Again with the billboards?!
Fresno City Councilman Steve Brandau is at it again, bringing a populist pro-water message to Valley roadsides with a handful of new billboards paid for by the Taxpayers Association of Central California.
The billboards show a portrait of President Donald Trump and the message: “Mr. President, we need: 1. Water 2. Dams 3. Fish” – except that “fish” is prominently crossed out, a dig at federal environmental rules that limit pumping at the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to protect endangered aquatic species. The billboards also feature Brandau’s signature as a Fresno city councilman.
The billboards have gone up in the Fresno-Clovis area, including along Highway 99 south of Herndon Avenue, visible to southbound drivers near the old Klein’s Truck Stop, and on busy Blackstone Avenue a few blocks north of Herndon, where drivers heading north toward the River Park and Villagio shopping centers can see it.
Another, curiously enough, is along Highway 99 in Turlock, some 70 miles or so from Brandau’s northwest Fresno council district.
This is just a Taxpayers Association thing.
Fresno City Councilman Steve Brandau, about new pro-water, pro-dam billboards in the San Joaquin Valley
One of those billboards implored Brown to “put our water before your train,” while another declared, “Governor, it’s about priorities,” preaching a similar dams-before-train message. Both signs shared one instantly recognizable feature – big hands giving a thumbs up to a dam and thumbs down to a train.
Braudau told The Fresno Bee this week that the new billboards are aimed at promoting a message about the importance of water and water-storage infrastructure to the Valley, and have nothing to do with his potential aspirations to run as a Republican in two years to replace termed out state Sen. Tom Berryhill in California’s 8th Senate District.
It’s a sprawling district that includes a “yuge” (in Trumpian parlance) portion of eastern Central California, including all of Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Tuolumne, Inyo and Mono counties, and chunks of Sacramento, Madera, Fresno and Tulare counties. Coincidentally – or not – the district also covers part of Stanislaus County including (surprise!) Turlock.
“This is just a Taxpayers Association thing,” Brandau said.
Still, having his name on a billboard with Trump’s image along heavily traveled Highway 99 can’t help but burnish Brandau’s conservative, tea party bona fides in the northern San Joaquin Valley.
As a city councilman, he certainly is a known quantity in the Fresno media market, but like any potential senate candidate who hails from Fresno – like Brandau’s council colleague Clint Olivier, who already has declared his candidacy, or Fresno County Supervisor Andreas Borgeas – likely lacks widespread name recognition north of Madera County.