Documented by Matthew Carnero-Macias
Here’s what you need to know
- Supervisors unanimously approved a tax measure that will be on the election ballot of the Consolidated Statewide Primary Election on March 5. The California State University, Fresno Facility and Academic Program Improvement Initiative Measure would impose a countywide 0.25% retail transaction and use tax that enables taxpayers to fund and “expand access in certain Fresno State academic programs; construct, repair, and upgrade Fresno State facilities and infrastructure; provide scholarships for local students and veterans; and other uses necessary for Fresno State. The proposed ordinance will establish two endowments for funding scholarships and deferred maintenance or other campus program support. Up to 1% of the proceeds will be appropriated to the county annually for administrative costs.” A seven-member Citizens’ Oversight Committee will be formed to ensure “the proceeds are used for the purposes stated in the proposed ordinance and to allow citizen participation and input from Fresno State.”
- In light of a public email, the supervisors and staff are considering making copies of the agenda available in Spanish to improve constituent literacy and expand access to governmental and institutional participation.
- Members of SEIU Local 521 showed up in force to advocate for better working conditions and a fair living wage. They included several county eligibility workers who said the department is short staffed. One said they have a 90% turnover rate, which leaves clients to wait 35-45 days for CalFresh and health benefits.
- The consent agenda was unanimously approved, which included item numbers 21-52.
- How will the oversight committee hold local government entities accountable for the California State University, Fresno Facility and Academic Program Improvement Initiative Measure? Who are they? How can the public intervene or support the committee’s efforts?
- What have the supervisors done this year to support the SEIU Local 521 service employees of Fresno County? In light of the public presentations by the union members, will the supervisors’ efforts shift in favor or against the union’s demands?
On Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors convened for a regular meeting. All supervisors were present, including Chairman and District 3 Supervisor Sal Quintero, Vice Chairman and District 5 Supervisor Nathan Magsig, District 1 Supervisor Brian Pachecho, District 2 Supervisor Steve Brandau and District 4 Supervisor Buddy Mendes,
The board unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the Hamas terror attacks of Oct. 7. It was introduced by Brandau.
The board conducted the first hearing on an ordinance that calls for a special election to be held on March 5, that would place a measure on the election ballot that would amend Section 12 of the Charter of the County of Fresno enabling and authorizing the supervisors to “name or change the name of geographic features or place names within the unincorporated portions of the county.”
County Counsel is tasked with preparing “a fair and adequate summary of the proposed ordinance.” The clerk of the board is then required to post and publish the required summary.
Supervisors authorized the Department of Public Works and Planning to submit the Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing Grant Application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for up to $9 million. The grant would aid in removing barriers to affordable housing and increase housing production.
During the public presentation, SEIU Local 521 members protested and expressed frustration regarding their wages and compensation. The entire public presentation consisted of union comments.
The administrative policy states public presentations are designated 15 minutes of speaking time — the supervisors decided to go past the 15-minute mark, mostly due to opposition and demonstrated outrage by the union members.
Brandau announced that he will bring forth an item addressing the discussion of age-appropriate materials in local libraries at the next meeting..
- Notable consent agenda items are:
- 34. Authorize the director of the Department of Behavioral Health to provide 30-days’ written notice to the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools and Resiliency Center of Fresno to terminate Agreement 22-041 for a pilot mental health innovation project, pursuant to the without cause provision of the agreement, to be effective Nov. 30.
- 45. Approve and authorize the chairman to execute a retroactive revenue agreement with the California Department of Public Health for the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health and Black Infant Health programs, effective July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024 ($9.8 million).
- 51. Receive the California CalWORKs Outcomes and Accountability Review (Cal-OAR) CalWORKs System Improvement Plan (Cal-SIP) Report to be submitted to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), describing how the Department of Social Services will improve the CalWORKs program; and approve and authorize the chairman to execute the Cal-SIP signature page that will be submitted with the Cal-OAR report to CDSS.
- “We did get some emails saying we were doing the wrong thing, and they brought up other facts in the case and I don’t think I’m denying that there are other innocent people involved,” said Supervisor Brandau during his presentation of a resolution he authored that condemns that Hamas attacks on Israel earlier this month. “My goal is to say that Israel has been a long-time friend and ally of the United States of America.”
- “One crisis cannot justify another,” said a community member responding to Brandau’s resolution. “The atrocities the Israeli government is inflicting on Palestinians since then and now is not justifiable.”
- “Measure E, if adopted, will take money from the needy and give it to those who don’t need it,” said Fresno County Assessor-Recorder Paul Dictos in response to the passing of the California State University, Fresno Facility and Academic Program Improvement Initiative Measure. “As a professional, in my opinion, I believe that the system has enough financial resources to ban this measure.”
- “If what should be less than an hour wait ends up being an all-day event, this is because you have not invested in your workforce,” said a SEIU Local 521 member. “Worker retention is a real issue.”
- The board will meet next on Nov. 7.
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