Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Political Stunt, Egg on His Face, Personal Vendetta. Who's Fresno DA Talking About?
gvw_david_taub
By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 1 month ago on
April 26, 2024

DA Lisa Smittcamp (left), criticized Miguel Arias (middle) and Andrew Janz after their PRA request for records about her Prop. 47 revise activities. (GV Wire Composite/David Rodriguez)

Share

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp responded to a Fresno city councilmember wanting to know about her office’s political activities to revise Proposition 47.

Miguel Arias, through Fresno City Attorney Andrew Janz, submitted a Pubic Records Act request, seeking information about communications Smittcamp and her office may have had regarding the law — including internal communications, and timecards of office employees.

Generally, the law does not permit public employees to engage in political activity “on the clock.”

Smittcamp called into “KMJ’s Afternoon Drive” Thursday afternoon on KMJ radio (105.9 FM/580 AM), and again Friday morning on “Broeske and Musson” following GV Wire’s story on Thursday on the attempt by Arias to obtain records about her Prop. 47 revise efforts.

“Once again, this is Miguel Arias’ recreational sport of trying to swing at Lisa Smittcamp at every opportunity he has. So, I mean, it’s become comical to me at this point. So if Mr. Arias thinks that I don’t play by the rules, once again, he’s wrong. And, once again he doesn’t do his homework,” Smittcamp told hosts Philip Teresi and E. Curtis Johnson.

Smittcamp said Arias had a “personal vendetta” against her, talking with Friday with hosts John Broeske and Christina Musson.

“This is just another political stunt of Miguel Arias to try to be relevant, I guess. And, you know, he continues to try to attack me. And every time he does, he ends up with egg on his face,” Smittcamp said.

Smittcamp said her office will comply legally with the document requests even though the PRA was “another waste of everybody’s time and resources.”

Public Employees and Campaigning

Smittcamp said her office employees who worked on Prop. 47 reform events were off the clock or using vacation time. Elected officials do not have to take time off because they work “24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Smittcamp said, but they cannot campaign inside public buildings.

Any materials for the Prop. 47 reform signature drives were paid for by herself, Smittcamp said.

Smittcamp has been an outspoken advocate for Prop. 47 revise. The 2014 voter-passed law reduced some felonies to misdemeanors and raised some thresholds for theft to be charged as a felony — particularly when it came to retail theft.

Backers of the act gathered nearly 900,000 signatures statewide, making it highly likely that it will qualify for the November ballot. Smittcamp helped organize local petition signing drives.

On her Fresno County DA Facebook page, Smittcamp publicized the petition drives and she discussed the topic on KMJ radio and GV Wire’s “Unfiltered” podcast.

A Fresno County DA Facebook post, promoting a Prop 47 signature drive. (Facebook)

KMJ’s Musson asked about the social media posts.

“Whatever the district attorney does is news, right? Wherever I go, whatever I do, whether I’m speaking at a school or I’m doing something political or I’m testifying up in Sacramento, those things are all relevant. And there are actually provisions that allow for those things to happen,” Smittcamp said.

DA spokesperson Taylor Long — whose timecard Arias requested — elaborated.

“Like many other law enforcement agencies, we routinely post (or are tagged) on matters of public importance that affect public safety and our operations. This may include postings about proposed efforts to weaken or strengthen laws and related issues. Posts highlighting the shortcomings of existing laws and efforts to improve them are necessary to inform the public,” Long said.

At a Feb. 20 news conference about the city of Fresno’s efforts to combat graffiti, Smittcamp carried a clipboard and solicited signatures from the likes of Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer.

Smittcamp accused Arias of hypocrisy: Using public resources in Janz to submit the PRA request.

“The city of Fresno and Mr. Andrew Janz have no interest in the issue of the Prop. 47 initiative. And so, in fact, he is doing what he is accusing me of. Ironic, isn’t it?” Smittcamp said.

Smittcamp Criticizes Janz’s Role

Smittcamp also had harsh words for Janz.

“I really think there ought to be some investigation into Mr. Janz. … I think he really stubbed his toe on this one, because using city resources for … political gamesmanship. And, you know, there’s obviously a conflict that Mr. Arias has with me and Mr. Janz would have to be asleep at the wheel if he didn’t realize what was happening,” Smittcamp said.

Before becoming city attorney, Janz worked as a violent crimes prosecutor under Smittcamp. The DA said they had “a pretty good relationship,” but she was disappointed about his involvement in the PRA request.

Janz declined to comment to GV Wire for this story.

Arias vs. Smittcamp, the Next Round

For several years, Arias and Smittcamp have engaged in public tussles.

Smittcamp said things got off to a bad start when they met for the first time in 2015 after she became district attorney.

“(He) insinuated that I was a racist and he didn’t even know me. I was so appalled by his behavior and in the context of the conversation that we were having. You know, he’s a very interesting person. And I honestly, I just try to steer clear of him,” Smittcamp said.

In 2021, Smittcamp sent the city council a letter at the 11th hour stating concern about possible open meeting law violations. The move scuttled a Arias-sponsored motion to settle a lawsuit with developer and Granite Park operator Terance Frazier. That case is ongoing in federal court.

Arias has publicly accused Smittcamp of going after Democrats, but not Republicans for various ethics violations. During a city council meeting in 2022, Arias took his comment time to blast Smittcamp, accusing her of professional and personal failings.

