District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp. Photo courtesy of the County of Fresno

DA Biases Unveiled

By Miguel Arias

(Editor’s note: At the March 10 meeting of the Fresno City Council, District 3 City Council Member Miguel Arias presented opening comments attempting to hold Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp accountable for her behavior. Owing to the impact of these comments, we print them here intact.)

I want to take a moment to address Lisa Sondergaard Smittcamp’s recent comments to the media.

When she first ran, she got my vote based on her platform and promise to be a prosecutor, not a politician. As a district attorney, as such she has the responsibility to follow the evidence and charge individuals when the evidence justifies it and prosecute the charges in a court of law.

Her bitterness and personal hatred for some of us in this city who are proud Democrats have led her to engage in a well-documented pattern of attempting to prosecute Democrats in the court of public opinion when the evidence clearly demonstrates no crime was committed to justify charges. She prosecutes us in the court of public opinion after the jury acquits us from her bogus charges.

When Republican operatives file anonymous complaints claiming we don’t live in our homes with her Public Integrity Unit, she sends deputies to investigate and notifies GV Wire we are under investigation. Yet, when the evidence clears us she doesn’t bother to send out press releases clearing our names much less conduct media interviews.

In contrast, when [Fresno Unified School Board Trustee] Terry Slatic assaults a student on video she doesn’t bother to investigate and defends him on KMJ.

When the Republican Sanger mayor is cleared, she doesn’t detail the allegations against him or express her opinion to the local media; she simply states no charges will be filed based on evidence, as she should.

When [Fresno City Council Member] Garry Bredefeld’s staff is arrested and convicted after leaving her campaign party, she is nowhere to be found for a comment to the media about the arrest or conviction on seven felonies and fails to acknowledge Garry is a donor of hers.

All these actions are purely political in nature and beneath her office and a disgrace to the Smittcamp legacy.

The politicization of the office has placed some of our safety at risk including my family.

When the district attorney allows and spreads false claims of crimes, corruption at City Hall exists in the social media and conservative radio platforms. It ends up arming unstable people from outside our city with a cause to track us down like animals and ambush us at home to prove her claims are true. That is how they ended up at my front door.

Worse yet, it leads Fresno police employees to believe her rhetoric and mark me as an enemy of public safety, leading my kids to require a police detail for their protection.

Her politicization of the Public Integrity Unit has allowed her to cover up complaints against herself and provide immunity to her donors and supporters.

In your recent media junket, Lisa, you failed to acknowledge the Brown Act complaint against your donor, Garry Bredefeld, and you declined to investigate it.

You failed to acknowledge several complaints involving you and your campaign treasurer are being investigated by the attorney general.

You failed to acknowledge that your romantic relationship with a federal agent has given you access to information you should not have.

I fully accept that my remarks today will only make me a bigger target for Lisa Sondergaard, but allowing your unethical and irresponsible rhetoric to continue to put my kids at risk for Republican political points stops now.

*****

Miguel Arias a Fresno City Council member representing District 3. He was elected in 2018 and is up for reelection this year.

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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