FRESNO, California — The gears are in motion for Mike Karbassi to join the Fresno City Council. He won nearly 59% of the vote in Tuesday’s special election in District 2. Council members say his campaign applies to bettering the entire city.
Even before the 24 hour mark of Karbassi’s election victory, he already started thinking of how to tackle the issues he learned about while knocking on doors during the campaign.
“We have a line of issues people are concerned about: sidewalk issues, streetlights, maintenance, safety issues — and we got to start calling people back and taking care of stuff,” said Karbassi.
He campaigned on improving public safety, tackling homelessness and repairing infrastructure. His public safety stance is why Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld is particularly ready for Karbassi to start.
“I know Mr. Karbassi has said he’s not going to support a budget that doesn’t have police officers in it. I voted against the  budget specifically for that reason, so, I welcome the fact we have somebody who clearly is going to make [public safety] a high priority,” Bredefeld said.
Fresno City Council Vice President Miguel Arias has been impressed with Karbassi’s commitment to his district. He thinks Karbassi’s focus will remain local.
“He’s one of those guys that’s not going to get caught up in national rhetoric and social debates,” said Arias. “[He’s] going to get to the basics of improving neighborhoods.”
Karbassi vows to handle each problem he’s heard and work with everyone he has to — saying his business background relates to his work ethic.
“Take care of your customers. If they’re not happy, they’re not going to do business with you,” he said.
Fresno City Council President Paul Caprioglio said he’s excited for Karbassi’s enthusiasm.
Mayor Lee Brand, who endorsed Karbassi, also released a statement Wednesday about the victory:
“I’m pleased that Mike Karbassi has won the special election for the vacant District 2 Council seat outright and I congratulate him on his very successful campaign. Mike is coming to City Hall at an important time in our city’s history and I look forward to working with him on my vision for Fresno, which includes improving public safety, creating jobs, and improving the quality of life of all of our citizens.”Mayor Lee Brand
Mail-in ballots are still being counted until Friday. Fresno County Clerk Brandi Orth’s office has 30 days to certify the election results, after that Karbassi can be sworn in.