11 Mar

A Message from the Chair – March 11, 2013

Michael D. Evans

Michael D. Evans

The electoral landscape has changed rather radically in the past month. We came into 2013 with no elections on the horizon, and now it appears we could have as many as three. The State Senate election to replace Sen. Michael Rubio will be held on May 21, the special election to reverse the mayor’s privatization of residential solid waste service in the City of Fresno will be held on June 4 and a runoff for the Senate race, if necessary, will be held on July 23.

The Fresno County Democratic Party’s focus this year was to be on voter education and party-building activities, and we will now dovetail those efforts into these newly scheduled elections to reach even more prospective voters than we had originally planned.

A number of names have surfaced for the Senate race, and the leadership in Sacramento will no doubt weigh in with a preference. A party endorsement will likely take place at the Democratic Convention in Sacramento in mid-April, if not earlier.

The vote to repeal the mayor’s privatization of residential trash service is a milestone. Following the collection of nearly 40,000 signatures by opponents of privatization and the convincing defeat of Measure O (which would have made it easier for Fresno County to privatize public-sector services) within the city of Fresno, it is clear that the public does not want “solutions” that fail to address the real problems of city and county government.

The challenge with each of these elections is turnout. Yes, turnout is always a problem, but the problem is exacerbated in special elections, off-year elections and the unprecedented occurrence of two elections within two weeks, with tens of thousands of voters participating in both.

In preparation for these elections, I would encourage you to participate in our Democratic Activist Training. The training starts on March 19 and continues for six weeks on Tuesday evenings. You will come away from this training better prepared to address local issues and contribute to electoral campaigns—for candidates or issues.

There will be ample opportunity to volunteer and engage with voters over the next three months. I hope that you will join us in these efforts. Call today at 559-495-0606 or e-mail to help make our community a better place.

–Michael D. Evans, Chair, Fresno County Democratic Party

Read More
11 Mar

Vote No on Privatization June 4

The June 4 special election to repeal Mayor Ashley Swearingen’s privatization of residential solid waste is really about whether we are going to come up with serious solutions to the fiscal woes facing our city or settle for short-term fixes with long-term disaster written all over them. Although the mayor is trying to vilify organized labor, unions are not the source of the city’s problems. Greater transparency and increased citizen participation would allow us to identify the real problems and weigh in with viable solutions.

Among the many reasons to repeal the measure on the June 4 ballot:

  • Fresno’s trash and recycling services have received national recognition for commitment to the community, safety and customer service. Why should we privatize an efficient and revenue-generating city service?
  • The mayor and the City Council historically have been poor stewards of the city’s finances. Witness the downtown stadium, the Met Museum, Granite Park and the downtown parking deck, to name but a few recent catastrophes. That’s the real problem, not a city-run department.
  • Once the residential solid waste service has been privatized, it cannot easily be brought back under the city’s purview should the arrangement fail. Having sold the city’s assets for pennies on the dollars would make it next-to-impossible to re-create public-sector residential trash service from scratch.
  • The city has put us at risk given a number of lawsuits including those related to having privatized commercial recycling services and denying the rights of Fresno’s homeless persons.
  • The city needs long-term solutions, not gimmicks. Real and trustworthy leadership are necessary to fix Fresno’s budget problems.

Call 559-495-0606 today if you want to help turn back the privatization of residential trash service. If you would allow your name be used publicly in opposition to this measure, please contact us at 559-495-0606 or to confirm that.

We may have lost the battle when the Fresno City Council refused to rescind its privatization vote in light of the citizen petition effort, but the war can still be won by defeating the measure at the ballot box on June 4.

Read More