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Government & Politics

Friends, Critics Look Back At 8 Years Of Mayor Ashley Swearengin

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Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin leaves office next month after eight years on the job

A lot has happened in Fresno in the last eight years under the leadership of mayor Ashley Swearengin, who leaves office next month. The city weathered a major economic storm, adopted a new general plan that attempts to rein in sprawl, removed the Fulton Mall, and started building major new water infrastructure. The city also added a police auditor, started construction on a bus rapid transit line and adopted a new development code.

At the same time, Swearengin's administration endured notable problems, including the loss of many public safety employees due to budget cuts, a high profile fight over the privatization of residential solid waste services, and a scandal that resulted in the indictment of the city's deputy police chief on drug trafficking charges. Many important policy issues also remain works-in-progress, including efforts to improve access to public parks, and to deal with substandard rental housing. 

So how did Swearengin perform as mayor? We asked three guests to share their opinions on Valley Edition:

  • Pete Weber, with California Forward and the Fresno Bridge Academy, one of Swearengin's closest advisors
  • Sandra Celedon Castro with Fresno Building Healthy Communities, a community organizing group that has been one of Swearengin's toughest critics
  • Jeff Cummins, political science professor at Fresno State