FRESNO—Tensions on the ground in the Central Valley are still high as Fresno County Democrats and their left-leaning counterparts continue to reel in their big loss on Measure P, an initiative that would have increased the sales tax by three-eighths of a percent.
The initiative would have required a two-thirds majority vote in order to succeed, as of press time it did not even maintain a simple majority by the voters.
The ill-fated Measure P, which would have imposed a 30 year long sales tax increase under the guise of parks services, raised a whopping $2 million dollars mostly from special interests and big fundraisers—donations to which could have been more productively used on public safety or the parks themselves, according to insiders.
The proponents, which included the Democrats, prominent former elected officials, the Fresno for Clean, Safe Neighborhood Parks coalition, and other various labor-organized coalitions, bet big on communicating the measure to the voters, but ultimately failed when Mayor Lee Brand, City Hall leadership, the Police Union, and the Fresno Chamber of Commerce expressed their disapproval over the initiative.
Ashley Swearengin, the former Fresno Mayor and losing-candidate for state controller, threw her full weight and fundraising efforts behind Measure P, which sources close to The Daily Fold claim is more so ‘backseat mayoring’ from Swearengin and other ‘Valleycrats’. In 2013, Swearengin also lost her Measure G efforts, despite outspending the measure’s opponents by 3-to-1.
Still, local organizations on the ground who were supportive of Measure P are sour, which recently led Sandra Celedon, the Executive Director of the Fresno Building Healthy Communities (an initiative funded under the California Endowment), to call out Mayor Brand as a liar on Twitter.
Celedon claimed on her Twitter account that Mayor Brand “flat out lied to Fresnans and continues to stand by his lies”, simply for working against what sources claim was a badly written sales tax increase with no guarantees of funding over multiple decades that the voters eventually saw through. Celedon went on further to claim that Mayor Brand is channeling “Trumpism”.
The California Endowment is a for-profit organization focused on providing health-care opportunities in California, which apparently includes having a fight to pick with Mayor Brand through their funded organizations.
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