Campaign sign on antique fire truck causes controversy in Fresno mayor race

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An election sign on top of an antique fire truck is causing controversy in the run for Fresno mayor. (KFSN)

The primary election is less than a month away and the Mayoral Race is heating up.

James Scoggins, Vice President of the Fresno City Firefighters Union, says the men and women of the city's fire department support only one candidate for mayor, so when the name of another candidate appeared on top of a fire truck in midst of a major election year, union members, he says, were frustrated.

Some members of the Fresno City Firefighters Union are outraged after this sign supporting mayoral candidate Lee Brand was spotted on an antique fire truck near Blackstone and Shaw avenues last week.

"My question to them was, 'Why a fire truck?' There only one reason why you would use a fire truck," said James Scoggins, Fresno City Firefighters Union.

Scoggins believes that reason is to trick voters. The union has publicly endorsed Henry Perea, one of Brand's opponents -- and Scoggins says having brand's sign on a fire truck around Fresno is misleading.

"It's a deceptive tactic meant to confuse voters into believing that public safety have endorsed and support Lee Brand in his campaign for mayor of the City of Fresno, and that is just not the case."

When Councilmember and Mayoral Candidate Lee Brand was asked about the accusations, he denies having any involvement. "It's simply an antique vehicle with two Lee Brand signs on it -- that I didn't put up," said Brand.

"But did you know about it?" asked Action News reporter Cory James.

"After the fact. Okay and I said today... I'm not asking them to do it. I'm not asking them not to do it. They can do whatever they want subject to their first amendment rights."

"We are not questioning the legality of the use of the truck. What we're questioning is the ethical decision," said Scoggins.

With the primary election just a month away, Brand is calling the fight petty.

"Where do you draw the line? If somebody, if I have a blue car that has a Lee Brand sign does that imply the police? Or a gray car does that imply the solid waste department?" asked Brand.

Action News did reach out to the owner of that antique truck -- Richard Caglia. He sent a statement saying:

"After 17 years of using that fire truck in many local campaigns, it's very interesting that firefighters are all of a sudden having issues with it. I suppose they don't have confidence in their candidate?"

And Councilmember Brand says he thinks the Fresno City Firefighters Union is misleading voters by making it seem like all of its firefighters -- which is just shy of 300 -- are supporting Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea in his run for mayor.

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politics2016 electionelection dayFresno
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