FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) –Valley Planned Parenthood clinic Mar Monte is receiving a million dollars in state funds after weeks of controversy.
In a 5-1 vote, the Fresno City Council overrode the mayor’s veto. Last month, Mayor Jerry Dyer turned down a resolution to accept funding for the clinic.
“Abortion is evil and must come to an end,” Councilmember Gary Bredefeld said at a press conference in August.
He spearheaded the effort to reject the funds with support from Valley faith leaders.
“You’ve seen them: signs that say your tax dollars at work. I don’t want my tax dollars at work in front of Planned Parenthood. I don’t think you do either,” said Diocese of Fresno Bishop Joseph Brennan at Bredefeld’s press conference in August.
It all started when Valley assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula secured 9.5 million dollars for Arte Americas cultural center, non-profit Neighborhood Industries, and Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. Mayor Dyer sent a letter to Arambula’s office saying the city acting as a distributor of the grant money for the clinic would be potentially divisive. District 3 representative Miguel Arias disagrees.
“Funding for women healthcare should’ve never been a controversy in our city. We are clearly a pro-choice city,” he said. “And we’ll continue to override any vetoes by the administration that takes us in a different direction or attempts to take us 50 years backwards.”
Arias said the city operates as a pass-through agency for other organizations all the time.
“On today’s agenda, we received a grant from the state on behalf of another organization. Unfortunately, the mayor and one councilmember decided to politicize this specific group of funding because of Planned Parenthood.”
Bredefeld was the only dissenting vote at Thursday’s meeting.
“I am not supporting that,” he said.
Councilmember Mike Karbassi was absent for the second time on this vote.
In a statement, assemblymember Arambula celebrated Thursday’s decision, saying: “I’m proud to do what I can to support efforts in my district that improve equity and access, including in the areas of cultural arts, employment training, and health care services for the poor and uninsured.”
Mayor Jerry Dyer addressed the vote, saying: “Although I am disappointed in the veto override, it was not unexpected. I continue to believe that the City of Fresno is not the appropriate Administrator of these funds, however, I respect the Council’s authority to override the veto”.
This is the second time the city council overrides a mayoral veto.