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Bredefeld, Chavez Win Attorneys Fees from Fresno County. Court Gives Chavez Blvd. a Green Light.
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 4 weeks ago on
March 15, 2024

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Bredefeld and Chavez win a legal victory over Fresno County.

City of Fresno wins legal victory for Cesar Chavez Blvd.

Former opponents support Richardson for the Fresno City Council.


A Fresno County judge awarded more than $72,000 in attorney fees to Garry Bredefeld and Luis Chavez after the two Fresno city councilmembers fended off a lawsuit from Fresno County.

In 2023, the county sued them after they transferred campaign funds to accounts underwriting their bids to join the Board of Supervisors.

Both Bredefeld and Chavez earned enough votes in their respective March 5 primaries to advance to the Nov. 5 runoff. Bredefeld faces incumbent Steve Brandau in District 2 (north Fresno and parts of Clovis). Chavez challenges incumbent Sal Quintero (south Fresno and surrounding areas).

The county claimed the transfer cap was $30,000 and sued. Bredefeld and Chavez successfully argued that what they did was not subject to the limit. Judge Jon Skiles ruled in the councilmembers’ favor on Oct 2, 2023.

Bredefeld and Chavez asked the court for attorney fees. A provision of state law allows for recovery.

“Defendants submit that they conferred significant benefit on the general public in their defense of the action by protecting the speech rights of current and future County candidates. Defendants additionallly argue they conferred significant benefit for the ‘informational interests’ of Fresno County voters,” Skiles wrote in a March 7 opinion.

Chavez praised the ruling. He and Bredefeld were represented by Sacramento attorney Brian Hildreth

“The lawsuit by the county board of supervisors to unconstitutionally prohibit challengers from utilizing their campaign funds, while simultaneously exempting themselves was a dangerous incumbent protection scheme, and I’m happy the judge saw through that,” Chavez said.

“This ruling is proof of wasting taxpayer money and weaponizing the county’s legal department for political purposes. That’s going to change when I get there in December.”

Bredefeld agreed that the board’s actions were unconstitutional.

“We fought back and won. They wasted hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars by hiring a high-priced LA law firm, using County attorneys, and forcing us to defend against their reckless legal scheme. These Supervisors owe their constituents an apology and should personally reimburse the taxpayers. It is time for real change, transparency, and accountability and that will come on Election Day in November,” Bredefeld said.

Said County Counsel Daniel Cederborg: “The County is still considering whether to appeal the fee award or not.”

Cesar Chavez Blvd. Opponents Have No Case, Judge Says

In another case heard in Skiles’ court, he granted the city of Fresno a legal victory against opponents who wanted to block the Cesar Chavez Boulevard name.

Skiles essentially said the group, 1 Community Compact, had no case.

The group, led by Pastor BT Lewis, argued that the city unfairly changed an 11-mile stretch of California and Ventura avenues and Kings Canyon Road to Cesar Chavez Boulevard.

“I am personally very disappointed in the judge’s ruling. I think it is a miscarriage of justice and a misuse of power to have people in positions of leadership who seemingly cannot be held accountable for actions that do harm,” Lewis said.

Lewis said he wasn’t against naming a street for the late labor rights leader but opposed the renaming of California Avenue, which is considered historic in the Black community.

“We are grateful for Judge Skiles’ thoughtful decision on the matter. From the very beginning the City followed due process in accordance with state and federal laws. This City Council went above and beyond their legal obligations by offering financial assistance to affected entities, something that was not typically done when street names were changed in years past,” City Attorney Andrew Janz said.

Brian Leighton, attorney for 1CC, pushed back on the notion that his clients had no case.

“This is far from over,” Leighton said.

Lawsuit Not 100% Dead

In legal terms, the city argued that 1CC “failed to state a case” in its nine causes of action. The judge agreed.

Skiles also threw water on 1CC’s allegations that the road renaming infringed on its property rights.

“Nowhere in the (first amended complaint) is there any reference to restrictions of land use or planning and zoning decisions. If they are the basis of the conclusion of the loss of property rights, the FAC fails to clearly allege it,” Skiles wrote.

However, Skiles ruled that the plaintiffs could file an amended complaint.

Earlier this year, the Fresno City Council contracted with Kroeker, Inc. to replace 222 street signs for $142,287.

Former Opponents Support Richardson

Fresno City Council candidate Nick Richardson has the support of the also-rans in the March 5 primary.

Attorney Roger Bonakdar and Richardson, a Marine veteran and safety consultant, finished with 37% and 27% support, respectively. Both advance to a Nov. 5 runoff, since neither achieved a majority.

(GV Wire)

Richardson announced that the candidates who finished third and fourth, Molly Fagundes-Johnston and Raj Sodhi-Layne, have endorsed him. Justin St. George, who flirted with a run, also threw his support to Richardson.

“Receiving the endorsement of Justin, Raj, and Molly is not just a personal honor, but a testament to our shared commitment to the future of Fresno,” Richardson said in a news release. “Our campaign, powered by the hard work of volunteers and the belief in service-driven leadership, has demonstrated that we can overcome the odds and make a real difference in our community.” 

Could the endorsements help Richardson’s campaign account? He was outraised and outspent by all candidates, especially Bonakdar.

Fresno City Council District 6 Financials

Candidate Raised Spent
Roger Bonakdar $329,331 $128,442
Raj Sodhi-Layne $86,377 $37,792
Molly Fagundes-Johnston $58,544 $33,346
Nick Richardson $26,724 $23,338

2023 through Feb. 17, 2024; source: city of Fresno

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
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

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