Speaking at the monthly breakfast Wednesday for Confía — the new branding for the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation, literally meaning “trust” — Perea said her support for the LGBT community “really put a big target on my back.” She is the first openly gay member to serve on the city council.
“I had people come to my front door and do really horrific things on my front porch,” Perea said.
After the speech, she told Politics 101 that someone left butane tanks on her front porch. She had “suspicion” it was related to her LGBT support.
Police confirm that someone left flammable material in a box, along with a candy bar, on April 23, 2023. Police filed an incident report but said there was no evidence that could link the material to a hate crime.
Serving as an Elected Latina
Perea and Assemblywoman Esmeralda Soria, D-Fresno, talked about their experiences as elected Latinas to a crowd of about 100 at the Sunnyside Country Club.
“I’m not the first Latina to be on the city council. My goal is to make sure that I’m not the last,” Perea said.
One of the challenges of serving, Soria said, is overcoming “impostor syndrome.”
“I have to continue to work … to remind myself that I worked hard to get where I’m at. I’ve learned a little, a lot of things in my journey that I got a great education and that I do deserve to be where I am at,” Soria said.
Perea, while campaigning for city council in 2022, said she received more styling tips than interest in her positions on policy issues.
“I guarantee you my male counterparts do not get asked about hair (and) makeup,” Perea said. “I think there’s definitely a barrier, an extra barrier that we face as women to initially be questioned because I look young makes me have to prove my worth.”
Both said a balance between work and family is needed. Perea says she unwinds with hot yoga; Soria says she took up golf with her husband, Fresno businessman Terance Frazier.
Soria and Arambula on Gun Vote
Earlier this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 2, a gun-control law that places more restrictions on issuing concealed carry weapon permits and further limits where CCW holders can have guns.
Soria, and Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno, split on the issue — Soria voted no; Arambula voted in favor.
“I do support people being able to have a CCW. And I think that the way that it was written, it creates concerns for me personally and then from some of the other chiefs of police that I directly communicated, that would impact some of the law enforcement officials as well,” Soria said.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office says only one gun crime was committed by a CCW-holder in the last five years; Fresno Police have no record of such a crime. Those facts did not sway Arambula.
“I think we need to be looking at a number of policies to make sure we’re doing all we can to deal with this epidemic that we have of gun violence,” Arambula said.
Sodhi-Layne Files to Run for Fresno Council
Banker Raj Sodhi-Layne officially filed to run for Fresno City Council, one of several candidates hoping to succeed Garry Bredefeld in District 6 (northeast Fresno).
“I look forward to serving my fellow residents and city. I want to help make Fresno the best city for our children and grandchildren — a safe place to call home; a business friendly city,” Sodhi-Layne said.
Sodhi-Layne is also a former city planning commissioner.
She joins the field of attorney Roger Bonakdar, businessman and veteran Nickolas Richardson, and veteran Justin St. George.
Bonakdar leads the candidates with $220,000 raised so far. Sodhi-Layne entered the race after the first campaign contribution filing deadline.
Dyer Draws A Challenger for Mayor
Jim Barr isn’t worried that he may not have as much name recognition — or as big of a campaign bank account — as Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer.
He’s running for mayor of Fresno in 2024 anyway.
“There’s six months to the election and I’m just starting now. It’s going to be a grassroots campaign. … I’m listening to voters,” Barr said.
Barr, 64, is a registered Democrat who moved to Fresno in 1991 after serving in the Navy and U.S. Merchant Marines. He has served as a teacher with Fresno Unified since 1997.
He ran for Fresno Unified school board, finishing fourth in 2006 and third in 2022.
Barr says he does not have differences with Dyer, but he is running because “this is a free country … It doesn’t mean I cannot participate or that I’m not a value to the political process.”
As of the last reporting period, Dyer has $404,000 cash on hand. Barr says he will raise up to the $2,000 limit without having to report, and then decide whether to raise more.
Former congressional candidate Lourin Hubbard announced he was going to run for mayor, but changed his mind earlier this year.
Arias Hires Policy Advocate
Karla Martinez, who worked as an advocate for the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, has joined the staff of Fresno City Councilmember Miguel Arias as his director of community relations. spoke at city council meetings regarding public policy.
LJCA has represented clients in environmental lawsuits against the city, and Martinez spoke at city council meetings regarding public policy in her previous job.
Fowler Mayor New League President
Fowler Mayor Daniel Parra was elected president of the League of California Cities at its convention last week.
“It is an honor to serve as president for Cal Cities during its 125th year of advocacy and education on behalf of California cities,” Parra said in a news release. “I’m eager to help lead California cities in fostering diverse, inclusive, and equitable communities that cater to the needs of all Californians.”
The organization advocates for local municipalities of all sizes with the state legislature.
Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer is one of dozens who are serving on the league’s board of directors.
The group recently supported a move by state officials to remove a measure from the 2024 ballot that would make it harder to pass taxes.
The Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act would require voters to approve all special taxes by a two-thirds threshold.
Currently, if a special tax measure is placed on the ballot by the initiative process — as was Measure P, the Fresno sales tax for parks in 2018, or as Measure E, a sales tax for Fresno State proposed for the 2024 ballot— it needs a majority vote.
A special tax is one that goes to a specific purpose, such as parks or education.