Karbassi Says He Can’t Trust Arias Anymore After Committee Vote - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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Karbassi Says He Can’t Trust Arias Anymore After Committee Vote

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Harsh words and hard feelings emerged as the Fresno City Council discussed assignments for 33 different committees on Thursday.

“I tried my best to avoid a food fight out here,” Councilman Mike Karbassi said at the start of discussion. He initially sought to remove the entire item from the agenda, but was overruled by a 4-3 vote.

At the meeting, Karbassi fought back against being pulled from the council’s Census/Redistricting Ad Hoc Committee.

Ultimately, Karbassi was on the losing end as the council voted 4-2 to replace Karbassi with newly elected District 4 Councilman Tyler Maxwell. Karbassi shook his head during roll call. He was joined in dissent by Councilman Garry Bredefeld. Council President Luis Chavez abstained.

“I really resent the fact that you’re playing whatever games behind the scenes and pitting me against Councilman Maxwell,” Karbassi said in comments directed to District 1 Councilman Miguel Arias. “I have a lot of respect for Tyler. I don’t want us to have bad blood between us. And I think it’s really unfair,”

“I think we finished our exercise on sausage making,” Chavez said at the conclusion.

Committees are usually assigned by the council president. Council by-laws suggest two-year appointments, but does not clarify when terms start and end. The by-laws also call for an annual review, but says removal of committee members should be for cause.

Karbassi Upset Over Removal

“You broke your promise to me. That’s why I can’t trust you, Miguel.”Councilman Mike Karbassi

Karbassi was assigned to the census/redistricting committee last June, replacing Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria.

He indicated Arias was behind the switch and let his feelings be known.

“You did this. I was a member of that committee, and I don’t think you have a unilateral control of what happens in this building anymore. This could have been totally avoided if you would honor the agreement you made with me and you failed to do that. And that’s why we’re having this problem today,” Arias said.

Arias said he would not engage in personal attacks. Karbassi disagreed it was personal.

“People aren’t dumb. They know what’s really going on in this building. OK, you and I had an agreement. You broke your promise to me. That’s why I can’t trust you, Miguel. And it’s not a personal attack,” Karbassi said.

Arias said that Karbassi was “incorrect” about their conversation, but would not elaborate because of its private nature. He downplayed the meeting theatrics.

“We voted on 33 committees. We disagreed on just one,” Arias told GV Wire℠ after the meeting.

Karbassi, made the case that north Fresno, where his district sits, was not represented on the committee. Arias said Maxwell’s district includes north Fresno. The northern border of District 4 is Bullard Avenue.

Arias, who represents District 3, said that all councilmembers will have to run eventually in redrawn districts.

“We all have a level of interest. And the council received a full workshop on redistricting and legal counsel made it made it very clear that there is a lot of safeguards, safeguards in there under federal state law on what we can consider and what we cannot,” Arias rebutted.

Bredefeld Upset with the Process

“We voted on 33 committees. We disagreed on just one.”Councilman Miguel Arias

Councilman Garry Bredefeld, who joined Karbassi and Chavez on the vote to keep the item off the agenda, expressed his frustration.

“I’m not happy about this. This is a scam. This this is put together by just four people and it’s completely unfair. My constituents are not getting represented on these committees and I’ll measure my experience on business and finance against anybody who’s on it,” Bredefeld said, participating in the teleconference meeting from inside council chambers. “So I’m really pissed off as I look at this.”

Bredefeld was on only one committee, dealing with homeless funding. He was added to three more — the audit committee, Joint Powers Financing Authority, and school liaison.

Other changes made the by council included eliminating six committees — some because they were no longer relevant and some because of overlapping purposes.

Esparza replaced Soria on the Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee along with Arias and Karbassi.

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