of contracts.
Hashimoto denied the lawsuit’s allegations, telling GV Wire at the time: “CASA has at all times complied with state and federal laws.”
Settlement terms were not disclosed.
Hashimoto remains CASA’s executive director.
Related Story: Whistleblower Lawsuit Targets Fresno-Madera Foster Youth CEO