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City Council Candidate Garcia Touts Business, Veteran Background

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With six candidates in the Aug. 13 special election for the vacant northwest Fresno city council seat, the campaign season is on.

Lawrence Garcia welcomed about 50 guests to his fundraiser Thursday at the Elbow Room.

Photo of GV Wire's David Taub

David Taub

Politics 101

I heard more than one attendee, all veterans of such functions, mention they saw “a new crowd, new faces” at the event.

One old face was Steve Brandau, the former holder of the seat and now a Fresno County supervisor who made this special election necessary.

He said his appearance didn’t constitute an endorsement, which he has not officially made in the council race.

At the event, Garcia pushed his status as a military veteran (the only one in the race, he said) and a business owner (AmeriGuard and others), along with his record on the planning commission.

About the city budget Mayor Lee Brand introduced last week, Garcia said “I like that the mayor is being fiscally responsible. There is no doubt this mayor knows how to run this city as a businessman would.”

Regarding a possible successor to Measure P, a potential sales tax for parks and maybe public safety, Garcia said he is concerned about how the money would be managed.

“I’m not in favor of adding taxes, but when you add the component in that has to do with police and fire, it makes me revisit that issue. It makes me want to look at it closer,” he said.

Measure P Successor

Elliott Balch

Mayor Lee Brand says a successor sales tax plan to the failed 2018 Measure P is still being negotiated.

“We’re making progress. I hope we can find a compromise that can go on the ballot in 2020,” Brand said last week.

Last Wednesday, while Brand revealed his FY 2020 budget, Politics 101 spotted three key Measure P players roaming City Hall: Elliott Balch, Mark Keppler, and Paul Gibson.

Gibson said they were meeting with members of the city council.

There’s also been talk among political insiders that Balch may want to return to City Hall — as mayor. He worked under Mayor Ashley Swearengin’s administration before following her to the Central Valley Community Foundation.

When asked, Balch said he may say something soon.

Graham Coming to Fresno

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)

One of President Trump’s most ardent supporters on Capitol Hill will be in Fresno.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) will appear in Fresno on Wednesday (May 29), at a morning fundraiser.

The official hosts include John and Carole Harris, Bob and Annette Smittcamp, and Richard and Karen Spencer.

The event will take place at the latter’s Harris Construction (5286 E. Home) at 8 a.m.

If you want to go, open your checkbook. The get-in-the-door price is $250. Two tickets for a private reception (which includes a photo) is $5,000.

Rezvani to Challenge Nunes for Congress

Dary Rezvani

Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) has his first 2020 challenger, Mid-Valley Auto Repair owner Dary Rezvani of Fresno.

This is Rezvani’s first time delving into politics.

Rezvani, 28, is a Democrat who says the 22nd congressional district needs a new voice.

“I can’t stay complacent anymore,” he said. Rezvani cited attacks against the Latino and Middle Eastern communities. Rezvani is the son of an Iranian immigrant.

Rezvani feels Nunes has been absent.

“He has not been here to listen to the Valley,” Rezvani said.

In 2018, Democrat Andrew Janz raised $9 million and came closest to upending Nunes, but still fell short.

Rezvani says his fundraising will come “one day at a time.”

Sports Foundation Now in Compliance

The state attorney general’s office says the Central Valley Community Sports Foundation is now in compliance with its tax forms.

On March 20, the AG’s office sent the foundation notice of failure to file the proper IRS forms for 2017.

The foundation risked its nonprofit status if it failed to file the forms within 60 days. According to an updated posting on the AG’s website, CVCSF was in compliance as of May 23.

The foundation, which operates Granite Park in a deal with the city of Fresno, has been a target of critics for its bookkeeping. A city audit last year found dozens of accounting irregularities, but nothing illegal.

The foundation is operated by Fresno developer Terance Frazier. And, until earlier this year, Congressman TJ Cox sat on its corporate board.

According to the AG’s website, in 2017, CVCSF had assets of $3.9 million and posted $1.9 million in revenue.

Nunes Signs Petition to Ban Anti-Israel Discrimination

Congressman Devin Nunes signed a discharge petition on Monday (May 20), attempting to force the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives to consider a resolution that would prevent the government from doing business with companies that boycott Israel.

A discharge petition would force the House to consider the bill on the floor, an end-around from the usual bureaucracy. Through Friday (May 24), it has 195 signatures, all Republicans. It needs a majority, or 218.

The other Valley Republicans — Tom McClintock (R-Roseville) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) — also signed. The Democratic delegation — TJ Cox (D-Fresno), Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and Josh Harder (D-Turlock) — have not.

The Senate has approved a similar bill with bipartisan support.

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