Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Fresno trash battle could mean an early start to the campaign season

Politically speaking, the months following a U.S. presidential election are usually the quietest of all.

That’s also the case locally, especially in a year like this when the Clovis Council election has once again been canceled because nobody stepped up to challenge the incumbents.

Campaign mailer featuring Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin

Residents who grew weary of endless political mailers clogging up their mailbox or television commercials running nonstop during local news broadcasts could rest easy.

But not so fast — this year, at least.

Thanks to Fresno’s residential trash battle, there’s the whiff of a campaign in the air and, depending on how a signature-gathering drive ends up, could turn into a full-fledged campaign.

Opponents of Mayor Ashley Swearengin’s outsourcing plan for residential trash have been working over the past month to get the signatures of 21,828 registered Fresno voters.

If they succeed, there will be a special election where Fresno residents will weigh in on the question of whether or not to outsource residential trash pickup.

Back side of the ad, which is from Fresnans for Responsible Government Issues Committee

But already, a group known as Fresnans for Responsible Government is trying to stop any potential election before it can get off the ground.

The group has sent out a mailer to Fresno residents with an “urgent message from Mayor Ashley Swearengin.” It informs residents that if they had signed a petition to put the trash question before voters, they can ask to have their signature removed.

Of course, the mailer gives them that opportunity.

Outsourcing opponents delivered the petitions Friday afternoon. The process of verifying the signatures will now be counted.

If the effort eventually qualifies for the ballot, look for the campaign season to get an early start — almost certainly with campaign mail, and possibly with television and radio commercials as well — as supporters and opponents of trash outsourcing try to make their case to Fresno voters.


Gene Harrison says:

This mailer really teed me off when I received it. I am for outsourcing and did not sign a petition. Why then should I have had to deal with another piece of “junk” mail when I was not involved. It made me want to go sign a petition. This whole thing is nonsense and both side have driven it totally out of control.

Howard K. Watkins says:

40,000 Fresnans in less than 3 weeks have said no to the privatization of Fresno’s residential trash collection. Rather than spending $1-2 million on a special election and litigation, the City Council should simply rescind the rushed ordinance. There are alternatives to privatizing or laying off 50 City employees. The City can borrow against its $16 million dollar sanitation reserve fund and ask the voters of Fresno to approve a Public Safety Tax to bring the City to solvency and pay back the loan. Bottom line is the City does not have current resources to spend nearly 80 percent of its budget on police and fire safety. The sad thing is the Mayor knew this problem a year ago and could have asked the Council to put the Public Safety Tax on the November 2012 ballot at a small fraction of the cost of a special election. If the voters had voted down the tax increase, she would have been in a much stronger and less costly position now.

Anthony Forestiere says:

Why is the mayor taxing the garbage collection outsourcing by demanding a franchise fee to the winning bidder? All savings should be turned over to the rate payers. Any savings the mayor gets for the franchise fee kickback is a tax on the rate payers. We should be voting on any tax increases.



greg barboza says:

I have crossed the mailer that the mayor has sent out with a note “return to sender” I asked the citizens of Fresno to do the same.

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