Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Political Notebook: Supervisor Poochigian throws cash at Fresno County privatization measure

Fresno County’s least-known ballot measure in the coming election finally got an ounce of publicity, thanks to county Supervisor Debbie Poochigian.

Poochigian bankrolled a slew of mailers to county households this week, urging voters to support Measure O –- which would make it easier for the county to outsource government services.

The longtime Republican, who has been a strong advocate for privatizing county jobs as a way to reduce government spending, led efforts to get Measure O on the ballot.

Prior to the mailers, however, little had been said or done about the initiative since it was drafted last summer.

“If you support something and you believe in something, you got to put your money where your mouth is,” Poochigian said on Friday.

Financial reports due this week show that the supervisor’s campaign, through Oct. 20, spent $3,635 on the “Yes on O” mailers. That’s a drop in the bucket for Poochigian, whose campaign has more than a half million dollars in the bank, according to county records.

Labor groups have quietly opposed Poochigian’s initiative. But union officials said this week they, too, planned to spend money on the issue: $8,000 on mailers that both go against Measure O and stand in support of Measure B, the county’s library tax extension.

The local chapter of Service Employees International Union maintains that privatization decisions should not be easy for county leaders to make, arguing that politics in the near term can result in bad policy in the long run.