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Ashley Swearengin and Transparency

by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at]
Where does Fresno mayoral candidate Ashley Swearengin stand on issues of global importance? If you ask her, she won't tell you.
Ashley Swearengin and Transparency
By Mike Rhodes

Ashley Swearengin wants to be the next mayor of Fresno. She has spoken openly and articulately about local issues. She has also discussed issues of statewide importance. In a meeting with the Central Valley Progressive PAC, Swearengin said, during a discussion about proposition 8 (regarding marriage equality) that because she was a candidate "people have a right to know anything and everything about you." The Community Alliance, following the old saying “Think Globally, Act Locally” decided to ask Swearengin about her positions on a wide variety of issues.

For example, where does she stand on the war and occupation of Iraq? To our surprise, she refused to answer. Does Swearengin think giving money to war profiteers, mercenaries, shipping pallets of $100 bills to Iraq (which were never accounted for), and occupying Iraq is a better use of money than providing health care for the tax payers of Fresno, fixing roads, or improving education? Would Swearengin support a City Council resolution to end the war and occupation? Don’t ask her, she will not answer the question.

The Community Alliance asked Swearengin if she supports reproductive rights for women. Again, she refused to answer. Her campaign manager, David Schecter, said that he would refuse to confirm or deny any positions his candidate holds which we independently discovered. We found, on the issue of reproductive rights for women that Swearengin is anti-choice.

Billie MacDougall, the past President (2004 - 2005) of the National Women's Political Caucus, said that her group “did not know that Swearengin was anti-choice when we invited her to speak on the Regional Jobs Initiative. When we heard that she was contemplating running for mayor we asked if she wished to apply for endorsement by the NWPC. Her reply was that she could not apply because she is not pro-choice.”

Swearengin’s response to questions about marriage equality became an issue when she first opposed and then supported proposition 8. The Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) community have been critical of her flip/flop on this issue. But, Swearengin’s position on this issue is consistent with her core values and base of support - she is opposed to equal rights for the LGBTQ community.

We asked: “Do you Support Obama or McCain for president?” Swearengin refused to answer. Swearengin, a Republican, is supporting John McCain for president. We know this because Swearengin said, at a debate at the Tower Theater, that she supports McCain and that “I’m also looking forward to meeting Governor Palin I think we have a few things in common.”

The mayoral candidates positions on local issues are well known and have been heard at numerous forums and debates. For their answers to questions about local issues of concern to the progressive community, go to: . Swearengin’s refusal to answer questions says a lot about her transparency and what the progressive community might expect if she is elected. We know that she is a conservative Republican, she supports John McCain for president, is anti-choice, and is against marriage equality. She refuses to tell us if she supports the ongoing war and occupation of Iraq. She doesn’t want us to know if she supports torturing prisoners, if she wants City of Fresno employees to earn a living wage, or whether or not the US should invade Iran. So much for transparency!

Where does mayoral candidate Henry T. Perea stand on these issues? Perea proudly supports Barack Obama for president, he supports marriage equality (he is against proposition 8), he is not afraid to say that he is against torturing prisoners, is pro-choice, and does not want to see the US invade Iran.

Fresno progressives have a choice to make on Tuesday, November 4. They can vote for 4 more years of right wing, conservative, Republican rule - both locally and nationally OR they can vote for a change. Henry T. Perea and Barack Obama represent HOPE and CHANGE for a better world.


Mike Rhodes is editor of the Community Alliance newspaper. He can be contacted by email at MikeRhodes [at]
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