May 23, 2023 — Fresno County Board of Supervisors
Documented by Rachel Youdelman
What happened: The board unanimously passed the first hearing of a new flag ordinance that stipulates that only the U.S. flag and the California state flag may be flown at county facilities.
The ordinance was presented to the board earlier in May by Supervisor Steve Brandau and follows local right-wing conservatives who objected to a ceremonial raising of a rainbow pride flag at the Fresno City Hall in June 2021.
A year later, a group of about 50 local evangelical pastors and others rallied against pride events and signed a statement in which they called homosexuality an “ideology” and declared their “deep disapproval of our Fresno City Hall being used to publicly endorse the ‘pride’ flag and create deep division among our citizens.” It was reported that Brandau was in attendance at the rally, as well as Supervisor Nathan Magsig and Clovis City Council member Vong Mouanoutoua.
The second hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for June 6, when final approval is anticipated, despite public comments at the meeting that called it “xenophobic, lazy, exclusionary.”
Dolores Huerta, a co-founder with César Chavez of the National Farmworkers Association, was among those who spoke against the ordinance. She said the Central Valley community was diverse and that flags should be flown to affirm and acknowledge that diversity. Huerta continued that “small-minded haters” would like to “pretend that some groups of people do not exist.”
And also: Several members of the labor union SEIU2015, which represents the in-home supportive services (IHSS) workers organization that cares for more than 23,000 Fresno County residents, attended the meeting and continued to plead for an increase to their hourly wage.
IHSS workers, who care for more than 23,000 Fresno County residents, have attended meetings for many months to ask the county to increase their wages from $16.10 per hour.
At this meeting, several protested the county’s offer during contract negotiations to replace health insurance benefits with an 85-cent addition to the hourly wage.
Up next: The Fresno County Board of Supervisors will meet again on June 6 at 9:30 a.m.
Meetings are open to the public and are held at the Fresno County Hall of Records, 2281 Tulare St., Room 301. Meeting agendas, livestream and recorded video are available here.