Documenter: Loren Friesen

Summary

The main item of this meeting was a non-action item. 

  • James Koos, the appointed County Clerk Registrar of Voters, gave a presentation on election ID maintenance and the plan to meet with the public to answer questions and concerns. 

  • The board, specifically Chairman Brandau, is eager to use resources to show the public they are taking the issue of voter fraud seriously. 

  • The board is pressing forward with an advisory commission for redistricting, despite multiple pleas (last meeting and this meeting) for an independent commission.

  • The director of Public Health, David Pomaville, was recognized. (He has resigned.)

  • Chief Donovan J. Gleason of the Sheriff’s Department was recognized.

  • Chief Probation Officer Haines summarized Fresno County Juvenile Justice Realignment Block Grant Plan.

  • The board expressed interest in a meeting to be held between mobile home park owners and tenants regarding rent control. 

The Scene 

Fresno County hosts a live stream of the meeting, with three cameras showing the Supervisor speaker view, the member of the public speaker view, and a wide shot of the chambers.

Compared to other meetings in the past, the audience was relatively vacant. There were about 4 members of the public that were not scheduled to speak on an item.

Below are listed the members of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. Present are in bold: 

Steve Brandau – District 2 – Chairman (North Fresno)

Brian Pacheco – District 1 – Vice Chairman west, rural like Kerman, Firebaugh)

Sal Quintero – District 3 (Central Fresno) (over the phone)

Buddy Mendes – District 4 (rural towns like Reedley, Sanger, Fowler, Kingsburg)

Nathan Magsis – District 5 (eastern, rural, mountains)

Goals

As stated on their website, Fresno County’s goal, in sum, is to provide excellent public services to our diverse community. Specifically the County is “defined and authorized under the California Constitution, law, and the Charter of the  County of Fresno, and provides countywide services, including elections, voter registration, law enforcements, jails, vital records, property records, tax collection, public health and social services. In addition the County serves as the local government for all unincorporated areas.“

Policies

The board unanimously approved the agenda. 

The board unanimously approved the consent agenda with the exception of item 37 and 41 (deleted by staff), 40 (pulled by Supervisor Pacheco), 21 (pulled by Supervisor Quintero) and 27 (pulled by Mary Ann Cast of the Fresno League of Women Voters. 

The board unanimously approved staff’s recommendation for item 27 of the consent calendar, to establish an Advisory Redistricting Commission chosen and approved by the Board of Supervisors, and expanding the commission from 5 to 11 people. 

The board unanimously approved to proclaim May 2-9 as “Save Today” week. 

The board unanimously approved item 40 of the Consent Calendar, to acquire a right-of-way from parcels adjacent to existing County right-of-way along W. Ashlan Ave. east of N. Hayes Ave.

The board unanimously approved to continue item 4 to a date uncertain, citing an upcoming meeting on the issue of rent control between mobile home park owners and mobile home tenants. 

The board unanimously approved item 6, a hearing to amend the Fresno County Master Schedule of Fees, Charges and Recovered Costs Ordinance. 

The board unanimously approved staff’s recommendation for item 8 with the exception of Supervisor Quintero, who stepped out. 

Discussion

Item 27 of Consent Calendar: Mary Ann Kast commended the board for expanding the redistricting commission from 5 to 11 people, but said the League of Women voters still advocates for an independent commission. She also said the commission needs to represent the “racial, ethnic, geographic, gender diversity of county”, so she encouraged the board to expand requirements of qualification. She also warned the board of Kern County’s choice to choose an advisory board and then had to redo the whole process in 2018, costing them $3 million.

Supervisor Magsig clarified with counsel that their choice was legal, after which he said he wants people represented not just from the two main cities of Fresno County, and therefore wants to stick with the expanded advisory board. Chairman Brandau agreed, saying Supervisor Pacheco’s compromise from last week (to keep an advisory board but to expand the number of people) was a good idea. Supervisor Quintero said that he spoke with individuals about this item and told them to come to the meeting. 

Item 21 of Consent Calendar:  David Joseph, senior HR analyst, encouraged employees to enroll and take positive actions regarding their retirement. 

