Political Notebook

Bredefeld will seek his old Fresno City Council seat

Former Fresno City Council Member Garry Bredefeld says he’ll seek to recapture his seat next year.
Former Fresno City Council Member Garry Bredefeld says he’ll seek to recapture his seat next year.

Garry Bredefeld, who was on the Fresno City Council from 1997 through 2000, says he’ll run for his old District 6 seat next year.

Bredefeld, 56, is the third person to enter the District 6 race. The district covers northeast Fresno, with Bullard Avenue as its southern boundary and Blackstone Avenue as its western edge. Current member Lee Brand, who has held the seat since January 2009, reaches his term limit next year. He’s running for mayor.

A month ago, former Fresno County GOP executive director and business owner Holly Carter filed paperwork to seek the seat. She was followed a short time later by Jeremy Pearce, who may be known better as Jeremy “Elvis” Pearce, “the most booked Elvis in California.”

Now enters Bredefeld, who has largely been out of politics since the end of 2000.

Bredefeld says he turned his focus to raising his children and his job as a psychologist after leaving the council. His two sons are finishing up law school and his daughter is working for Warner Bros., so he says it’s time to return to the public arena.

“District 6 and Fresno need strong principled leaders who aren’t afraid to speak the truth and who focus on solving problems,” Bredefeld says.

But unlike Bredefeld’s late 90s time on the Fresno City Council, when he was best known for his push to slow the city’s northward sprawl and stop unchecked development, this time he says his main concerns are crime, gang violence, shootings, vagrancy, homelessness and high unemployment.

That doesn’t mean development, growth and downtown revitalization aren’t still important to Bredefeld. In those and other areas he says he intends to “take on entrenched special interests... it’s the kind of leadership I provided before and the kind I intend to provide again.”

Bredefeld’s entry into the race gives it an interesting dynamic. After he stepped down at the beginning of 2001 following an unsuccessful mayoral run the previous year, Jerry Duncan went on to win the seat and serve for eight years. He’s supporting Carter. After Duncan was termed out, Brand won the seat and has held it for eight years. He’s supporting Pearce.

With Bredefeld supporting himself (obviously), Duncan backing Carter and Brand behind Pearce, maybe it will help any undecided voters make up their minds.