Fresno City Council

 

The Fresno City Council will vote Thursday on a plan to suspend bus fares throughout the city. Councilmembers Tyler Maxwell, Esmeralda Soria and Nelson Esparza are sponsoring the Zero Fare Clean Up Act. Maxwell says it addresses equity issues in Fresno, when it comes to reliable transportation. He believes the city is already way behind.

The Fresno City Council unanimously voted to accept the Fresno Police Reform Commission's report on Thursday. But as councilmembers clarified in the Zoom meeting, that doesn’t mean all 72 recommendations will be implemented immediately.

The report will be handed off to a seven-member Police Reform Implementation Team that will review the recommendations and decide what further action is necessary. That may include a budget review, a meet-and-confer contract or a policy change, according to councilmember Miguel Arias. But ultimately, the council gets the final word.

 

When the Fresno City Council first approved a Housing Retention Grant in May for $1.5 million, the response was overwhelming, said Council President Miguel Arias.

“Within a week of announcing the housing retention program, we had 14,000 residents inquire about completing an application,” he said. 

 

The grant helps struggling renters and homeowners affected by the pandemic pay for housing costs including rent or mortgages.

Madi Bolanos / KVPR

 

The Maxie L. Parks Community Center in West Fresno has been closed since Sept. 3 due to contaminants found in the building. Fresno Councilmember Miguel Arias announced Monday the city will secure funding to clean up the site. 

 

Before the community center was built in 2007, there was a laundromat on the site, Arias said at a press conference at City Hall. He said the city will spend half a million dollars to address two contaminants in the building associated with the dry cleaning industry. 

 

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand Facebook

The City of Fresno announced the 37 members of the new Police Reform Commission Friday. The city council, mayor, and mayor-elect all committed to taking the recommendations seriously. 

City of Fresno Facebook

Nearly a hundred people made public comments Monday afternoon during the Fresno City Council’s budget hearing on the city’s police department. 

Most called for the council to defund the police and redirect the money to other services like mental health. Council President Miguel Arias said thousands more residents expressed their opinions via email. 

City of Fresno Facebook

More racist remarks were made during a public comment session at the Fresno City Council budget hearing on Monday. The council heard similar, vulgar comments last week, and members said they want consequences.

Two Zoom-meeting attendees used the n-word multiple times until they were cut off. Councilmember Garry Bredefeld said this is a reason to resume in-person meetings.

“Let’s open up this building and get back in the chamber because these cowards won’t come forward to speak; they do it anonymously on Zoom,” said Bredefeld.

Fresno City Council Facebook page

An inflammatory phrase using the n-word was one of many disruptions to a Fresno City Council meeting on June 11, held online via the videoconferencing platform Zoom.

On this week’s Valley Edition: Former Fresno City Councilmember Oliver Baines is heading a new police reform commission. He shares his vision for the department, and talks about why previous efforts have fallen short. 

We also speak with men who survived a disease outbreak at Avenal State Prison, not COVID-19, but valley fever. It was almost a decade ago, and they’re still seeking justice today. 

Plus, parents discuss what it’s like to raise black children in the San Joaquin Valley. 

City of Fresno Facebook

The Fresno City Council announced Thursday it’s creating a police reform commission. Council President Miguel Arias said the commission will be headed by former council member and police officer Oliver Baines.  

The news came after the council sat through a workshop about social and economic justice led by the Fresno State NAACP. 

City of Fresno Facebook

The Fresno City Council approved a resolution Thursday requiring anyone who enters City Hall to wear a mask. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Former Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer will be the city’s next mayor, according to Wednesday afternoon’s election results from Fresno County. In a press conference before City Hall Wednesday, Dyer reiterated his wish to unite the city, and create “One Fresno,” which was his campaign slogan.

In his remarks, Dyer highlighted the need to bring investment and business to the area. Dyer wasn’t specific about where he plans to prioritize development, but said the city can only be as prosperous and successful as its worst neighborhood.

Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio

 

Polls show candidates Andrew Janz and Jerry Dyer are neck and neck. And that race, along with other local races, could be decided next Tuesday. If one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, there’s no runoff in November. But do people know that? 

We spoke with several Valley residents at a local Fresno farmers market - and many were unaware of Tuesday’s primary and its significance.  However, one Clovis man who is not eligible to vote said he finds the whole system baffling. 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Three Fresno City Councilmembers have launched a fundraising campaign for the families of the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting in Southeast Fresno.

The funds will go toward medical care and funeral costs for the four victims and six survivors of the tragedy, when one or two gunmen opened fire at a party on Sunday night. The suspects still remain at large.

Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio

At about 10 a.m. Aaron Foster heads to Ivy and Lorena streets in southwest Fresno. In his pickup truck, he goes around neighborhoods in this area every day, or what he calls “hitting the loop.”

 

“This is just the hood, we call it the block,” he said. “Every neighborhood got a block. This is the southwest Fresno that no one sees. The poverty is obvious.”

 

He does this to “sustain the peace” and to prevent shootings from happening.  

 

Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio

Fresno will join more than 40 other cities across the country in a legal brief that supports three Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals cases going before the Supreme Court in November. 

 

The Fresno City Council voted Thursday to be listed in the Amicus brief that supports the plaintiffs in the DACA cases. Gary Bredefeld was the only council member to vote against the resolution and argued the program isn’t legal because it was created by executive order, instead of Congress. 

 

Faith in the Valley

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand Brand vetoed just over a million dollars in spending this year to balance the city’s more-than-a-billion-dollars budget. Some of the vetoed items were those most hotly contested by the city council.

Faith in the Valley

Fresno moved a step closer Thursday to fund an unconventional program that aims to reduce gun violence. After a fiery debate, the Fresno City Council voted to partially fund Advance Peace.

 

Three council members voted to allocate $200,000 from the budget for the program. The city administration, local leaders, and Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer have 90 days to come up with a proposal detailing how the money will be used. After the proposal is submitted, the city council will vote on it.

 

Monica Velez

Aaron Foster stands outside Wayne's Liquor store on East California Avenue. There’s a park across the street buzzing with people, a taqueria around the corner, and a library a few blocks away.

 

“This is the heart of Southwest Fresno,” he says. “There’s rival gang members that come by but they know this is a safe zone.”

 

Kerry Klein

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand has pulled a proposed spending plan that would have funded road repairs in the city, after criticism that it would have perpetuated inequality.

Brand’s plan would have distributed $12 million from the SB1 gas tax roughly equally among the city’s seven council districts, but the plan didn't sit well with most of the councilmembers who say they want equity first.

Pages