Supervisor Magisg said retirement is very important, and that we are higher than other counties in terms of retirees so opportunities to reduce fees is important. Presenters of the item took a picture with the board.

Item 40 of Consent Calendar: 

Steve White of Public Works and Planning explained the item, talking about acquiring a right-of-way adjacent to existing County right-of-way. 

Supervisor Pacheco explained it’s a technical item but it’s important to improve the roads and areas west of highway 99.

Item 3 – The board recognized Donovan J. Gleason of the Sheriff’s Department for his 27 years of service. He trained and mentored correctional officers. Gleason thanked the sheriff for putting faith in him, and said it’s been a pleasure working for the county. Chairman Brandau thanked him for his years of service, and Supervisor Magsig said despite the ebb and flow of public support for law enforcement he recognizes his good work and the work of Fresno County.

Item 3.1 – CAO Jean Rousseau described Director of Public Health David Pomaville as steady, humble, a man of integrity, and a leader as part of recognizing his 17 years of service with Fresno County. Rousseau highlighted key achievements and problems solved by Pomaville, particularly his organization and work in response to the pandemic. 

Supervisor Magsig recalled his collaboration with Pomaville in tackling tree mortality, noting that there were no deaths in the Creek Fire because of Pomaville’s proactive work. 

Supervisor Mendes said Pomaville’s gift is how well he shows patience and looks at the big picture. Supervisor Pacheco said he hasn’t agreed with everything he’s done but he respects him and is amazed at his patience and temper, especially in comparison to himself. 

Supervisor Quintero said he was so impressed by Pomaville’s organization and leadership, recalling how well he knew his department’s budget and capabilities when they went out to coffee. He thanked Palmaville for taking time to explain things to him after hours.

Chairman Brandau recalled Pomaville’s work of “separating fact from fiction” when there was a rusty-water incident in Fresno County. He thanked him for being able to help him provide answers to his constituents, and his leadership in leading the response to the pandemic. 

David Pomaville recalled a “colorful” conversation with Supervisor Pacheco, citing how conversation and pushing each other is part of government. He said it’s important that people be connected to their local health department. He also said the department is in very capable hands. He said we are “not done” with covid response, but things are getting better with cases going down and vaccinations going up. He cited other key moments of his career, from improving animal control to Creek Fire response. 

The board then gave him a plaque, a gift certificate for cycling, and a gift basket.  

Item 4 – 

Supervisor Pacheco reported that mobile home park owners want to come to a compromise around rent control before moving the ordinance forward. There is a meeting planned between the park owners and tenants, which Pacheco is happy about. The ordinance draft that currently exists will not be the final draft of the ordinance. Chairman Brandau hopes they can come to a conclusion on the problem. 

Charles Gerribetti Jr., owner of a mobile home park in Malaga, said rent control forces mom and pop owners to sell out to larger corporations. He said he welcomes the need to table this item to find a compromise. 

Item 5

James Koos, County Clerk Registrar of Voters, gave a presentation on a review of voter registration maintenance and the plan to address concerns brought by public members during educational public meeting. He lauded his department’s effort in verifying 130,000 signatures(for 3 items, including the Governor Newsom recall vote) in a month.

Supervisor Magsig asked if Koos is aware of any instances of people voting twice by using 2 voter IDs and having those votes counted. Koos said no. Magsig said he would be supportive of contracting a firm to validate addresses and IDs. Supervisor Mendes said he would support Magsig’s idea and asked the CAO to look into it.

Chairman Brandau said Koos did a good job addressing what was asked of him. He asked Koos what his thoughts are on the Dominion Voting system. Koos said the Dominion system is certified independently at the federal level and state level, and that those reports and tests are available to the public. He also said the Dominion system is completely offline, meaning it’s impossible to hack, and recounted all the precautions taken for voter security. Brandau asked how much it would cost to physically check all voter ID addresses. Koos said between $2 and $4 million, and would take long enough to need to double check after they finish checking. 

