Mayor Swearengin backs Smittcamp in Fresno County DA race

The Fresno BeeMay 7, 2014 

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin and two Fresno City Council members are endorsing former prosecutor Lisa Sondergaard Smittcamp for Fresno County district attorney.

The bitter fight between Smittcamp and District Attorney Elizabeth Egan is intensifying as the June 3 primary nears.

“I believe it’s time for fresh, new leadership in the District Attorney’s office,” Swearengin said Wednesday. “Lisa Smittcamp is an accomplished prosecutor who is driven by her passion for protecting victims and their families. Lisa is also a proven manager within the District Attorney’s office, and I know she’ll institute a higher level of professional excellence within the department that should improve prosecution rates and help end the case backlog in Fresno courts. I’m proud to support her for district attorney.”

Council President Steve Brandau and Council Member Lee Brand said the District Attorney’s office needs new leadership.

“The status quo is failing us and our citizens deserve better. It’s time for a change,” Brandau said.

Brand said extraordinary times demand extraordinary leaders.

“Lisa has the vision, passion and experience to effectively prosecute criminals to reduce the number of inmates released from the County Jail and keep our streets safe,” Brand said.

Smittcamp said she’s thrilled to have the Fresno officials’ support.

“They know that Fresno County’s criminal justice system needs responsible leadership that will be both tougher and smarter on crime in Fresno,” Smittcamp said.

Dave Gilliard, campaign consultant for Egan, said this in response: "It seems like this is lining up as a city vs. county thing."

Smittcamp has already received the support of Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, Fresno County Board of Supervisors Chairman Andreas Borgeas and former Fresno City Council Member Dan Ronquillo.

Egan has her own list of supporters with current or former high profiles in government. They include Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, former sheriffs Richard Pierce and Steve Magarian and former 5th District Court of Appeal Presiding Justice James A. Ardaiz.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6272 or ghostetter@fresnobee.com. Read his City Beat blog at fresnobee.com/city-beat.

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