Fresno City Council-supervisors' meeting plan nixed by board

The Fresno BeeFebruary 25, 2014 

Fresno County Supervisors' Chairman Andreas Borgeas' proposal to schedule a meeting with Fresno City Council members was squelched Tuesday before it could even be discussed.

A city-county meeting, which was planned for March 11, was expected to focus on issues of significant mutual agreement -- marijuana cultivation, sewer connections and abandoned shopping carts.

But when the board approved Tuesday's meeting agenda Supervisor Debbie Poochigian asked for the item's deletion.

The supervisors then voted 3-2, Poochigian supported by Henry R. Perea and Phil Larson. Judy Case McNairy voted with Borgeas to have the item heard.

Borgeas said the board's action was "setting a very poor precedent."

He asked if people in the audience, including Fresno City Council President Steve Brandau, could speak about the meeting.

Fresno County Counsel Kevin Briggs said the issue must be on the agenda before it may be discussed.

"I am very apologetic that this board... doesn't even want to take up this item," Borgeas said.

Following the meeting, Borgeas -- who served on the Fresno City Council before his election to the Board of Supervisors -- was upset that fellow supervisors wanted no part meeting with the council.

"Unfortunately, three county supervisors refused to overcome their historical animosity toward the city of Fresno," he said. "I was proud to join with Council President Brandau and Supervisor Case McNairy in trying to resolve our cross-jurisdictional challenges through a proposed joint meeting."

Until the board membership changes next year, he added, "three members will likely remain unwilling to cooperate with the city."

Brandau also said he was disappointed by the supervisors' decision but was optimistic the supervisors may agree to meet at a later date.

"I know that the county will talk when they are ready," he said. "I can't press them, I can only ask."

But, Brandau said, the issues would have been easy to reach consensus on and would have paved the way for later discussions of more controversial matters.

"We did some planning behind-the-scenes and we really wanted, more than anything, to get in the same room to begin the conversation and not have any major deal breakers on the table," Brandau said.

Supervisors did not comment on the idea while they were voting to delete it from the agenda, but later in the meeting Perea called the proposed city-county meeting a "dog and pony show."

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6166, mbenjamin@fresnobee.com or @beebenjamin on Twitter.

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