Chairman Brandau said he thinks the $60,000 to contract a company to certify voter ID would be worth it for the public. He also said he’s open to the physical checking if they receive money from the ARP. 

Sean Berdine, a concerned voter, thanked Brandau for trying to restore confidence and encouraged the board to use resources to address voter confidence. He also wondered if Koos would be open to an external audit, citing organizations that are doing this for free. 

Brent Berdine, a Clovis resident, pointed out that voter confidence is a citizen issue, and encouraged an independent third-party audit. He noted Koos being in a lawsuit regarding election integrity.

Chairman Brandau asked Koos about the free audits. Counsel Cederborg said EIP (a free audit) is not independent, not certified by the state, and couldn’t specifically explain their process. 

Supervisor Magsig asked how ballots are physically dealt with.

Koos explained how ballots are protected by California law, secured and locked away. He encouraged everyone to think about their signature, citing how different our signatures become over time. Specifically, he said it’s best to re-register on paper. 

Item 6

Counsel Cedorborg explained this item was an amendment to Fresno County Master Schedule of Fees, Charges, and Recovered Costs. He noted a 6% increase because of staff members’ salaries increasing. 

Item 7

Chief Probation Officer Haines summarized Fresno County Juvenile Justice Realignment Block Grant Plan. Haines outlined SB 823, outlined the composition of the subcommittee as part of the plan, explained demographics and background of commitments, outlined programs and services and planned implementation. 

Chairman Brandau interrupted, saying the board is ready to vote but asked for any blind spots. 

Haines said there is a bit of lack of resources from the state, so there should be some work done to convince state representatives to allocate more resources for this department. He also highlighted racial inequity in the justice system, asking what can we do as a community and a department to fix that. 

Chairman Brandau asked if other departments feel the same way in regards to funding. Haines said yes, time and resources are the main concern across departments. Brandau said the board would be happy to sign a letter in support if he drafts it to the state. 

Supervisor Mendes commended the department efforts. 

Supervisor Magsig said he’s frustrated with the state, saying he thinks this is an unfunded mandate. He said he doesn’t see the bill taking into consideration victims because of the goal to not isolate those who commit crimes. He said it will take “divine intervention” to reform the “hearts of many of these kids”, so opening up the doors to them is not the answer. 

Haines said he’s been hamstrung by funding by the state, but also outlined the big picture of neglect in multiple facets of society, specifically for communities of color. 

Sean Berdine of the public thanked Chief Haines for his work. 

Brandy News-Viegas mentioned concerns in the plan, saying there was a lack of substantial community involvement. She said restorative justice and trauma need to be the focus. 

Brent Berdine said rehabilitation should be the emphasis and agreed with Supervisor Magsig that the state dumped a lot of responsibility to the county. 

Item 8 

A representative of Public Works gave a summary of the item, saying it will give 7 new speed zones and a few other changes. The second hearing is on June 8, 2021. 

Item 9

Supervisor Magsig thanked Public Health for their work in the Clovis Rodeo. There were 500 participants. He met with Susie Harder, who wrote a book called “Where’s My House,” a collection of stories centered on the Creek Fire.

Supervisor Pacheco asked about the status of the Assesssors’ Office relocating. 

Steve White, Director of Public Works and Planning, gave an infrastructure update and concluded that it would be completely finished next year. Pacheco said it was quite lengthy. White summarized the obstacles in construction. Pacheco and Mendes reiterated their complaint about people in the hallway standing in line, backed up, and said this needs to be solved. 

Supervisor Mendes discussed the status of water in the state. He criticized the governor for appointing “left-wing zealots” to water boards, and discussed why the governor wasn’t declaring a state of emergency for water. 

Supervisor Quintero had no comments. 

Chairman Brandau agreed with Supervisor Mendes. 

Item 10

Supervisor Magsig made a correction from the last meeting. 

Chairman Brandau had one appointment. 

Item 11

A representative of Western Solid Waste asked to participate in the amendment of the recycling surcharge fee. 

Sean Berdine echoed the sentiments “of what I said at the last meeting” and wholeheartedly thanked the board for their effort and work they did. 

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