Smittcamp has investigated Arias for ethical and criminal behavior — including not actually living at his registered home address, and a battery charge against protesters in 2020 who invaded his downtown Fresno apartment complex. No charges were filed in either case.

Recently, Arias and fellow city councilmember Garry Bredefeld criticized Smittcamp for her involvement on a board overseeing Valley Children’s Hospital. Critics, including the councilmembers, questioned the compensation of the hospital’s CEO, Todd Suntrapak.

“Every single time he has taken a swing at me, he’s ended up with egg on his face,” Smittcamp said.

Listen to Smittcamp’s KMJ Interviews

Thursday on “KMJ’s Afternoon Drive”:

Friday on “Broeske and Musson”:

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Shares in Trump Media Slump After Former President Convicted in Hush Money Trial

DON'T MISS

US and Britain Strike Houthi Rebel Targets in Yemen After Surge in Shipping Attacks

DON'T MISS

Biden Partially Lifts Ban on Ukraine Using US Arms in Strikes on Russian Territory, US Officials Say

DON'T MISS

Guilty as Charged: Trump Is First Former U.S. President Convicted of Felony Crimes

DON'T MISS

Jury in Donald Trump’s Hush Money Trial Reaches Verdict. A Nation Awaits the Outcome.

DON'T MISS

Fresno, Selma Districts Get Big Federal Grants to Buy ‘Clean’ School Buses

DON'T MISS

Oklahoma Pursues Record 4th Straight National Title at Women’s College World Series

DON'T MISS

NRA Can Sue Ex-NY Official It Says Tried to Blacklist It After Parkland Shooting, Supreme Court Says

DON'T MISS

Roberts Rejects Senate Democrats’ Request to Discuss Supreme Court Ethics and Alito Flag Controversy

DON'T MISS

Your Guide to California’s Minimum Wage: Surviving in an Expensive State

UP NEXT

US and Britain Strike Houthi Rebel Targets in Yemen After Surge in Shipping Attacks

UP NEXT

Biden Partially Lifts Ban on Ukraine Using US Arms in Strikes on Russian Territory, US Officials Say

UP NEXT

Guilty as Charged: Trump Is First Former U.S. President Convicted of Felony Crimes

UP NEXT

Jury in Donald Trump’s Hush Money Trial Reaches Verdict. A Nation Awaits the Outcome.

UP NEXT

Fresno, Selma Districts Get Big Federal Grants to Buy ‘Clean’ School Buses

UP NEXT

Oklahoma Pursues Record 4th Straight National Title at Women’s College World Series

UP NEXT

NRA Can Sue Ex-NY Official It Says Tried to Blacklist It After Parkland Shooting, Supreme Court Says

UP NEXT

Roberts Rejects Senate Democrats’ Request to Discuss Supreme Court Ethics and Alito Flag Controversy

UP NEXT

Your Guide to California’s Minimum Wage: Surviving in an Expensive State

UP NEXT

Turns Out, Golf Superstar Nelly Korda Is Human After All

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

Guilty as Charged: Trump Is First Former U.S. President Convicted of Felony Crimes

55 mins ago

Jury in Donald Trump’s Hush Money Trial Reaches Verdict. A Nation Awaits the Outcome.

1 hour ago

Fresno, Selma Districts Get Big Federal Grants to Buy ‘Clean’ School Buses

2 hours ago

Oklahoma Pursues Record 4th Straight National Title at Women’s College World Series

3 hours ago

NRA Can Sue Ex-NY Official It Says Tried to Blacklist It After Parkland Shooting, Supreme Court Says

3 hours ago

Roberts Rejects Senate Democrats’ Request to Discuss Supreme Court Ethics and Alito Flag Controversy

3 hours ago

Your Guide to California’s Minimum Wage: Surviving in an Expensive State

3 hours ago

Turns Out, Golf Superstar Nelly Korda Is Human After All

3 hours ago

Boeing Tells Federal Regulators How It Plans to Fix Aircraft Safety and Quality Problems

3 hours ago

First-Generation Fresno State Student Selected for Congressional Internship

3 hours ago

Shares in Trump Media Slump After Former President Convicted in Hush Money Trial

Shares of Trump Media & Technology Group, the owner of social networking site Truth Social, slumped Thursday after former President Dona...

17 seconds ago

17 seconds ago

Shares in Trump Media Slump After Former President Convicted in Hush Money Trial

12 mins ago

US and Britain Strike Houthi Rebel Targets in Yemen After Surge in Shipping Attacks

19 mins ago

Biden Partially Lifts Ban on Ukraine Using US Arms in Strikes on Russian Territory, US Officials Say

55 mins ago

Guilty as Charged: Trump Is First Former U.S. President Convicted of Felony Crimes

1 hour ago

Jury in Donald Trump’s Hush Money Trial Reaches Verdict. A Nation Awaits the Outcome.

2 hours ago

Fresno, Selma Districts Get Big Federal Grants to Buy ‘Clean’ School Buses

3 hours ago

Oklahoma Pursues Record 4th Straight National Title at Women’s College World Series

3 hours ago

NRA Can Sue Ex-NY Official It Says Tried to Blacklist It After Parkland Shooting, Supreme Court Says

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend