Documented by Matthew Carnero-Macias
Here’s what you need to know
- Following a 3-2 vote by supervisors, the primary election on March 5, 2024, will give Fresno County voters the opportunity to amend the Fresno County charter by adding a subsection to Section 12. The amendment would provide for the naming of geographic features or locations within unincorporated county areas by the board of supervisors. The measure will be on the ballot as part of a consolidated election – a special election and primary election held congruously. Yokuts Valley (previously called Squaw Valley, a term considered racist by many in and outside the Native American community) may be undergoing yet again another name change. The Fresno County clerk/registrar of voters will set the dates for submitting arguments and rebuttals after Oct. 10, 2023.
- Supervisor Steve Brandau was criticized during a public presentation. A community member said Brandau had received campaign money from the Ginder family. Police say Monique Contrarez, 29, a homeless woman, was struck by 38-year-old Shawn Ginder while driving his pickup in May 2022. She was dragged for 8 miles, then left in the parking lot of a La Quinta Inn. Ginder pleaded not guilty to leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death earlier this month.
- Advocates for racial justice and friends and family of Contreraz urged Brandau to return the alleged contribution.. The public speaker said, “I am asking for the $8,350 sent from the Ginders to be sent back because this looks like he is trying to keep his place in line as a developer, but the Ginder money is blood money and accepting this, Mr. Brandau, would make it look as if you do not care about our unhoused, Indigenous mothers.”
- The Fresno County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the consent agenda, which included 40 items, all of which received no discussion or comment.
- How is the board going to respond to the outrage expressed by members of the public regarding Contreraz’s death and the alleged contribution? Not only are Contreraz advocates and allies disturbed by the district attorney’s charges, but they feel wronged by Brandau. Months leading up to the 3-2 vote in favor of amending the charter have been contentious. Will the board offer surveys, public hearings or other methods in which community members can be more involved in the legislative process? If the amendment is passed in March 2024, how will the board wield its new power and exercise its authority in public spaces?
On Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors met for their regular scheduled meeting.
Chairman Sal Quintero, District 3
Steve Brandau, District 2
Brian Pacheco, District 1
Vice Chairman Nathan Magsig, District 5
Buddy Mendes, District 4.
After the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance, the board approved the agenda and the consent agenda.
The board then recognized two retirements, Maria Isabel Aguirre and Michael E. Rowe.
Quintero and the board approved the proclamation recognizing Sept. 19 as Voter Registration Day and Sept. 18-29 as High School Voter Education Weeks.
A resolution was approved recognizing the episcopal consecration of Dr. Paul L. Binion II.
Magsig and the board also approved the proclamation recognizing September 2023 as National Recovery Month.
Item 8, a resolution proposing to amend Section 12 of the Fresno County Charter
There was an outpouring of public comment during the discussion of the resolution, which would enable the board to further its reach into Native American affairs in addition to having control over the naming of streets, parks, buildings and the like was inspired by the sentiments of Fresno County’s Native American population and their history, heritage and ancestry in the region. The board voted 3-2 in favor of adopting the resolution. Pacheco and Quintero opposed the resolution.
- “I believe this is a divisive issue and there is no resolution on this. You cannot find common ground by what we witnessed today, and over the last several months, and because of that I personally will not be supporting this,” said Pacheco. “I believe it’s already in our laws and it’s already been decided.”
Items 9 and 10 on the agenda were approved. Item 9 was the approval and adoption of the 2024 Board of Supervisors regular meeting schedule. Item 10 was the approval of biweekly premiums for active employees and dependents for Plan Year 2024 and monthly premiums for retirees and dependents for Plan Year 2024.
The board approved a resolution setting Oct. 10 as the revised date during which sealed proposals will be received and considered for the purchase of surplus property of 33 acres located on the northeast corner of East Kings Canyon Road and South Cedar Avenue in Fresno for a minimum price of $6 million.
Item 12, Board of Supervisors’ committee reports and comments
Magsig reminded the board and the audience of the State of the County event on Thursday, Sept. 21. He also informed the board that Camp Edison, located at Shaver Lake, will be recognized as part of the 60th anniversary.
The board also approved item 13, to receive the boards, commissions and committees vacancy report and appoint applicants as necessary. Mendes moved to appoint Ramza Coury to the Selma Cemetery District, a position previously held by Alfonso Caro.
- Brandau recused himself during the vote on pulling item 47, a solid waste collection agreement for $3,120,000 with Mid-Valley Disposal, LLC, from the consent agenda. The board voted to remove the item from the agenda.
- “I don’t even know if it [SB 1349] applies to me today; that’s how bad this law is written, but out of an abundance of caution I’m going to recuse on the voting for this item,” said Brandau.
- “He says it’s very important for him to have a place to go – not back home – where life is simple: there are no rules, there are no groups, there are no responsibilities,” said Dez Martinez, local housing advocate and mother of a son in substance abuse recovery.
- “Using my taxpayers’ money to continue the racism, it’s embarrassing,” said Gloria Hernandez in response to the board’s proposed county charter amendment to Section 12. “Drop it, stop using taxpayer money to promote racism.”
- “As far as AB 2022, there were several speakers that I guess were unaware that there is a nonelected committee that is baked into that bill,” said Magsig. “That committee has already changed other community names and by the way, I’m happy to meet with anyone here who is not aware of that.”
- “You want to honor Indigenous people? Well, start with Monique and return the blood money back to the Ginders,” said Dez Martinez during the public presentation.
- “All these things need to be brought to the community’s attention,” said a community member during the public presentation. “The Ginders’ money is blood money, and I hope that you guys find in your heart that if that was your child, your daughter, your mother, your niece being dragged for eight miles, you would look into this further.”
If you believe anything in these notes is inaccurate, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Correction Request” in the subject line.