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Bonakdar Says His Skillset Gives Him City Council Race Advantage



Roger Bonakdar says his experience as an attorney gives him an edge in his Fresno City Council race. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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Roger Bonakdar says his experience as an attorney gives him the edge for Fresno City Council.

David Taub

Politics 101

“I’m definitely the best candidate for the position because I have the ability to make deals. Literally, my job is to represent other people. I’ve been charged with that fiduciary duty ever since I was sworn in (as an attorney). I have the communication skills, the ability to be articulate and the ability to be compelling. My job, quite literally, is to get my opponent to look forward to writing my client a check. So if I can get my opponent to do that and to do that with zeal and to do that with pleasure, then I can represent the people in District 6 the best,” Bonakdar said.

Bonakdar joined the 2024 race for the open seat. Justin St. George and Nickolas Richardson already announced they are running.

District 6 generally covers northeast Fresno. Current councilman Garry Bredefeld is termed out.

Bonakdar said he is tired of the potholes in the district.

“It’s going to be my job to make sure that District 6 gets the attention it should and and see some of the benefits,” Bonakdar said. “We need more officers to keep the community safe. I think public safety is is is paramount. And I’m going to make sure that that I represent District 6 in a way that advances the community’s interests and gets the District 6 the resources they need.”

Bonakdar, 41 and registered with no party preference, grew up in Clovis and attended Buchanan High School. He graduated from UC San Diego and earned his Juris Doctor degree at Santa Clara University School of Law. He returned to the Central Valley, where he worked at McCormick Barstow before starting his own practice.

Also in Politics 101 …

  • Police dog ban bill passes committee.
  • Update on the county lawsuit against two candidates over campaign fund transfers.
  • How much is the M Street Courthouse lease?

Police Dog Ban Passes Assembly Committee

A bill to ban most uses of law enforcement canines passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee Wednesday on party lines.

Assembly Bill 742 by Corey Jackson, D-Perris (Riverside County) passed out of committee on a 6-2 vote. But the sentiment of fellow Democrats toward Jackson was to work with law enforcement on the bill.

Jackson testified in front of the committee that police dogs are used more on people of color than white suspects. He also cited that dog bites can sometimes be fatal.

“This bill makes everyone and every community less safe in California,” Assemblman Juan Alanis, R-Modesto, said after the hearing. “I sincerely fear the unintended consequences of this bill will lead to law enforcement having to use a higher level of force because it takes away yet another less lethal option for use of force.”

The bill now heads to the Assembly appropriations committee.

Judge Says No to Quicker Trial on Campaign Transfers

A quick resolution to a lawsuit between Fresno County and two candidates running for Board of Supervisors will not happen.

Garry Bredefeld and Luis Chavez — both Fresno city councilmen — are running against incumbents Steve Brandau and Sal Quintero, respectively.

The issue is how much can Bredefeld and Chavez transfer from leftover amounts from their city council accounts. Both are in the six figures. The supervisors, under a state mandate, passed a contribution limit of $30,000 in 2020. The county said Bredefeld and Chavez’s plans to transfer their funds would exceed the limit and were not allowed.

The county sued Bredefeld and Chavez, hoping a judge can interpret the law.

A hearing was set for July, but the county did not want to wait that long. It filed a motion to expedite a possible trial to start by May. Judge Jon Skiles denied the county’s motion at a Wednesday afternoon hearing in Fresno County Superior Court.

The judge ruled that the county’s request was premature. Chavez and Bredefeld have not responded to the initial complaint — a requirement before any future motion can be filed. The defendants have until mid-April to do so.

“County Counsel had hoped to work out a stipulation with defendants’ counsel prior to the hearing but unfortunately, Defendants’ counsel was not put on the case until Tuesday morning, and there was insufficient time to reach an agreed upon procedure.  The County will now await (the) defendants’ answer or other responsive pleading,” county spokeswoman Sonja Dosti said.

Bredefeld: I’ve Already Transferred Funds

Bredefeld says he’s already “legally” transferred his city council campaign funds — approximately $228,000.

“The Good Old Boy Club, also known as the Fresno County Board of Supervisors, continue to misuse and steal taxpayer money that should be used to provide critical services to District 2 constituents and have instead weaponized government county attorneys to file lawsuits against political rivals. This taxpayer-funded lawsuit is unprecedented and is nothing more than an ‘Incumbent Protection Scheme.’ I intend to bring real change, accountability, and transparency to the Board of Supervisors despite these wasteful and disgraceful efforts,” Bredefled emailed Politics 101

Bredefeld says the interpretation is a scheme to protect incumbents. He questions why incumbents are allowed to transfer money from prior campaign accounts to re-election accounts, but challengers are stopped from doing so.

Politics 101 asked county counsel Daniel Cederborg and is awaiting a response.

Both Bredefeld and Chavez hired Sacramento attorney Brian Hildreth to represent them. Bredefeld says he and Chavez will split the legal costs 50/50.

How Much is State Paying to Lease Court?

The state is paying more than $65,000 a month to lease a downtown courthouse.

The court system is in the middle of a 10-year lease at the M Street Courthouse from Wolfsen Land & Cattle Company — expiring on Feb. 29, 2028.

The court announced it is in the early planning stages to open a brand new courthouse in downtown Fresno.

M Street Courthouse. (GV Wire/Jahz Tello)

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

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