The Nov. 8 election is not limited to The White House. Here in Fresno, Fresno City Council Member Lee Brand and Fresno County Board Supervisor Henry Perea are facing off, debate after debate, to win the endorsements of Fresno departments, Police and Sheriffs, organizations and the public support.
Both Brand and Perea received their early education in the Fresno Unified School District, as well as having received their bachelor’s degree from Fresno State. Also, as part of their higher education, both candidates obtained a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Southern California.
Lee and Perea were given the opportunity to give their stances on topics such as their presidential candidate preference, campus security and the Latino vote.
Q: Which presidential candidate will you endorse this November? Brand was reminded, that on the mayoral candidates final debate broadcast on ABC 30 Oct. 19, Perea said he would back Hillary Clinton but Brand had not given a clear answer.
Brand: I’m a Republican. Henry is a Democrat. Three or four times, he [Perea] would never admit he would vote for Hillary, because Henry wanted to be the old school conservative. He wanted to appeal to the people of North Fresno and be the progressive to the people in the South, but you are how you are. You can’t be both. You have to be honest of who you are.
I think Hillary Clinton is a very flawed and corrupt candidate that I would never support, and I’m not a rubberstamp for the Republican Party. I never supported Donald Trump. I supported Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. I don’t know how he [Trump] ever got to where he is. He has made some very disparaging comments.
So, I may just leave it [ballot] blank, because I wouldn’t vote for Hillary and Trump has not given me the reason so far to vote for him.
Perea: Of the two candidates, she [Clinton] is the most qualified. When you’re a leader, you’ve got to make decisions, and not everybody is going to be with you. Two debates ago, he [Brand] said, “I support Donald Trump and I’m voting for Donald Trump.”
On the second debate, he said he wasn’t sure if he was voting for Trump. On the last debate on ABC 30 he, [Brand] was all over the place, I’m not sure what he said to tell you the truth.
Stand behind something, because if you don’t stand for something you stand for nothing. I think when the heat comes he [Brand] doesn’t respond very well.
Q: Campus security has become very important in recent years. If elected, how will you and the Fresno Police Department make Fresno a safer place for students, especially on and near campus?
Brand: One of my plans is to hire up to 1,000 police, which is 200 more than we have right now. Having 200 more police will really provide a web of protection across the entire city. More importantly, change the tactics to community-based policing, instead of being a paramilitary force. You’re [Fresno Police Department] out in the community. You’re meeting people. You’re the friend, the neighbor, reducing tensions. It’s a successful [policing] model and is needed more than ever in Fresno.
Perea: The mayor oversees the Fresno Police Department. There’s 800 police officers there. I think what we have to do is when our police chief receives the direction from the mayor saying, ‘I want you sitting down and working with the chief of police from Fresno State and let’s talk about how we use our officers together to keep that area safe.’ Whether it’s more patrol, more police on bikes, or more undercover operations, whatever it takes, we have to just make it safer for students.
Q: Does your campaign believe Latino voters will play an important role in this mayoral election?
Brand: Absolutely, Hispanics are a very potent and powerful force in Fresno. My job is to communicate with everybody in this community, including Hispanics. One, we care about everybody. And two, the Hispanic presence and culture is predominant in this community.
Perea: We are counting on Latino voters playing a big role. We have the early numbers of people who have voted by mail, and I believe of that whole group Latinos were about 23 or 24 percent return rate. Our campaign is doing specific outreach to the Latino community.