As is par for the course, the last meeting of the year for the Fresno City Council was not without fireworks.
The spark? A drag queen festival hosted by a Fresno church.
Last week, Councilman Garry Bredefeld spoke out against involving children in the Fresno Drag Festival which took place last weekend.
Thursday, a significant portion of public comment was directed at Bredefeld, going after him for not being supportive of the LGBTQ community.
After public comment wrapped up, Bredefeld fired back, saying that he stands behind every word he said last week, which included him calling it “sickening and disgraceful” that the show encouraged parents to bring their children to meet the performers.
“The world in which we live in today, unfortunately, these children have to deal with a lot of other issues than we had to deal with years ago. A lot of messages out there about multiple genders. The fact is there are two genders – male and female, not 14,000 genders,” Bredefeld said.
“There’s a lot of things they’re having to deal with that’s being promoted to them in school, outside of school, on TV, and they add to all of the incredible confusion and struggles that kids just naturally go through. And it’s affecting them, seriously affecting them. There’s the sexualization of children. Kids are being taught in school, given material that I think is fairly pornographic. Young children who don’t have the ability to incorporate this, and it’s going on in schools.”
After he started talking, all of the other councilmembers, except for Mike Karbassi, left the dais and forced the meeting to adjourn because there was not a quorum. Karbassi also left once City Clerk Todd Stermer announced that the meeting was no longer in session.
Bredefeld continued addressing the public while the meeting was officially adjourned, speaking out against the different surgeries and procedures offered to children who say they are transgender.
He also said that he does not have any problem with drag shows themselves, but that children are being brought into the picture.
“The problem I have is that now kids are being involved in these ‘family friendly drag shows.’ Why men dressed as women have to put on shows involving children, I simply don’t understand,” Bredefeld said.
Bredefeld continued, “I think it’s pretty pathetic that I sat through all of this and councilmembers can’t sit up here and hear what I have to say.”
He said drag shows do not promote empowerment among children, but instead cause confusion.
“I am going to speak out about things that are destructive to our community, whether it’s what they call family friendly drag shows where men dressed as women dance around, prance around young impressionable children,” Bredefeld said. “I’m going to continue to speak out about that.”
The rest of the council returned to the dais after he finished his remarks.
Fresno City College construction updates
State Center Community College District Chancellor Carole Goldsmith provided an update to the council on the various construction projects underway at Fresno City College.
Measure C, which passed in 2016, provided $485 million for SCCCD projects through public bonds. SCCCD also has money leftover from its previous Measure E bond, which passed in 2002.
The $86.6 million West Fresno Center Center, a campus located at Church and Walnut Avenues, is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2023, with the automotive technology center wrapping up the following year.
Goldsmith noted that opening on schedule will only be possible if PG&E electrifies the project on time.
Fresno City’s new science building, which costs $87 million, is projected to be finished in 2024.
The college’s parking structure, a $25 million project, was recently completed and provides 986 new parking spaces.
SCCCD is also building a $58 million first responder campus in southeast Fresno, which is expected to be completed in the fall of next year.
Fresno City’s child development center, coming in at $16.5 million, is expected to be ready to go in the fall of next year.
SCCCD also has projects underway at Clovis Community College, including buildings for applied technology and parking expansion.