Fresno County Supervisor Steve Brandau is proposing legislation that would create new policies and citizen-led oversight of books with sexual content in the children’s sections at Fresno County Public Libraries.
Brandau’s proposal will go in front of the Board of Supervisors next week.
The big picture: The proposed legislation is called the Parents Matter Act.
- If it passes, the Parents Matter Act would remove books that have sexually explicit materials or talk about controversial gender issues from the children’s section.
- The resolution would not govern how the books are placed, leaving it up to the librarians and County Administrative Officer Paul Nerland.
- Books would not be removed from the library, but rather just placed in another section.
- The resolution would also create a committee of 15 people – with each supervisor nominating three individuals – to create community standards and a process for reviewing books to determine where books should be displayed. The committee also would not have the ability to remove books from the library.
What they’re saying: Brandau said in a press conference Thursday that this resolution is not about trying to isolate or divide people, but rather to ensure that parents’ voices are heard.
- “The bottom line question is: Who is the best individual or entity to raise children in Fresno County? And I’m saying it’s the parents,” Brandau said. “It’s not government.”
- Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld, one of Brandau’s opponents for his Supervisorial seat next March, said the measure came far too late to a controversy that began brewing in Clovis this June, during LGBT Pride Month.
- “At every opportunity, Steve Brandau has failed miserably to protect our children and lead as an overseer of the county agencies that regularly engage our children – whether it’s the library system or foster children sleeping on County desks and floors,” said Bredefeld in a statement to The Sun. “The only way to get him to do anything for our kids is through public shaming by the media and fellow local officials, and that only yields half measures and double talk from Steve. Otherwise, he is typically silent and inactive.”