Political Notebook

Questions arise over Gastelum’s District 5 Fresno council candidacy

City officials are investigating if Fresno City Council District 5 candidate Tony Gastelum meets the requirements of the Council Residency Act.
City officials are investigating if Fresno City Council District 5 candidate Tony Gastelum meets the requirements of the Council Residency Act.

The City of Fresno is investigating whether District 5 City Council candidate Tony Gastelum meets residency requirements to run in the November election.

Gastelum, however, says it’s nothing more than a typographical error in his lease and that he meets the residency requirements.

“Yes, I live in the district,” he said. “There’s no question about my residency.”

Gastelum is one of three candidates vying to fill the final two years of Sal Quintero’s current city council term. Quintero in June won the District 3 Fresno County supervisor seat. He’ll take over in January for Henry R. Perea, who did not seek reelection and instead is running for Fresno mayor.

Besides Gastelum, the other two candidates are Luis Chavez and Jose Leon-Barraza.

City Attorney Doug Sloan said an investigation is underway.

He said Gastelum provided the city with residential lease dated July 11, 2016. The stated termination date, however, was August 1, 2016.

Gastelum said he would provide the city with a corrected lease agreement, showing it ends August 1, 2017. He said it was simply a typographical error in the lease agreement.

“It’s not a question of residency, it’s a question of documents required for the Council Residency Act. I’ve been in my home continuously since … July 10,” Gastelum said.

In a strange twist, Gastelum in June had just finished running against Quintero for the District 3 supervisor seat. He came in third. Now he’s seeking Quintero’s council seat, as is Chavez, a Fresno Unified trustee who is currently Quintero’s chief of staff.

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